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.