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Nate Smith says ...

ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 989 Mega Baller
edited February 2012 in Technique & Theory
" ... I want my shoulders, hips and everything else facing down course - square with the boat."

The photo (WSM P64-65) shows his onside pull, and he's doing what he says there. See attached picture of his offside. Not as "square with the boat".

I'm not arguing with what the mans says because what he's doing obviously works. But you clearly cannot implement this as well on your offside pull as your onside pull. For me this created asymmetry in the course. I had a deadly onside pull followed by a horrible offside pull.

I skied with Jodi Fisher and he tried to get me to keep my hips more pointed in the direction of the ski. Lots of things got better when I started concentrating on that. You just can't get in the same position on your offside pull as you can on your onside pull.

What are your thoughts on this?

image
Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
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Comments

  • Chuck_DickeyChuck_Dickey Posts: 1,462 Crazy Baller
    That's typical of the Offside. Teaching methods are not the same for all of us. Jody is a great coach, but so's Terry Winter and Marcus Brown and Chet Raley. Find a style you like and get coaching from that guy or others with a similar style.

    Teaching evolves like equipment evolves.

    Nate looks pretty square for an offside cut!
  • WishWish Posts: 7,858 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Looks squareish to me. Contrast his shirt and vest helps see this. But like Chuck said typical. It's an asymmetrical sport. But Nate makes it look semetrical.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,143 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm not very flexible and it's worsening w/age, so I really can't ski "square" esp on my offside. Given my limitations I try to emulate CP (more or less poorly) and pick up some technical bits from watching pros that I might be able to apply.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Chuck_DickeyChuck_Dickey Posts: 1,462 Crazy Baller
    @6balls

    Yoga yoga yoga!
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,428 Crazy Baller
    Word. I just started doing yoga about three months ago and it has already made a huge difference. You find out that you were even less flexible than you thought! Especially in the shoulders. But every session reveals new improvement.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,883 Administrator
    You have to be careful reading a few lines from a short article and thinking you really understand what Nate or any elite skier thinks.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,883 Administrator
    I would call Nate and ask him but Krista told me that he has already spoken his 7 words for the month.

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  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,061
    edited February 2012
    My thought is you've got to ski in the manner which works for your physiology. Trying to ski like a given Elite pro has led more people down the wrong path than ZO ever will. You can't fit a square peg in a round hole. That's why I had to laugh every time I saw Mr Marking talk about his new "pro skier x" style and how he was practicing it over and over and we should too. Like all of a sudden he was going to go out and clean 39 1/2 off just because he was emulating someone else. Even if you completely emulated Nate or MB or CP, you're not going to ski to like them. Because you're not them.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,061
    Right! Ask Nate where he changes edges and I bet he can't tell you. It just happens.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 801 Crazy Baller
    I've had some conversations with Jody about the same topic. He is very firm in his belief that your belly button should be pointed in the direction of the skis travel (i.e. not open to the boat). I enjoy Jody and his coaching style, but his voice seems to be in the minority - which doesn't make him wrong, obviously since he employs it himself (and his regular students) with great results. It's just harder for me to implement b/c when I leave his site many are giving the opposite message.
    Anthony Warren
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,007 Mega Baller
    edited February 2012
    As someone who skis with Jodi regularly I agree his philosophy is "in the minority" but it is just another way to do something. "There is more than one way to skin a cat" as well as ski the course you just need to find one that works for you and your skiing style. His students are some of the best in the world. Delfi(U21 champion), Lauren Morgan(Moomba Champion), Brent Tripplet, Me (just kidding), the list goes on oh and he has won many events and world titles with this style it works for him.
    I personally believe it works for me for the most part. But I am a believer in taking small things from different coaches to create your own style of skiing. I have never said I am going to do a Rossi gate or a Jodi turn. I am going to do my gate, my turn with inspired techniques or tips from Rossi or Jodi that I have created into my own to fit my style of skiing.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,476 Mega Baller
    edited February 2012
    Building on what others have said above: What you are "trying to do" is not necessarily exactly what you end up doing.

    Because us silly human types cannot robotically control every muscle in our bodies to do exactly what we want, sometimes we have to aim for something that is a bit of an exaggeration of the real goal. That's even true of outliers like Nate.

    I would contend that even Nate is almost never completely square to the boat. But clearly he find that he needs to aim for that in order to get in the position he wants to be in.

