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Do you ever do drills to practice?

skisprayskispray Posts: 237 Crazy Baller
edited September 2017 in Technique & Theory
Many people on this board will be familiar with some of the popular slalom drills, most famously from Gordon Rathbrun and Seth Stisher. For example, the videos below are Gorden's pulling drill and Seth's 'whips' drill.

Now, I've been around a lot of skiers and I've never seen any of them do these drills or any other drills that take you out of the course. So I'm wondering a few things:

- Do any of you shortline skiers do drills outside the course?
- Why do so few people practice with drills?
- Are they effective for people skiing, say, 28 off and shorter?

My motivation for asking is that I want to improve some aspects of my form and am considering spending time doing some drills. I run into 32 off so I'm wondering if my time is better spent doing drills or drilling in the course? Would running a set of 8 passes that I can smoke, working on technique, be better than doing isolation drills? If not, why don't people do more of it? How come I've never had a coach tell me to practice drills for a bit every set?


  • thagerthager Posts: 5,213 Mega Baller
    I do drills when I am out of the course just free skiing. Course time for most people is just too short and time is valuable. Sites I ski have a 6 pass limit per set. During warmup on the dock I sometimes do Gordon's pulling drill to get the blood flowing.Only drill I do in the course is on the pullout to drop. I always pull out and push the handle to my waist and thigh and keep it there,
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,809 Mega Baller
    I have to think that the main issue is time. In skiing you are taking up the entire lake while you are on it, you are burning gas and putting hours on the boat, and you are taking the time of your boat crew. I believe most see this and choose to actually ski in the course rather than do drills or free ski. Many tournament skiers are also on short man made lakes which aren't handy for long swerving free ski sessions. (I actually miss that a lot!) You can do dry land practice, especially for trick, but slalom dry doesn't seem to work for me.

    It is one of the things that make our sport difficult to train for. I was in the garage at 5:00 this morning working on dry fire target transitions and draws. One of the things I really enjoy about shooting is that I can do things like this which doesn't cost anything, depend on weather, or put me at the mercy of anyone else's schedule.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited September 2017
    I haven't just lately, but want to get back to some to try to improve a couple things without being distracted by the balls. There was discussion of one here somewhere where basically you took a whip drill, and made it so you tried to get as high up on the other side of boat from where you started as possible. Which trains turn entry, and also path at the same time. I think it might have been something @AdamCord was talking about? Been meaning to go find it. Also was thinking about trying some Stisher whips.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    I don't do drills. And my top end hasn't improved in 15 years...
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • JAGJAG Posts: 178 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2017
    I started using Seth's drills after training with him earlier this year.

    I'm running the course much more consistently but more importantly, I feel much more balanced and athletic on the ski. When open water skiing, I'm doing the drills about 50% of the time. Its definitely helped. I'm a legend in my own mind. :)
  • skisprayskispray Posts: 237 Crazy Baller
    This feedback aligns with what I see. Yes, course time is scarce but does always skiing in the course use that time most effectively? Maybe instead of being in the course 100% of the time we'd see faster improvement with 60% course and 40% drills. But no one preaches that. Is it because it wouldn't work or because we just don't want to? Is there anyone that has experience with drilling that can say, "yeah, it helped me at shortlibe," or "no, that was a waste of time." I guess @AdamCord does drills. Anyone else? What are the thoughts on effectiveness?
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    I probably should but I don't. Every other sport I play I do drills and practice but with skiing I mostly run the course.
    Mark Shaffer
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    I was thinking about that too, and the fact that if I am down at the private lake I get invited to, I am likely going to ski the course. Unless I make a conscious decision not to. After all, the balls are right there.

    If I am out on the regular lake, it is easier for me to spend some time drilling. In fact, I used to spend a portion of most runs doing that. It used to be a pulling drill. Now I would do some form of whips. I have not done so lately though. Need to get back to it. And maybe make a conscious choice once in a while at the ski lake.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,655 Mega Baller
    This might not be popular but the trouble with drills is having feedback on them. Course keeps you honest about width/timing etc.
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,221 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I practice things at longer lines repeatedly which is sort of a drill. I like to free ski but rarely take the time. I probably should do drills at the ski lake but don’t for all he reasons stated above.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @sunvalleylaw when you go to the ski lake run the course. If you want you can repeatedly run a pass below your hardest pass and work on clean things up.
    Mark Shaffer
  • SkidSkid Posts: 56 Baller
    I've used the pulling drill or "leaning drill" and it's helped a lot in my skiing. You don't have to run it in open water either.
    For me, 28off is a great length to do it at. Sometimes I'll start a set doing it down the 1,3,5 buoy line and then come back down the lake on the 2,4,6 side and then go right into skiing buoys.
    Great muscle memory! You can feel where the pull is coming from and figure out what the ideal position is going to be.
    Also +1 on free skiing. If you have the space to do it, do it.
    Don't Click Here
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 543 Crazy Baller
    I'd like to do more drills, but water time is to precious. My boat has 3 people in it and 2-3 hours of water time. We each take 2 sets of 8-10 passes. By then we are out of light or need to get home to the families.
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