Teaching someone to run the course

IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
Any tips on the best way to teach someone to run the course? I have taken my friend skiing twice, once at the private lake where he got up on a slalom and made some good wake crossings. Then I took him to the public lake so he would have more time to ski without having to drop, he is a natural and doing very well for skiing a total of 4 sets. He is falling in love with it, wants to learn to run the course, and is already talking about skiing tournaments within 2 years. I have some ideas, but I’ve never really taught someone to run a course before... what are the most important things for him to focus on? Also, if I’m coaching someone it’s almost always in the 22-32 off range, so I don’t have a lot of experience explaining things to someone new, is the best way to just break it down as simply as possible?


  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 864 Mega Baller
    I'm not much help other than to forget about the gates at first. That's awesome that he gets to learn to ski the course at the same time as learning to ski versus having to undo a bunch of bad habits from free skating for years like myself
  • LobonatorLobonator Posts: 73 Baller
    I'm very new to the course! First thing that everybody says to me when they tow me through the course, is to not focus on rounding balls. Most important is to get the set rhythm of the course, compared to the lack of rhythm in free skiing.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,640 Crazy Baller
    @Ilivetoski just be sure to emphasize.good body position and weight balance on the ski. You know that already. As far as course, have him start out to the right of 1 ball. Shadow all the buoys and try for the 6 and exit gate. As he progresses add 5 then 4 and so on. Trying to round buoys from the start results in a lot of falls, frustration and less turns and pulls.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    Big enough ski to slow to 26 mph and coach basic body position
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
    He’s been using a slalom that was part of an old pair of Connelly combo skis. His dad has an old Connelly HP that he is going to start skiing on, ive seen it one time and if I had to guess I think it’s a 67... he weighs about 130 so that’s a plenty big enough ski.

    He’s on a family vacation right now, I think he sent me 7 texts yesterday asking when we could ski next/ telling me when he gets back in town he wants to ski the next day... He’s got the bug
  • eyepeelereyepeeler Posts: 214 Baller
    Since he is just starting to learn to ski, it is the ideal time for professional help.
    Matt Dillon
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 697 Crazy Baller
    I am a beginner to the course. Can digest only one technical element at one time. After coach see that Im doing this element acceptable he adds next one.
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
    @eyepeeler i agree, but I’m trying to hide him as much as possible from the cost of skiing until he really decides he loves it. He’s a college student, his family isn’t poor but they aren’t going to be giving him money for water ski coaching. When he starts running the course I’m just going to give him my old HO V type along with some gear that I’ve outgrown... we have a number of 35 & 38 off skiers at my lake so I would hope we can teach him to run the course at 28 mph
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    Obviously body position and stack is key and something you should always be reinforcing with beginners. I don't think people really understand how to work through the wakes fully until they try to run the course.

    For my kids (and other kids we ski with that I started) I started running them through the mini course and shortened the line dramatically until they got some angle like 32 or 35 off.

    Next I slowed them down until they were just above sinking and ran them through the full course. This has been discussed before but forget the gates and have them pull out early and go around 1 ball then try to get to two ball. If they get around 2 have them pull for 3. If they didn't get around 2 I would have them stay out wide get around 4 and pull for 5.

    I found there was a time when the light clicked on and they started pulling through both wakes. Once that happened they started running full passes. Early on every time they ran a pass I would speed the boat up a mile an hour (practice mode) until they could run 3 or 4 passes then I put gates in.

    This worked for us. I can definitely see the benefit of getting around 1 ball, splashing 2-5 and trying to get around 6 ball then adding in 1 ball and 2 ball splashing 3-5 and around 6. That is not the way I either learned (back in the stone ages) or I taught the kids we ski with but I can see it working.

    I am a big believer in trying to get beginners from 1-2 ball. It is a good sense of accomplishment the first time they do and they have to learn to pull through both wakes. With the splashing of buoys you find some rhythm but you don't necessarily have to work as hard through both wakes.
    Mark Shaffer
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
    @Chef23 when did you decide it was a good idea to introduce them to the buoys? Pretty much as soon as they were comfortable riding around on a slalom, or did you get doing some wake crossings first?
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @Ilivetoski as soon as they were comfortable doing some wake crossings we moved to the mini course. Obviously they have to be able to cross the wakes to ski the course.
    Mark Shaffer
  • melligmellig Posts: 50 Baller
    Was coached to ski into the course early and turn before each buoy. Essentially shadow the course and if start to get late will be able to round a few balls at the end. Removes the pressure to round the buoys, a little forgiveness, and reduces some bad habits (looking down, slamming turns, etc.) while getting used to the rhythm and providing some perspective of where you are in the course.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @Bruce_Butterfield posted a tip earlier that you should always use with beginners as well. Tell them to imagine that the buoy is 20 feet before and 20 feet wider than the ball and try to get to that buoy. This will prevent them from hunting the balls.
    Mark Shaffer
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 562 Crazy Baller
    It's all about the wake crossing longer then 28 off. Drills, drills and more drills behind the boat cutting from side to side. The turns don't really matter and will happen naturally for the most part. Forget about the balls for awhile and focus on getting the body position down. If you try and round balls too early on you will set yourself up for failure. Once balls are involved all form goes out the window and it's all about seeing how many you can round. Focus on fundamentals and get that into muscle memory before trying to tackle the course.
  • dwfrechdwfrech Posts: 49 Baller
    There is a lot of good advice in here. If I would offer something specific, it would just repeat anything said above. It's all there what is written ... body position, imagine where to be before a buoy, and how to handle the wakes. An unwritten thing is how to swing with the boat. A longline skier won't feel it so much but that's a good time to get them thinking about making a turn that allows them to connect and exert more effort right behind the boat. Also tell them something for a different section of the whole thing. On the pull out for the gates, sit in the trough outside the Port Side wake (Drivers side). Look downcourse and figure out what you are goign to do. I saw someone start from middle of the wakes directly behind the boat and told her to try it. Anyway, the excitement if they make it is so great, whatever you know, help them do it!

  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
    Thanks all, I’m probably gonna have him work on keeping his ski on edge through the wake and getting his body position a little better before we look at the buoys. He’s getting a lot better every set so hopefully this doesn’t take as long as it did with me...

    @LeonL that’s a really good idea, keeps him from busting his ass repeatedly trying to get to 2 ball
  • LeSkiAvantToutLeSkiAvantTout Posts: 35 Baller
    just starting to run course and gotta agree with above comment on getting from 1-2 ball, huge confidence booster for me 1st time made it and got me thinking will one day run all 6 - not that I have yet!
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