Slow Boat Time, Long Rope, Narrow Balls or Weave?

HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
edited January 7 in Technique & Theory
@ColeGiacopuzzi and I were talking today about the differences between Slow Boat Times, Long Ropes, Narrow Balls or Driver Weave. The context was not about cheating but how to learn the next pass.

I have skied with ½ loops and I can BANG out 36.5 passes all day but 38 is still a special challenge.

I was once in the boat when @twhisper was giving @ColeGiacopuzzi a MASSIVE weave at 41 off to teach him the feel of the pass. I though Terry had lost his mind until he explained what he was doing. I will let Cole explain but his first reaction to the subject was that weaving is the best way to help. @theboardingschool I am curious on your view of this.

I think a lot of skiers use slower speed as a learning tool. I also know skiers who ski fast for easy passes and then actual or a tiny bit slow at the harder passes.

Narrow balls? To my knowledge no one does this unless they are actually cheating. Personally I want find an easy and fast way to move my balls in by about 9” just to see the impact. If it lets me learn to be calm and composed at a shorter line MAYBE this would be a good tool to learn that next pass.

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Comments

  • dvskierdvskier Posts: 383 Solid Baller
    @Horton Perhaps you should consult with a real expert, Dr Jim Michaels.
    HortonBruce_ButterfieldBill22
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 208 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I don’t find a half loop is beneficial, the angles in the pass will be different. I tried with Andy Mapple’s recommendation to try replacing 35 with 36 or 36.5 off, dont make 38 easier make 35 harder to reduce the metality of trying to hard or rushing 38. This was some help. I do not like the weave for all the reasons Bruce outlined.

    I generall shadow the buoys ( turning in front of, at buoys width) as the best training for the next pass. Not having the mental immediacy of making the next buoy and not getting too wide (a major weakness of my skiing) helped me significantly. This was especially so, skiing in salt water as i did for last 20+ years until 2016. Salt water felt like a 1/2 pass handicap to me, but forces you to engage the perturn aggressively.
    Bruce_ButterfieldDrago
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 915 Crazy Baller
    Yep, Terry does this at our lake as well. Weaving is definitely a great way to feel the pass, feel accomplished, and have the confidence to making the next pass. Doing this or him telling us to get our form right at slower speeds has helped us be better skiers for sure. No one wants to do this because we are stubborn, but the change will make a difference in your skiing when it matters.
  • theboardingschooltheboardingschool Posts: 103 Water Ski Industry Professional
    I'm not a fan of slowing down that much. I think a click or two can be beneficial, but if you slow down too much, it's basically a different pass. And, since skiing is based on rhythm and timing, it doesn't make that much sense to me. But, think of back in the day when people were hand driving and you'd get a 16.25 or a 15.98 and how different it felt.

    I've never messed around with half loops, but as you said, you can run 36.5 all day long, and 38 is tough, so also doesn't seem best. There are a ton of different angles and the pull coming in at different times.

    I have actually moved buoys in. We had a floating course in college, so we had two sets of hooks. We would keep them on the record setting, but did move them in to tolerance for Class C for collegiate tournaments. It made a world of difference. Not like I was running an extra pass or anything, but just running what I could pretty easily.

    Weaving is only beneficial if you have someone who knows how/when to weave. If you aren't picking the skier up out of the turn, or whipping them in to the buoy, definitely not helpful. But done right it can make a world of difference. And, honestly can just help the the monkey off your back. Once you've run a pass and know it can be done, you do it. I have weaved many a skiers through their first pass, and two passes later, straight as an arrow, and they are still running it.
    Bruce_ButterfieldColeGiacopuzzijercraneShark
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 874 Crazy Baller
    Seems like a good driver weave in practice could approximate a narrower coarse with out the inevitable stigma of being that site with the "adjustable" coarse.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,404 Mega Baller
    I’ll take all three if you are offering. As I say at tournaments: “All I ask for is a fair advantage.”
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    HortonjayskiJohn Brooks
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    I don't know how much it's going to benefit my skiing but I really like the idea of moving the balls in for just for a couple of rides as an experiment. My thinking is that since I don't have a super Elite driver who's practiced at the perfect swerve, having the balls narrow will let me feel the angles of the shorter rope length without the stress of having to get as high on the boat.

    I know this is Captain Obvious but if you do any of these things too much it will probably go from a positive impact to a negative impact.

