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Loading properly?


MDB1056
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Loading properly is of course a key component to many things in slalom but I'm specifically interested in opinions on which arm to load more based on direction. My approach is that if turning left, that after reengaging the handle more (%) load would be on the right (rear) arm, and that concluding a right turn the higher (%) load would be on the left (rear) arm. More simply said, it's loading more the back arm always as this seems to take less effort. I've never asked about this before so I could be completely off here.
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There are prolonged threads about this...with lots of discussion re: which arm is termed leading or trailing (one is in front of the other, one is further away from the boat---(tomato, to-mahto).

 

Gate pull to one, pull from 2 to 3, pull from 4 to 5 I want it in my right arm.

 

Pull from 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 my left arm.

 

In both cases the arm described is further anterior, which for me translates to my center of mass more over my ski and going in the direction of travel.

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Whew! As a beginner I have to think hard about what toeside and heelside turns mean. But then applying those terms to my arms, that seems a step too far. But if I understand this concept correctly, could we simply say that the lead arm (one closest to centerline) should always carry the majority of the load for any turn?
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@bsmith Um, there's no arm load in a turn. (typo?)

 

I do completely agree that toeside and heelside are incomprehensible concepts with an inline stance, but those make sense to some people.

 

The term "lead" arm is also ambiguous.

 

This has been talked around in circles with no hope of everyone agreeing which words make sense to describe this!

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@horton agree ideally load shud be symmetric like the T-gas pic in another thread.

 

The line to the boat has a different angle to the skier out of the ball, thru the wakes, and out to wide. Given we are built with arms the same length, I’d argue right arm more-so from buoy thru center out of 2 and 4.

U and pros are more technical than me but I’ve been down the line as you know.

 

Maybe this...best skiers ideally having symmetric loads through the arms. How would you coach those longer line skiers who almost always are too far on the tail? The skiers who pull behind their center of mass? The skier who began the thread?

 

Not arguing here, in fact would defer to your expertise but I’m always trying to get skiers more forward in order to improve.

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@6balls trying to change or fix things by adding or subtracting load from one arm is a boondoggle. I believe in not trying to be open but to keep shoulders level & allow your upper torso to be naturally open. The result will be nearly equal load in each hand.
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@horton that would simplify all kinds of Mumbo-jumbo terminology issues. Equal in both doesn’t matter what u call em.

 

Ok, relate how a skier goes about establishing equality and efficiency.

 

Not the purest of technique but an advancing skier who tends to ride too far back and thus is inefficient across course.

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@jimbrake "Always carry the load in your toeside arm going into your offside and heelside going into your onside." That was a good one! Ridiculous, but not quite enough for a novice to confidently recognize it as such.

 

@Than_Bogan When I said load from such and such turns I was meaning the load immediately after the turn, not from the turn itself.

 

Thinking about what @6balls said and trying to put his advice in different words not involving trailing or leading arm terminology, I thought maybe we could say to always load the "reach arm" a little more than the other arm when coming under load after a turn. It did make sense to this novice that loading the reaching, extended arm a little more after the turn might help to pull one more forward and over the front of the ski.

 

But then @Horton explains that it is best to "not try to be open but to keep shoulders level & allow your upper torso to be naturally open. The result will be nearly equal load in each hand." I think most skiers feel the load to be relatively equal when the second hand comes onto the handle. Since that is what seems to occur naturally on its own, it is nice not to have to worry about trying to force unbalanced arm loads.

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also .... you should not try to load. you should try to keep making angle. Load is not the goal. Less load w/ more angle is the goal.
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I guess the follow on point from Hortons is ..... if you keep equal load and shoulders square your arms will bend naturally.

If not you will find your shoulder getting pulled round towards the boat = narrow and fast at the bouy.

The focus (if you can) moves from the load on the arms to actually how to keep the shoulders square and maintain a balanced position - that requires a lot of effort and at the same time looks like nothing is happening.

Crazy sport.

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@horton I don't think so. If a skier comes out of 2 or 4 on the back of their ski, do you think they will feel more load (whether or not load is a goal) in the left arm or the right arm?

So the connection for me coaching instead of saying "hey, you are too far back...don't do that, get over the front of your ski", sometimes it pays to use a different strategy...like "Hey, straighten your back leg":)

Or "Listen, you are way too far back. Your ski rears up when you finish and you are behind the ski all through the wakes. Where do you feel the line tension?" "Out of 2 and 4 I want you to feel or notice line tension in your right deltoid thru the wakes. Out of 1,3,5 I want it in your left deltoid thru the wakes". If they don't understand it's time for a static pulling drill next to the boat.

Maybe it doesn't mean more tension, or unbalanced tension, but they SHOULD feel tension in the appropriate arm to be over the ski and have center of mass going in the intended direction.

We are likely agreeing here for the most part, it's just words.

If anyone doesn't like my coaching ideas above for newbies who are almost always too far back, I'm open to criticism. It's not stuff for the most advanced....but I get beginners thru the course consistently.

For me at my level I still like to feel tension in my delt off a set of straight arms heading to and thru the wake. In a more advanced sense as you explode to wide and up the boat, the near hand is truly becoming near and if you are keeping the handle close to core...there is only one straight arm (creating a little stretch in your delt) until it releases and tension should be felt there til release. This pic is -38

 

e0urowt1z2du.jpg

.

