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The course. Shall we say, "Humbled?"

sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
edited July 2017 in News & Other Stuff
Or, the confessions of a middle aged hack.

I like to think of myself as an ok waterskier. I have set up all these goals for myself. I have new gear, and a new to me boat. I feel like I am skiing pretty decently outside the course. Improving on some things. But . . .

I get in the course, and I feel, what is the word. . . . I don't want to be too negative so I will say "Humbled." Humbled, I say!

Part of it is that I have had a couple friends who have been into 28 and 38 off respectively say that watching me free ski, I should be able to complete 22, and get into 28 off. I am nowhere near there. I don't even have a decent gate really.

In snow skiing, we say the course does not lie. Guess the same is true on the water. I just am not as good as I think I am, and am not progressing as fast as I thought I could. I was undoubtedly unrealistic.

I made good progress today down at Black Butte. So there is that. I feel like I need a week near a course, with some good eyes on me, and I could make some leaps. But I just don't get that much course time.

Blah, blah, blah. It is a fun thing to do. I love my new gear, and I feel grateful to get out there in good conditions at a great site today. @Luzz and @MB told me what I needed to hear last Flowpoint. Which is, there are steps. Patience is required. And, I did make progress today, and so far this year.

Still making a plan to enter at least the "grassroots" event at Gilbert Lake this September. Gives me something to shoot for. Thanks for letting me vent.


  • 94009400 Posts: 641 Crazy Baller
    I got humbled today and I've been through a course thousands of times
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,187 Crazy Baller
    This sport does this to everyone. But it feels so good when it all comes together. Ive run 32 off hundreds of times in practice and only once in a tournament two years ago at my home site behind one of the guys who regularly drives me. That was two years ago, thats two years straight of not running in tournaments until yesterday, and when it all clicks and it finally goes well, theres no better feeling
  • Fam-manFam-man Posts: 208 Solid Baller
    @sunvalleylaw I totally understand your feeling, and as others say when it comes together it feels great.
    Last year was the first I'd skied in a course. By the end of the season I was 30mph 15 off consistently. On good days I'd either do 32 mph 15 off or 30 mph 22 off. I was in the course 1 or 2 times per week May to Sept.
    I found a few things helped it come together for me.
    1) focus on what your doing behind the boat, forget about sacrificing rhythm or position to get a ball.
    2) go early and hard at the entrance gate. Sets up a good 1 ball and good run. Start to work closer and closer to the gates.
    2) video. I'm always surprised what I see to improve when I video myself.

    This year I'm a steady 32 mph 15 off. Working towards 34 mph. I toss in the off 32 mph 22 off to keep it fresh.
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 945 Crazy Baller
    @sunvalleylaw Yep just as we talked on the phone. Just get some experience and it will come. I am always learning just like you, but course skiing is like golf, if you don't get repetition then it is hard to stay consistent or even learn. Come to Gilbert and have a good time.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    Yeah, I will do all I can to get to at least the Grass Roots. We generally have a lot of family stuff that weekend but will try at least for that monday. Training outside the course on movements is fine to attempt to refine a move, but I do need more course reps to really progress in the course. The good news is that the progress was occurring today. I was not focused on actually making the gates every time, but how I was approaching the gates and the gates move, and when it is time to go, then go. Don't adjust. That, and some tips I got from @twhisper on his site helped me there. The other area was not forgetting in the course to be progressive. It is easy for me to try to crank a turn and load hard right away, losing ground to the boat by the wake. Started getting better after a few passes. Though I can get impatient and a bit frustrated, it is a good challenge.

    Thanks, all, for the encouragement. I know most of you can relate on your own level.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    This technique has helped me in the past. Will try some again. Will still need to get in the course, but perhaps I can visualize the course more than I have. @Luzzi 's visualization article
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    Ok, I had a thought I just had to put down before I forget. When I learned guitar, at first self taught, I sometimes slowed or stopped my hand to try to hit strums or notes in time with what I heard that I was playing along with, or heard in my head. I learned later to get a good rhythm in the correct tempo with the correct mechanics, moving the hand up and down, never stopping, and hit the strings as needed.

    It occurred to me that I need to do this in the course. I need to focus on my basics, try to get wide enough, keep the correct mechanics, and pretty soon I will be rounding the balls, which are like notes on a page of written music.