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  • NandoNando Posts: 453 Crazy Baller
    I disagree on one point- I think there are a lot of skiers out there who are skiing on narrow courses- generally portables or cable-type courses with sagging booms- and are using narrow balls as a training device without even knowing it. Not a thing for private lakes, but there are a lot of casual buoy-chasers who get to tournaments and can't duplicate their practice scores ;) .
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,080 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I personally do none of the above. Figure out what is missing and go to a pass where you can work on it. Once ready, proceed back up the rope. Repeat. But this is just me and other things may work well for others.

    When skiers are working on new speeds, I will sometimes slow the boat down a few tenths from the new challenging speed. But once at full speed I don’t typically slow down.

    A narrow course would be fun to try. Marcus and Matt have this option at the Ridge but I have never tried it. I like this better than half loops but obviously more involved.

    A good driver helping you finish a pass is nice, and works. But it’s much harder to do than most people think.
    6ballsMSadamhcaldwell
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,620
    What about the effect of making the course a little wider at -32 / -35 then back to normal for -38 and shorter?
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski: KD Platinum

  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @ozski I think it would be a lot of work to make it so you could move the balls between passes. I was thinking that if I did make the balls narrow for working on 38 and 39 I would just have to really make a point to ski extra-wide at 32 and 35. Doing it your way seems like an awful lot of work.

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  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,404 Mega Baller
    When we put our last course in up north, we put two eyes in each block, one for actual and one for narrow tollarance. We ski actual until fall when it was our practice to go south to the record tournaments. At that point we’d move the buoys in. Our thinking was that the narrow buoys with the cold water would feel like normal buoys when we got in the hot water down south. Can’t say that was the reason, but our best tournament scores were usually in the south.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    Ed_Johnson
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,948 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Half loops aren't necessarily great trainers IMO, but can be fun. Meaning 33.5 is more 35-ish in feel without being 35. Similar to 36.5 is more 38 ish in feel than 35. So for fun not bad you get some speed, some swing, and some wiggle room for mistake recovery and successful passes. I have fun with 'em but I don't think 36.5 gets you 38 like @Horton said.

    Weaving? That's tough cuz of the timing on the skier and the line.

    As for what makes it easiest geometrically? I'd let the math/physics dudes chime in but my $$ is on a narrower course makes it easiest.

    One way this occurs w/o cheating is a portable with bowed arms. I used to ski one quasi regularly and run LOTS of 38's...like a 15% pass became almost automatic and easy-automatic/back to back stuff...no abuse. Funny thing was seemed like it built my confidence at 38 or something cuz I did start to run many more of them elsewhere as well...even surveyed courses with ZO and in adverse wind conditions...including my tourney PB on surveyed course with ZO (despite training PP).

    Who knows how much effect the skinny course had in occasional training...it was fun tho I knew the scores there didn't count. Sometimes it was the only place I had a shot with a driver and I'm a ski whore. I have not had a season like that since...dunno pretty anecdotal stuff...but I think a narrower course has a greater effect than a slightly longer line or slightly slower speed.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    @Horton - What about cinder blocks w some bungee cord placed next to each turn buoy anchor and just clip the buoys over? Low tech, but doable.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    bishop8950
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @ToddL that's roughly the plan. I'm currently overthinking it to make sure I can't come up with something a little bit more elegant.

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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    The hassle would be finding the loose or unused bungee cord/line each time you want to switch out. One idea would be to clip the buoy to both lines when you want the "narrow" course. Thus, in theory it will be narrower, but not directly over the cinder block. Rather, somewhere between the fixed anchor and the cinder block. Then for standard course, you un-clip the cinder line from the buoy to free the buoy back to standard location. Additionally, you could clip the cinder line to some point along the anchor line under water. This would make it quicker to find when you want to go back to narrow.

    The only more "elegant" ideas that come to mind involve long feed lines, anchors, and pulleys with a central wench, and all that is just too much trouble.

    Or you could just add the green "mini" buoys for when you want to practice 39.5. (JK)
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ColeGiacopuzziColeGiacopuzzi Posts: 400 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited January 10
    I couldn't agree more with what @theboardingschool said. As long as someone that knows how/when to weave is super beneficial. but it takes a very skilled driver to do it. As you start to run that pass more, lessen the weave until you become straight. @brooks @twhisper & others have done the weave in the past for me at harder line lengths, not only does it give you confidence, but teaches you rhythm and flow of that pass. I've never done half loops, and don't really plan to, but slowing the boat down would be okay, as long as its very slight. Otherwise its just to different. I will say I don't practice with someone weaving for me every set, not even close. Here and there but never on a consistent basis.
    theboardingschool
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @ColeGiacopuzzi tell the truth man. If I ever get around to moving the balls in you are going to line up to see what you can get.

