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shoulders/hips open to boat? Misunderstanding or important stuff?


Horton
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I posted a picture of Manon earlier this morning and asked everyone what they saw. One of the responses was "shoulders/hips open to boat and i'll bet eyes are down course. 3 things I need to work on this summer.”

 

In my mind this is a relatively common misunderstanding of the mechanics of slalom but I am curious how many of you disagree and think hips and or shoulders deliberately extra open to the boat has value.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-uK9SiB0tG/?igshid=1as5lysag6ais

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@Horton , yes good question with frequent misunderstanding. When I wrote this article a few years back, it was with the intention that staying open is a useful tool / thought process that can help overcome common bad habits, but it is NOT an absolute, or even required, to be consistent at shortline.

 

https://ballofspray.com/home-page/tech/785-staying-open (sorry, but the internet gremlins butchered the original formatting)

 

I think the overriding consideration is how well a skier gets and maintains their “stack”. If you have @adamhcaldwell 's stack, being open is probably the last thing you need to think about. However when many skiers turn their shoulders away, they are in a less strong stack and any bobble leads to breaking at the waist and/or weight on the back foot. So if your stack is “just ok” when you turn away and you drop your hips on 1 wake crossing out of 6, then trying to stay more open is one tool that can improve your stack.

 

Secondary considerations are:

- Helps keep head/eyes level and downcourse vision more controlled

- Turns tend to be more smooth and its easier to carry speed out of the turn vs turn & stop

- Easier to keep the upper body still and handle in

 

Like I said in the article, staying open is just a tool that can help alleviate common bad habits. If you don’t suffer from the issues above and in the article, or have other keys to fix those issues, don’t worry about being open.

 

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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@Bruce_Butterfield I do not necessarily disagree but I do think this is a commonly misunderstood subject. What concerns me is skiers who think being unnaturally open at centerline is an ideal. I believe in a natural stance. Hips more closed than not and shoulders more open but not artificially so.

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For a heel side turn I'd say she looks pretty closed off to me. When I read that comment in the other thread I was thinking, what picture are you looking at. I can't even see her back shoulder as it's vertically under her head.

 

If you are way up on the boat it seems that the perspective of "open to the boat" can be equivalent to "closed to the course". If she holds that position, by the time she's behind the boat the perception will look much more closed.

 

If that's "open", show me a picture of "closed".

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it's definitely a misconception. Some people think "open shoulders" and end up with the handle way away from them on their offside especially. I wonder how many narrow lines skied straight at the ball are a result of people mis-applying this thought.
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As i'm too poor for a lawyer, i'll represent myself here and why I posted what it did. Horton's question is good one. I read a lot of really good advice on this forum and sometimes I get very confused as well. I'm just a recreational course skier but enjoy giving 110% for that additional buoy. I've ran 32off a hand full of times and dabbled in 35. Last summer I wanted to figure out how to quit scrapping my way down the line and actually make the course feel slower, smoother, and more consistent. There are thousands of things I could work on and I knew if i didn't narrow it down, I wouldn't be able to get out of my own head enough to enjoy it. Gate timing and ball 1 was one of them and body position out the turn was another. The reason I said hips shoulders open to boat was because whatever I thought that meant actually helped me slow down the 28off pass. I would first focus on keeping my eyes down course through the turn, this allowed me to keep my head level and with it my shoulders fell into a much more natural position to accept the handle and stack out of the turn. The hips piece for me was more for my onside turn (RFF) which I would occasionally break at the waist. If my head and shoulders were in a good position, my right hip would be up and open completing the turn and I felt like I would glide right into my stack and quickly connect with the boat. I get that it is a picture from above and we can all analyze it a thousand different ways.

I just saw an offside turn with what i thought to be a body position similar to what I was feeling last season. Maybe my rebuttal is a bunch of giberish and panda worthy. I'm cool with that.

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@h2onhk Totally not making fun of you or your ideas. What you really think is sort of irrelevant to my post. I know a lot of skiers misunderstand this even if you do.

 

From what you describe about your on side sounds like changing your hips open or closed is not the solution.

