Thanks again to all the Ballers who are participating in this contest and continued discussion. As I read through your questions, it is apparent to me that most of them are very similar. My hopes here are to help fill in those voids that you have so that we may dig deeper into some new questions. I would also like to encourage questions from our longer line, slower speeds skiers too. This is not meant to be an elite level discussion. What I have found through the years of skiing and coaching is that what you don't understand is what holds your skiing back and that most of us would rather focus on what we do know as it is easier to practice and more rewarding. I have always tried to understand things off the water first and then spend time with the on the water practice. I feel as though a lot of skiers reverse this and try to do the actual practice portion of skiing without understanding the theories. A really good homework assignment for each of you would be to write down in detail what you believe happens from setting up for your pull out through the completion of the course. Be extremely detailed in every area. Any place where you struggle with detail shows an area that you can start to dig deeper into. Now onto this chapters winning questions...
@Skoot1123 - Chris - thanks again for doing this. Was wondering if you can comment on your mindset/way of thinking in order to make 6 ball the best ball of them all. In other words as you round one buoy and maybe mess up a little do you start thinking about form in order to get a better next buoy or do you maintain the same thoughts throughout the pass?
This is a great question. I feel as though most skiers get ahead of themselves while skiing the course. When buoy 1 is not optimal, skiers tend to fast forward in their mind to buoy 2 with the hopes of making a big turn and making up time. We all know how that story ends 90% of the time and that it isn't a good ending. A long time ago I realized that this mentality was not good for my skiing. The first lesson here and easy answer to your question is that we must stay in the moment at all times. Nothing good happens when you get ahead of your skiing. Just because things aren't perfect, we should not start to panic. In general, we have to be less sensitive skiers. Don't sweat the small stuff. Have you ever watched video of me making multiple blatant errors and still running 39 or 41? That video of me at 41off@34 that was posted on BOS last August is a great example. My buoy one was atrocious and if you took a picture of my finishing angle (ski tip pointed at boat) you would bet I was done. But, there is a lot of room for error while we ski (even if it does not feel like it) and I was able to focus on getting into a strong stacked position to optimize my situation. I was not thinking of what i would have to do at buoy 2 to get back into it, I was thinking about the stacked position that leads to angle and speed at the centerline which will set me up better going into the buoy. Will buoy 2 be optimal, no, but all I can do is make the most out of what I ended up with. As a long time coach, I have learned that you can use 1-3 keys while skiing the course. Every skier will have a different set of keys depending on their individual weakness. What I suggest is going to a professional coach and do some skiing. They will find your weakest links and give you the tools to help improve them. Take each of the lessons they give you and sum them up into one word. This way, your 3 keys will end up being only three words total. I'll give you an example from my skiing. My three keys last season were Wide, Strong, Center. Now I'll interpret that to you all. Wide - I have been ending up narrow on my gate glide so I use Wide as a way to remind myself to get up on the boat in my glide. Strong - refers to getting into my stacked position early and being aggressive into the wakes. Center - refers to being strong only to center line so that I don't pull long. Like I said before, everyone will have a different set of keys. The biggest thing is to find those keys (go to a pro coach) and then simplify them down to a simple word.
@skier2788 - Mr. Rossi thank you for doing this again. I have been told that I stare at the tip of my ski during my turns. I was wondering where your vision is during your pullout glide, centerline, entering the buoy, during the turn, and at the finish. I have been told to look at the next buoy and then set a line to be there earlier than the buoy. Also have been told to look straight across the lake at the far shore. Was wondering what your thoughts are and where you look during the various segments of the course. Thank you.
Another great question! Vision is a key component of successful skiing no matter what the skiers ability level is. I use the left hand pre gate as my visual for when to pull out. In my glide for the gates, I take a grand look at the course. I like to see my width versus buoy 2 width but I'm not fixated on buoy 2. For my turn in for the gates point, I look for the right hand gate ball and the front of the boat,. The moment I pick my "go" time, I pick my vision up and focus on buoy 1. This is very simple to do but will feel awkward at first. I keep my vision locked on buoy 1 as I start accelerating toward the gates. The boat impedes my ability to see buoy one at some point, but I keep focused on where buoy one is (try and use your x-ray vision here). As I enter the wakes, my vision picks up buoy 1 again and I remain focused on it through the edge change and pre turn. I keep my vision on it right up until the point that I am confident that I will make it around the buoy. At the moment I know I will clear buoy 1 with my ski, I take my vision to buoy 2 and repeat the above process. If you have never worked on vision, this will definitely mess you up for a bit. What I can tell you is when you are skiing well, you have good vision (but probably never realized it) and when you are skiing bad, well your vision is all over the place. By implementing vision into your skiing, you will ski more consistent and will find it easier to implement other new techniques into your skiing. For a much more detailed article on this please go to http://slalomguru.com/articles.php?article=vision
I look forward to continuing these discussions in the forum and also plan on answering many of the non winning questions as their own topics under the "Ask Rossi" heading.