A common problem I encounter when coaching a waterski lesson is the skier's lack of proper body alignment. What I mean by body alignment is how do the head, the shoulders, the hips, and the feet line up. And, where does that put the skier's weight over the ski?
What the skier should be striving for is perfect alignment through the body at almost all points throughout the course. If you were to draw a straight line through the skier's body it should go through the center of the head, the shoulders, the hips and right in between the feet. This type of alignment will give the skier the strongest possible body position against the hard pull of the boat, and it will also put the skier's weight directly over the "sweet spot" of the ski making it turn sharper, and making it faster across the course during the cuts.
The problem most skiers experience is that usually their body is out of alignment. This creates a weak body position against the pull of the boat, and inhibits the ski from performing as it should. A weak body alignment is easy to spot... The upper body is usually too far forward with a bend at the waist, and the lower body is sitting back too far towards the tail of the ski. A weak body position makes it nearly impossible to hold on to a big turn, and it makes the ski want to slide more down the course instead of being able to dig in and carve a path going across the course.
Of course, there will be some changes throughout the slalom course where the upper body moves around a bit, and the ski will swing out in front and then move behind the central balance point of the body. However, if you can learn to limit some of this movement, and focus on keeping the body more quiet and aligned you'll find that you can increase the power of your pulling position and increase your ability to turn and carve the ski more in the direction you want to travel across the course.
Ski with Terry at Ski Sunset Ranch
Written by Terry Winter