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How do I fix bending at the waist and/or the "sitting position"???


aswinter05
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Okay, so I haven't been skiing for very long. I have no problem deep-water starting on every attempt. I feel very comfortable riding, etc. I've been reading SOOO much about form and technique because I'm so obsessed with the sport. I even went out and bought a MasterCraft ski boat at the beginning of the season because I love skiing so much.

 

I don't run a course (yet). I'm just trying to nail the basics at the current moment. I take video of myself just about every trip out on the water. Here is my biggest issue right now..... (at least I think it's my biggest issue)......

 

I bend at the waist starting with my cut and all the way back through the wake. I know that I'm supposed to be stacked, etc. I should be holding my shoulders back, keeping my elbows locked to the vest, front knee over front foot, standing proud, blah, blah, blah. No matter what, the video footage never lies.... I keep bending at the friggin' waist so badly to the point of sitting in a chair on the water.

 

I will be attending Coble Ski School in 3 weeks and I have some time to work on my basics a little. I would like to work on this issue the best I can in order to get a head start.

 

Every time I try to keep my hips forward, I end up leaning back so far and start "tail-riding" the ski. I also end up with my lead leg stiff and I've heard that there should be some bending at the front knee. Every time I try to bend the knee, I start bending at the waist. Are you starting to see the never-ending cycle of failure?

 

What am I missing? Is there a simple fix to this issue? Should I literally take a one-hundred dollar bill and pinch it between my bum-cheeks? Thank you all once again for the support and input. I'm so frustrated that I'm nearly in tears.... (well not really c'mon, but it is frustrating!)

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What you need to essiantially do is bring the handle to your hips. Many people (including my self and almost everyone I ski with cannot do this). So a way to replicate it is to take your elbows and touch them to the side of your vest. Try begging as far out as you can get, and keep your knees bent and soft, and just lean straight back. That will give you a straight body position, touch elbows to vest, and that should fix what you are describing. Would help if you uploaded some video.
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I'm in the same boat, but things have been improving. Think about hanging from the handle - away from the boat. When I do that and pinch my cheeks, my hips come up to the handle. I also try to be very conscious of having the ski on edge and between me and the boat. If that's not there it means I'm riding a flat ski and I'm doomed!

 

Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides and getting tall before the turn helps a ton too.

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You should check out Gordon Rathbun's 12 Slalom Drills video. He breaks down proper body position into drills for aspiring slalom skiers. One great drill is slowing the boat to about 18 mph, and the skier gets outside and just holds the lean. If you are not in proper position, you can't maintain the lean at those low speeds. Here is a link to one source for the video.

 

http://www.wileyski.com/shopproductdetail.asp?prodID=4392&catid=86.

 

 

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A bend at the waist is the result of not doing a couple of things right.

 

1st go read than's article on Leverage Position. It's a tremendous primer on how to get into the right position of strength and balance. Assuming this position across the wakes will get you wider in relation to the boat with more speed to complete the turn.

2nd is to delay your reach to the handle until the ski is all the way around. Taking the hit from the boat too early, in a non aligned position will result in the dreaded bend at the waist. (I know I've been doing it for 35+ years)

 

One of the best keys I use is visualization, have a look at the picture on Than's articlehttp://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/5748/leverage-position-a-massive-treatise-for-15-offers in the middle of the thread, you know the guy with the huge arms, and emulate that position.

 

THAT's how to get in a position that will rarely break at the waist!

Post some video too.

 

Best of luck aswinter05

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Instead of a $100 bill, pinch a penny, it accomplishes the same thing but cheaper, and no need to launder your money.

 

A drill I like to use with new skiers is first show them in the boat hooked up to the pylon, then on the water, start from the middle of the wake, pull to either side and keep handle down, arms straight, hip up and chest out. You try to pass the boat up then stay there, in this position, and you will be able to adjust your lean and if done correctly, you can almost put your shoulder in the water. I like 28 off and say 28 mph. When you are hanging out there against the boat, you are not going very fast so a fall is no big deal.

