Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

12" White Stickers
BallOfSpray $5 Donation
BallOfSpray $10 Donation

A small insight into "trailing arm pressure"

Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
edited July 2012 in Technique & Theory
Continuing to try to wrap my own head around Jamie's lessons, and maybe help somebody (or hurt somebody!) as a result:

As far as relatively advanced skiers go, I've always been very clueless about this arm pressure thing. Yesterday my eyes were opened a bit. I don't "understand" yet, as I haven't even tried this on the water, but I learned something.

He showed me an on-land demonstration that was very interesting. When slightly past the (virtual) centerline, if you allow the leading arm to "give in" a bit and take most of the load on your trailing arm, it rotates your HIPS.

A LOT. (At least in my case.)

I did not know that. Try it and see what happens with your body.

So transfering the pressure to the trailing arm after the centerline has a cascading effect. First, it causes your hips to become more square to the rope. That rotates your ski's direction a little. And that should make it almost impossible to try to take the wrong angle (e.g. aiming too wide). AND it assures that the change of direction that Jamie was advocating after the centerline (see my other thread) is happening on a tight line, because it is being initiated BY the pull of the rope.

For those of us with a tendency to have our hips too closed after the centerline, this could be a great "trick" to get into the right body position.

Sure seems to make sense -- we'll see if I can make it work on the water!
Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan


  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,188
    The place this is visually evident is going through the Gates. Adding the back arm pressure causes you to twist left, however, the ski will increase edge angle and go more to the right. Works great !!!!
    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,349 Mega Baller
    Ed - I agree with you, but I think what you are saying is the opposite of what Than is saying regarding the effect of trailing arm pressure on the hips. The hip "rotation" caused by trailing arm pressure does not rotate the ski and cause it to lose angle as Than is saying, but actually transfers weight forward and causes the ski to hold or grab more angle. And by "back arm" going through the gates it sounds as if you mean trailing or left arm. Correct?
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,232 Mega Baller
    Than is right on. I watched Kerry McClure ski a few weeks ago and thought she did an excellent job at it. You could see her hips change rather dramatically right after the second wake.

    It only makes sense. If you keep pressure on your right hand going to one ball, it will eventually shorten your path. The longest arc would be in the left hand which lets you ski away from the handle path in the widest arc.

    I try to do it, and occasionally feels like I am getting it, but then the darn buoys take my mind off of it.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    Well, it would be no surprise if I still do not get this concept at all.

    But let me try to add some additional info:

    1) The exact thing he did with me on shore was to say "give me this arm" pointing to my leading arm (right one going toward one ball). Relieving the pressure on that arm resulted in a significant rotation of my hips to more square to the rope, which is exactly where he wanted me to be to be able to ride the arc outbound while maintaining connection to the handle.

    2) This applies only after the centerline. He didn't talk to me much about what I was doing before the centerline, I think because he thought I had much bigger problems after the centerline.

    3) He very much did not want me to be adding angle away from the boat after the centerline. His biggest point of emphasis with me was that I was aiming for "an impossible path" at -38, with the result that my ski was forcibly separated from the handle after the centerline, taking me off balance and causing DEceleration (since I'm not well-connected and the handle is the only source of acceleration available).

    Note that I have not yet had a chance to apply this on the water. While on the water, the only thing he had me do was just point my ski more toward the buoy. As odd as that sounded at first, I figured I should listen to a guy who is 3+ passes ahead of me, and boy did it work. The pass seemed so slow and under control, and I was working much less but getting wider! Of course, I still managed to choke out of 5, but boy was I sold on the technique.

    This thing with the arm pressure was a further detail that we discussed on shore afterward.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,434 Crazy Baller
    Best topic for dyslexics ever.
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,434 Crazy Baller
    I've gotten contradictory advice regarding this issue. Some say maintain pressure on your trailing arm (left going to one ball) and this spring Jodi Fisher told me to maintain pressure on my right arm going to one ball (leading?). Then there has been the idea that you come out of the turn with pressure on your trailing arm (left going to one) and as you cross the wakes you begin applying more pressure to your right arm.

    At my level maintaining any type of pressure seems to be beneficial, but I honestly don't know what to think now.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    Heh, just to add to the confusion, what Jamie was telling me is exactly opposite to the last sentence of @jipster43's 1st paragraph: He wants me to have more of the pressure on my right arm as I pull out and turn-in and enter the course, then switch to more on the left arm after the centerline.

    The changes occur only at the centerline. For example, the pressure would be more on the left arm for the entire arc out to and back in from one. Then more on the right arm for the entire arc out to and back in from two. Repeat.

