Straight Legs - a Clarification

HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
edited March 2014 in Technique & Theory
How you invasion moving your center of mass is perhaps different for every skier. I firmly believe saying things like “Get your hips up” is pointless crap coaching. (I say so because I was once totally guilty. Pelvic thrust my ass )

How do you get your hips up? Try to do without straightening your back leg. If you really try hard (on dry land) you can get from a broken stack to a pro skier stack without straightening your back leg but in doing so you have gone from simulating a beginner skier to Terry Winter in one move. Possible but ridiculous.

Most skiers who do not run 35 off and beyond ski with their hips further back than is ideal. For these skiers simply extending both legs moves their pelvis up and forward. This is not a yoga move. It is extremely simple bio-mechanics. I do not advocate locked knees. I promote the idea that straighter legs are a first step to a better stack.

The simple fact is that if your back knee is bent more than your front knee, your hips will be behind you and chances are your shoulders are forward to compensate. If your front knee is bent more than your back knee your hips are very forward. (this is awesome but few skiers can actually do it)

Some of the very best skiers in the world bend their front ankle forward to draw their center of mass further forward. These skiers also drive their front knee forward. (Terry Winter) This is perhaps optimal but is a totally unpractical concept to a skier who does not already have their hips at least centered. To me this is a very advanced concept and a waste of time for most skiers. Skier have to learn a basic stack first.

In my option this is the foundation of stack. It should be noted that there are a number of other factors that make it harder or easier to get and stay stacked but one thing at time.

(I am really talking about from the ball to the wakes but the mechanics are the same from the wakes to the ball)

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Comments

  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,645
    How do you feel about telling skiers to keep their chest up? Very hard to keep your chest up with your hips "back" ? Photo attached shows my back leg is pretty bent and my stack is not great...
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski - KD Platinum

  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    edited March 2014
    @ozski‌ that stack is not textbook perfect but you are leaving off side so there are a number of additional things that can lead to this. It does not look bad. You are in a strong position.

    I would need to see more of your skiing to really say much, I would challenge you to try to extend both legs more but you look good enough that you may need a more technical approach.

    "Chest Up" if thinking about it that way works for you - do it.

    But bringing your shoulders back does not bring your hips forward. On shore, get is a crap stack and then bring your shoulders back/chest up. For most skiers that will mean falling backwards.

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  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,645
    @Horton - Much the same out of 1 - 3 but I tend to load earlier and come off edge sooner than I probably should @ -28 anyway. I just can't get my head around straighter legs so I will have to find another way. I've watched guys run -39 that don't look perfectly stacked behind the boat but as you commented not perfect but in a strong position. What I'm working with now gets me deep into -35 most days. Thank you for the feedback.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski - KD Platinum

  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    edited March 2014
    This thread brings up a good topic. And @ozski, I'm NOT picking on you by any means here. You just happened to make a comment that needs to be brought up, I believe. I hear people say "I can't wrap my head around... x". Or "I can't get..... x". And then they follow it up with "But so and so runs 39 and he's not perfect." I've gotten into the sports psychology as well as the physiology and I've gotta say, this is BS and an easy way out. The fact of the matter is, people can wrap their heads around a mechanic. They either choose not too, because it's harder. Or they try it and don't give it time to sink in. You have to make a conscious effort and commitment to try something again and again and again. And it might be a step back temporarily. But trying to straighten ones legs and align the hips better(because better hip alignment also comes with straighter legs) isn't going to be accomplished in one set. Or two sets. How about 21 sets? That's a start for any mechanics change.

    For the record, so and so(pick any so and so) runs 39 1/2 off because he does a LOT of things better than the rest of us. There may be something there that isn't perfect. But a lot of what they do is perfect. Now, this doesn't apply to David Miller because he's just a freak. lol
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    Skoot1123KcSwerverral
  • dchristmandchristman Posts: 1,089 Mega Baller
    @horton - I think your description is going to be the single most important thing I have read all winter and is going to be responsible for getting me to the next level. Not that I intend to ski with straight legs. In all my years of skiing no one ever told me "I do not advocate locked knees". The dynamics of it is clear to me now. I always moved my rear binder as far forward as I could to get my toes to the rear of the front binding because it's a more comfortable position to get knees locked. When I got a Monza in 2006 I didn't understand why it was recommended that the rear binding be at a particular distance from the tail when it put my feet so uncomfortably far apart. I see know why some skiers prefer an RTP because they have to be able to lift the rear heel - they feel the need to get their knees locked. If you separate your knees, it's easy to keep both feet flat AND get in a balanced, stacked position.
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  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 1,793 Mega Baller
    edited March 2014
    I can attest to the "straight leg" method. It works. The key though is that your knees AREN'T LOCKED. When we think we have "STRAIGHT" legs - watch the video - you won't have straight legs. Many times where we think we are isn't where we ACTUALLY are (position/stacked wise) - video doesn't lie and so that is one of the benefits of taking video in order to understand what we need to fix.

    Many times for me if I am struggling at a pass or just not "skiing well" I'll just tell myself to straighten my back leg. I more often than not run the next pass.
    SkiJayMISkier
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @ShaneH: I was with you all the way up till your Miller comment.

    I was cleaning out a stack of magazines, and came across a bunch of old ski mags..Started reading the improvement articles, and was struck by the vast contradictions in recommended form as compared to today's understanding of what is "right", accompanied by photo sequences of studs of the day supposedly doing what was "right".

    Pretty frustrating to think about all the hours I spent trying to emulate the "right" way which is now considered the wrong way.

    Knowing what I know now, I can look at the old photos and see that Bob or Kris were not doing what the accepted wisdom said they were doing.

