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Teaching a beginner how to stay up on a slalom

aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,572 Mega Baller
What is going on here and how do you teach a beginner to stop/fix this? This has always been one of those areas where my coaching has been somewhere between “don’t do that” and “you’re doing it wrong”.


  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,250 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Needs to be taught to stand up tall with hips forward in a stable standing position. She is caught in between standing up and crouching.
  • RobRob Posts: 64 Baller
    I vote more weight on front foot. Lots of different things to say to get the skier to do this, but I think that's root cause. More weight on the front really should settle things down IMO.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,062 Mega Baller
    Whats the boat speed? Looks a little slow.
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,572 Mega Baller
    edited March 2019
    Should the coaching be “Stand tall on your front foot”? Or, just “stand tall”. They are trying to find a stature that feels secure, so the most unsafe thing in their mind is to stand straight up. It seems that the skiers weight is on their front foot, but they are still crouching causing the ski to violently edge hunt.
    I’m just really wondering what good coaches use here
    @ScottScott I’ve wondered about that too, but is speeding up just going to send them OTF faster?
  • RobRob Posts: 64 Baller
    I don't think I'd change boat speed just yet - the slower you go the more 'grip' the ski has on the water and things look slippery enough for this one as it is. Sure it's harder for the skier energy wise, but until she's settled and stable I wouldn't speed up just yet. As for what to say? Suggest keeping it simple...maybe "put some weight on the ball of your front foot" - short and specific. Possibly add "more bend in front leg at knee"
  • mdriggsmdriggs Posts: 17 Baller
    "Push your hips or junk towards the boat !!!" That bio-mechanical movement forces front foot pressure and stabilizes the ski. "Standing up", does not necessarily create front foot pressure.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,169 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    edited March 2019
    Some land lessons with explination, put her on a bar until you have adjusted her position, she can't hear you shouting from the boat on a line.

    I preach something I call supermarket, so when you are at the supermarket or standing in a line stand up straight and flex your ankle forward on your front foot creating a slight bend in your knee and move your weight to that foot.
    Result Brain Memory and stretching of the muscles so that it feels natural to stand with more weight on the front foot.
    On land if you ask someone who has not skied a lot, to stand with one foot in front of the other their weight will be on the back foot.
    You could try to get her to stay still, point the handle at the boat with straight arms and fixate her vision on the boat pylon.

    Addicted To Carbon Fibre

  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 541 Crazy Baller
    +1 for learn on the boom, then add a handle, then go to the rope as they get proper body position & confidence
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,491 Mega Baller
    Show video and demo on dry land. She should fix it right off
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 865 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm not sure what kind of ski she is on, but I would certainly make sure it's a good beginner ski and not some aggressive ski.

    I think I also disagree with the "stand up straight" thing. I'm not a pro ski coach, so take my advice for about what you're paying for it. I just think that standing up straight is something that people start to do once they have a little better balance. If the trouble is balance, standing up straight will just make it worse.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller
    edited March 2019
    Stay on 2 first, skier's salute. Then, dry land posture practice, then boom (if you have access to one), and only then on the rope.

    I like to say, "proud chest and shoulders." For hand signals, I pat my chest and gesture or point up. This results in the torso more upright without also straightening the legs too much. (Some beginners are very literal and would lock out knees when told to "stand up straight", lol.)
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 335 Crazy Baller
    edited March 2019
    I would have her practice what @Bruce_Butterfield stated. Once she can do that well, have someone on 2 skis ride beside her and stabilize her by holding her life jacket right around the upper shoulder area. Then have her drop a ski and slowly place her foot on the rear of the ski, then slowly work her foot into toe plate. Continue to stabilize until she finds good body position, has good control of the ski and at a comfortable speed. Then slowly let go and drift away. I was taught this way and have taught multiple people this way. Everyone from kids to adults. It may feel like taking a few steps back from a deep water start, but once she knows the feeling of good body position and good control, the rest is in the bag.

    actually now that i think about it, my profile pick is me on 2 tricks stabilizing my 7 year old when she was learning!
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,062 Mega Baller
    I think theyll struggle if too slow. A nice steady acceleration to the right speed shouldnt cause any oft. As others have mentioned, make sure ski isn't too small and is s beginner ski. But by the looks of the wake, it seems slow and shes sinking. Even with weight back, as most beginners will be, i think ir will get on top of the water and be more stable with a little more speed. It reminds me of how i feel riding the inside of the wake going around a turn too slow.