    Also, I *think* this concept only applies to very short-line skiing, although he never specifically said that. It all ties in with running the path that makes sense with the geometry, rather than aiming for an impossible path.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • GaryWilkinsonGaryWilkinson Posts: 351 Solid Baller
    Great thread Nat. But let me try and simplify cuz most people use that when describing me anyway!

    Jamie says to, after the centerline, lay off pull (pressure) on the right arm going to odd number balls. And vice-versa. This will in turn cause or should I say allow, the Hips to rotate ccw and simply initiate the turn for the ball that early while maintaining speed and outbound inertia wider in the course.

    I must say it sounds so counter intuitive. Anyhow, the thing to keep in mind I guess is that all the work really is done before the boat wake plume and that work done,energy you've created, inertia that you carry, has to be enough to get you out to the next buoy while doing a longer controlled deceleration and turn. If you don't lay off leading arm pressure, your hips stay too far out, ski stays to angled too long, you edge too far carrying too much speed and not enough time and space to slow down for a controlled, tight line turn? Am I missing anything ? I admit I have to try it on the water for sure. But really is it as simple as laying off a bit with the arm to allow a more square hips position to the rope thus easing the carry out and turn at the ball?

    I must have watched Nate Smith video that Brent posted about 20+ times in the last 24 hrs marveling at the ease he goes through line lengths that I struggle with and I'm sure pull twice as hard on, -28', -32'
    I slowed it down frame by frame and you can really see how he lets up almost before the 2nd wake and sets up the next turn (and buoy) by changing his edge early, decelerating while moving taller, and putting more weight on his front foot.

    Another thing I noticed is that he throws his hips, core and legs forward when he takes the hit from the boat as to absorb the pull in a more aligned athletic position.

    Am I close Nathaniel?

    Smith's skiing really is magic n'est pas?
    I need to ski back to the handle obviously.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,349 Mega Baller
    Than - I don't disagree with using trailing arm pressure or that trailing arm pressure when going towards 1/3/5 will cause your hips to rotate ccw. I disagree with what you are saying happens as a result of that hip rotation. Anyway....not sure it's worth going over it again. Last time I did, it killed a thread (don't remember the title) which tells me that readers were either flummoxed by what I wrote or didn't really care. Could you explain what you mean by "hips more square to the rope"? Thanks. I've skied with Jamie before, too, and he told me some of the same things that you related in your first post.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • 94009400 Posts: 632 Crazy Baller
    I have found that things I discussed with Jamie took me years to understand.
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 411 Solid Baller
    Than, what does Jamie says about boot rotation (i.e. both front and rear toward the little toe in relation to hip movement?) Does he consider it mandatory, personal preference etc ? Thanks
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    @jimbrake. By "square to the rope" (I perhaps should have said "square to the handle") I mean that a line through your hips is sorta close to perpendicular to the rope. So your hips rotate with the rotation of the rope. The only time he breaks from that approximate match is when it's finally time to drop the outside hand and ski out to the ball. Watching him (and some others at his level), you can sorta see them "turn away" to go out to the ball. I am eager to explore this, as I never thought about it that way before. (Not that I could have, because my hips were already pointing that way!)

    @9400. True dat. BUT I was pretty psyched that I seem to have become advanced enough to understand SOME of what he was telling me!! That really felt like a milestone, and I mentioned it to my wife several times.

    @ktm300 Didn't discuss that. I'm on (rubber) T-factors -- pretty fundamentally different from his boot system. But it was interesting to hear how every aspect of the Stealths were designed to specifically help some aspect of his technique. One thing he did say (and has told me before) is that for hard shells canting is mandatory. "Canting" (his term) in this context means rotation around the long axis of the ski -- e.g. for a RFF skier the front boot would lean right and the rear boot would lean left. Somewhere else I posted a thread on how he says to find the starting point for canting (and rotations on the other 2 axes as well); never tried it because I prefer rubber.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    @GaryWilkinson Although I'll respond to almost any variant (I even had a track coach who was firmly convinced my name was Shane), I usually go by "Than" rather than Nat or Nathan.

    I feel a bit ridiculous trying to judge whether you understand, because I'm not at all sure that I do.

    But -- gun to my head -- I think you've got it right. The only thing I'd add is that a big reason why this makes sense is that trying to maintain more angle away from the boat can't actually be done at extreme short line, and so you just get separated from the handle. Because the handle is the one and only source of added power, this means you immediately begin to DE-celerate*, even though you sure think you're pulling your ass off. To continue to accelerate, you must be aligned with where the forces on the rope are coming from.

