Intensity Vs Volume

HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
edited June 2014 in Technique & Theory
About 85% of ideas below are from speech I heard at the US Olympic Training Center 20 years ago. (I pounded this out fast at lunch so let me apologize now for typos and bad grammar)

Definitions:
Volume Set – a Volume Set is a ski ride where you only ski at line lengths or speeds that you expect to always make all 6 balls. A typical Volume Set starts with an opening pass or two and then 4 – 6 passes at intermediate passes. Ideally all 6 balls are rounded on every pass. Volume sets are where the fundamentals of techniques are learned and reinforced.

Intensity Set – an Intensity Set is basically a tournament set. These are the rides when you burn straight to your hardest pass. Perhaps you might back up an intermediate pass but the bulk of the skiing is at your limit. An Intensity set might comprise 6 or 12 easy balls and 12-24 balls rounded with some level of desperation. We generally ski less technically correct during an Intensity set. Often an Intensity set means a lot less balls round.

The theory that was presented at the USOTC was that an athlete could time peak performance and increase the peak potential by balancing Volume with Intensity.

If peak performance is required in a very short period of time (imagine wanting a big score at an early season tournament) a skier could do nothing but Intensity skiing. Most skiers with a bit of experience will bring their ball count up pretty fast in the spring. The unfortunate by product is that the peak potential score will be generally lower. Let me say that again => if you always take tournament rides and spend a lot of time working on your hardest pass you will get to your peak faster but your ball count will be less then what you are actually capable of.

If all you cared about was Nationals or a late season score you would want to take a very different approach. Perhaps 80% of your rides would be spent on Volume for the first 2/3s of the season. As the date of the big tournament approaches the opposite is needed. Most rides are Intensity but a few Volume rides are needed to keep things balanced.

There is not magic ratio but time spent on Volume skiing means practicing running 6 balls at a time and Intensity rides often mean practicing missing passes.

38 is the pass that I only run when I am skiing really well. About 60% of all the balls I round in a season are at 35. I ski a lot of Volume. I will not seriously shorten to 38 unless I can crush 3 or 4 35s in a row, a few rides in a row. As soon as things go to crap I go back to ride after ride working on the smoothest 35s possible.

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Comments

  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    @Horton‌ I didn't know what I called it, BUT THAT HAS BEEN MY EXACT TACTICAL STRATEGY FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS!!!!!!!!

    Currently I went to intensity to get ready for the first two tournaments of the year. When I get out of school on Friday, I will be back to VOLUME for the next month or more!

    GREAT STRATEGY!!!!!!
    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!
  • WishWish Posts: 8,547 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    That is exactly what I do. I also toss in days of just 28s and see how wide and early I can get. Can think about things that need changing or need to be reinforced. I leave 38 alone unless everything is going right. I see it as a body saver as well. When things get frantic, things get hurt.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,304
    A lot of good information there....I guess for a long time I have been combining the two.

    I try to start every set as if it is a Tournament and see what my score would be..Then I declare it practice time, and work hard on the technique aspect that I am trying to improve. Usually at 38 if conditions are good and 35 if it's windy...So I feel that I'm starting with Intensity and finishing with volume...Anyway, this has worked well for me for years, and builds consistency and confidence in the same set.
    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    I like both. If I can ski two sets in a day, the first is typically tournament set, the second volume. Volume sets are almost all -32 and -35. Part of that isn't because I want to train a particular way, but because I love rounding buoys and if I'm skiing them smooth, I will keep skiing. If all I was doing was skiing for tournaments, I might train differently. On the other hand, my high volume sets give me confidence that I am conditioned to be able to go to a six round tournament weekend and still be strong on the sixth round.
    Jim Ross
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    Backing up passes is a waste of gas.
    KlundellWaternut
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    @eleeski‌ and that attitude is one of many reasons why your score is FAR below your potential

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  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    edited June 2014
    No, back injuries, broken hips and now shingles are why I suck. Never backing up a pass is how I can do OK despite being unable to get any water time.
    This year I'm happy to run 30 15 so maybe my training deficiency has caught up with me. And @Horton‌ is killing me in tricks as well. October?
    Eric
    I do have lots of gas.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,332 Mega Baller
    @Horton that may be due to his backyard skis but yeah training method too!
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Volume set? I've never done one of those. Once you get past 32 every line length is so different that I've always been of the mentality that I need as many attempts as I can at my tougher lengths because it's so much different then the length before. I rarely run a pass that I don't shorten and I rarely go backwards. Maybe I need a coach to slow me down and make me ski some volume sets. I've always wondered if it would help.
    Moggie
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 392 Crazy Baller
    I came off an injury a few years ago and started skiing easy sets for several months at the beginning of the season. I kept the rope at -28 and didn't change for a month. I started adding -32's one at a time. I had time to think and work on technique.
    I ended the season skiing better than I ever, and my back held up WAAAAY better!
    I hadn't thought of it as a volume set, but since then that's how the season starts.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    ironic that I wrote this today. I went to the lake wanting to work at 38. My opening pass was not smooth. I guess I was not really recovered from the weekend so I ran seven 35s and called it a day.

