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Counter Rotate or Not To Counter Rotate


Stevie Boy
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Counter rotation isn't about moving weight on the ski, countering is a step in leading with your hip in the direction you wish to go, for example as you come though the turn your hip is leading across course while the tip of your ski is still pointing in a down course direction, the weight is not forward on the ski, it should be more centered...

 

And yes, "countering" is still a good thing...all good skiers do it to a certain extent, some way more obvious than others...even Nate shows a difference between his on/off side turns...

 

Otherwise you can block out of the turn create lots of load at the buoy, have ZO beat you up though the whole pass and feel like you got beat up by a 3000+ LB 350hp gorilla after a day of skiing...

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Counter-Rotation is alive and well...Keep in mind that the counter begins at the ankles and works it's way up, not shoulders "top down."...While it may seem like your pushing with the front foot, in reality you are using the front foot as a pivot point for the counter. This brings the hip (COM) towards the inside center turning radius at the apex, which should ultimately allow for level head and shoulders, while sliding to the hookup. Done correctly, you will not be loading ZO, till attaining the leveraged position after the hookup.

 

Another point that goes a long with a correct counter, is that the angular momentum you previously created, should keep carrying the ski out, away from the handle. Not pushing on the ski, but centrifugal force.

 

Believe me I know, it is easier said than done. However, it is not practice that makes you perfect, its "Perfect Practice."

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Thanks Guy,s the reason I asked was because a Pro Coach told me not to Counter too much and try not to counter at all, I didn,t get an explanation at the time, just stopped doing it because that was what I was told, when I did counter I found that it helped with my timing.
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You can counter too much. I do on Off Side and it screws me up at 1 ball

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Any sport where a change in angular momentum is involved such as diving, pole vaulting high jumping.

 

You have to get into the right position and there is a "preferred" way to do it, but some people can achieve the correct result by focusing on a different body part. I know some people no matter what you tell them cannot initiate a roatation process by feet.

 

 

Right now I am speaking of kinestetic awareness/ability in general not skiing specifically, and from 20 plus years of coaching I have realized that by putting everyone into the same box isn't the best way to achieve the desired results.

If they struggle with one kinestetic clue I have them focus on using the body part that works, by "works" I mean hips or shoulders or feet, none of these are incorrect if they produce the desired result.

 

So by coaching I try to get people to achieve the desired and repeatable movement (goal).

 

How we get there is not as important as understanding what the desired effect is and why we need to achieve that desired effect.

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I've been thinking about Counter Rotation some lately and its function. On the West Coast Slalom video they talk about moving mass forward to create acceleration. @jayski mentioned this above. So if this is the goal there is a timing issue. Were do you want this acceleration to occur - to early seems like you would defeat the purpose of the counter rotation.

 

@ShaneH or @Ed_Johnson. Anyone care to expand on the starting at the ankles comment. I don't think I do that.

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Mass forwards or mass along the desired direction of travel. If you move your mass ahead along the direction of intended acceleration, then I do not see how it could ever bee too early, it would just be in the appropriate direction for the desired acelleration at that point in time. Yes?
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@bracemaker Don't know on this. On the WCS video they talk about a sprinter falling forward in-order to accelerate. Should you be moving it forward as you make the turn? Love to hear @marcusbrown 's thoughts on this? What ever Nate's doing he comes out of his onside turn with ton's of speed.
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@gregy, the sprinter falls forwards to accelerate forwards on a straight line. When you are turning, you're attempting to move the ski down course, but also turn direction, hence the motion has to be in the direction you want to travel.

 

So forwards in reference to the slalom ski is not straight to the the tip of the ski.

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@Gregy Moving the core mass forward always is done by flexing at the ankles, not at the knees. This is something that was a bit of a revelation to me. If you flex the ankle forward, the knee bends all the while keeping hips and shoulders in their same alignment and driving the inside hip and inside shoulder in the direction of travel. If you counter starting at the shoulders, you move the core mass onto the back foot typically.
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I think some coaches are moving away from the term "counter-rotation" because it is easily misunderstood. Too many skiers were throwing their free hand and shoulders back to achieve a countered pose, but that put them on the back of their ski. Counter should be the natural result of skiing the ski away from the handle while moving the hips forward through the turn.
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counter rotation in water sking is subtle. Great timing along with moving COM forward along with resisting the forward movement of the boat as the skier travels side to side is "countering". As my sking has evolved I still consider counter rotation a very important part of my sking. It is not done when the skier is in the reach with one hand. (in fact by countering too much at the apex creates unnecessary movement making the skier less efficient) Counter starts in a big way as the skier moves out off the 2nd wake, Resisting the forward motion of the boat as the skier moves out. I feel it in my upper body & outside arm. The part that is difficult to explain is not leaning back, but keeping tension on the line as the skier moves in from the turn, ankles forward, knees bent forward, shoulders open the skier needs to "feel" the forward motion and not lean back and away. The skier needs to "feel" the forward motion and allow the boat to sling the skier forward. I can see it (when a skier does it), I can feel it, however explaning it is difficult. When I ski best I ski most efficient. By being efficient the skier needs to resist the force moving the skier forward and use that force to travel at the most efficient speed and angle. Most skiers get too much angle too early, can not hold that angle off the 2nd wake in a countered postion and get pulled into the next turn losing outbound angle as the skier reaches the apex. I know I have added a bunch of other aspects into "counter rotation" I see sking as an efficient managment of speed and angle, countering is a part of the entire equation.
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Does the counter start with the ankles right off the second wake?Is this what helps the top skiers to keep their upper body facing towards shore in the edge change process?can someone with this down take us through a few turns?im stuck at -35 and can't figure it out.Thanks
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If I try to ski without counter rotating, I find it very difficult to finish the turn in a decent position and with good angle. I find that my shoulders can come come forward at the end of the turn, as I have essentially skied my whole body around the arc of the turn. This leaves a weak position when the pull from the boat comes.