    Meanwhile, there are two types of facts in higher mathematics. One is the kind that has been proved, and the other is the kind that has yet to be DISproved. All it takes is some really smart bastard to come along and show one exception to the latter type of fact, and the fact becomes a falsehood.

    We have a bunch of theories today describing the critical aspects required to run 41. And yet, we have Dave Miller, the oil patch worker who just switched to AM, and to a lesser but just as important extent, Nate. They disprove those theories. Therefore, the math guys would say: theories are wrong.

    To me, writing them off as freaks is the same as saying I can't get my head around something.

    To me, figuring out what they are doing is like linking quantumm mechanics to relativity. Until we do, we don't know for sure that our theories are right

  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    edited March 2014
    To me, I wouldn't put Nate into that category with David Miller. Nate is technically the best skier out there. But he doesn't do anything out of the ordinary. He's incredibly stacked, uses both ankles and knees equally, and is always perfectly centered over the ski. And it shows in his scores. David Miller just perseveres due to catlike agility and incredible strength. 99.9% of us do not have the ability to even learn to ski like that.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • dtm8119dtm8119 Posts: 165 Baller
    guys...it can't be that tough, just try to duplicate this picture from @chrisrossi‌ and you're good! :)

    Dan Cloutier
    SkiJay
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,462 Mega Baller
    ...but his back leg isn't straight.!
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
    gator1Bruce_Butterfield
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    With their inhuman athletic abilities, just think how good Jeff Rogers and Dave Miller would be if they learned to ski right.

    I can't see where Nate is conventionally "stacked" on his strong side. Looks like his ass is way behind his shoulders. I can definitely see where he is stacked on his weak side. I can't see where Nate is practicing conventional "handle control", or keeping a "tight line". I've read the quotes from Nate where he debunks the recently fashionable "light on the line" preachings.

    He sure as hell is on the center of the ski, though.

    See Rossi photo above: front ankle less than 90 degrees, front knee bent about 30 degrees, rear knee about 110 degrees. Just think how good he'd be if he'd only get that back knee straighter.

    With so many examples that disprove the current maxims, I, who was fooled once with "hips up, rotate the shoulders towards the wake" in the 80's, am equally dubious of many of today's fashionable absolutes in ski technique dogma.

    I don't believe we have yet captured the essence of what accomplishes 41 off. Because what we say is required to do it is disproved by those who actually do it.

    Maybe, instead of cat like reflexes, strength, and do or die attitude, there is something in what these outliers are doing that points to the essence of what makes 41 off possible.
    jipster43
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @skijay I completely agree that almost all data shows getting the knees straighter in the turn and preturn is good. Plus, my tests over last year showed it works for me.

    However, the statement made by Horton in the opener of this post: "The simple fact is that if your back knee is bent more than your front knee, your hips will be behind you......." is clearly disproved by the picture of Rossi. Unless, I guess, we want to tell Rossi to quit dragging his ass.
  • ralral Posts: 1,706 Mega Baller
    @SkiJay‌, I find difficult to concentrate enough to see or visualize anything related to ski technique in your second pic...
    Rodrigo Andai
    SkiJayKcSwerverJJVDMZN
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,277 Mega Baller
    @skijay - Exactly. The picture of Rossi is about as close as you're going to get to conveying the concept of a "straight" back leg. That is the only time in the course anyone comes close to the idea. It's a thought, it's a feel.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    @SkiJay‌ we agree

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    Ok @gator1‌ if Rossi's back knee bends more in the photo where would his hip go? Forward?

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    One additional clarification: This is a concept I use for skiers who do not have a good stack. If you are stacked and have good leverage you do not need to hear this.

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  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 1,914 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I am interested in this thread, I, m getting straight legs, but in the past, I have been battered with soft knees "show me even softer knees" now confused it, s hard to have straight legs and soft knees ?

    "Getting Harder/Getting Positive”

  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    edited March 2014
    @Stevie Boy‌ to me soft knees is a 1980s concept. If it works, whatever. In the end you need your center over your feet.

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  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @horton. Yes. Forward.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    image

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  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    @Stevie Boy There's a difference between straight legs and LOCKED knees. That's likely where the confusion comes from.

    @andjules Sometime, try squeezing your butt cheeks together in the preturn and report back what you feel moving out to the buoy. It drives your core mass up and over the ski with very little movement of the body. It will also bring you back in line if you've let your hips drag back during the cross course movement behind the boat.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    @ShaneH‌ I hear you on the butt cheek thing but I don't relate at all.

    I think you are correct about some of the misunderstanding. I "try" to have straight legs. In reality I am not close to locked out and would not want to be. For skiers who suffer with bad stack trying to be straight is a big first step.

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  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @horton. Do his hips need to go forward?
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @horton. There s the problem. If the galactic leader tells me "straight leg" my effing leg WILL be straight as I'm trying the tip. And you'll get me hurt.

    If you say "a few less degrees bend in the rear relative to front" then we're on the same page.

    When you say "the simple fact......" When it's not a fact , well then we're gonna disagree.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,143 Administrator
    @gator1‌ if you are saying that the concept lacks nuance I would agree. For most of the skiers I work with it works really well. Other wise I feel like ....

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  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 1,914 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    So Guy's, it comes down to getting centered on the ski, anyway you want to do it, just get centered, Correct ?

    "Getting Harder/Getting Positive”

  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    I have used this concept and it works.

    Jodi Fisher had me come way forward on my ski when i was gliding to get better balance, I went from hardly running 28 and never 32, to nailing 28 and hitting 32, and even deep 35 in less than a season. All i really have to do now is straighten out my back leg and have my chest up before I pull out and it sets up my passes much more consistently and my skiing is just more balanced in general.

    you can not straighten the back leg completely or you will be hunched over the front of the ski & possibly in the drink.

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