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Locked Out Arms for Better Body Position

epnaultepnault Posts: 282 Solid Baller
Hi All,
I have been skiing the course now for about a month in the great white north (water temps 45-50) and I have been really focused on body position this year. I have a son that likes to take photos and video and it is super helpful. After review some of the photos my body position is improving but not great.

I had a crazy thought on my commute home from the lake. My biggest problem is that I am really strong and use my arms to make up for poor position. As much as I pound it into my head to keep my arms straight the pictures don't lie. My idea is why not artificially lock my arms with something (bandages or a splint, etc). Has anyone taken his extreme approach to kick this bad habit? Any negatives come to mind?


  • epnaultepnault Posts: 282 Solid Baller
    Safety meaning I might not be able to swim?
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,650 Mega Baller
    I would recommend developing a specific cue to help you straighten on your own. Mine was to feel my upper torso leaning on my upper arm as I pulled through the wakes. Pulling through the gates to one ball, it would be my right arm receiving that contact/weight. Press that arm into your vest and side and focus on feeling the load through that arm.

    If you think you must use an artificial means, don't use anything rigid. Try some neoprene elbow braces/sleeves to help trigger some tightness when you bend those elbows.

    You can't keep your arms board straight the whole pass. They must bend some at hookup after the turns to absorb that load smoothly.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,226 Mega Baller
    Locking out your arms sounds like a great idea until the first time you turn with slack and murder everyone in the boat.
  • bigtex2011bigtex2011 Posts: 488 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL hard not to agree with Chet. I think about relaxing my arms while keeping back and core strong
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 827 Mega Baller
    edited May 2017
    Depending on the articles/posts you read, it can sound like we should always have our arms straight, but it only takes a few minutes watching youtube videos to realize that slalom skiing involves adjusting the bend in your elbows throughout the sequence. So I think an artificial splint will create more problems than it would solve.

    It's only a guess without video, but the problem you're describing typically happens from the end of the turn to the middle of the wakes. Our arms are (somewhat) bent as we finish the turn and re-grab the handle with the outside arm (but less bent the better we are at bringing the inside arm across-and-low to the outside hip). It's at this point that you start to lean away from the boat to create leverage and generate speed into the wakes, and for most people it's pretty natural for the arms to straighten... but some skiers struggle to let them straighten, which in turn limits their ability to lean away from the boat, create leverage and generate speed.

    My thoughts:
    a) watch these two videos, and go out and practice the drills

    b) do some free skiing, concentrating exclusively on leaning more (away from the boat, as you approach the wakes), with hips up, and consciously letting your arms straighten (stop chasing buoys long enough to teach yourself something new)
    c) tie a ski handle (maybe with some suitable bungee cords) to something in your house and try to practice, every day, leaning away, with hips up, and consciously letting your arms straighten.

    My guess is that you'll be surprised how fast you start approaching the wakes once you start leaning more aggressively.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,049 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 2017
    Actually a good ski buddy,gave me one of the best tips ever, I even use it for deep water starts as well as when I am skiing, do not grip the handle, hook the handle with your fingers a bit like a rock climber, just as strong as gripping, put a rope on the fence, hook the handle and try and pull on your arms, it is almost impossible using this technique, you would have to use your shoulders.
    Saves your forearms as well ski all day long (sort of )

    When The Going Gets Tough, Get Stoked !

  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited May 2017
    @bishop8950 , At the end of last year, I started trying something like that (well, pretty much exactly that) at the suggestion of a friend with knowledge. Seemed to work well and something I want to try in connection with whip and maybe pull out drills as well. Especially as I begin the year. One thing I noticed while trying it freeskiing at the end of the turn and at hookup and accepting load, is that when I did that, my lean away from the boat automatically increased, with increased leverage and speed automatically happening, as long as I was balanced on the ski fore and aft.
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 282 Solid Baller
    Good stuff here. Thanks guys
  • Fam-manFam-man Posts: 191 Solid Baller
    Great advice above. I find most success when I ignore the bouys and focus what I'm doing behind the boat. When I do that my form improves and I make bouys. When I focus on bouys my form suffers and I don't make as many.
    Using Drills and free skiing to develop muscle memory along with focusing behind the boat is where I realized the most improvement. I'm first year into course skiing at 30mph 15 off
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 1,956 Mega Baller
    edited May 2017
    I made significant breakthroughs free skiing trying to trust the concepts presented by MB, TW and MS in West Coast Slalom, and CR who wrote about pushing the handle down in a Water Skier mag series a few years back.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    Post up your video lets see what your talking about.
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 282 Solid Baller
    Thanks for the help all. @gregy I will try to get some video this weekend!
  • gmutgmut Posts: 227 Baller
    think about squeezing your elbows tight to your vest through the edge change.
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 318 Crazy Baller
    Put the handle on the pylon. Get into lean position and think of a tug of war. If you are trying to pull with the most force and power it is an arms straight position. Extend handle and relax the arms like @bishop8950 was saying and feel the force on your hands increase.

    Conversely, bend your arms as if pulling with them, not moving your feet and see what happens. Body comes up and force decreases equaling a less powerful position.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,344 Mega Baller
    As above, it's all about leverage. With arms relatively straight and the handle low you maximize the length of your body above the handle which maximizes your leverage in the pull. If you are in good body position and have good leverage against the boat then you will be faster across the wakes with less energy. Not to mention elbow/bicep/back aches will decrease substantially.
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 282 Solid Baller
    Sorry-I left that off @Mark_Matis

    I am warming up to the season at 15-30 and 15-32 at this point. I think I am going to stay here until a get my body position correct. Over the past 4 years I have been able to "muscle" myself through sets at higher speeds and shorter lengths but I want to get the fundamentals on track this season. Thanks again to all. Great stuff
  • Kellen417Kellen417 Posts: 36 Baller
    I struggle with the same issue. Holding the handle in my fingers, "hooking the handle" like I was rock climbing rather than holding it deep towards my palm giving me too much leverage with my biceps has helped a lot. It's actually only the underhand grip That gets me. Keeping it in my fingers helps my Arms stay longer , handle lower, transition earlier/more natural and use the boat better. I can do a tremendous amount of pull-ups, this DOES NOT work at speed thru the slalom course. The more I just hang on for the ride the better the ski works & the earlier/smoother the pass
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Glad to see this thread. Still working on 15 off and understanding the importance of getting higher on the boat on the pullout then exactly "how to" get around 1 ball in a wide arc, finishing the turn completely, establishing proper body position then allowing the boat to hook up and shoot me across course. It's hard to get out of the habit of turning one and trying to "hunker down" thinking I am going to "make" it happen instead of letting it happen. I essentially kill my speed right now by hunkering down and putting weight on the back of the ski. I had great instruction last weekend so just need this weather to clear up so I can get out and apply what I was taught.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
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