    The way MY brain works, if I focus solely on squaring, I end up in a really weird position. But if I start with belly button pointing in direction of travel, and THEN get as square as I comfortably can from there, things feel great. I'm sure some others would end up hideously twisted if they tried to think of it in that way.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,149 Mega Baller
    When "west coast" was coming on the scene, I tried to keep my chest open to the boat more and rotate under my hips with the ski. I ran a couple 35's after working with Brandon Bucher a few rounds at a clinic, but ended up not skiing for a week with a sore back.

    I was always a " point your ____" where you're going kind of guy and found on my onside I can more easily stay open but not on my offside.

    I like counter rotate in preturn and need to try some of the newer theory on gates. I do counter just before my turn to the gates, but I think I am too soon on my turn in.

    Pick up what works for you.
    [Deleted User]
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 989 Mega Baller
    I asked for opinions because I've heard and tried both. I agree that being coached or told to do something, even if physically impossible, may be a good coaching technique. I think that is the case with rotate, specifically hips, down coarse or toward the boat when crossing the wakes. I just don't think it's physiologically possible. Even the photos of Nate's offside his hips are only slightly rotated toward the boat from the direction his ski is pointed. I would love for someone to post a photo of a skier on offside pull behind the boat who's hips are truly pointed square down coarse.

    I've given up on trying to get my hips pointed down coarse on my offside, however appealing the idea might be. I can't do it now and don't think I ever could. I like the idea of trying to be symmetrical, holding a position I can get into on both sides.

    I try to get good coaching several times a year. It's the best money you can spend skiing IMHO. I always learn something when I get coaching, even if it's what I don't want to do.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,883 Administrator
    however appealing the idea might be
    Why is this appealing? I think T$ says that your pelvis should be pointed in the same direction as the tip of your ski.

    (T$ if I screwed that up... sorry dude)

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  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,118
    I agree it is very hard to get the hips open on the offside. However, the more "Force" you use to twist the hips [ COM ], in the direction of travel, the more angle and acceleration you will experience.

    Keep in mind that the Ski is "Stupid." It doesn't know if you are WC, New or Old School, closed or open. All the ski knows is it "Reacts" to WEIGHT SHIFT.....and the force you exert to Open more is an excellent form of Weight Shift.
    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 989 Mega Baller
    @Horton, appealing because it works so well on my on side. If I could get my hips pointed down course on my offside I think it would be awesome, but I can't.

    Why do some (Jodi and others) say hips should be pointed in the same direction as the tip of your ski? I think it's because that's about the best you can do on your offside. When I try to get my hips pointed down course on my offside I do all kinds of weird (bad) things.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
  • Nick SullivanNick Sullivan Posts: 676 Baller
    Man this is good timing for this thread. I have been struggling implementing Jodi's technique since I got back from skiing with him. I have to constantly be thinking about keeping squared up to the ski instead of the boat and I work on this as I enter the course and as I leave the exit balls. I can honestly say I think my skiing has improved since skiing with Jodi and this is becoming more and more natural to me.

    He also was big about driving that back knee forward so I keep it tucked up close to my front knee. This seems to have helped me stay centered or balanced on the ski and has probably been the biggest improvement I think I have made since getting back.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,007 Mega Baller
    edited February 2012
    Having your hips open allow uneven distributed weight to the back/tale of the ski, thus making you plow and go slower loosing cross course angle. Keeping your COM moving in the direction of the ski. Having your hips and shoulders square to the ski allows you to have very even sides to the course.

    Here is an example: If you are at square to the ski and turn at 1 ball with some rotation lets say 30° you only have to move 30° to get back square to cross the course and be set up in the same way you were for 1 at 2. At 2 you have a rotation of 30° as well then you only have to move the 30° back get alined square with the ski.
    If you open your hips to the boat starting in the turn lets say you are a lefty and skiing out of 1 going to two with a strong counter and hips open to the boat you could be at what 60° from center (hips square being 0 in direction of the skis travel). So you are at 60° from square to the right coming into two ball you have to counter on the next turn so you have to move the 60° to get back to 0 or square then have to move to a negative degree on your off side turn lets say you can counter your hips and shoulders 30° thats a movement of 60° to center then another 30° on your counter. This is a ton of movement and a total of 90° on your ski that is really not needed ( in my opinion) if you ski square you only have to move a little each time and get a very even ride in the course instead of a really strong onside and a different weaker off side turn. Skiing square gives you the ability to have two identical turns and cross course posture.
    (I have no idea about the degree numbers but you get the picture.)

