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Trailing hips!

crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
edited May 2012 in Technique & Theory
well I had somebody video me yesterday and I have to admit it watching it was terribly painful- I haven't progressed as much as I thought I have. One thing that is consistently bad is that despite my best efforts my hips continue to trail- especially coming out of my offside turn. I know I need to get them up- just having trouble getting it done. Any nuggets of advice you can share with me to help me make it happen? Here's a video of one of my painful "passes" (there's a reason they call me crash)

slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior


  • PeterLascoPeterLasco Posts: 12
    Hey Crashman,

    My best advice is not to change everything at once (you won't make it alive). Before giving to much thought to your hips, try to focus on cutting (not going flat through wakes)-- arms straight, handle as low as possible, chest open to the boat, and aiming to where you want the ski to go. When you feel the cutting is balanced enough, try to focus the the turn... go step by step. Go on YouTube and look for Terry Winter's tutorials for example, or look at Chris Rossi's style, etc.. and try to see what they do and how you can improve your technique with their's (some things will not work for you, but some might help)-- NOT sure if it helps mate.

    P.S. Nice fall
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller

    Try this... Ski an entire run looking completely at the pylon. NEVER take your eyes off it. Start standing between the wakes with your sternum (chest) pointed slightly up to the ski - almost military at attention. Bend your front ankle and feel pressure of your weight on your front foot more than the back one. Now glide out to the side in this position (pull out). Get into the glide in this position, but pull your elbows in tight and squeeze the sides of your vest. All this is to just get your chest up and arms in. Now the fun begins...

    While starting your first lean/wake crossing, think about leaning your shoulders away from the pylon, but point your ski across the wake. Thus, you will be somewhat twisted - feet pointed across the wakes, shoulders open to the boat. Again, keep your chest up, arms in, shoulders open, and eyes on the pylon as you simply lean away from the pylon. You should be in a very "strong" and stacked body position as a result of this. Don't look where you are going. Don't look at the wake, don't look for the buoys. Feel the wake, feel the rhythm, use your peripheral vision to just check proximity to the buoys.

    This open shoulder lean away position is even more beneficial in your offside wake crossing.

    Master this type of wake crossing, then start looking "down lake" during the edge change and throughout the whole turn. For example, while approaching 1 ball, you should be looking at 3 ball and 5 ball down course. Keep looking at them while your ski turns around 1 ball. Feel the ski complete the turn and feel the lean start on its own. Once the lean starts go back into the "look at the pylon" position. As you approach 2 ball, again look down course at 4 and 6. Keep your eyes up and looking down coarse as you round two ball. Don't look down at the buoy you are rounding. Feel it and only use your peripheral vision for confirmation. Keeping your head up during the edge-change and turn will keep your chest up.

    All of this will help your hips significantly. The next thing you can add is to think about pushing your legs a little straighter when you are leaning. That will help, too.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,736 Administrator
    edited May 2012
    First of all do not feel bad about the video. EVERYONE hates to see them selves ski.

    Second try all of what you read here and use the idea that clicks ...s

    My take ... try to be tall. It sounds crazy but straighten your back leg and get your chin as far from your feet as you can.

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  • Ntq206Ntq206 Posts: 78 Baller
    try to be tall. It sounds crazy but straighten your back leg and get your chin as far from your feet as you can.
    @horton - oooh I really like this.
    This thought process resonates well with me. I can visualize this. I just finished my last set of the weekend, but I'm going to definitely try to apply this next time on the water.

  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,736 Administrator
    @Ntq206 take video in case it is a really bad idea

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,736 Administrator
    Seriously you can not drop your hips unless your back leg is bent more than your front leg. Try it....
    Well ok on the dock you can force your hips back by bending both knees but no one does that on the water.

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  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    nice! I think I've found what I'm looking for but I'll get back to you when I post the "after" video later this season.

    I'm trying to look at the bright side this AM- I'm making full passes at -15 and yet have so many opportunities for improvement. And no I don't usually fall like that I just figured if I'm going to post a video and ask for free coaching I should at least entertain you while doing it!
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller

    I feel for you buddy!

    As my name suggests I have been struggling with the same issue for a number of years. I have spent years having short spells with my skiing when everything goes well, when I can get stacked and make reasonable offside turns and my bouy count goes way up and then bang! its all gone and I can feel myself being dragged around the lake unable to get free of the boat and get my hips up again. The trouble is I've never really been able to isolate what it is that makes the difference.

    However, I had some great coaching in April and a few small things have finally sunk in to my little brain and seem to be working.

    The first and most glaring thing I see in your video is that you start your turn in for the gates with your shoulders - this just leaves your hips behind you and once you get under load in that position it is just impossible to get your hips up and carry out any direction to 1 ball- in effect you are now just a passenger and the problem will stay with you all the way down course.

