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Coaching kids

bojansbojans Posts: 258 Solid Baller
My son is 9 years old and started running the course last year. His PB is [email protected] long line, this year we are moving him to 15 off (Thanks ZBS) and is currently running 17 working on 19. He has developed the habit of breaking forward through the wakes and taken some bad crashes as a result. His pull out to set down is text book, handle to hips but going through the wake he loses it all. Any advise how to coach this? We have tried shoulders back, hips up, arms straight and my wifes suggestion of "dingleberries to the sky", but none seem to be working.


  • nzguynzguy Posts: 19 Baller
    What kind of boat is he skiing behind? If its a "real" ski boat, I think it might be a real struggle. As a 15 off skier just running into 34mph now I have struggled with the wake of the Nautique. Especially at the slower speeds where the wake is large. I could only imagine what it would be like for a light kid to cut the wakes at such a slow speed.
    I'm not sure if its an option, but if you have access to light boat with a small wake it might give him the confidence to try staying stacked and learn the feeling, without the consequence.
  • InthedayIntheday Posts: 140 Baller
    Ask him how tall he is, then say when you are going through the wake you need to stand as tall as you can.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,339 Mega Baller
    At those speeds the wake is enormous and there is no way around it. Keeping his chin up/looking across the wakes can help, if you look at the wake then when you get to it you are looking down at it which does you flat zero favors. Another piece is really soft knees, try to absorb as much of that as you can in your knees.
  • ntxntx Posts: 825 Crazy Baller
    Edge thru the air.
  • johndescojohndesco Posts: 11 Baller
    @bojans Sorry for the long post below but I'll share what I've learned so far with my son. He just turned 9 in April and has been in the course for about a year now. He is still running Long Line and his best is [email protected] mph, and is just now getting to where he runs his 23.0 mph 100% of the time, the 24.9 mph 90% of the time and is now running the 26.7 mph pass about 30-40% of the time. We have played around with 15 off and he can run the 23.0 mph pass but it drives him into exactly what you are describing and he breaks at the waist when crossing the wakes. Its just a little bit faster and causes him to panic more and forget the fundamentals of body position. I would guess he has already ran over 250 passes this year since late March so he gets plenty of practice to where you would think body position would be automatic. As far as trying to get his hips forward the best piece of advice I've gotten is to squeeze your butt cheeks together as you finish the turn and are skiing back to the handle and keep your knees soft/bent when hitting the wakes and don't look at the wakes just let your body position do its job and keep the ski on edge.

    My overall suggestion based on what we are doing is to stay at LL until he can run his max speed. It gives them a little bit more time and continues to develop the fundamentals. I've debated it with myself quite a bit, but what I've seen is if my son is fighting slack with LL which seems to be the reason people chop to 15 off its because he is double pulling to make up for getting bad angle out of the turn and it just cycles with him turning later and later until he then panics to get to the next ball and forgets the fundamentals and lets his hips fall back. The key piece that usually starts the cycle is a bad gate/late 1 ball. He gets tired of hearing it but we tell him every set it is to get 15' wide of 2/4/6 before he starts his pull to 1 ball and then start his turn 10' before he gets to 1 ball. If he does this he can run the pass and everything just falls into place for him. He does do a 1 arm turn its not that he needs the extension, but it helps him with turning the ski properly and not on the tail and bringing his hips around and to the handle and getting in proper position.

    The last piece of advice is get him an outside coach to work with on occasion. My son listens to me most of the time, but when it comes from an outside person interested in what he is doing it just makes a bigger impact on them. Good luck, there isn't anything much more fun than watching a young kid running the course.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,535 Mega Baller
    @bojans what size ski is he on? Too small a ski at slow speed will make the (huge) wake crossings really difficult. At those speeds and wake size, the crossing is more of an "absorb and ride over" than cut through. If he's on a "real" slalom ski, it should be in the 64" range.

    We went back and forth between ll and 15 with my kids, and I think ll is easier at least thru 28-30 mph.

    Be sure to start slow enough that he consistently completes at least 4 passes to build confidence and repetition of good habits.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • bojansbojans Posts: 258 Solid Baller
    Bruce, He is on a 63" Radar right now. He is very consistent at 15, 17 and 19 ll, 21 is probably run 50-60% of the time. We will go back to ll and give that a try. Thanks
  • bojansbojans Posts: 258 Solid Baller
    Now that I think of it John hit the nail on the head. We were trying 15 due to all the slack. He is double pulling and creating the slack which makes him late, which drives the panic and the cycle repeats. Thanks again guys.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,962 Mega Baller
    I kept my son at ll until he was running 30 mph then we went to 15 off full time.

    Regarding wake crossingsfor my son the light went on one night when we were out skiing and he started to work through both wakes. He did take some hard falls due to the wakes but he sucked it up and got back after it.

    @Bruce_Butterfield is a great resource for this kind of stuff. My son was on a 63" ski but it was a wide HO ski so it had more support for slow speeds.
    Mark Shaffer
  • johndescojohndesco Posts: 11 Baller
    The wakes are really tough at the 15.5 and 17.4 speeds but once he gets to 19.2 & 21.1 it gets easier for them. I would also really work on his gate timing/pull out width and turning early at the ball. One of us in the boat can quite often be heard yelling turn when he's 10-15' away from the ball or tapping the rope just to drive the behavior. This will help him pick up 20 plus feet of down the course drift and help keep him away from the second pull. We're also making sure his hardest pass is about 4 deep in his set and making him earn a crack at it vs going straight to it. He isn't always impressed with that but it drives consistency and gives him time to practice his gates and adjust for wind prior to needing to be at his best.

    Needless to say we've got access to some good coaches on our lakes that love working with kids. If only I could do half of what I preach I wouldn't be looking at my 9yr old passing me by in the course.
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 375 Solid Baller
    @ktm300 Makes the edge change easy
    Andre Broussard - Louisiana
  • ntxntx Posts: 825 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2017
    And that is how you edge thru the air.
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