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Knee bend - how much is ideal?

I recently came across a video of a group of the pros during practice runs that is perfect for illustrating exactly how much knee bend they employ as they approach the wakes and during their edge changes. The advantage of this video is the closeup used and the fact that there was only one pass of each skier before it brought up the next one so comparisons were easy. Notice the similarities between them with perhaps only Freddie and Manon employing a bit more knee bend particularly on their edge changes. Since form is so important in this sport, I am guessing that anyone who looks similar to these guys during their wake crossing and edge change is probably running short line.

Comments

  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,100 Administrator
    I would like to hear @twhisper or @matthewbrown comment on this.

    I preach straight legs from hookup to the centerline because that is the easiest way to get your hips forward and close to the handle. The few skiers in the world who have very bent knees AND have their mass forward may have an advantage but not a lot of skiers can do it.

     

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  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Horton, respectfully, I just watched a video you posted on Aug 14 and your knees are bent in virtually the same degree as those in the video I posted. And in that video while their knees are bent, they do not have their mass forward which I agree would be a problem.

    I think that as the ski is at maximum cross course angle at the completion of the turn, better skiers take that split second before the rope goes tight to slide their hips forward (while remaining stacked from the hips to the shoulders) but keeping the ski tip down which results in that distinctive modest bend in the knees. That is just a conjecture which perhaps you yourself could comment on because you're doing it. In the final analysis, when all the best skiers including yourself are doing the same thing their must be merit in attempting to emulate it.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,100 Administrator
    edited November 2019
    @So_I_Ski just to be clear the first skier in the video you posted is KC Wilson. His knees are about perfect. Are the super crazy straight? No, but they are straighter than 99% of the skiing public.

    FYI - I have no idea what I posted on 8/14.

     

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  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Horton, here is the video that you posted that I am referencing, great form by the way.
    Killer
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,100 Administrator
    edited November 2019
    @So_I_Ski Let me say it differently. Most skiers drop their hips back when they bend their knees. You will see in the video as I get stressed I bend my knees more and my mass goes back. The idea of straight legs a very simplified way to be stacked and connected.

     

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  • Zaneh2oskiZaneh2oski Posts: 8 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I know for me and when coach the people I ski with I’m not thinking about the knee bend into the edge change but rather an extension of my legs as I approach the wakes and center line. The unload of this pull causes the edge change. The knee bend happens as the ski moves thru the edge change and is just natural reaction/occurrence to make that move.
    elr
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,099 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Chris Parrish stands taller than most and is a superb technician, I have spent forever getting to stand taller and when I do my ski is much more efficient and I am more centered into the next bouy, there are times when my knees are bent too much, generally after I have applied too much load.
    Just one other point, people may agree or disagree the taller you stand the easier it is for the ski to transition to the other edge as you move through the centre line.

    If Only I Was Perfect

  • WishWish Posts: 8,046 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    This is supposed to be the "bent knee" "compressed" guy. Funny how he's all stacked and tall in all the right places.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    ski6jonesBruce_Butterfieldjimbrake
  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Wish, I have been corresponding with Terry about this topic over the past couple of days and I doubt that he would consider that pic to be representative of his skiing as it relates to knee bend since he sent me a link to a prior discussion that he posted on ball of spray.

    https://ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/20067/compressed-or-straight-legs/p1
    ScottScott
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 1,075 Mega Baller
    I found the part of that video @Horton posted being played backward really interesting. I could see stuff in reverse that I missed going forward. Maybe the different perspective cause my mind to think differently, but I liked that alot. Also, CPs skiing in that is text book.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
    Steven_Haines
  • WishWish Posts: 8,046 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited November 2019
    @So_I_Ski he is still stacked/aligned. TW said ...."The part where it goes wrong for many skiers is that with compression can also come a loss of good alignment by the skier allowing the hip joint to bend or squat"..... Key ward is "many". Most of us started skiing in a "squat"..not good. To the topic of how much knee bend is ideal and @Horton suggestion of few being able to pull off deep knee bend or compressed style AND be stacked/aligned, I'm thinkn the lions share of skiers here, including myself should not give this style of skiing much thought. Add to it that as the line gets super short (lines we never see) the compressed knees are more apparent. We should look at most pros at 32 off passes, not deap shortline. And those vids might be closer to what may be ideal.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    2tracmindEd_Johnson
  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Wish. to begin with, at NO time have I suggested that a skier should attempt to be very compressed or for that matter even as compressed as Terry or Freddie Winter. I simply posted a video that clearly indicates that all of the top skiers employ some knee bend and suggested that if a person really wants to know how much knee bend to employ in their skiing then emulate the best. You made the mistake of presuming to know what I was personally promoting when I did not state my own opinion. I just said watch the best and then decide for yourself.

    The great thing about the english language is that with such a large vocabulary we can describe exactly what we intend to convey. For someone to advocate for straight legs
    (180 degrees from the ankles to the hips) from the turn to the CL when NONE of the best skiers do this is misleading to say the least. If you stop the frame of any of those skiers and put a protractor on the image of their legs you will find that all of them have roughly 130 degrees bend in their front legs prior to the wakes but during edge change it's close to 90 degrees. That is a far cry from straight.

    Furthermore, even @Horton vid of Chris Parrish clearly indicates some knee bend and he might be the skier who uses the least so he is not the average. Even more striking is that we are talking about KNEES, so both legs, not only the front one. Stop the video as he approaches the wakes and you cannot fail to notice that while his front leg might be at 150, his back leg is bent somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees.

    Lastly, when we talk about this in relation to what "most" skiers that are not short line are doing, it introduces our personal bias. Perhaps everyone we ski with is bent over like a center snapping a football while on the flip side maybe someone else reading this post has their legs locked so straight that they wheelie the ski at the end of the turn and bounce three feet in the air when they cross the wakes. Using words that do not convey exactly what is "ideal" or what you mean may help the first group but may mistakenly indicate to the second group that they are on the right path.

