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I need to get stacked (and other stuff)!

DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
edited June 2014 in Videos, Photos & Media
I was hoping some ballers could give me ideas for a few things to focus on to improve my skiing. I'm currently running 34mph, 15off once in a blue moon. I can see plenty wrong with my skiing, but I'm having trouble finding good ways to fix those issues. Most notably I feel that I:

1) Drop my ass crossing the waves and don't get into good stacked position
2) Don't keep my shoulders level and follow through sufficiently on my turns to get good cross-course direction (and perhaps this also prevents me from getting into a stacked position)

I've found some cues that really help me with problem 2 like bending my knees, looking down course, and rotating my hips in. I just don't execute them properly on a consistent basis yet. However, the 1st problem just keeps sticking with me and I haven't been able to find a good way to deal with it which works for me. Among other things I've tried:

- hips to handle (OTF all the way)
- handle to hips (can't fight the boat)
- bending at ankles to get hips over feet
- straightening legs (courtesy of Horton)

Here's a video at 32 MPH, 15 OFF:

Here's a video at 34 MPH, 15 OFF:

I feel these runs are pretty typical and representative of my skiing at this time. I appreciate any and all input.


  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    edited June 2014
    Legs straight? Dave you may be misinterpreting @Horton advise. He says you should keep your rear leg straighter than your front to force hips forward position.

    Your front leg looks straight but your rear is bent which leads to hips back position (not stacked). This is leading to weight on the back leg and the slow turns your having. Your grabbing the handle and bringing it in before your finish the turn as you said but I think this is a symptom of not being stacked.

    One of my ski partners, @toddl and I were just discussing this that leading the turn with the inside shoulder = bent at the waist. At your glide for the gate you have front leg straighter than rear (=bent at the waist) and your shoulders are facing the boat which means before you even turn in you've already lead with your inside shoulder (=bent at the waist).

    I would suggest start with your glide for the gates. Have your shoulders facing down course handle in front of your facing the buoy line. Front knee bent more than your rear so that your hips are forward. Use your inside hip to initiate the turn by moving it in the direction you want to go while keeping your shoulder facing down course. I like to do this as a drill by just pulling out on each side and going to glide then initiate a turn. When you do this properly you'll be surprised at how much angle you can generate with little effort. Check the video below.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    edited June 2014
    I'm right there with you and working on the same things. Free skiing and drills can really help. My season is always better when I take the time in the spring to do this. Also, what camera are using, some great quality videos.

    @defectivedave you've probably seen the Seth Stisher videos on youtube but maybe rewatch them and think about efficient movement and how he's moving his COM (ie hips) in the direction of travel to do this.
    Pull out drills

  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    @DefectiveDave‌ FIRST, SWEET that you took video and posted! It takes desire to throw yourself at the BOS Peanut Gallery!

    One thing I notice is that you take a bit of a DEFENSIVE position when crossing the wake. Some of it you already identified by saying you are not keeping your hips up through the start of the turn and into the completion. You almost try to "absorb" the wake with your knees and waist.

    I might suggest doing a little open water skiing between course sets just so you have the space to really work on a couple things. Ski with only one "target" for the set, to make onside turns and be stacked and on edge from the finish of the turn through the second wake. Just practice on one side and come back to the wake again. Once you can do it consistently on your onside, move to your offside with the same technique, just one offside turn at a time. Then build in an onside and then an offside together as a pair. Then start adding pairs until you run a full set in open water. Still just working on hips up, on edge through wake. (well ok, that is two things.....)

    If you can isolate one thing at atime that might advance you, it is worth way more in the long run than trying to do 3 things in the course while chasing red balls. Those red things seem to get us in trouble! Keep at it! Your close to rocking 34 MPH -15!
    2003 Nautique 196 LE Star Gazer & ZBox - GOODE NANO OneXT 66.75" - Powershell 5 (LFF) - Tournament PB: 2 Balls @ 39.5' OFF (34.2 MPH) on 7/18/2015 at BIG DAWG BROHO!
  • Deep11Deep11 Posts: 221 Solid Baller
    Great advice above :
    Step away from the course
    Learn to turn with the hips ( not shoulders )
    Arms straight
    Everything else you have been worrying about will happen as you get better at this.
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I don't have much time for a detailed response at the moment, but I am skiing this evening. This site will go through a course (no way around it unfortunately), but at the very least I can try my best to ignore the buoys and just work on fundamentals.

