Gates and Edging Out during the Glide

DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller
I've always had gate issues and I could never really get a good stack going into 1 ball; some might argue that I never got stacked at all going through the gates. Looking at video I can't argue with those people. Over time I just developed "methods" to deal with my lack of stack and maintain my outbound direction at shorter line lengths (28 and 32-off in my case) so I could limit the slack at one ball. I nailed down the timing so that my gates were consistent and repeatable, but the technique always sucked.

However, lately I've felt like my gates are really coming together. I feel slow coming into 1 ball with a tight line and the turn just seems to complete itself into a stacked position heading to 2 ball. Yet, I also feel like I'm putting less effort into my gates.

The only thing I've really changed is I decided to stay as wide as possible during the glide. I've been accomplishing this by simply trying to keep an edge out during the glide with tension on the rope. I'm not talking about a little bit of tension, I've been loading the line aggressively with probably 30-50 lbs of force, if not more (it's hard to gauge these things on the water). Then when it's time to turn-in I just go for it (hips from 10-2 to initiate) and it feels as though the force on the ski from edging out is released, throwing the ski wide. The effect is that I maintain width, my turn-in happens much faster and I am able to get into a decent stacked position while I'm still wide, giving me time to generate speed into the gate without much effort.

I'm RFF and use a 2-handed gate. I've always heard you should edge out during the glide to maintain width. I think every skier has heard that at some point. I thought I'd been doing it, but was I really? I would pull out and get into my glide and try to keep the line "tight", but thinking back on it I probably only had a couple of pounds on the line and on video I definitely wasn't maintaining width right before turn-in.

However, I've also heard several times that when you're edging out you should "keep the line tight", which I interpreted to be about the same thing as "no slack". This, combined with the fact that we call it a glide, is probably why before now I never really tried edging out aggressively during the glide and before the turn-in. It's also entirely possible that one man's "keep the line tight" feels quite aggressive to myself, it's all relative after all.

The thing is, I'm not sure if the aggressive edging out during the glide is what's truly helping my gates. I know something is, but it's entirely possible I'm misinterpreting the results. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Maybe the edging out has nothing to do with it and it has simply changed something else about my technique that is making the actual difference. I hoping to get to the bottom of this.

Do any ballers have insight into this particular issue? Do other RFF skiers feel like they are edging out pretty aggressively before the turn-in and is it something they feel is important? How about LFF skiers? Perhaps this concept only applies at the longer line lengths (32-off and below)?

It's easy to say, "if it works, keep doing it" and I fully intend to do so. However, I wonder if perhaps this might be one of those details that might not translate well in coaching given the relative nature of how we all perceive certain actions or queues.


  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,236 Mega Baller
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller

    I see what you did there.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,236 Mega Baller
    @DefectiveDave - ah, just messin'.

    I've been working on the same thing, but I'm hesitant to add to your discussion, debate it, offer other view points because, skiing sucks. All I know is that swinging to the top of the arc with a tight line, whether on your pull out or in the course, is a good thing. It's hard to know what you mean by "aggressive". Got any video? Keeping a slight edge away as you come up out of your lean during your pullout is good, but "aggressive"? Not sure. Would like to see it.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • AndreAndre Posts: 987 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2017
    Did you also change the timing for when you turn in for the gates ?
    When do you turn in?
    Will try to edge out until turn in tomorrow morning and will let you know if it gets better!

    (Wish i could answer your question but my gate sucks. Mid 35 on a really good day...)
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller
    edited July 2017
    @jimbrake ,

    It is hard to say what aggressive really means, it's all relative. I think to me it just feels aggressive compared to what I've been doing. If I stick with it a few years, I probably wouldn't even think about it or notice it. Unfortunately I don't have any video. It takes up valuable skiing time and afterwards I get obsessive trying to nitpick what's happening in the video, haha.

    @Andre ,

    I didn't change the timing, but I have been playing around with the pullout intensity lately to either carry more or less speed at turn-in. Overall, on average I would say that I've reduced my pullout intensity somewhat because it feels more comfortable. I feel more load on the rope as my speed starts to fall below the boat speed and at that point I'm forced to edge out pretty aggressively (from my perspective) for a brief period of time to maintain width. Then when it's time to go I just initiate and it's like the energy stored loading the rope and edging out with the ski is released, popping everything into place for the turn-in (kind of like a spring unloading).

    I don't really have a set time to turn-in, I just watch the gates and go when it feels right. If you get a chance to try it tomorrow morning I do think the speed in the glide is pretty important. For me, if I'm going too fast it's hard to feel the load and edge out effectively. So if it's not working out at first, you might want to try pulling out earlier or with less intensity to reduce the speed, just a little bit, before turn-in.

