Jump to content

Teaching kids?


Recommended Posts

  • Baller

Hello all, I am in the not so great water ski state of Massachusetts. I am I think what you all call a free style skier, and am working on teaching my wife and hopefully soon my 5 year old son. My wife is finally getting up on one ski consistently, though the ski she is getting up on will not take her very far, any pointers on teaching her to turn would be great. My other question is, how did you introduce your young ones to skiing?


Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

Turning a slalom ski is all about using the edge of the ski. By digging the ski's edge into the water, the ski will track along that direction. So, to go towards the left, the skier must tilt the ski so that the left edge is digging into the water more. This is done by leaning away from the boat while gently pointing the ski to the left. As a reference, think about how one would turn a bicycle. It is the same concept with regards to balance and leaning. On a bicycle, when we are turning we are in a controlled, gentle fall while leaning to the turning direction where the bike keeps riding under our direction of fall preventing us from actually falling over. That is sort of the same with slalom. We lean and point the ski so that the ski's path and momentum work with the boat's pull to allow us to "fall" into the desired direction of travel.


If you need a visual to help, check out Seth's pull out drills.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

As far as teaching your son, keep it fun and ensure many small successes. Use as many tools as you can access to ensure success. Trainer skis that hook together, boom, swimmer in the water to help steady the skier, reassurance from the swimmer, etc. all help. Also, set expectations. Very few kids get up on the first try. Most take more than three attempts to get up. Let him know that it is a process of learning with each unsuccessful attempt.


My basic tips for brand new combo skiers are:

1. Body position (practice skiing position on land and in the boat)

A. Arms relaxed but always straight

B. head and chest up and proud

C. Shock absorbers with ankles and knees

(I go into a talk about how cars have shocks to make thing feel smooth and how our ankles and knees are our shock absorbers...)

2. Ready position practice

A. Have the skier sit on his bottom with his heals on the ground up against his bottom in like a seated squat.

B. have a ski handle for him to hold.

C. Practice arms straight, either hugging the knees or between them.

3. Be patient.

A.It takes a few seconds (1-alligator, etc,) for the boat to get you sliding through the water before the water can hold you up on top

B. when we say "go", we have to wait for the boat's motor to start going, so wait until you feel the pull of the boat before starting to count alligators.

4. Getting up is about pushing up with the legs.

A. Keep arms straight and relaxed, but hands tight and strong.

B. after 3 alligators, start to push

5. While in the boat in the ready position, practice getting up

A. Have an adult be "the boat"

B. the Skier sits as described in #2 above. The skier says hit it, I'm ready, go, etc.

C. The adult says wait for the boat motor, then slowly barely pulls the rope to a point where the skier is lifted over his feet in a squatted ball

D. Remind the skier to let the boat do the pulling. Keep arms straight.

E. once squatted, have the skier push up with the legs until in skiing position as described in #1 above.

F. If the skier tries to pull with the arms, let the rope out just a bit to almost drop him back on his bottom. Pulling with the arms causes a fall, so reinforce this during the dry land practice.

6. Once the skier correctly comes up, reinforce body position.

7. Explain how to improve control when things get squirrelly or bumpy

A. Keep arms relaxed and straight.

B. use shock absorbers of ankles and knees to soften bumps and to regain steady

C. Reinforce chest and head up while using shock absorbers.


So the key points are: patience with three alligators, relaxed arms with strong hands, push up, then chest up with shock absorbers.


The number one mistake is pulling in with the arms. It is somehow instinctual. Learning to combo ski is about rewriting that part of the brain to react with shock absorbers and to keep the arms relaxed and straight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...