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Counter-Rotation by Trent Finlayson

HortonHorton Posts: 28,774 Administrator
edited February 2013 in Technique & Theory

Trent
Counter-rotating into the turn is an important part of many skiers' thought processes as they approach their apex. It helps maintain outward direction and skeletal alignment as you near the buoy. The need to actively counter-rotate as you reach the turn however may be a sign of an earlier problem. Ideally, a counter-rotated position is a simple result, not an action.

Where you want to be...
Counter-rotation simply means you have your hips facing to the outside of the turn, and your reach is being directed slightly in front of you (picture Will Asher 1,3,5.) This position however, is the simple result of maintaining your alignment as you leave the second wake. Losing your alignment as you leave the wake will cause you to 'unwind,' open up to the buoy, and take a line that is inside the ideal, widest path possible. Now you will be forced to counter-rotate as a Band-Aid in an attempt to keep a tight line and manage your less-than-optimal path into the turn.

How to get there...
As you leave the second wake, ensure your trailing side remains aligned (concentrate on your trailing elbow's relation to your hip.) This will keep your hips facing outward and keep you on your outward path longer. Maintain your skeletal alignment (shoulders over hips) as your move from cutting edge to turning edge to prevent your upper body from tipping to the inside prematurely. Now, your hips are facing to the outside of the turn and your trailing side is aligned. You are counter-rotated, without counter-rotating.

A long, drawn out counter-rotation is only necessary, and for that matter, only possible if your hips have opened-up and your handle has come to
the inside through your edge change. Instead, focus on holding your position through the transition to your apex. The result will be counter-rotation as a result of a positive outward direction.


 

For more information or to book a clinic with Trent, contact RadaRskis.com

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Comments

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    Interesting... Counter-rotation is the result, not the action.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,097
    edited February 2013
    As was explained to me by Mike Munn........ if you move the handle out with you and then your reach is forward over the buoy(ahead of the rope), the end result is the inside hip and shoulder move forward and you never had to even think about counter. If you have to think about countering by pulling the shoulder back you end up moving the mass the wrong direction.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    MattP
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @ShaneH - can you elaborate on "move the handle out with you" ?
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,097
    If you keep your core engaged with the handle your ski and body move outbound on the same arc as the handle. The second you let the handle move away from the core, the ski takes a different track which is inside the potential arc of the handle. Same thing Trent is talking about.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    MattPSkoot1123
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @ShaneH - OK, yep.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • jedgelljedgell Posts: 352 Baller
    Great discussion, been trying to force it for years. Makes a lot more sense the way Trent and Shane explain it, just need to get my body to do it.
    @ShaneH I used to ski with Mike in the early 2000's at Banana Bend, great guy and coach. Got me from barely running the course at 32 mph thru 28' off at 36.
    Justin Edgell - Bozeman, MT
  • KelvinKelvin Posts: 1,187 Mega Baller
    I understand the concept, now to get my body to do it correctly.
    Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,433 Crazy Baller
    Where is Trent coaching now? Is he still in Texas? I always love his articles and would love to get some coaching from him some day.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,094 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    I think Trent hit it on the head. This concept was the way I learned to naturally counter in my skiing and not to force it like @OB stated. Very well written, short and to the point article. I hope we get to see some more from him!
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Key stuff is in his "how to get there" paragraph. Maintaining position and direction off the second wake with a strong connection to he handle.
    Jim Ross
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,347 Mega Baller
    Hey @MattP. Not trying to bust your b--- here, but haven't you always been a proponent (from your learning from Jody) of your hips facing where your ski is pointing? At what point in your path if your hips are facing where your ski is going are you counter rotating?
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,094 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    @JimBrake no offense taken

    You are correct with what you said with your mass following your ski.

    Trent wrote:
    "Rotation simply means you have your hips facing to the outside of the turn, and your reach is being directed slightly in front of you (picture Will Asher 1,3,5.) This position however, is the simple result of maintaining your alignment as you leave the second wake."

    "How to get there...
    As you leave the second wake, ensure your trailing side remains aligned (concentrate on your trailing elbow's relation to your hip.) This will keep your hips facing outward and keep you on your outward path longer. Maintain your skeletal alignment (shoulders over hips) as your move from cutting edge to turning edge to prevent your upper body from tipping to the inside prematurely. Now, your hips are facing to the outside of the turn and your trailing side is aligned. You are counter-rotated, without counter-rotating.
    "


    How is Jodi's teaching different? "Follow your ski"
    What I learned from Jodi - Skiing in an outbound direction to the buoy line, with your hips facing the direction you are going (maintaining your alignment) therefore when you release the handle, with your hand moving in a forward reach your body and hips are already facing an outward direction. Therefore automatically in a countered position.

