Hand Release... Purpose and Dynamic

KrisKris Posts: 10 Baller
edited June 12 in Technique & Theory
I'm a fourth season slalom skier just starting to take the course. I've noticed that expert skiers always let go of one hand when clearing buoys. Why? I've tried this, and it feels awkward, as though I have far less control.

What hand am I supposed to hold "over" the bar, and what hand "under" it? Does this remain static on both sides of the turn?

Could someone explain to me how this hand release is supposed to work? Am I supposed to release the outer hand at the point in my turn where I am leaning over the most?

Thanks
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Comments

  • gregygregy Posts: 2,201 Crazy Baller
    Hand position depends on which foot forward. Its how you would hold a baseball bat. If you are Left Foot Forward (front foot) with the handle horizontal in front of you, your left hand palm would be down (over) and your right hand palm up (under). If you are Right foot forward it would be opposite. This position is static on both sides.

    The purpose of releasing the handle really becomes important as the line is shortened. You need to reach and extend out to get around the buoy at short line lengths. But it also helps with balance and rhythm in the turn.

    Ideally you should keep both hands on and hold the handle in close to your body after you cross the wakes and go into your pre-turn. At 15off you want to hold the handle until you get to buoy width then release the outside hand and hold it near your outside hip. The inside hand you will extend toward the boat, maybe slightly forward. As you come out of the turn you want to try and ski back into the handle and grab it then.
    Kris
  • KrisKris Posts: 10 Baller
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. That is very helpful.

    What do you mean by "15off"? 15 degrees?
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 605 Solid Baller
    In US the rope is described based on how much is taken off a full lenght rope.
    In other countries it is described with actual remaining lenght.
    15 off is equal to 18.25 meter rope.
    Approx 15 feet taken off an approx 75 foot rope.
    That is the standard starting lenght.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
    Kris
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 229 Baller
    The 15'off will make more since if you purchase a sectioned rope. This masterline rope is a nice value, and is on sale, of course then you will need to purchase a separate handle to go with it, as its only the 70' rope (the handle comes with 5' of line.) Its a 5 section rope that will give you the full 75', 15'off, 22'off, 28'off, and 32'0ff. The last 15 foot section is often just removed so your starting length is 15'off. You can leave all of the sections on the rope and just use the loop for the length you want. Few people that start getting serious about skiing use the full 75'.
    Kris
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,631 Mega Baller
    Skiers can start letting go with the outside hand when keeping the outside hand on the handle impedes their ability to be balanced and turn the ski. Skiers learn to do this at all levels from very early to very late in their abilities. Many top skiers/pros will train with running "2-handed turns" to force them to do other skills more perfect.

    Releasing the outside hand allows the skier's body and ski to move wider from the handle. It also can allow the skier to keep the outside shoulder up and away from the boat to maintain outbound direction. Thus, it prevents the outside shoulder from being pulled forward by the boat via the handle causing the ski to start to turn back too soon.

    When learning how to release the handle, I teach skiers to make small motions. Start first by simply relaxing that hand's grip at the start of the turn and then grasping the handle again at the finish of the turn just at the time when the boat's pull on the rope is starting to ramp up.

    Next, simply release a little further and allow your ski's path to continue a little wider such that your arm holding the handle starts to have to extend a little. When your outside hand releases, think about rubbing it across your belly and pausing it at your outside hip. This reminds you to keep your hips up so that your belly is there to rub. It also puts your hand is a good ready location for when it is time to return it to the handle.

    In an ideal turn, your released hand is near the outside hip and follows the hip as it comes around during the turn. In this ideal, the outside hip turns around to the point of coming close to the handle because the ski's path as turned to the point of starting to point back across the boat's path. In this ideal, the outside hand and handle come together without a huge reach motion for the handle.

    At slower speeds and narrower skiing paths of beginning slalom skiers, the ideal turn may not yet reach that level. Still, a calm and still progress of releasing and "reaching" the ski wider will develop with confidence and balance. Just stay within your speed/balance. Ride the ski's turn with out trying to lay over further than your speed and turn can support you.

    One last comment about "reaching." Think of the reach as a result and not an action. It is the result of skiing wider than the handle would allow. Eventually, that skill will become valuable when skiing a slalom course.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    Than_Bogangsm_peterKris
  • KrisKris Posts: 10 Baller
    We've been using a standard nylon cord, probably 75". We bought it way back when we had even less of an idea of what we were doing than now.