    In my experience, you should just try and keep it as simple as possible by doing the following:
    Stand tall and "in line"on the balls of your feet, stay over the balance point of the ski - getting your hips up does not mean leaning back!!
    When you make a move- either pulling out for the gate or turning in just concentrate on moving your hips forward and over the side of the ski where you want to go first (alternatively just think of starting the turn with your feet) . The important bit is to ensure that you start all your movements with your feet or hips and that you do not fall backwards on the ski. Your shoulders and upper body must not start any movement or lead at any time. Try to keep your shoulders level and open (pointing directly down course) for as long as possible -you could think about holding your outside shoulder back.

    The important thing to remember is that you cannot get your hips up by trying to get your hips up- it just does not work like that. Think about separating your lower body from your upper body and staying "in line" and over your feet at all times.

    If you do this correctly, then you will swing out fast and light with your hips connected to the handle, you will be tall and free and remember why you fell in love with this daft sport in the first place!!

    Good luck and keep the faith.

  • skihartskihart Posts: 531 Solid Baller
    Crashman, that was a good wipe out. We all have been there so no worries...

    Now I am no expert by any stretch but I have had a lot of success helping skiers get there hips up by having them ski drill whips. If you go to youtube and type in Seth Stisher drill whips you can see exactely what I am talking about.

    I think the key is the fact that you are freeskiing and are NOT letting go of the handle allows a skier to focus on the proper motion required to lead with your hips. Your eyes should never leave the boat at anytime either, this will keep you open to the boat. Keep the handle low and as Horton says, STAY TALL. Start by not skiing very wide and then build as you go.

    I still do this at various line lengths to get my body in a rythm, and get some muscle memory. Most people who I have got doing this, sucessfully can follow it up with great passes in the course.

    Give it a try it may help ya.

  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,809 Mega Baller
    Another "simple key" to try out is:

    Arms relaxed and straight; hanging your upper body's weight from the rope.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Agree with @Horton -- video shows all of our bad habits! I especially don't like watching myself in slow mo. If you think you look OK at regular speed, slow it down and get ready to cry!
    Jim Ross
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    what's better than video? Freeze frames! @Horton look at my rear leg/knee bend and the difference between the 2 sides. I've also convinced myself that if I straighten the back leg a bit I'll have an easier time squaring myself to the course. Based on the last frame I think I'll be shopping for a handle guard.
    Thanks for all the tips- best site ever!
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • brooksbrooks Posts: 209 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @crashman, you're not that far off, a lot of the things you do look okay. by seeing the video it looks as if you lead with your shoulders going cross course. it makes sense in our minds to drive toward the next bouy since that is the direction you are headed. I would like to see you use your shoulders to drive away from the boat. Think of your ski being the leverage point and your body driving away from that spot. By doing this you will actually give yourself more cross course speed and be in a more balance postion on your ski. Using your shoulders to drive cross course forces your hips behind so you feel balanced, if you think about being shoulders over hips, over feet and driving away you allow yourself to be taller and in more control of the moves you make.
  • brooksbrooks Posts: 209 Open or Level 9 Skier
    just read @hipsup and his comments, good stuff he says too, actually just read everyones and they have great suggestions!
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,247 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 2012
    Two centavos...

    IMHO...Hips trailing is a symptom...not the actual problem.

    A wise waterskier once told me that you can't do two things at once when waterskiing. You are either turning, or pulling....not both.

    I believe that trailing hips are a symptom of failing to complete the turn when you start the pull. Your hips have to be skied back to the handle in order to start pulling in a stacked position.

    If you begin pulling in an unstacked position the boat will pull your arms and torso forward. The result is trailing hips or an OTF.

    In order to make all of this work, I also believe that you need to keep both hands on the handle to initiate the edge change AND (read Bruce Butterfield's article on handle control) that in the pre-turn you need to glide outbound on your inside edge, elbows tucked in.

    That sets up a patient and complete turn...which leads to a stacked pull, which leads to a great edge change...blah, blah, blah....
  • scuppersscuppers Posts: 458 Baller
    @Jordan Thanks! This is very helpful to me.
    Chuck Link, Deland Florida
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    I would like to thank everybody for their input and suggestions, especially @brooks for the kind words and not suggesting that I cut up my ski for firewood and donate my gloves to a homeless person at the north pole! I'm hoping to hook up with you sometime for some coaching! Can't wait to get back at it this weekend and put some of this to work. I'm going to ski through the course a few times in front of the buoys and just work on position.
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    Nice skiing!!! You can't get your hips up by trying to get them up!!!!! Getting the hips up is a "RESULT" of executing a few other techniques!

    "Trailing with the hips" means that you are also "leading with the shoulders!!!". So actually you need to be "leading more with the hips" and "trailing more with the shoulders" so to speak.

    To accomplish this, need a "low anchor point" as mentioned by Trent F in his BOS article.

    As Horton mentioned standing tall is great!!! Because of body mechanics, by standing tall you will automatically move your hips forward and will be more centered and stacked on the ski. So standing tall is a great tip!

    However if you stand tall and your arms are separated from your vest, your are going to have a "high anchor point" and you will receive the pull of the boat through the shoulders and you will once again be trailing with your hips and leading with your shoulders.

    So standing tall will help but it is not the most important fundamental technique that you will need to execute to break this bad habit.