 

also I cannot afford the lawyer to defend my plagiarism or defamation

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The training I get emphasizes "alignment" with hips and core pointed in the direction of the ski, resisting opening up to the boat. This is particularly stressed coming out of the onside turn to set up for the onside cross and ultimately through the offside turn (avoiding getting closed off in the offside turn.) In fact, lately the stress has been to set my outside shoulder out of the onside turn avoiding being too open and in a better leveraged position, which helps avoid getting bend over off the wakes. The end result does still leave my shoulders SLIGHTLY open to the boat (maybe up to 45 degrees.) Ironically I find Manon to be one of the more "aligned" skiers compared to many who do open up more to the boat. Ragina used to be almost 100% facing the boat (onside,) even her knees, but more recent video I've seen seems to be a little less. Pigozzi is probably one of the most open to the boat I've noticed recently in his onside, but then he has to make a move to re-align his hips after crossing the wake, into his off-side turn.
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You can't "open" your hips to the boat on your offside in the same way as you can on your onside. I want to minimize the differences between on/off side as much as possible so try to keep hips pointing the same direction as the ski. Shoulders are another story.
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Doesn't seem "open" is a term that can be quantitatively equally applied to onside/offside. "Balanced" alignment (stack) is a more tangible quantity imo. If riding the tail (all too often in my case) closing off a bit can restore balance, if nearing out the front; opening a tad more helps (from a hack's perspective).

 

open-aligned stack- ideal balance (mirror image)

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open shoulders- less aligned hips

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balanced maybe slightly open hips

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aligned/ideal stack - balanced

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I once asked this question some years a go about open vs. closed with Andy Mapple. His answer was, "Find your most powerful Tug-of-War position, and that's what you should use."

 

I just tied a handle to a tree with a 15 off section, social distancing, and found mine with a little experimentation. Has worked well for years.

 

 

 

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It’s not about open or closed, It’s about centering your mass at all points in the course. @Gloersen in all your pics only the first skier is stacked and centered and also does happen to be the most open, but the rest are back behind their ski and are therefore not centered or stacked.
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@matthewbrown – thanks for the input; your perspective is always appreciated.

 

The pics posted do share some commonality; they all display honed skills, athleticism, superb physical conditioning, and gifted abilities. Still shots are often inadequate to study what many of us average skiers hope to assimilate. One take home for me is the alignment of the hips (pelvis), chest, and shoulders within the same frontal plane while the handle is low and connected to that frontal plane. Where that plane is ideally facing “open” or “closed” is more aligned with the @Ed_Johnson post above; optimized to skier’s strengths.

 

Of those skiers pic’d, Mechler’s technique is most appealing as it seems something more likely attainable, for me at least (dreaming maybe the only reality). Descun is an incredible skier but any attempt at emulating that technique is a nightmare for my lower back. Jaquess and Asher are just a pure joy to witness; it stinks that we won’t have that chance at Callaway this year.

 

Videos are a much better way to appreciate the true dynamic (yours at 13m on an A3 among my preferred). Maximizing ωV though the 2nd spray appears crucial to getting up on the boat for shortline. “Stacked”, leveraged, connected; whatever the semantics, these skiers are successful at it with variables in technique.

 

What are the commonalities that the bulk of skiers on this forum can focus upon, within their lesser skill set, from buoy thru 2nd spray to facilitate getting up higher on the boat successfully?

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^^ true - the OP referenced importance(?) of "shoulders/hips open"

Disparities in successful technique are much more apparent during the onside cut; differences much more subtle during the offside cut - looking at two skiers offside with "different" onside technique:

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In a coaching session from Rob Hazelwood to one of my daughters, he was clear in stating to her “hips pointing to the shore” at one point. That is what I see in Manon’s pic. Having seen her from the boat, I can tell she can put her hips pointing to wherever she wants, so I assume she wants to do exactly what we see in the pic.
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Sorry to drag this discussion down, but could you help a newb out here. What do you mean by "open to the boat"? Are you talking about body position and open to the boat means facing the boat vs pointing in the direction of the ski? Just trying to learn as I am a rookie working on body position and last year and this year am focusing on "stack" (I've learned that one) and body position behind the boat. Let me know. Thanks.
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