    I think hardest part is the deep water start. Shes got that, with long line. i dont know that i can aee messing with a boom or 2 skiis. Get the speed up a touch and id bet she does a lot better.
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,572 Mega Baller
    To be clear, this is not my video, or skier, but my wife has the same problem, amongst others i have taught. I just see it as a consistent, but luckily fairly uncommon (1 in 10) problem.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,060 Mega Baller
    Aside from the advice regarding two skis and picking one up my advice would be different from @ScottScott. I would definitely slow the boat down once she is out of the water to let her stabilize. The skier becomes less stable as the speed increases. Also make sure her vision is focused up and on the boat. It does look like she is glancing at the water once she is up. One of my big keys with kids was always keep the eyes up. What happens in the video is somewhat similar to what happens when people start looking down to find the rear binding when dropping.

    Mark Shaffer
  • swardcoswardco Posts: 64 Baller
    Minority opinion here, so take it with a grain of salt. I tell beginners, once they are clear of the water, to lean back and get weight on the back foot... It probably isn't really all that different from what is being said here. By "leaning back" they are really just standing tall and probably getting the eyes up, but I think it's easier for the beginner brain to grasp. Once they get "back", they get stable and out of crisis mode...
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,169 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    @swardco sry my friend strongly disagree if you are on the back of that ski it is going to be all over the place and very unstable indeed, neutral or forward pressure required the more you flex those ankles the more stable you will be.

    Addicted To Carbon Fibre

  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,619 Mega Baller
    dry land with handle tied to a tree will fix that right up.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • jkill_88jkill_88 Posts: 9 Baller
    edited March 2019
    I second @h2onhk - I learned as (roughly, I’m still not really) an adult to ski this way on slalom and it really helped get the position/feel of how it was supposed to be so when I did attempt deep water I knew kind of what the goal was... Didn’t have access to a boom at the time so that wasn’t an option.
  • Jerry44Jerry44 Posts: 66 Baller
    edited March 2019
    If I had to guess I would say this girl hasn't had enough time on 2 and getting comfortable crossing the wakes. Other than that I agree with Bruce and Chef23.

    If I was going to change the boat speed it would be slower. It makes the skier work harder but the ski tracks better.

    I also tell people when learning, if they feel like they're losing their balance to squat down. Lowering the center of gravity resolves the balance problem.

    Again, agree with Chef23 on looking at the horizon. Try standing on one foot with your while looking down or with your eyes closed.
  • DangerBoyDangerBoy Posts: 369 Crazy Baller
    edited March 2019
    @aupatking I'm no expert and I may get a panda from @Horton for this but to me it seems obvious that the reason she's oscillating so much is that being a woman her center of gravity is kind of down back in her hip area and with her body position having her hips so far back, her center of gravity is kind of over the tail of the ski which is causing it to edge hunt like crazy and sending her into what I call the death wobble. If she could get her center of gravity more forward, the ski might stop oscillating and she could finally gain control of the ski.

    The problem is, she's trying so hard just to maintain her balance and keep the ski from oscillating out of control, it's all she can do just to maintan to the point where it's very difficult if not impossible for her to even attempt standing more straight and get her hips and center of gravity more forward towards the center of the ski where it will become more stable and stop oscillating.

    Things I might suggest include getting her to start on two and drop a ski for a while to give her a chance to get used to and more adept at skiing in the correct position on one. Once she's gotten that down, she may be more successful at deep water starts on one.

    I'd also suggest she grip the handle differently. In the video, both hands are holding the handle the same way with both her palms over the top of the handle. That is a fudamentally weak position. She needs to have one palm over the top and one under the handle kind of like how you'd hold a hockey stick. That's a much stronger position that will help enable her to pull the handle in closer to her body while pulling her hips more forward and standing more upright. Right now she seems to be stuck in the bowing to the waterski gods position which is causing her to go into the death wobble (these are technical terms) which is almost impossible to get out of once you're in it.

    Another thing I might suggest trying if it's possible is to move her bindings more forward on the ski. Being a woman, her center of gravity is lower and further back than what is typical for most men who are generally heavier up top in the chest and shoulders and smaller in the waist. Moving the bindings more forward will help to compensate for that and make it easier for her to get her center of gravity further forward on the ski where it needs to be.

    Lastly, the question that came to my mind when I watched the video was if she should try skiing with the other foot forward. She's struggling so hard with just trying to maintain her balance and control of the ski it almost seems to me like maybe she's got her wrong foot forward. Has she ever tried dropping a ski and skiing with the other foot forward?
    I can take anything apart
  • JASJAS Posts: 302 Crazy Baller
    Get skier up on two skis drop one. Once skier proficient slowly slow boat down, then back to speed. Next repeat but slow to slower speed, back to speed. Repeat, repeat etc. skier will be able to learn the strong position needed during transition
  • LobonatorLobonator Posts: 73 Baller
    Aside from what everybody else has said. I think she looks like she's in wakeboarding position, with her hips not squared up to the boat. Because her weight is not distributed over the ski in the direction of the ski, it's causing the ski to wobble until she falls.
  • mwfillmoremwfillmore Posts: 62 Baller
    Put her on an old pair of trick skis.... that’ll teach her the position she needs to be in
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