 

However, if i stay countered through the turn, I find that the ski swings back under the line much more nicely, while my body doesn't seem to be covering much ground (so I feel nice and slow at the bouy). The ski is then pointed right across course and I can just fall back on the line when the pull from the boat comes. It seems to me like counter rotation leaves the skiier with less to think about and to some extent less to do. So long as you are confident your ski will do what it should, everything else follows relatively naturally, with relatively little effort.

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Counter doesn't start at the ankles. try "countering" your ankles, I don't think you can. I believe what you are talking about is the seperation of the upper and lower body off the 2nd wake. As you come off the 2nd wake you will go into a "chair position" as the line gets shorter the chair position will become more exterme. I believe this is because of the "hole" or dip in the wake at 38 & 39 and the pressure from the boat moving forward also becomes more extreme as you pass the center line. I'm a BIG beliver in "counter resistance" I counter my hip & shoulders away from the direction the boat is trying to take them. At the 2nd wake the skier wants the lower body to arc out free and the upper body to be completly engaged with the rope attched to the boat which is going straight forward as the skier is moving out away from the center line. The turn should start at the white water and end close to the white water. Counter can be felt most as you move out bound off the 2nd wake. At the apex the line should be pulled from your hand which is the reach. The ski will come around as it slows down from the reach. 2nd hand comes back on the handle which produces excelleration. Lean in the direction of travel (stay with the ski) don't fall back The counter begins again as the 2nd hand comes on the handle. Always counter resist away from the direction the boat wants to take you. Each turn is the same with the exception of the "0" ball or gate which has more space/distance and allows the skier to make a longer slower turn.
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@Spesh - that is what is meant by skiing efficiently! Using the boat as the workhorse, and being along for the ride while getting the ski to do what it is meant to do: carve some crazy turns and rocket you across the wakes!

 

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet: the "counter" will be individual. Yes, I may be stating the obvious but it should be noted. The best countering methods that work for one skier may need tweaked or fine tuned for another. Speed, height, and weight all play a factor in how "your perfect counter rotation" will look. Perhaps a new thread to show that? My perfect countering position!

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Keeping the handle low and elbows in is very important. However countering is done with your core and back. By keeping the handle in and close is VERY IMPORTANT. the handle will go away from the body as you travel outbound to the ball. Stay over the ski as you move out, I actually pull myself up and over the ski as I approach the apex
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I believe if you are talking about core stability and back stability and ignore the contribution of the leg muscles and glutes for locking up the hips, you won't have the stability. I've been working on external rotation at the hips to lock the waist down. I'm not a trainer, so hard to describe, but I've always found that even with my core engaged, my weakness has been breaking at the hips... not the lumbar spine, but physically not locking my pelvis down.
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@Rich - do you find that as you make that movement (handle reach, up over your ski) that at the finish of the turn your front and/or back leg gets "straightened?" What I mean by that is, a gradual straightening of your legs from the apex to the finish of the turn. It's not forced, so you wouldn't be pushing the ski on the tail or front. Does that make sense?
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Yes that makes sense and is what many skiers do. I work on relaxing my ankles & knees and point them in the direction I want to go. I want to keep the ski "light" and moving forward as I move in towards the wake. So I stand up as I go to the apex, and relax as I come around the ball. The work is in front of the ball. "Stand tall at the ball"
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Trying to sit down....

 

This I believe comes from the concept that if you stand next to your couch, so that your calves and feet are parrallel and against the edge of the couch, then try to sit on it with out bending your knees.... You would find that you could counter rotate your bum towards the couch, but you would not be able to sit.

 

If however you are trying to bend your knees and lower your butt to the couch... that is a different move, and would make you stand on the back foot, which is I believe what skijay was saying about coaches telling skiers to quit doing moves like that.

 

Now if you stand tall next to your couch you can still try to force your butt to the couch while standing tall... Try it, sitting is the wrong word, make yourself feel like you're going to fall onto the couch might be more accurate.

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WOW!! this is getting to be a lot to think about in a turn that is over in one second give or take. there are many good things here in this thread of how to OVERthink a turn. in the world of ZO the only way that a skier advances down the course/rope is by working with the boat. Counter rotation can be simplified so much more! Its purpose is to keep the rope "tight" through your pre turn and apex so you know when it is time to make your move back in. normally when i first see someone "thinking about countering" they are actually doing it too much. most of what happens in the turn should actually feel pretty natural. the ski was made to turn, some better than others but the main point is our place of "work" is directly behind the boat. what 99% of top skiers and coaches are going to tell you to be is "down the line" or "moving with the boat" in some sort of way. it could be by being "open," looking at the pylon in the boat with your shoulders facing it the entire way across or "closed," by having the leading shoulder a little lower and "away" from the boat. either way you you NATURALLY ski you should be "tuned in" to where the boat is at all times. in the turn the only way you know where that boat is, is by "feeling" it IN the rope. So, only counter enough to feel the rope. the more you move your shoulders out the more you have to move them back in, and in my experience any extra movement outside can be translated to bad movement. if you have to turn your shoulders 90 degrees to the boat to feel the rope through the turn then you would most definitely be "out of the pull zone" so you HAVE to turn your shoulders too much, break your core connecting, move to the back heel through the back hip, get tip rise, slack and a $100 chiropractor bill to follow that new $1500 ski :) so like i said above all of the things that i have read here are GREAT things to know and play with, they will all help you to understand what helps you be the best skier you can be, having the most fun of your life in the process. but when any or all of these become the main focus, just remember how you get out to the turn in the first place.
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