    Let's just be precise in what we are trying to convey so that everyone gets the message.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,046 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @So_I_Ski 🤔 didn't think I suggested your post was saying anything to that nature..apologies if you felt that way. Was just my 2 cents in that I think in your vids you see pros at very short line and that's different then seeing them at their opener. This is evident in how much less knee bend is seen in their opener (outside of TW who is masterful at compressed style). So applying the thought to figure out what is optimum may not be so easy and relatable to a skier like myself or others. Knees and ankles will always be bent to some degree no matter how straight you tell someone. What may be relatable is to express to a skier that his/her legs should be straiter to avoid the very thing that TW seguested in the quote vs getting someone to bend theirs knees and remain aligned like TW. Many ways to skin the cat so to speak. But finding optimal knee bend from videos of pros at very short line may be just as misleading.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    So_I_Ski
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,100 Administrator
    edited November 2019
    @So_I_Ski EVERY skier bends there knees some amount. I have NEVER heard of a top skier say they would ski better if they bent their knees more. Generally less knee bend is best even though some elite skiers seem to get it done with a little more knee bend.

    Does that answer your question. If not, what exactly is your question?

     

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    Wish
  • WishWish Posts: 8,046 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @TW so are you saying taller skiers are more pone to being less compressed and conversely if one is short being compressed has an advantaged over staying taller? If you saw a skier emulating a pros knee bend at any line length only to see them in a "squat" position, what would you tell them regarding "optimal" knee bend?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 990 Mega Baller
    In addition to different position at different points in the course, the legs will extend and compress as the skier goes over the bumps and troughs of the wake. The picture of twhisper above appears to be as the ski drops into the trough, where the legs will naturally extend to follow the ski.

    I think regardless of how compressed or not the top a skiers are, the one constant is stack. You can draw a line that goes between their feet, up through their hips, and through their shoulders. No matter how much the knees bend, they maintain that stack.

    The compressed consept of form seems to make since to me, and thats what I try to model my position after. When I think of bending my knees, I think of it as if I was standing on land. If my butt falls behind my feet, I'll fall backward. So I have to keep my hips over my feet. I may fail, but I don't think its beyond a mortal such as myself to learn.

    To answer the original post. The video and the statement that different skiers have different knee bend answers the question. There is no IDEAL. There are a variety of top level skiers with different styles that work well for them.

  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Wish, no apologies were necessary as I took no offense to anything you said. I was merely trying to be specific with what I was conveying. As for shorter line lengths, i think that they have the same style regardless of the line length and they only have more compression in the edge change as the line shortens. I have witnessed that myself from the boat watching Andy and Terry as well as Asher just to name a few.

    @Horton, I didn't have a question to begin with, just posted a video I thought was revealing.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,046 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited November 2019
    @So_I_Ski not to be to obvious but your thead title is in fact a question that I think we were all trying to answer for you. 😜
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,100 Administrator
    @So_I_Ski I think @twhisper would tell you ( he will correct me if I am wrong ) that at least part of the compression you see after centerline at very short lines is the result of load or overload. I do not think anyone tries to suck up their knees through edge change.

    @twhisper feel free to be merciless if I have this wrong.

     

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  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 142 Baller
    @Wish that's too funny. You're both a gentleman and a skier. It was meant to be a rhetorical question with the answer posted within the video. So that's why @Horton came back with "what exactly is your question"? I didn't get the connection.
  • twhispertwhisper Posts: 113 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @wish Taller skiers tend to stay taller because it’s more difficult for them to recover from broken/misaligned body positions. Shorter skiers tend to be able to get away with more as far as getting out of position, but then being able to recover more quickly. I did not intend to say that shorter skiers should squat more.
    I usually do not focus my coaching on the amount of knee bend. What I tell people to focus on is where the kneecap of the front leg lines up over their front foot. If the kneecap is behind the heel at certain points in the course then the skier’s weight is going to be placing more pressure over the tail of the ski. During an attempt to accelerate this is going to be a problem. The ski will not respond as well as it could and the space between the hips and the handle is going to be increased so the skier’s ability to leverage is going to be diminished. Two things that are important in skiing is that the skier’s weight is balanced over the center of the ski, and that the skier can leverage the ski into direction. The body being aligned through the major joints, the head and shoulders, the hips, the knees and the ankles, will help to achieve both balance and leverage. Some skiers do this with a little more compression and some with longer legs, but it can be done either way.
    Personally, it is much more challenging to keep my legs straighter than it is to sink into them a little. We all have our own natural styles, and sometimes going against that too much is more detrimental than it is helpful.
    A couple of things to think about... What would it be like to ski if you had braces on your knees and ankles that allowed for zero flex? How would slalom styles evolve if we were able to ski the course with zero wakes?
    Than_BoganScottScottSo_I_Skijipster43
  • twhispertwhisper Posts: 113 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @horton It’s the impact of the through at the shorter lines where the skier is compressing most.

    Wish
  • skiepskiep Posts: 329 Solid Baller

  • MarkMMarkM Posts: 134 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    zero
    Horton
  • skiepskiep Posts: 329 Solid Baller
    No Mark i think i made it ha ha
  • DeanoskiDeanoski Posts: 912 Crazy Baller
    edited November 2019
    My guess is skiers that can ski with a lot knee bend have a big range of dorsiflexion in

    their ankles TW FW

    if you don't flex your ankle and just bend your knees your buttdrops.

    I never tell skiers to bend their Knees water or snow skiing I tell them to bend or flex your ankle

    hips over ankles

    great thread !



    WishskialexSo_I_Ski
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