    Is that not what Trent wrote?
    "maintaining your alignment as you leave the second wake." "hips facing outward and keep you on your outward path longer. Maintain your skeletal alignment (shoulders over hips)"
  • thompjsthompjs Posts: 542 Solid Baller
    Trent was visiting at SMRR last weekend. I guess he is at Utopia for the moment
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    If I picture an on-side (aka heal-side) turn, while countered as a result of being connected outbound, at some point, the hips are not aligned with, but lagging behind the ski.

    For the sake of this comment, I assume that aligned hips means that a line drawn through my pelvis from hip bone to hip bone is perfectly perpendicular to the line along the length of the ski.
    Now, due to the asymmetrical stance on a slalom hips are never perfectly "aligned" but can be mostly aligned... Still, while rounding the buoy on the on-side turn, the hips are still a bit countered through the turn when compared to the length of the ski. Not that this is a good or bad thing...

    I think the center of mass concepts are at play at this point. The ski is coming around, the hips are still lagging in relationship to alignment and are still countered. However, the hips are also more stacked out of the turn and are leading the center of mass toward the new direction of travel - the upcoming wake crossing.

    With this slightly countered hip posture, the center of mass is stacked and on the inside radius of the ski's path. This allows the ski to complete the turn and transfer turning momentum into initial acceleration momentum at the start of the lean/wake crossing.

    So what!?!? - you might ask. I dunno... I guess during the exit of the second wake, connection is key, which makes your hips point outbound which steers your ski more outbound which results in counter rotation as the ski starts to turn back toward the other direction, which means your hips and ski are not in alignment at that time. But I think that is a good thing at that point in the path of the skier.

    Now the off-side (aka toe-side) turn... I think the asymmetrical stance makes it harder. The efficiency of connected exit resulting in outbound direction and then resulting in counter rotation is compromised by the more closed hips on the off-side turn. Thus, there are different strategies that are successfully used by top skiers on this side of the boat's path. I just don't see many pics /vids showing the "countered" look on the off-side, unless they look overly artificially forced. Something else is at play there.

    Does that negate the value of existing the lean with connected trailing elbow and the value of outbound direction? Nope. Maybe it makes it even more critical on the exit of the good lean and into the off-side turn...

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,347 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    @MattP - I guess I have always interpreted that what you said you learned from Jody (and this is no knock on Jody's skills as a skier or coach, it's just his way of doing things and he does it well) is that your hips always face where the ski is pointed, which to me suggests rotation through the turn, not counter rotation. I think pretty much everyone agrees with maintaining outbound direction by staying connected through the edge change whether you are a point-your-hips-where-the-tip-of-your-ski-is-pointing or you are a keep-your-hips-facing-downcourse type of skier. It's also what you do with your hips behind the boat, through the edge change AND into, through, and out of the turn that defines whether you are counter rotating or rotating. I thought you were a rotater so was surprised to read your support of counter rotaters.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    @jimbrake, great points. I believe its safe to say there are two places where counter-rotation is discussed and debated. Behind the boat (a.k.a. Marcus), and in the turn (actually Marcus counters well here also).From what I can tell, Jodi feels that countering behind the boat and after the second wake (open shoulders), is less preferable than a more closed shoulder approach wherein your shoulders align more with the outbound direction of the ski. It seems less debatable that a countered turn is strived for in either scenario. That is just my read on it but am open to criticism on the assesment.
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,094 Mega Baller
    @jimbake Yes you are correct hips always face where the ski is pointed while this creates "rotation" through the turn there is still a "counter rotation" that is play with the upper body. I have never thought or been told to counter my hips . I am not a keep-your-hips-facing-downcourse kind of skier. That I know, but for me a slight upper body counter that is a result of the body alignment work for me.

    Now that I am sitting here reading his article for like the 15th time I may have completely mis interpreted Trent's article.. I agree with I guess all of it except the hip counter. It may work for some people. Just not the way I learned. It's to much movement back and forth on the ski for me. I have been off the water to long and trying to run through it just in my fogy head hurts my brain.
  • h2odawg79h2odawg79 Posts: 599 Baller
    All I know is; I just want to get back out on the water! =D
    ToddL
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