    This is probably just a comfort zone thing as I find it hard to believe that having less speed is superior to having more speed, but it's at least something to consider.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,459 Mega Baller
    I'm LFF. I try to keep some tension on my outside arm as I glide to keep tension on the rope, but not much. I don't try to turn in quickly. I pull out qradually and try to make smooth turn in while I still have some speed. Try to build angle into the wakes and time it so the boat picks you up after you have established you angle. But make sure you don't turn into slack.
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller
    edited October 2017
    I've been trying this for quite a while now and in retrospect I think my original beliefs on the reasons for the efficacy of the approach are flawed. I think in the process of changing my glide I was simply generating more speed in my glide before turn-in (sub-consciously) which allowed me to get into a better stacked position.

    I essentially stopped trying this the last few weeks and just started trying to get more speed in the glide with much better results. I figured I would follow up just in case anyone were to read this in the future.
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 613 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @DefectiveDave You're on the right track. Generally edging out before the turn in is needed when you haven't generated enough speed in the pullout, and you are falling back on the boat too soon. I find myself doing this when I've mis-timed the gates. It's much better to be aggressive on the pullout and get HIGH on the boat early, so you can be gradual with the turn in and build angle slowly, while the boat moves away from you and keeps the line tight.

    The trick on the pullout is to move forward in the direction you want to go and not back away from the boat. This is done by pressuring the front of the ski and driving the left tip bevel into the water, and rolling to the left while keeping the handle pinned to your hips. If you can do that part right you can generate a ton of speed very quickly putting you way up on the boat with plenty of time to make a progressive turn in for the gates.

    Notice the short but efficient pullout gets me high on the boat, and I have tons of time to build into angle as the boat leaves me as I move for the gates. The end result is I'm miles early to 1 and have a tight line at the finish of the turn:

  • lkblkb Posts: 544 Baller
    @AdamCord is it optimum to be gliding at boat speed when you start your turnin? Or is there some benefit to try being a little faster than the boat? Also what do you use as a reference for initiating the pullout?
  • lkblkb Posts: 544 Baller
    edited October 2017
    thanks @AdamCord
  • WishWish Posts: 7,331 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    The GUT gate is a thing of beauty when you nail it the first time. The nifty side effect;...because you're starting so high on the boat and allowing the boat to pull away..some, when it's time to initiat the turn in, the angle to the gates is such that they look a mile wide. As in ... impossible to miss.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,329 Mega Baller
    andy mapple once addressed turning in for the gate at a speed that felt too fast and he replied that no matter how fast he was going if he had a tight light line he could turn the ski.
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller
    Thanks @AdamCord, @Wish, and @mwetskier,

    I very much appreciate the advice. For my part, I've been trying my best to maximize my energy entering the course. I've been thinking of it as:

    Potential Energy: Some function of height on the boat
    Kinetic Energy: Function of the skiers velocity

    Both are built during the pullout using the boat's energy through the rope. However, as soon as we stop pulling out we are losing energy to drag. Ideally, I would think that I want to get as wide as possible very quickly and turn-in at as high of a speed as I can manage without slack.

    One thing that seems to make a difference building energy during the pullout is where I start relative to the port wake. If I start closer to the wake I have a larger work zone and can build more speed. However, since I'm starting closer to the wake I have a lower initial starting energy.

    In the past, I thought that it was an equivalent trade off, but at the shorter line lengths its starting to seem more efficient starting closer to the wake. I'm still not certain of this, but it seems plausible.
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,329 Mega Baller
    its my take that immediately before you begin to pull out you are standing more or less erect but when you begin your pullout your body must lean to the left - and getting from an erect position to a leveraging lean consumes some amount of time and space.

    Your goal is to convert as much of the potential energy of your forward momentum (plus the boat's connection to you) into outbound direction and speed as possible. the closer you are to the center of the wake the less potential energy you waste during this transitional lean. i believe this is why the current best slalom skier in the world initiates his pullout from the right edge of the left hand trough.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,258 Mega Baller
    @AdamCord ^ spot on and very understandable
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 477 Solid Baller

    Following up on your comments, to maximize the energy for the gate, ideally we would want to pull out as efficiently and intensely as possible for just the right amount of time. Summarizing ways to potentially accomplish that in order of importance:

    1) Lean forward and left to move the ski efficiently
    2) Pull out with as much intensity as possible until reaching approximately 30-40 degrees relative to the boat path (seems like 1.5 seconds or so)
    3) Start as close as possible to centerline (gives more time to pull out before it becomes inefficient)

    Gives me plenty of stuff to try next time I'm out on the water. Thanks!
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,657 Mega Baller
    @wish that is awesome thanks for that. @rayn watch the video above.
    Mark Shaffer
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