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  • ColeGiacopuzziColeGiacopuzzi Posts: 400 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited January 10
    @Horton Probably for giggles yeah! but I know how fast you get to stuff haha.
    Youghskier
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @ColeGiacopuzzi you know me...

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  • BG1BG1 Posts: 165 Baller
    edited January 10
    @ Horton Moving the buoys in 9” per side should have you running 39 more than your running 38 now, after a couple of sets to acclimate. I base this guesstimate on skiing a course that was correct and another that was 6” narrow per side on a regular basis in the past. I’m not sure how much it will improve your 39 score when you go back to an accurate course but I can guarantee it would be fun. I think it would work well if you could go to the narrow course the next pass after running a good 38 without panic. Of course that would require a huge pulley system or a multiple lake site. I guess you could have 6 swimmers outside the skiers path ready to quickly swim in and change the buoys from one anchor line to the other. ;)
    dvskier
  • adamhcaldwelladamhcaldwell Posts: 530 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I personally hate getting weave or anything un-official. If I'm running passes in practice but not getting anywhere close in a tournament, then whats the point?

    I feel more confident knowing I can run passes in highly adverse conditions....i.e. either at a faster speed, a rope that's a few inches on the short side, larger then necessary buoys, or poor driving, or unsettled water or a different setup.

    Caveat...I am very very fortunate to have amazing ski partners and drivers at my disposal in Charleston. If I didn't, I certainly would probably teach someone how to be driving in my favor rather then against it.

    Being hard-sided two buoys in a row and swimming early teaches you much less about a pass then someone that is at least giving you a shot at making turns by being 'with you' a little.
    Drago
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @adamhcaldwell let me be clear that I absolutely do not advocate any of this except on a rare occasion for fun or as an experiment to see if there are lessons to be learned. For my day-to-day skiing I absolutely want arrow-straight boat paths, actual times, and record tolerance buoys.

    The reason why I'm kind of fascinated with the narrow buoys idea is that it will allow me to go around buoys at a shorter rope length. By actually making turns with balls at a shorter rope length it would give me the opportunity to feel the shorter rope without the requirement that I get as high on the boat. Theoretically it seems like it could be a stepping stone.

    I am also an advocate of in between loops. Running passes at 36 1/2 off is a really good psychological crutch for me to realize that 38 is just not as hard as I make it.

    As for slowing the boat down I'm not sure if I like that idea. I've never really done it but it seems like boat speed and the feel of the boat should be a constant if possible.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @adamhcaldwell also when I started this thread I was sort of hoping you and that nut ball @AdamCord might start doing some physics to figure out how many inches of buoy width equals inches of rope length. I am aware it's nowhere near one to one and also somewhat apples and oranges.

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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    Interesting thread for sure.

    Isn't the "feel" of the shorter rope lengths mostly due to the necessity to be higher up on the boat?

    I still feel that confidence and form are reciprocal; and as such, confidence impacts form. A skier who is approaching a pass with confidence skis proactive, with or even "ahead" of the pass which supports and ensure good form. That same skier approaching a pass with less confidence skis reactive and thus "behind" the pass and form suffers. So, any method which tricks the brain into associating confidence with a particular pass will eventually and ultimately help the skier develop towards having that same confidence with actual tolerances.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    Ed_JohnsonadamhcaldwellDrago
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,526 Administrator
    @adamhcaldwell I think a few rides w/ wide balls would be also fun as $h*t also. Part of the idea is to just do some fun & different stuff. Maybe there is training value and lessons to be learned and maybe not.

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  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 671 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Horton one time @adamhcaldwell and I skied a course where the buoys were about 3 feet too wide, initially unbeknownst to us. Neither one of us could get beyond 3 or 4 buoys at 28off. It would be really fun to try again actually knowing the buoys were too wide ahead of time.

    Also Mapple practiced at slower speeds a lot when I would ski with him, especially in the winter and on the hardest passes. Not slow enough to completely change your timing, but enough to take the "edge" off. Usually that meant 35.7mph instead of 36 for him.
    ColeGiacopuzziHorton

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