    Here are couple more ideas......

    - Lock the elbows/(back of the arms) to the vest with the arms totally straight. As a result, this will ensure a "low anchor point".

    This will keep the handle low and in the pocket/power triangle. If the elbows/arms are locked to the vest when you receive the pull of the boat,..this will automatically pull your hips up and allow the shoulders to fall back into a strong pulling position!

    -chest out - by getting the chest out, this will automatically move the hips forward and will move the shoulders back and allow you to fall into a strong pulling position!

    Here is a youtube video describing what I am talking about!
  • matthewbrownmatthewbrown Posts: 480 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @crashman...Dude, I think every slalom tip that has ever been invented was just thrown out at you in this thread. Did someone steal the cliff notes from a two week long Chet Raley clinic??
    Dont get me wrong, quite a few great points in this thread, but how in the world are you going to know what to start with first? Surely you wont be able to go out and apply all this knowledge at once, in fact my head is about to explode and I'm now not sure if I'll be able to run my opener tomorrow.
    Since everyone is saying relatively the same thing in perhaps different ways, maybe a different take on things would be beneficial, or at least a starting point. If you have a starting point, then you can build. I think @hipsup has a great point.
    You are starting your gate cut with your shoulders rotated towards the wakes, but no one has told you why you are doing this, other then you are not in alignment or you are not holding on with two hands long enough or your shoulders are not square enough, or you need to ski around to the handle. Well, once you find the cause, then you can make adjustments which will put you in a greater position to execute all the the techniques you have heard on this thread.
    Bottom line, it's very hard to get into proper position/alignment when you pull out so early for your gates. Judging by your skiers path, you are hanging out there for nearly the full 55m setup, with handle away, shoulders uneven and leaning to the inside without lower body support. My advice before you do anything else:

    1. pull out later for your gates to get free of the boat, allowing your shoulders to be level and square down course
    2. everytime you let go with one hand at the buoy your inside shoulder dips(much more then it does on your two handed gate turn). Perhaps at this point in the game you should try two handed turns at each buoy with the emaphasis on keeping your shoulders level and facing the boat.

    Keep it simple to start with, then gradually work these other techniques into your wheel house.

    and @skiing2heaven wrote "Trailing with the hips" means that you are also "leading with the shoulders!!!". So actually you need to be "leading more with the hips" and "trailing more with the shoulders" so to speak."

    Leading with the hips??
    I suggest you watch the Drew Ross video on here, another rightee like you, at no point in the acceleration phase was he "leading with his hips" in fact you can see that on a couple of turns the hips try to get out in front of his shoulders, and the ski briefly looses acceleration but he quickly corrects this and crushes a 39 like it was 32 off
    [Deleted User]
  • matthewbrownmatthewbrown Posts: 480 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @skiing2heaven you did say "leading more with the hips" I think I interpreted that wrong. I think you meant "more" then he is currently doing---my bad
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    well I went out yesterday for a 4 set outing- beautiful day and beautiful weather. Not sure if I skied better but I know I skied differently because my biceps and upper shoulders aren't as sore as usual.

    @skiing2heaven great that you chimed in. For the last 2 weeks the guy I ski with has been saying "there's some dude from North or South Dakota- you need to watch his videos" I watched them a few times Friday night and tried to put some of it to use. You are correct sir that I cannot get my hips up no matter what I do if I take the load of the boat before I'm in good position. Yesterday I also started to realize things like "I just got separated from the handle and when I pulled it towards me all that happened was that I pulled my torso forward and flattened out the ski" I worked mostly on the gate and had a few times when it worked fantastically- but your videos you show moving the handle out in front and then back to the hip as you turn in for the gate. It seemed to work a lot better when I kept the handle down the whole time and I think it's because it's like @mattewbrown said if I'm not free of the boat and I move the handle in front of me I'm toast from the beginning.

    Matt I think I must be slalom stupid or something because if I try to focus on more than one or two concepts per set I end up working on nothing at all. I limited it yesterday to "stand proud before the gate, elbows locked to vest, stay on handle longer." I like your idea of staying on the handle the whole time- I might give that a try next time out. I was surprised when I watched my video how early I'm coming off the handle, but I think it's because I'm generating so much load while being out of position that the boat just naturally pulls me forward.

    well I know a whole lot more about my skiing than I did a week ago- and now I know I can't get to the next level by just skiing harder. Hope I can get this all to translate into more buoys and of course more fun!
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,736 Administrator
    @matthewbrown = voice of reason


    I believe in finding as many ways to say the same thing as possible so you can find the ONE that clicks. In the end you need to find the ONE thing that makes sense to you and obsess on it for weeks. Weeks of skiing with no other ideas in your head.

    A few years ago I realized what the one thing was that was most fundamentally wrong with my skiing. I focused on nothing else for almost a whole season. Now I am a different skier. I wish I knew the ONE thing that would make the difference today because I would do the same thing again.

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  • thagerthager Posts: 5,046 Mega Baller
    The only way I can work on something and make it stick is to get away from the little orange balls. Free-ski free-ski free-ski......!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
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