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Thread: Kick Starts

  1. #1
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    Kick Starts

    Does anyone know of on-line videos showing a kickstart method out of the box. My typical approach has been to just extend over the tips until I trip the wand. However, would like to start working a more aggressive lauch this year.

    Thanks
    Think Snow......

  2. #2
    Senior Member IN.racer's Avatar
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    Watch Julia's start in this vid. Notice as she leaves the start with her upper body, her feet snap straight back away from the wand just for a split second.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tee_uNP80Gw
    The trick is to get your upper body way out, and your feet way back just as you leave the start. If you pause this vid and the right moment the position is easy to see. Notice the feet do not "kick" into the air. They go straight back. Once you get out of the start and back on the snow, then start skating and poling like mad to the first gate.

    A lot of people mistakenly try to use their edges and push out of the start with their feet. The edges and skating moves do not come into play until after you launch and get back on the snow.
    Last edited by IN.racer; 11-22-2011 at 11:14 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Stockliman's Avatar
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    IN.racer makes some excellent points in his comments above. Ski racers are all concerned about their finish time. But, sometimes we focus too much on the finish line and not enough on the starting line.

    In a 30 second race, the winner is probably fractions of a second ahead of second place. The time spent between the starting line and the first gate is probably ten times that amount. So, a small improvement in your start can be the difference between winning or not. In fact, it could be the easiest place to pick up a half second. In NASTAR sprint race, a half second is HUGE.
    So, we can view an event as two races: the race to the first gate, and a race through the rest of the course.

    How do you get a good start?
    • Get yourself positioned. Poles over the wand. Body bent forward with your arms flexed. Skis point towards the first gate.
    • Get your attitude fixed for success. Your not going to explode out of the start if you are passive. A fast start begins in the mind. Be ready. Be aggressive. Hell, get FIRED UP!!! Leverage everything. Use your legs to propel you up and forward. Forward is key – this isn’t the high jump. Really bend your legs, and then explode forward. As you do, push with your arms and your stomach muscles.
    • Plan, then Skate, skate, skate. You’ll need to see where you’re going to be in the right place to start your turn. So, plan your steps while you are in the gate. Do I want to skate with the left foot first, or the right foot to be in the correct position for the first gate. Take a moment to look at the first few gates to see where your first turn should be. When the time comes, skate hard and fast. Get out of that gate like a CAT ON FIRE!!!

  4. #4
    Great advice so far. I would add:

    Don't feel you need to stop skating once you get to the first gate. After you get past it, you can skate to the second one also. This falls into the "it depends" category. It all depends on how much speed you are able to pick up going to the first gate and set up for the second gate. It doesn't have to be a full blown skate. It can be the pumping type skating.

    Stockliman laid everything out nicely, but I would modify something that sounds confusing (at least to someone as anal as me). On his first bullet, don't point your skis at the first gate. You aren't going to start your turn there. Point your skis at where you are making the first turn.

    Ken

  5. #5
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Normally, by the time you are past the first gate, you are going too fast to benefit from skating anymore. (unless we're talking about Birch Run at Nubs Nob)
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  6. #6
    I agree but as you pointed out, it isn't an absolute. Not skating should be based on it no longer being a benefit and not because you're past the first gate. Sometimes the first gate is an under gate. If you look at the videos of this year's WC at Solden, you can see several of them doing the pumping skate after the first gate.

  7. #7
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    What about poling-only after the first gate? Does this add acceleration?

  8. #8
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by villaski View Post
    What about poling-only after the first gate? Does this add acceleration?
    Most likely not, but maybe, depending on the slope.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Stockliman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by landairsea View Post
    Point your skis at where you are making the first turn.
    Ken
    Good point and nice clarification.

  10. #10
    Senior Member IN.racer's Avatar
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    A couple more things worth noting about Julia’s start. I like the way she comes up to the wand and gets ready to launch. She has her poles over the wand then nudges her feet up close behind it. When she’s ready to go she lifts her left foot. Finally she stomps her left foot down, leans way forward, shoves both feet back, and pushes hard with her poles all in one quick motion. The timing of the foot stomp, forward lean and pole push is key. She launches out in perfect balance ready to attack the first turn. I’ve never really noticed anyone else do it quite like this. It looks pretty easy to copy. I’m going to work on it.


    Definitely some time to be gained by perfecting her start routine and getting out strong and clean and tripping the wand with your feet at the last possible nanosecond.
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