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Why I like open water practice


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1) Sometimes the wind blows out my course, but there is still nice water somewhere. I'd rather ski than not. This has been true the last three days in a row.


2) I learn things. The last three days I have been working on timing. Better timing makes better course skiing. My focus is on where I change edges, making that spot the same on every pull going both directions creates consistency in width, speed and handle control.


3) I practice things. For example, I have been focusing on keeping my head and shoulders up and level. Out in the open water I decided to do something that we all talk about and really focus on "looking down the (imaginary) buoy line" as I was in the reach, then keeping my vision there until after the ski had crossed under the line. Magic! Head and shoulders stay level because I'm not immediately looking cross course at the hook up.


4) Conditioning. Nothing like laying down 4 open water passes along a long shoreline where you have 18 turns a pass to help with conditioning. This also helps me to ease up on the boat. I couldn't ski that many if I was drilling the boat in the pull. Knowing what's ahead of me I am much lighter on the line, smoother in the transition, and ski with a tighter line and better rhthym at all times.


5) Visualize. I ski with the same kind of visual markers I have when skiing. My vision moves with me as I am crossing the course, then "spots" where the ball is, I swing and turn it where it should be.


So, I get to ski when I'd otherwise be off for three days, I learn stuff, practice stuff, get in better shape, and visualize the course. What more could I ask for?

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