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  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,375
    I did both last night. Started with an intensity set. Then came back later and did a volume set at 28. Last 28 of the night was the best pass I've ever ran. BTW........... @Horton's vapor really likes Texas girls and wants to stay here.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    ChadWBMG73ScarletArrowBulldog
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I think part of the reason it's difficult for me to do too many volume sets is because at our site here in UT we only have about a 4.5 month season. Gotta chase some buoys quick!
    Shakeski
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,054 Mega Baller
    @Klundell‌ Wow -- that is SHORT. What is limiting you to that? Here is Massachusetts, dry suits combined with stubbornness and stupidity give us almost 7 months most years.

    For a relatively short season, I actually find the opposite, which may be in part a function being a bit older than you are. A short season means I have to spend a lot of time building a base after a long layoff. Otherwise, the mid-season will be full of failure and/or injury.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    Shakeski
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Our site gets its water from an irrigation canal. Which means we only have water from mid-may to the first week of Oct. and the first month of the season is full of rollers until the lake weed starts growing in to knock them down. We really only get 3 months of good skiing.
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    After reading this I decided on intensity today. Ran 28.32.35, and 5 at 38. Then ran 38 twice straight and called it a set. Second set straight down the line to 2 at 39, then 1 at 39, then two 35s and a 32 to finish. Great day!
    Jim Ross
    Wish
  • WishWish Posts: 8,547 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I guess intensity this morning???. 28,28,32,32,35,35, [email protected] or is that volume???. Was not my plan that's for sure. Oh, and i did one of those.... I'm gonna RUN THIS!!!!!... outa 4 ball and did something stupid on the way to 5 cause the ski was headed straight at it. Damned excitement.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    @ob yes that is volume

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    Mix on same day yes. Same ride would be missing the point.

    A rigid plan may not work for everyone. I think as long as you spend more time trying to ski technically correct and less time trying to beat your PB you will actually end up with a higher PB.

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  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    @Horton‌ is completely off the mark. Chase that PB! To do so you need to be technically correct but technical perfection at an easy pass does not translate to the radically changing variables as things get more challenging.

    You can waste your body, gas and time getting that pinky extended perfectly on that gimme pass or you can get with it and learn to ski.

    Advice aimed at kids with Olympic aspirations is inappropriate for a board made up of aging weekend warriors. Volume? Never! 35 hurts my body so maybe it's OK for me to only go for it when I'm really up for the challenge. That's an individual choice - not blanket advice. The blanket advice is to ski so you are enjoying it!

    Eric

    Regarding my scores, I'm not sure how a past #1 world age division ranking, the current M5 ranking list champion, a few National titles, a couple of Senior World medals (once as the oldest competitor), Regional titles, a few area records (including a slalom record!) and qualifying for Open for the first time in my 50s is "FAR below my potential". I have rationed my ski time since being diagnosed with arthritis decades ago. I try to only ski with intensity. Works for me because I'm enjoying my skiing.
    Klundellgsm_peterTexas6rawly
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @eleeski‌ I'm liking you more and more. BTW from what I understand Nate only does "intensity" sets. Straight down the line and then to the dock.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    @eleeski‌

    Since you are historically at least 90% percent right about anything about tricks and at roughly 95% wrong about anything slalom that means my original post is much more precise than I realized. I knew it was something that has worked for me but I had no idea just how valid it was. Thanks for your input Eric.

    As for your scores and placements => you are talking about tricks, right?

    (For those of you who do know Eric, he is the guy who makes his own skis. His trick skis are apparently pretty good. I guess the slalom skis “sort of work”. I have always believed that if Eric got on a good ski and listened to any vaguely sober slalom coaching he would be a pretty darn good slalom skier.)

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  • Alberto SoaresAlberto Soares Posts: 368 Solid Baller
    I usually do a first "volume" set and then an "intensity" second set.

    Someone told me once to "opt up" comfortable lengths: 28/32/38 or 32/32/38, it was supposed to raise the confidence level (???)

    Have also seen Mapple training before tournaments: 28/32/32/39 (?)
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    @Klundell‌ I was a bit worried about posting here as I know many people enjoy the feel of skiing more than competitive buoy counts. If you enjoy backing up passes because it's fun, that's what you should do. I don't want to discourage that.

    @Horton‌ Why would training techniques only work for slalom and not tricks? What difference does it make if my best performance involves more than a right or left turn? A couple of performances that I am proud of have been in slalom as well. I do get it. If I'm going to chase Andy, I'm not going to get there by improving my 22off. Every coach has always told me to go full speed and top intensity in every practice or performance.

    A large part of performance is belief. If you think some technique will work, it is likely to work. Just don't waste my gas!

    Eric
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,517 Crazy Baller
    The fun of skiing for me is chasing buoys and knocking down that next PB. Trying to perfect something I know I can do means I never actually improve and the whole sport is work for me. We all have different opinions on fun though. In my opinion, I've never run a really clean 15 off pass so by the volume definition, I should not be spending my time trying to knock out 32 or 35 off but instead be trying to perfect 15 and 22 off.... Just doesn't make any sense to me.

    Granted I have backed up a handful of passes in my life with another run either because it was so sloppy I think I might hurt myself on the next pass or because something in the last pass clicked with me and I want to try to duplicate it. However, these things happen very infrequently and are usually accompanied by a slump.
    Moggie
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    @eleeski I love you man. You are a wack job but I love you

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  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    @Horton‌ Whew. I was worried I might get banned. I'm a little edgy still. Shingles is a really nasty disease. Get vaccinated. Even if you have to pay for it. It will be a while before I can dream about putting on a vest. Or regain enough balance to do some real skiing on my trick.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,531 Administrator
    @eleeski‌ shingles never happened to a more deserving guy.

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