After course skiing for the past 20 years or so and always struggling with anything 28' off or better, I decided to take this year off and free ski. So, instead of a never-ending rerun of total brain shutdown at every ball followed by complete panic as I finish the turn too late for the next pull and I break forward across the wakes, I've found that free-skiing gives me a chance to retain consciousness and actually pay attention to some of the things happening while I ski.
For the first several weeks of free skiing, I would ski (fairly well, IMHO) until I was too tired to hang on. Climbing in the boat, I started to notice that the part of my body that gave up first was my upper arms (triceps area) just below my shoulders. I started paying attention to this, and noticed that, in my efforts to force my hips up to the handle, I was working this part of my arm to the point of exhaustion. So, to myself I say, 'What can I do to reduce fatigue on this part of my arm, so I can (in a non-self-centered kind of way, of course!) ski longer?" I reply (not out loud, as I recall), 'Maybe, if I could load my bone structure more and my muscles less, I could ski longer." So, instead of thinking about 'bringing my hips to the handle" and "driving my hips forward across the wakes," I started thinking "take the load off my upper arm muscles."
The next set, as I worked to reduce the fatigue in my arms, I started feeling my hips come right to the handle before the pull, and found I was instinctively leaning my shoulders back to put the load directly into my shoulder joints and down my back. Awesome! I kept this up for 20 or 30 turns, and coasted to a stop realizing I'd learned something I'd been chasing for years, but never found.
When I started combining this with the "power triangle" Chris Rossi talked about (i.e., keep your outer hand close to your outer hip in the turn, ski that hand back to the handle, and take the pull with arms straight), I started flying out wide, early, and high on the boat. For the first time, with the rope at 35' off, I actually started feeling (and repeating!) that pre-turn and glide I've been searching for.
This is fun! It's awesome when something like this happens and the stuff I've been working my butt off to figure out just clicks and makes sense. To top it off, this requires only half the work I'd been putting in. I can ski twice as long! Who would have thought? So, I had to share this, becuase I'm absolutely enjoying the heck out of it.