    Looks like it's time for us to purchase a sectioned rope. Thanks for the suggestion, Scott.

    And thanks for that incredibly helpful breakdown, Todd. I find myself doing exactly this:

    "When learning how to release the handle, I teach skiers to make small motions. Start first by simply relaxing that hand's grip at the start of the turn and then grasping the handle again at the finish of the turn just at the time when the boat's pull on the rope is starting to ramp up."

    I will re-read your instructions carefully, several times, and try implement your advice.

  • Mark_MatisMark_Matis Posts: 764 Crazy Baller
    Masterline does indeed make some excellent ropes. But there are other good ropes out there as well, especially for the entry level. PerfSki can help you pick one that meets your needs without emptying your wallet, leaving you with enough money to buy gas for another set. Contact them and tell them honestly what you're doing and they should be able to help you get what you need. They're great about that!

    Remember that ski ropes only last at most a couple of seasons, and many here go through at least one per year.
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,020 Crazy Baller
    @kris see if there is an ambassador in your area. Look at the banner on the top of the page for a list.
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 4,578 Mega Baller
    April Coble teaches to put your outside hand on your hip when you release. It has worked well for quite a few kids that I know that have been through her school. It is neat to see a few of the girls that have skied with her that now can run in to 32 off at 34 mph still putting the free hand on the hip.
    Mark Shaffer
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 245 Baller
    Placing your hand on your hip is ideal, as flailing your outside arm will often cause your inside shoulder to drop. Ideally you want your shoulders to remain level through the turn.
    Andre Broussard - Louisiana
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 581 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Hand on hip, interesting. @Chef23 , any videos of this?
    2016 Radar Alloy Vapor
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 4,578 Mega Baller
    Sorry @gt2003 I don't have any video. It is frankly as simple as it sounds. When you remove your outside hand put it on your hip.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Mark_MatisMark_Matis Posts: 764 Crazy Baller
    The other version of this, @gt2003 , is "hand in your back pocket".
    ToddLtjm
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 581 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Thanks @Chef23 and @Mark_Matis . I've got this flailing arm that is affecting my balance and therefore my already poor skiing. I'll keep these in mind next time I'm on the water.
    2016 Radar Alloy Vapor
  • Mark_MatisMark_Matis Posts: 764 Crazy Baller
    "Hand in your back pocket", @gt2003 , will also make you counter-rotate somewhat during your reach. Not necessarily to Amber Franc level, but at least enough to let your ski track slightly further outbound and roll more on edge instead of tracking down course. That should give you an opportunity to make a more aggressive turn without getting slack line.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 229 Baller
    I get a bit of a flailing arm that looks ridiculous. Something I think about occasionally and can keep in when I think about it, but it gets forgotten when I start thinking about the other 149 things I need to be thinking about.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 581 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @ScottScott , I can identify with that. I think about a few things all week then BAM, once I hit the water they are gone!
    2016 Radar Alloy Vapor
    DaveD
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,113 Crazy Baller
    @ScottScott -re: flailing arm, two words: mike morgan
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 4,578 Mega Baller
    @mwetskier just because one person can ski well with a flailing arm it doesn't mean that is a technique the rest of us mortals should emulate.
    Mark Shaffer
  • HortonHorton Posts: 22,584 Administrator
    Counter rotations of your shoulders is WAY over emphasized by many skiers. The best skiers in the world have their hips pointed in the direction of travel (toward shore or away from the wakes) and what happens with their shoulders at the ball line is mostly incidental.

    In the late 1980 and early 1990 we all tried to twist our shoulders out in a huge counter rotation. There were all kinds of theories why this was a good idea and I think all of them are wrong. If I could scrub those habits from my skiing I would.

    What you do with your free hand does not matter as long as you do not have a lot of extra movement. Place it on you hip or where ever is fine. It does not matter as long as it is a smooth and calm motion. Do less with your free hand.
    -----
    As far as your other hand goes, you actually want to reach only as much as needed and or as little as possible. You may think you need to push the handle somewhere but you want to slowly resist the line and let the boat take your hand. Your outbound path should pull the handle way from your body. Ideally there should always be a few pounds of tension in the rope.

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  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 14 Baller
    sorry - but the flailing arm thing brings to mind a visual of Joe Cocker slalom skiing. YIKES
    Horton
  • HortonHorton Posts: 22,584 Administrator
    @MS Looks exactly like Joe Cocker when he skis

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  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,113 Crazy Baller
    yeah, but did MS come in through the bathroom window?
    thagerHorton
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