 

Once you get comfortable in this position on both sides, cut across the wakes and don't go all the way out. I think the speed causes many to back off and bend their knees in anticipation of the wakes, which flattens the ski and bounces at the wakes, just reinforcing that the wake is evil.

 

When you can hold through both wakes, increase intensity to get wider. Then go back to 15 off and run the course.

 

28 off is a flatter and narrower wake to cut through, and it's more fun.

 

Keys to do it right,

No bent arms - pulls you up and flat.

Elbows on vest until after second wake.

Chest up and hip up, and fall away from handle pushing ski in between you and the boat.

Handle low on hip or close.

Look across the wake, not at it.

 

If you come out of a turn in not so perfect shape, you can still put the handle on hip and lean away.

 

My daughters boyfriend is working on all of this right now, and is running the course at 28 mph, but really likes the 28 off work. He says the mistakes are easier to feel. He is locking in his core more at 28 off and that is helping him get the proper form at 15 off.

 

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when you find out let me know! but-->

"2nd is to delay your reach to the handle until the ski is all the way around. Taking the hit from the boat too early, in a non aligned position will result in the dreaded bend at the waist. (I know I've been doing it for 35+ years)"

ding! for me I think this is a big part of it. I had a 4 to 5 ball (offside) last night that for me was out of this world- I actually made up ground on my off side and If I could figure out what I did right and replicate it that would be a good thing! I think it had to do with having a good enough onside lean to cary enough speed around the ball and get in good position before that dang old GT-40 put a tug on me. If I look down at and hook the buoy, or if I don't have a good gate I'm toast

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Do this... While standing in your room, right now, stand as tall as possible in your slalom stance, with one foot in front of the other. Nothing bent. Chest proud like at attention. Thrust and lock your hips forward. Then, shift your weight over your front. Now, while keeping your hips locked forward, bend your front ankle. While doing this, your other ankle and knees will bend, too. However, only think about the front ankle. Your front knee will move forward and slightly down toward the toes of your front foot. Also, your shoulders will lean back slightly to counter balance. If you have done this correctly, you will be like a plank from your fron knee through locked hips to the shoulders. Finally, shift your weight more to the front foot while maintaining this position. In fact you can shift to the point that you are 100% on the front foot, but your "plank" looks like you are leaning back. You can even lift your back foot up off the ground while maintaining thisosition. Now, shift your weight back to 60% on the front foot and 40% on the back foot. This is your stacked position.

 

If you can't do this on dry ground first, then you aren't ready for the water.

 

Next, while skiing straight down the lake (not cutting), get into this position using the same process... Tall, thrust hips, front ankle... weight slightly more on the front foot. Practice this while just riding down the lake. Again, if you are having difficulty getting stacked while just riding straight...

 

To start transferring this to cutting, start out easy... Stay very narrow. Don't try to crank and go. Rather, get stacked, then gently lean and hold strong until you slowly cross to the other side. Don't even do turns. Just practice stacked wake crossings. As soon as you feel like you have lost the stacked position, back off, stop and reset. Skiing too wide, leaning too long, cranking turns too hard - all of these will ruin your stacked position while you are first learning it.

 

Also, think about each crossing starting gentle, then progressively resisting the force by leaning taller and harder as you move toward the centerline of the boat path. This is called a progressive lean. It is key. Ideally, your hardest effort is just on top of the first wake and is maintained until the centerline...

 

How important is all this. Well, when a skier properly crosses the wake, stacked, progressively, the turns seem slow easy and early. Easy and early turns result in great stacked position for the next wake crossing. Just link six of them together and your on your way.

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Ok, I've still yet to read all of the replies so bare with me. I do plan on reading everyone's awesome advice and responding.