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Thanks @Gloersen for posting that article link by Chris Rossi. Rossi definitely backs up @Horton concerning not to use back arm pressure as your focus. (Back arm being your reach arm after load is taken.) Rossi says, "I am talking about the old school thought of lead shoulder away from boat. This requires excessive upper body rotation, which will cause excessive ski angle vs. boat angle before the wakes and a rapid loss of direction through the edge change. We want a 45-degree ski angle vs. boat with increased ski edge angle for sustained direction in the course. Outside hip/ outside hand to handle will leave your shoulders level with your hips forward. Now all you have to do is lean and you will be rewarded with the best wake crossing you can have for the turn you completed."

 

Novices get very quickly that they need to create angle across the course. And the natural way to do that seems to be to turn hard as quickly as you can by rotating the upper body and by dipping the inside shoulder. Rossi admits, ”This will temporarily increase ski angle vs. the wakes but it also heavily loads the rope. The excess load on the rope will take away the extra temporary angle you achieved plus more, leaving you on a straighter/ narrower line than you would have been on."

 

For a novice, the intuitive way to create angle cross course seems to work but when he can't maintain it, he just thinks he is weak or needs a better stack. When a novice is frequently late to the next ball, it is a very hard concept to embrace that more patience through the turn to achieve a better body position when the load hits is the key to achieving real cross course angle.

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This thread and the leverage thread are right where I'm working to improve. It made me think of @Bruce_Butterfield thread "what-the-heck-is-handle-control" which I just went back and re-read. What I already knew, and all of this just confirms, is what looks like good handle control is very different depending on whether you're leaving or approaching a buoy. I really like Bruce's description of handle control "as keeping the handle in close to the body and maintaining a solid ‘connection’ between the handle and your center of mass at all times". How you carry the load in your arms, how you lean away from the boat, and how much load you should feel all vary depending on which side of the course you're on, and they should.

 

A recent revelation for me has been keeping the handle close and near the hips after the centerline. When you watch a good skier it doesn't look like there's much effort being applied, but that is very deceiving. You can't keep the handle in tight through the second wake with out using lots of effort. You are starting to come up out of your lean yet still want that handle close in and low. With tension still on the line (hopefully) this takes a ton of effort. My realization was just that thinking about it isn't enough. It's necessary to apply effort to keep that good position.

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@ski6jones In this thread https://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/21077/presenting-whisperfin-1 I made the exact same observation about feeling weak on the outbound side when trying to hold my elbows tight to the vest just past the second wake. Just like you said, it takes a ton of effort to do that. I was thinking ultra strong lats were the key to doing it, but @Than_Bogan suggested that a strong core was the most important ingredient. Either way, major strength and effort are required to accomplish it.
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@bsmith the more correct your form the less strength required. Fitness is important but a more skilled skier will beat a more fit skier every time.
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@Horton Yes, I think skill is involved in that a sports specific muscle learning experience takes place. Something one has never done before, like getting up on a slalom ski, will feel very hard and require a lot of strength in the beginning. But after one month of doing it, it will feel much easier with much less effort required. The new ease of getting up came not from a major strength gain, but primarily from just learning to be efficient at the new task.

 

I am hoping that holding elbows tight to the vest is something similar in that just keeping at it will bring efficiency and less effort required. But I have to tell you that I am a bit worried about that as the act of holding elbows tight doesn't seem to have much skill involved, seems more like a brute force thing. But I am hopeful that is not the case and that it becomes easier with time.

 

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@horton for sure on strength vs. technique. @bsmith it's humbling for guys like me to go to a high end tournament at an age where I ski 34 mph...and watch teen-aged girls get into 38 off.

Seriously...teen aged girls running the same scores as me and me thinking I'm pretty slick running a 38 off here or there. I had so much more power, but my lesser technique forced me to use it.

It's not a power game or @drago my huge delts, asymmetrically loaded would get me awesome scores :smiley:

It's a diversion from the original thread but technique trumps, and being lighter in weight given your own frame limitations is helpful as well.

@bsmith if you are using a lot of muscle to keep your elbows tight to the vest, something else technically is wrong. Don't look at just one pose or aspect of your skiing, as it's all interconnected. Keep after it that next line is SO satisfying!

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My theory is that out of the turn the lead arm feels more pressure and as you get behind the boat it is more balanced and actually shifts load to the trailing arm. (Left arm going to 1 is trailing).

 

Haters gonna hate. :)

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@Gloersen I read that article on the Power Triangle you posted and wish it was 5 months earlier. I worked on that this morning and it was a game changer. Couldn’t believe how much smoother things went with less effort. I think I just unlocked the key to some great progression. Thanks again for posting. Can’t wait to hammer that habit home and see real results.
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Back to the original question. When a skier leaves 1 / 3 / 5 there will be more load in the left arm and the left shoulder will be lower than than the right shoulder BUT it is not to your advantage to add extra load to the left shoulder and driving your left shoulder down farther is not to your advantage.

 

same but backwards on 2/4/6

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I find better success in thinking about feeling load in my hand that just got back on the handle. It helps several things as in, MORE not completely, level shoulders, and in actuality, keeps the load even. It also helps to not over rotate the shoulders. I we lead with our hips (Horton does this well on 2/4), the ski really turns and carries out off the second wake. So....think trailing hand pressure (Right Hand going from 1 to 2) and it solves several issues with one thought.
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