    Skiers like Marcus,Terry, JB learned how to keep their weight evenly distributed at a young age before skiing with the style they do now. They keep their wight distributed and hips mostly open but their hips, shoulders and body are moving in the direction of travel centered over the middle of their ski, not falling back onto and ridding the tale of the ski. Most people who pick up or try the "west coast" style already do not know how to properly stand on their ski. This makes it 10x's harder to figure out why this style is not working when the skiing they were doing before was not working either because they were not standing/distributing their weight in the right way or effectively. They try to implement this "style" after reading a 250 word article in WSM. There is no way to properly convey a skiing style in such a short article or articles( I know there have been many over the years). Things get lost in editing, and in how you(the reader) translate the article. I have been there tried that. I now just go straight to the source. It took these skiers years to develop their own "style" and it is still developing daily. How could they even begin to explain it in just a few words. I think "West coast" is one of the most un-understood and misinterpreted theories in slalom. Skiers assume they know how to do it from reading an article or having a friend tell them. There are skiers out there who make this work for them. Thats great, I can see how it works but it does not fit my personal style or ski theory.

    Get some pro coaching people! It can't hurt you! It stuns me the amount of people in this sport who say that they do not need coaching because they do not compete or are not advanced enough. Or that they have someone at their lake who can run some short line so they listen to him. Not just anyone can coach or explain it in a why that can be understood by others. My favorite is we do not have a cousre and we ski on open water. We all started there! Open water is a skiers home just slashing turns. Yes we like our private sites but getting out on the open water still is fun. I did many clinics this summer with Jodi on open water and the skiers there loved it. They got better in open water. Coaching is for everyone period. Even the PROS have coaches. Look at CP he goes to Lucky. Drives me crazy when people tell me coaching is not for them. If you want to learn @marcusbrown s style or just something to get your own style working better for you get him to your lake he travels. You want to learn from Jodi go see him in Orlando, or he will travel to you! www.jodisskiskool.com

    Thats my rant for the night. Hopefully it make some sort of crazy since. Writing at 3am.. I should proof this in the morning. Who knows if I even wrote it in english...

    @marcusbrown you can chime in and let me know if I totally butchered this?

    @Triplett what to chime in about @Sully s question?

    I may have just totally hijacked this thread. Sorry @Ski6Jones
  • SethskiSethski Posts: 133 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I love this thread because it really proves the idea that there are many ways to do it as several of you stated. I like the comment about the ski being "dumb" as well. The goal is for you to do several things in the power phase in my opinion:

    1-effect pressure on the cutting edge of the ski in a balanced fashion such that the ski "stores" energy as you approach the wakes.
    2-keep your mass moving so that you limit "wasted" load on the rope.
    3-do these things from a position that allows you to maintain your direction and position as the ski moves through the centerline of the wakes in order to advance outbound without having your upper body immediately release to the inside of the optimum handle path (this is one of the many reasons that most people try to limit loading their down shoulder to the point that it is not maintainable through the transition).

    This is done in many different ways by many different skiers. If you are less efficient in this phase you are forced to become more efficient in other phases in order to make up the difference. The physical movements in water skiing should not be based on plain and simple rules. Different skiers have different bodies, different levels of experience, different mind-sets, and different aptitudes and ineptitudes. For this reason we all may execute things in a little different manner. The key is to find the most efficient way for each particular skier (for you) to accomplish the task of running the course.

    Jodi says it differently than Chet, and Chet says it differently than the next guy, but they all have proven results to support their efficacy as coaches as MattP pointed out. I personally think that each skier has to be assessed in order to decide what methods can work best for them.

    Just my personal philosophy. Oh, and have fun doing it too...
    Seth Stisher
    SethStisher.com for water ski training and all of your gear needs!

    "Follow your passion by pursuing your goals within that passion at all costs!"
    [Deleted User]
  • TriplettTriplett Posts: 209 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    This a great thread. I would have to agree with what Seth has said as well as Matt. I have worked, and work extensively with Jodi on this idea of getting squared up to the ski, not the boat. With my experience of getting instruction from many different coaches, I would have to agree Jodi's philosophy is in the minority from everything I have heard before and, in a way, against what I learned from Rossi at a young age. I do believe the answers are in physics and physiology.

    The more center you are the more symmetrical the sport can be. I know we have an on side and off side but the goal is to make them the same. This is where I believe Jodi's philosophy make the most sense. As @mattP said two posts up the more center you are the easier it is to rotate. In the students we have had at Jodi's school this is the biggest thing and most common thing we have worked on and they move to this more neutral position the easier they say it is.

