ment than any other competitor. There was once a time
when coaches said, “It only matters what your skis do; don’t
worry about your upper body.” That’s old school. Today we
understand that every time we move a body part, even
a centimeter, we are altering our center of mass. When
our center of mass is altered, the ratio between the external forces and internal forces will have to be adjusted to
keep our equilibrium. We need to restrict our movements
to those that contribute and eliminate those that do not.
As coaches, we should see every action the skier makes,
no matter how small, and figure out why the athlete did
that movement. A hand thrown out a turn initiation is an
indication that the skier’s center of mass is not in total control. Take a closer look at the center of mass; this is the
cause of inefficiency. Don’t worry about quieting the hand
— change the center of mass, and the hand will become
quiet because it will not have to react.
3. Separation of body parts. Not CSI, but the ability
to perform an action with one body part while other body
parts are not affected. Bode Miller is the master of this.
While a mere mortal would be sliding on his hip, Bode not
only stays in the course, but also manages to keep the ski
on track and arcing while in the backseat, inside and rotated. “Fastest intermediate time” — yeah, we have heard
that. One body part can perform its job without affecting
the other body parts. In slalom, the separation of upper
and lower body is important. There also must be separation of the clearing arm from the upper body. That’s three
separated body parts. A common GS strategy is to drive
the outside arm in the direction of the turn. This resulting
elbow-out body English melds the shoulder to the pelvis. It
leaves the athlete without useful range of motion to correct
for unanticipated perturbations limiting his or her options.
4. Movements are timing-independent. For example,
good technique dictates that weight transfer happens prior
to edge change. Benni Raich, one of the best technicians
in the world, is also one of the biggest violators. When
the turns stack up, Raich can be seen moving his body
down the hill still on the old outside ski, which is quickly becoming the new inside ski, because he is releasing
that edge to start the turn. This demonstrates that Raich’s
movements are independent of each other. He does not
need the movements of a weight transfer to stimulate the
release of the edge. His fundamentals for edge release
are independent and can perform their duty at any time
in the turn. This is not a technique, just an edge release
fundamental. Benni’s got some fundamentals and some
World Cup globes (nine) to show for it. Skiing on one ski is
a prime example and a great exercise for developing edge
Fundamentals are not something you have or don’t have.
There are a lot of shades of gray between the acquisition
and refinement of fundamentals. While neophyte fundamentals will get you down the ski slope, it takes extreme
refinement to stand on a World Cup podium. According to
the USSA Alpine Training System guidelines (
trainingsys-tem.ussa.org) there are optimal times in an athlete’s developmental process to learn and incorporate fundamentals. From 8 years old until the pubertal growth spurt, the
body is most obliging at assimilating these building block
of technique, or, as we know them, “fundamentals.” After
this time, it is an uphill battle, and progress in the fundamentals is often harder and takes longer to achieve.
Ron Kipp is the USSA Alpine Sport Education Manager. USSA Sport
Education offers an Alpine Ski Fundamentals CD-ROM set with several fundamentals drills; go to educationshop.ussa.org.
Separation between shoulder and hip: The
outside arm can contribute to balance
without negatively influencing the hip.
Winning Runs For Sale.mov Here.