    *Jamie said that at least 5 times before I started to believe him. The idea that I was decelerating by pulling harder seemed patently absurd for a while, until I finally began to grasp (well maybe grasp) the relationship to the geometry that I tried to describe above.

    So, in a bizarre way, I almost think of this as being the equivalent to pulling longer when considering longer-line skiing. It's just that the only way to continue to build (or at least maintain) speed is to go in that more "up" direction with the handle, rather than try to force the impossible "out" direction.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    Interesting. Relates in my mind somewhat to that "Who can figure out this image (or picture) thread with Seth in the opening pic.

    To the extent it is more for very shortline slalom, it is beyond me, but to the extent it relates to a more modern way of changing the edge and approaching the pre-turn, I suppose it couldn't hurt to play with a little.

    That was what I was in my head last night as I went to bed (with slalom turns dancing in my head). I had watched a portion of my old 1990 Suyderhoud with Bob LaPoint video tape, and I was struck by how the advice has changed, at least in terms of description. He definitely talks about keeping pressure in the trailing arm and shoulder and not getting pulled toward the boat, ball or down course, so you can decellerate and have a controlled, early turn around the ball. (this discussion was at 22 off so maybe his advice will change in shorter line lengths, but he did say you hold longer before changing edge the shorter the line gets. I don't think folks are saying that now). But if you watch Bob skiing passes as he shortens the rope, his skiing is much closer to the pictures I am seeing on this sight than you would think for pics over 20 years old, at least to an extent. His knee bend is less, and a little different but a lot is pretty similar. His shoulders are more open to the boat across the wake than he says they are. ;-)
  • DanEDanE Posts: 912 Crazy Baller
    @Than Bogan, Thank you for clarifying this back arm/trailing arm pressure thing.
    "Trailing arm pressure after centerline", I think that´s pretty much all I would have time to think about during the edge change.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    @DanE Thanks!

    I'm actually not sure that I'm going to think about this at all while skiing just yet. I think I can get a lot of mileage out of just adjusting the direction of my ski to be a hair more toward the buoy at 38 (and of course 39! :) ). When/if that becomes comfortable(ish), I may have some sets where I really focus on what's going on with my arms relative pressure.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,348 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @than yes, less angle at shortline for sure. The path of the handle is at an angle across course for a much shorter period of time at shortline...pretty much a short block right behind the boat. You need to be as well in order to ride it out bound properly. Good stuff. The transition to back arm has to happen if you are going to take a wider line than the handle up and out to the buoy.
    Ran 38 today over lunch hour for second success of the year...though have had a lot of them really going well only to blow it deep. Feels like I'm incrementally cracking code. Trying to stay less low to the water in the lean (especially my gate), ride the lighter angle outbound as you describe, be patient at the balls. When I'm not patient I blow the pass getting greedy. Before today never ran a 38 w/out a great 1 ball. Today's 1 was ok, 2 killer and the rest on time.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • rq0013rq0013 Posts: 557 Baller
    I have been playing around with more trailing arm pressure after the center line free skiing for the last week and its definitley going to help i think. Im staying connected more all the way off the 2nd wake and through the turn. Turns are also shaper and snappier. I think its the ticket! I tried the lead arm pressure idea and I had a 1 yr slump. Trying the trailing arm pressure tomorrow on the course.
    Rob Quetschke
  • GaryWilkinsonGaryWilkinson Posts: 351 Solid Baller
    Than, sorry for the familiarity. Than it is.

    I just went to the tree, you know the one with the handle permenantly attached, and gave the trailing arm thing a go. The first thing I noticed was a significant shift in weight distribution. My weight and pressure went from a slightly more weight on the rear foot situation, to moving more weight (pressure) onto the front foot. This is something I've been trying to do for the past 2 weeks. See one of my threads from last season on where the waterline is on my ski in the arc before the buoy.

    So if I get what I want in front to back ski weight pressure AND get a more consistent line out to the buoy AND get a smoother, more ahead-of-the-ball turn, it will be my seasons' holy grail!

    I also noticed that by increasing trailing arm pressure it somehow "clears the way" for a better, more aligned and hips closer to the handle position.

    Anyone else notice these things out at their trees?

    Trying it out tonight.

    Sorry again Than, great thread.

    I need to ski back to the handle obviously.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    @GaryWilkinson SO glad this seems to be helping you! Maybe soon you can explain it to me!!

    No worries on the name at all -- I have a bizarre name and am very used to it. But I thought it better to make the correction now. I learned that lesson from the aforementioned track coach. By the time I told him my name wasn't actually Shane, we were both pretty embarassed!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
Sign In or Register to comment.