 

I got the gist of the request to post a video so here is one from a month ago. I've gotten a little better since then. Also, I indeed do have Perfect Pass it just wasn't turned on because my dad isn't familiar with it (i.e., forgot to engage while in neutral, etc.)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYqSTjaX76w

 

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You are leaning out of your turn, then going flat over the wakes, then having to lean again to get out wide. Everyone starts like this. You need to hold your edge through both wakes if you want to progess at slalom skiing. Even if you are on edge with bent arms, you need to hold this through both wakes. If you are going too fast and do not feel comfortable, slow the boat down until you can do it without fearing the wake.

 

Think to yourself, attack the wake. All the points above are all right on. You will still need to hold through the wakes. The key to do this without going what you will perceive to be 100 mph, is to stay closer to the wakes or have the boat go slower, all outlined above.

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I am super lazy.... I wrote this 5 years ago... I think this will help

 

http://ballofspray.com/component/content/article/35-ballofspray-water-ski-news/54-basic-relaxed-position

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Went out last weekend and had the best ski yet. I attribute it to you folks! A BIG thanks! Since it's nearly impossible to implement all these changes in one weekend ski, I tried to focus on what several of you suggested... STRAIGHT ARMS! Wow, could I immediately feel a difference when focusing on that aspect. I eliminated lots of slack line instances. Also I could feel myself "hanging from the boat" as mentioned in Than's article (great advice and article Than). I think my wife and I have read that article at least 3 times through in the past month.

 

I don't have any new video uploaded yet, however, I did capture a freeze frame from a video (see pic). I have a lot to work on but this image captures my recent improvement.

 

Also, some of you gave advice about letting the ski pass under the line before grabbing the handle... I haven't gotten to the point of taking a hand off the handle just yet :( All in time my friends. Coble ski school in 5 days! Hoping to bring back some nice footage and improved technique.

 

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This thread has a lot of excellent info @aswinter05, and I really like your form in your most recent photo too.

 

I used to be a sitter, and I like what @ToddL said in his post about doing drills. It's easy to get hyper-focused on skiing balls, but it is really hard to fix "sitting" while chasing your hardest pass ... even most of the pro coaches I've been to don't seem to get this. They work you up to or near your hardest pass, then it's, "Get your hips up. Get your handle to your hips. Stand taller. That'll be $$$, thank you very much. Next ..." In their defence, it's nearly impossible for them to fix "sitting" in the time we commit to them.

 

Eventually, I got really injured. This gave me a chance to start over from scratch. I started out by spending a lot of time with Seth Stisher who, not coincidentally, is really big on drills, and we started from the beginning ... outside of the course. Seth's Pull-Outs and Rhythm drills got me going in the right direction, but it still took me two years to build new habits so I can ski with a proper skeletal stack ... because I'm weak and kept getting sucked back into chasing balls which inevitably summoned my old bad habits back from hell.

 

My 28 year old daughter, on the other hand, broke her sitting habit in two months because she was okay ignoring balls in favor of fixing her technique. She did nothing but drills for two months, and went back into the course with beautiful form and instantly improved results. In fact, she still often dedicates the first couple of passes to drills with total disregard for the balls.

 

Drills work in all other sports, and they work in slalom skiing too.

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The drills recommended here have been great for me too. I still break at the waist when I am tired, but first two to three fresh sets feel and look a lot better than earlier this season.

 

These are the three things I have done to help:

1. Install a handle & short rope in your back yard/garage and practice the correct stacked position on both sides.

2. I've done 1000 of Seth's pull out drill....well maybe not that many, especially on my offside, this was my weak side where I would break at the waist very badly.

3. My first set I ski very lightly on open water. I hold onto the handle with both hands at all times, and only focus on the cut. Each cut being a little more aggressive than the last. I do not make turns, just cut across the wake, stand up like I'm waiting to round a buoy, then cut the other way. This really allows me some time to get focus on staying stacked and getting the handle down at my waist. I should call it the modified Seth pull thru drill.

 

Once I feel comfortable, stacked, and fluid I begin to transition the cut to a turn. If I get tired and start breaking at the waist, I drop as I don't want to start bad habits again.

 

I feel like a lot of newer skiers (me included) want to throw buckets of water and focus on the turn, where infact I've learn from BOS that the cut is what is important.

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