Building Consistency - Gradual Speed Increase Question

BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 993 Mega Baller
edited July 27 in Technique & Theory
For those of you that had success softening speed for a line length you were trying to learn and (edit) make more consistent, how quickly did you work back up to max speed? For example, did you run the pass once or twice and then creep closer to max or did you get consistent with more than a few passes before increasing? I’m having success with dropping to 33.7 but don’t want to linger there and build a dependency.

(…and I just thought to search the Spraymakers podcast before hitting “post discussion”, sure enough, there is an episode in season 1 that I will have to listen to again. Regardless, I’m still interested in what worked for others.)


  • swbcaswbca Posts: 863 Crazy Baller
    I would advise against practicing a lower speed to build consistency. If you have daily access to practice at the same site, ie you practice alot, the formulation of speed and water density becomes a constant that your technique has adapted to. If you compete you don't want to tease the possibility that tournament conditions are going to be more difficult than your home constant. Having tournament conditions being faster/harder than your home conditions can easily cause you to miss a pass in the tournament that you never miss in practice.

    IMO it better to keep your practice conditions consistently equal or slightly harder than what you might see in a tournament. The benefit you might have with some slow training is minimal and probably won't help your tournament performances. Build consistency with building more strength and improving technique.

    My home course had harder water than typical tournament condition. The average of my tournament scores was higher than the average of my home practice scores. And my tournament PBs were higher than my home PB's. Having tournament condition easier than home conditions also helps offset the nerves of being in competition.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 993 Mega Baller
    @swbca I tend to agree, it’s the same reason I don’t mind skiing in wind. I should have been more clear that I am trying to learn and make the pass consistent (edited above). I have run it more than a dozen times, but the sun needs to be shining on me just right, and a dozen is just not very often.
  • UCFskierUCFskier Posts: 183 Baller
    edited July 27
    if you find yourself in a slump or plateau a slight decrease in speed or a mini section to the line can really help in developing or reestablishing the feeling you are looking for. This does not suggest you become reliant on the change in variable to run the pass rather, it allows time to lock in that feeling.

    do a couple back to backs until it's right then go back to regular speed!
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  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,232 Mega Baller
    A change in speed is a change in like 10 variables because the boat is providing all the energy in the sport. I don't get it, personally. Still, I set my ego aside and tried some soft 33/34 mph passes this year, trying to build consistency at the green loop. So different. Soft boat feel, soft water, ability to get away with so much more at and out of the buoy. Not helpful to me. There are strong opinions on this out there. For me it's not an ego thing- it just isn't helpful to me to basically change the physics of the sport on multiple planes. In snow skiing it would be like changing the mountain tilt, gravity, and snow type at the same time.
  • scokescoke Posts: 815 Crazy Baller
    edited July 27
    90% of the time, bad idea and a band aid. Actually more like a denial tool.

    90% of the time, the slow boat speed is going to mask, negate or soften your fundamentals. Why would you not want to know your fundamental issues are so you could fix them??

    The 10% of the time:
    Say you are trying to build confidence as you get to 5 ball and tightening up then missing the pass? soften it to show yourself the line length is conquerable.

    The above case is rare though.

    In todays society, usually skiers only listen to what they want to hear or are chasing the latest magic ski that some guy runs shortline in his backyard on or are lying to themselves speeding the boat up by 0.1 increments.

    The bottom line, this is a sport of fundamentals. Unfortunately the next pass/line length or speed might not take the same keys to success. Hence, a break down in the fundamentals is always holding us back.
  • UCFskierUCFskier Posts: 183 Baller
    @scoke agreed however, the attainment of fundamentals sometimes requires the modification of variables external to the skier. many sports use this as a means of attaining skills. Not as a crutch or "I beat you" attitude
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  • owennibleyowennibley Posts: 75 Baller
    While everyone has their own idea and what works for them, I see decreasing the speed or using practice mode (in between the speeds) as a hugely beneficial tool. I don't disagree that the different speeds changes multiple variables like @jhughes but the fundamentals stay the same. If a skier is very comfortable running 32 and has rarely or never practiced/ran 34, I think it is very unwise to immediately bump them into 34 because it is so different. Injuries could occur, frustration of not making passes, etc. but bumping them to 32.7 then, 33.3, 33.7, 34.2 is a much safer and gradual process while getting confident for those faster speeds.

    As a coach of an elite sport (mens gymnastics) I just don't tell my students when learning a new (potentially dangerous) skill "go and try it and well see what happens and hope for the best, then we'll make adjustments from there". I won't allow my students to even try a double back flip if they can't do a single back flip. Then there are 100's of drills they could do before they are ready to even attempt a double back flip. Small progression steps give the best possibility for success. One small step at a time, master that progression (or close to mastery) and then move on to the next step. Pretty soon you'll have the new skill or pass. Obviously, the harder the skill or pass, the longer it takes to learn and more precise and consistent the student has to be.

    Heck, I regularly ski the hovercraft at 19mph and it has helped me understand and learn many things that I apply to my 34mph passes.

    Now I'm not an elite skier of even a good skier by any means but to say you shouldn't practice at a slower speeds because it feels different is not an accurate assessment (IN MY OPINION). Each pass builds on the next and going back to a slower speed or longer line lengths allows time to work on the fundamentals, which applies to every speed and length.

    Everyone has their own method and finding out what your specific secret recipe for success is.... now that is the challenge.
  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 993 Mega Baller
    Good stuff. Sure enough, the Spraymakers episode I found was the one I was thinking of. Rossi talked about learning 38 in a month with Schnitz because he dropped his speed to 34.2 and went up in 0.1 mph increments about every other day. That was not the only item, but his rate of speed change addresses the point I was seeking. I definitely don’t want a crutch or mask and when I tried a pass at 32 mph it was way too slow. As @UCFskier said, get a couple and move back up.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,876 Mega Baller
    All lot of professional coaches agree with slowing down the boat a little to help build the fundamentals.
  • UCFskierUCFskier Posts: 183 Baller
    @ColeGiacopuzzi nailed it on the head. This has been used by pros for ever (in all sports!)
    !!!Support companies that support the protection of youth in Waterskiing!!!
  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 993 Mega Baller
    @ColeGiacopuzzi thanks! I did the math, the time difference is only about 0.25 seconds from 34.2, but it’s amazing how that can change a pass. That is, after all, about the time it takes for the brain to recognize a visual stimulus.
  • ColeGiacopuzziColeGiacopuzzi Posts: 567 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @BlueSki One of the other things I was taught from him to is if you’re in mid season and you’re skiing a lot and going down the line a lot, run it every set. It doesn’t matter if you have to drop the speed lower than the last time you ran it. Just run it. We have to get it through our heads that it’s possible and we can do it. it’s just as much mental as it is physical. The more we see it and do it the more we will start to see it fall.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,830 Crazy Baller
    @ColeGiacopuzzi "The idea is the speed change is not enough to mess with your timing, but enough to give you more time and confidence in running the pass"
    For me, and maybe only me, the above statement is an oxymoron. If I get more time, it effects my timing.

    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge

  • ColeGiacopuzziColeGiacopuzzi Posts: 567 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited July 30
    @LeonL if you feel like it’s a affecting your timing a bit then don’t slow the boat down as much.
  • DanoDano Posts: 234 Baller
    Last summer i did exactly as @ColeGiacopuzzi has outlined above to learn -28 and [email protected] I’ll do that same this year and hopefully it will help me get thru -35.
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