    Of course there is a lot of technique going into that, and still have to deal with the course no matter what (kinda like playing in time. Either you are or you aren't). And it will take more course time to get there. but it lets me let go off looking at those balls so hard, trying to get to and around them, and focus on the mechanics to help me get there.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    Well, I just got myself a USA Waterskiing number so I can enter the grassroots at least at Gilbert Lake. I am now number 900178694. I bucked up for the full membership as if I am a guest at MGM, they want a number to put down in their book, or charge you a daily fee, and figured I might want it for something else. Committing to this process step by step.
  • JAGJAG Posts: 178 Crazy Baller
    I am learning the course after years of free skiing, thinking I was "all that", "had big spray". Talking to a "pro" this weekend, he reminded me that open skiing, any speed, any rope length, YOU determine when to turn. In the course, the buoys determine it. The best way to improve is doing your training (there's several drills) in the course.

    It's a humbling experience, but stick with it. You'll come out the other end with great satisfaction.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,745 Mega Baller
    Somewhat redundant with the above, but anyhow:
    Understand that you are at the gateway of a lifetime of humbling experiences. Currently the course itself is humbling you. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future you'll conquer say 28 mph -- YAY! -- and then 30 mph will humble you.
    If you're lucky, you may someday have the privelege that I have had a handful of times in my life: Listening to -39 laugh hilariously at my comical "attempts."
    Even the hard-to-believe-he's-human Nate Smith eventually looks outmatched when -43 gets tied to the pylon.

    Embrace it -- or get out while you still can!!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    @Than_Bogan Your 15 off leverage stuff helped get me back into it before I blew my disc (not necessarily water skiing. It was at the end of snow ski season). Thanks for the inspiration. And I did not forget your inspiration when I started returning to the sport after recovering.

    I was just talking with a friend who just podiumed at some road bicycle races in Pocatello. I was discussing my family commitments and he encouraged me to stay healthy and I can race and compete more as time opens up. We both have watched people in their 60's and 70's do well with less apparent effort through good training and technique. I saw a couple guys in their 60's kick my ass yesterday. He watched a 70 something pull away from him on a hill climb (that my buddy still did very well in).

    Step by step. Stay healthy and keep moving forward. Course skiing is just more different from free skiing, even aggressive free skiing, than I realized. I made progress yesterday and this year and will hopefully continue to do so. Kinda give another meaning to your "Get out while you still can." :) That and embracing it are then not mutually exclusive.

    I am currently very close to completing the course at 15 off at 30 mph. Hoping to get that done soon. Then build from there.

  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I am living a very similar experience @sunvalleylaw ! Thank the good Lord there is at least minimal progress or I'm not exactly sure what I would do!
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    @sunvalleylaw the course is all about timing. The gate shot sets that timing. There some good threads lately on gates. Setup your Turn in to the gates so that you work behind the boat then try to carry that through the course.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,416 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    What @gregy said. When training at Cory's, my brother did some open water skiing before getting into the course. He doesn't course ski much, but Cory did say he had a great stack and very good technique, but he lacked the timing of the course. Just because you didn't nail a -22 your first time out doesn't mean you're a bad skier at all. But yes, it's humbling when you realize how off your timing is in the course.

    Speaking of alpine, when I raced FIS, I never thought for a second that the freestyle guys weren't good skiers, just because most were horrid running gates:)
    Scott Calderwood
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    Just popping in to say that after a couple sets of lessons, and some practice, things are progressing. Much better than before the lessons also. Still seeing if I can get to Gilbert this weekend. I have some parenting commitments that may interfere, but seeing what we can do. But whatever happens, enjoying the quest, now even more with some coaching. So worth it.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited September 2017
    Between sets, based on what the others were seeing, moved my bindings one hole forward. Seemed to make getting up over my feet and more balanced easier. Seemed to help me be faster cross course and earlier. I like it.

  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited September 2017
    DOH!! Rechecked the binding measurement this morning, to see where things were when we moved the bindings one hole forward, and the move forward put me stock at 29.75 on the 67" ARC. I must have measured wrong before. Not sure how I did that. I also returned the rear binding to a more neutral place after it had shifted toes right, heel left with my right foot. That felt fine yesterday too. Hoping it will make it easier to achieve a better position on my off side with the rear foot not twisted away.