    I'm going to focus on turning with my hips, keeping my body facing down course, and straightening out that back leg to keep my hips forward. I'll try to isolate and only focus on one thing at a time, otherwise I'll just lose track and start doing whatever. Turning with my hips doesn't feel like a very natural motion trying it on solid ground, so I'm hoping it will feel better on the water. The video of Seth Stisher doing the whips seems like a good way to try to feel out those motions without the pressure of the course. Thanks!
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    edited June 2014

    I forgot about the camera question. I'm using a JVC GZ-HM65 which has been recommended to me on these forums. I was a bit disappointed with the quality at first because it is only 1080i rather than 1080p, but the image stabilization is second to none when mounting to a pylon (I have a wakeye). I've also tried new Canon and Sony camcorders but the image stabilization went crazy and neither produced usable video. I was hoping these would work as they have some features I want and 1080p recording capability, but the JVC is the only one I've found so far that works well.

    The newer JVC cameras might also be effective as they seem to use the same type of digital image stabilization, but I haven't tried them myself. These are water and shock proof, but they appear to still only record 1080i video.
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    edited June 2014
    Here are my results so far. It's just been one day of practice, but I feel like I'm initiating better with my hips and getting a slightly better stack. I know I'm letting up early on the pull, but I was really trying to focus on the turns during this run.

    I am having some trouble getting my weight forward to dig in the front of the ski on the turns. This is primarily because I tend to fall back when I move my hips in. I think I can correct by not bending my back knee quite so much in the turn. This will help me get my hips forward instead of just bending my upper body to shift the weight. Otherwise I'm happy with the progress so far. The weird part is that I have a harder time executing turns with the hips on my onside.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    edited June 2014
    Like @GregY said... If you lead with your shoulders you will be bent at the waist. This weekend, my son, @MattL, was watching me ski. He noticed that my "stack" was worse than normal. He said that I was initiating my turn into the gates (and the finish around the buoys) by rotating my shoulders as if to force the ski to come around. He reminded me to keep my shoulders pointed square and down course during the glide and keep that orientation through the turn and into the lean. Bingo!

    There is so much to think about to try to get to "stack." What's the most important to focus on first? I'm not sure... However, it seems to be something like this:

    1) Stay tall on the ski - It is hard to be stacked if your butt is sticking out like sitting in a chair. Get tall, glide tall, turn in tall, lean tall, glide outbound tall, etc. (just keep a little front ankle bend)

    2) Ride hips forward on the ski. Your hips should be over your front ankle with head up and and shoulders up with chest proud. This puts your center of mass over your front ankle and puts more ski in the water for more efficient results. This also puts slightly more weight on your front foot than your back foot. Watch any smooth, advanced skier and you will see them in this position as they approach the buoy (just after the edge change). They are ensuring that they have the whole sweet spot of the ski in contact with the water by moving their hips up and over their front ankle as they start to commit to the turn. This position is also the position you want while riding behind the boat before you lean out, and while riding after the exit gates before you set down.

    3) Shoulders turn last - a.k.a. keep shoulders level and pointed down course, look at 3 while rounding 1 and look at 4 while rounding 2, etc. From edge change to initiation of the next lean, the top skiers keep their shoulders level and pointed down course. The finish of the turn happens first with the ankles/knees/hips, then the shoulders. Even if your head has to look back across the boat's path, you have to keep those shoulders down course.

    3) Ride the ski through the finish of the turn. Don't try to force an abrupt finish. You shouldn't need to push or force the ski to come around at the finish of the turn. If you are doing that, then often something else went wrong before the turn started. I've heard things like delay the grab of the free hand back on the handle.
    When, you are tall and have level and down course shoulders, you won't feel the need to grab the handle early. You will have time to let your hips come around and under the handle before you grab it and start to lean on the boat.

    4) Stack will accumulate or deteriorate. Getting a good stack during your lean outbound for the gates setup will give you better stack during your turn in to the gates, that gives you better stack during the gates lean, that gives you more space into 1 ball, that gives you more time to keep your shoulders up, level, and down course into the turn, that keeps your stack through the turn, which gives you more stack out of the turn, which means more stack in the lean from 1 to 2, etc. Always start with great stack. If you can't lean out with stack for your gates glide, you are already making the pass too hard. If you already start with good stack, then figure out where you typically lose it. Maybe it is at your first off-side turn, or maybe it is always 3-ball. Regardless, know where that is and back up a few elements and there is where you need to concentrate to retain/repair your stack. Maybe you come flat and straight at 3 ball, then check your stack coming into and out of 2 ball. That's where you need your stack reminder for that pass.
    Everyone has probably had that once in a while pass where everything was just so easy and confident feeling. When you have a good stack at the start and maintain it through the pass, you have space before each buoy. That space allows you to be calm and retain your stack through the turn and into the next lean. That stack in that lean creates space into the next turn, and so on.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
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