    Pretty much all this boils down to what @sethski has put, the rotation just make it all easier and more symmetric, so we all can look like Nate when we ski.

    Now to touch on @Sully s comment about tucking the back knee more. This has to do with the rotation of the hips as well. The more rotation you have of the back leg the harder it is to rotate the hips to the 0 degree position, it also helps quiet down movement and just overall stay more connected.

    Good coaching is the key to success in this sport no matter the level! There are plenty of awesome tips here in this forum but whenever you can get a chance go to a ski school. These are better than day clinics, we have more time to help you with any problems, a day, a lot of time, just isn't enough. And you get to vacation. I, of course, would say come to Orlando and see Jodi and myself, but Seth is awesome, Jacks is great, Swiss, etc. the list goes on and on.
    Brent Triplett - Michigan
    [Deleted User]
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 801 Crazy Baller
    I would add two more points...

    1 - I think Jodi would say that most, if not all, West Coast (or whatever term you want to apply) skiers originally learned the traditional method then changed after they learned the fundamentals of staying balanced on the ski.

    2 - In our current poll, Chris Parrish is the clear winner as to the one pro that we would like to ski more like, and I believe that he skis "square to the ski" - so maybe WSM should do a contrasting article?
    Anthony Warren
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,308 Mega Baller
    Ed Johnson - right.
    Matt P - wrong (facing the boat does not distribute your weight back it moves it forward).
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,061
    A skier who opens their hips to the boat MUST employ more ankle and knee bend in order to keep their weight distribution nuetral as the body tends to rotate onto the back foot otherwise. More so on the offside.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,822 Mega Baller
    I just wanted to offer a possible explanation for the comment "Coach A's method works for this list of successful skiers"...

    Consider the likelihood that certain skiers who will excel by a particular method eventually associate themselves as students of a coach who excels in teaching that method.

    I truly believe that a coach can choose an infinite number of ways to describe a particular change for a student to make, but there will be one of those descriptions that "clicks" for that student.

    Also, as stated above, what the skier thinks he or she is doing (coaching words) and what he or she is actually doing (physical change) are often not the same. Thus, success comes from the actual physical changes which may be a variation of the words used to describe them. For that student, those words make him or her make the correct physical change to generate improvements. The coach's words must match up with student's interpretation to illicit an associated physical change with is perceived as an improvement. When those things are all optimally matched up, we have success.

    So...
    Right Words from the Right Coach to the Right Student to get the Right Action to get the Right Result.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,308 Mega Baller
    @ShaneH (and MattP) - I'm not saying you can't move your mass while being square to the ski (facing where the ski is going), but your statements that having hips open to the boat puts weight on the back foot is wrong. Look at the pic of Nate above. Look at his left hip. Rotating his hips open towards the boat move COM FORWARD (towards the left). Weight transfer forward is the primary reason for even doing this at all. Could you rotate hips and distribute weight back? Yes, it is possible, but not likely. Do your standard dry-land lean drill with your hips facing where your feet are pointed. Rotate your hips open and feel where your weight distributes.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • Mateo_VargasMateo_Vargas Posts: 853 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'd rather hear what @ctsmith says.
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
  • ctsmithctsmith Posts: 281 Baller
    edited February 2012
    Me too.
  • TriplettTriplett Posts: 209 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I like where this is going. I was talking to a student today about this subject.

    If you stay in the direction of your ski your weight will be even, I think we have established this, but we all keep referencing the video of Nate above. Jodi and I watched the video multiple times and the hips are NEVER open to the boat in the pull. Being this is 38off at 58kph it is really fast and your really need to slow it down to see what is happening. You see the hips open up during the edge change, which is pretty much necessity. From what we saw he is in the neutral position, for the most part through the wakes.

    Now back to have this make more sense on why having this position is the best. In every sport we have the athletic position, knees over ankles in a stable position. When in this stance nothing can knock you down, it is super stable. Now move your back foot behind your front without moving your position. You end up with a good amount of hip flexion and square hips. Now standing in the slalom stance you are solid, not much can knock you down. Now "open" up as you would to the boat and all of a sudden you are slightly off balance, the smallest disruption will cause you fall, this can equate to your ski searching for edges. Acceleration and so on will be greater, you will ski easier and so on. If you study the top athletes in this sport you will see they are either exactly in this position or nearly there.
    Brent Triplett - Michigan
    [Deleted User]
  • ralral Posts: 1,712 Mega Baller
    No comments needed...

    image
    Nate.jpg 345.8K
    Rodrigo Andai
    [Deleted User]
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