    Will re-check my fin settings and make sure it is stock too. I believe I did a good job there, but it has been a while, and doesn't hurt to make sure things are still where they are supposed to be. No wonder I felt better one hole forward. Seemed easier to stand properly from there too.
  • dwfrechdwfrech Posts: 47 Baller
    For SunValleyLaw: Great open discussion about what you experienced skiing in the slalom ski course. It can be exhilarating or it can make you feel like you have some giant flaws, and humble you. I would suggest getting someone who knows fundamental technique to watch you consistently. Video footage is great, but it will be unlikely that you can do analysis in the middle of a ski set and try to work on anything identified from this footage from one pass to the next. That has been effective for me. Also try to get someone to prioritize what you are trying to do. If you have something like 5 things you are developing at once, that probably could be too many unless you are massively trainable. I like to try to do one thing on the entry to the course (the pull-out, glide, or roll-in phase) and one thing in the course. Or maybe just try to modify one thing and make sure you concentrate on it. Also, at times your ability to concentrate and focus on form development will be worse. That does not have much to do with your skiing limits. But it can screw you up. So if you have one of those sets where your head isn't in it and you seem unable to change from "Bad" to "Better" on any one thing, it might just be some other factors outside of skiing (tiredness/stressed out/no time to relax and warm up) that caused it. Don't take that into account, and forget it when you try the next time under better circumstances. High level camps are fantastic at taking all the form deficiencies for any skier and identifying the top priorities. There are other things they are good at, like explaining what you need to do in terms you can work with (not just something like "Hey look at how Will Asher does his hips ... try that" that is out of our league). Good luck and relax and be able to focus on a few things while practicing it will help.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    So thread revival. I started this thread mid July last year, and I am posting a few days short of a year later. Turns out the humbling carries over year to year, though this year is less daunting, and I am better off than last year. Again, course time is the thing. I don't get enough. Had my first real course time last night, in a fairly stiff breeze pretty much head/tail wind. I have gotten some skiing done, but just free skiing other than my first warm up runs this year in May when I shadowed the balls at Gilbert Lake. Again this year, feeling like I have been skiing decently, and feeling ready to progress in the course.

    Then, I actually get in the course. Humbled. Again. ;) Made an opening pass part way through my set. But only one successful pass. Also, toward the end of the set, caught myself focusing too much on the ball and not enough on the process, and letting myself sink back out of that tall position @Horton was talking about in the other thread as I approached the ball. So obviously I need keep it that simple as he suggests and just get that done more consistently. At least I was able to be aware so I can work on it next time.

    Goal for this year: figure out how to get more course time without relying solely on the generosity of my buddy down at Black Butte. I of course help out and contribute, but still. No course in at the local public water this year, where there were two courses a couple years ago. Maybe I can find the guys that normally put in one of the courses and see if I can help them put one back in and maintain it. The reservoir looks to have enough water this year to keep the course sufficiently wet all season.

    Onward and upward!
  • JmoskiJmoski Posts: 356 Solid Baller
    edited July 2018
    I feel your pain, to repurpose a great line from a league of their own:

    “Of course it’s hard, it’s supposed to be hard. If it was easy everyone would do it... It’s the hard that makes it great”
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,042 Mega Baller
    If it was easy they would call it wakeboarding.

    Don't get discouraged keep at it. The rewards are great.
    Mark Shaffer
    Bruce_ButterfieldKeith Menard
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    @Chef23 , if I do get a little discouraged, it is only fleeting. More like temporary disappointment that motivates me to keep going. Like I said before, on the snow or on the water, the course does not lie.
  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 921 Mega Baller
    You can't ski the course once in a while and expect to set records. You wouldn't expect to shot par is you only golfed 6 Times a year, would you?
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,593 Mega Baller
    @sunvalleylaw create 1-2 technique goals instead of buoy-count goals before you head out and stick to them (as you said earlier in this thread) Try to avoid the on-the-fly, middle of the set coaching.
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,415 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    My nephew same stuff. He thought he was pretty decent then tried the course...oh my! I think we forget sometimes when 28 off is the opener now that we are like ok that's just an opener. I remember my bro and I struggling at 15 off and some guy waved us down and asked for a pull. He ran 28 after 28 off in boat rollers. We thought we had just met the world slalom god.
    The course is tough, man. Keeps us coming back!
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,745 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    "temporary disappointment that motivates me to keep going"

    I feel like this may be some kind of life motto for me. I seem pathologically drawn to things you fail at constantly and try to somehow get to the point where you can "fail better" (as so well stated by Samuel Beckett).

    That said, it's been a blast. Wouldn't change a thing!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • C5QuestC5Quest Posts: 368 Baller
    This is a game like golf. You hit one on the sweet spot and it keeps you coming back. Just like nailing a great pass. Other times I want to toss my ski in the woods along with my clubs. I don’t even know where my clubs are.....probably still in the woods somewhere.
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