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Thread: Technique or speed first?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Technique or speed first?

    OK, let's get some discussion going.

    I've been doing some thinking ........ The latest technique for teaching junior golf is to teach kids to hit it as hard and as far as they can without worrying about where the ball goes, or where it ends up, and once they get the feel for the ability to hit it far and hard, then the instructor starts reigning in technique to get them to hit it where they want it to go - i.e., straight. Good golf instructors tell me there is about a three year window from about age 12 to 15, where kids can really develop the innate feel for hitting a golf ball a long distance.

    So carrying this thinking over to ski racing, is it more important to teach the skiing student (and more importantly the ski racing student) to go fast, and get comfortable with higher speeds, then start refining technique so they can go where they want - i.e., turn when and where they want........ or is it more important to teach the proper technique at slow speeds, then ramp up the speed as the technique improves?

    I contend that it may be better to get comfortable at higher speeds first, then refine technique. I've seen too many instances where students are taught technique first, and look great on a free ski or a low pitch course, but then break down and can't translate what they've been taught in a race course, because they are uncomfortable with the higher speeds generated in a steeper course.

    As I train more, I increasingly believe it is more important to feel comfortable going fast - get comfortable outside your "comfort zone", as it were - then you can refine technique. Unless you can feel comfortable going fast, you'll never get the speed to have low times in a race course, no matter how good your technique is. I watch lots of people racing NASTAR, and see way too many people skid, scrub speed, and slow down, for no more simple reason than they feel like they are going too fast, and don't feel comfortable at the higher speed. And it kills their time, and results. And then they get frustrated, and quit racing.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Racer X; 01-08-2015 at 12:17 PM. Reason: iPad formatting
    If you win, but in so doing, lose the respect of your competitors, you've not won anything at all - Paul Elvestrom - 4 time Danish Olympic gold medalist in Sailing

  2. #2
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    I am in complete agreement with you. The point of a ski race is to go fast. Having said that, I find I am my own worst enemy usually trying to "put one in the bank" and thus skiing conservatively. The problem is that one only gets a select few chances to "bring it" so I have to remind myself to "risk it."

    Jim Taylor writes about this often: http://skiracing.com/stories/battle-...-not-yourself/

    His advice is to 'bring it' every time you are in the starting gate.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chuckp7600's Avatar
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    Hard to say. I'm all for being comfortable with speed, but my biggest issues come from too much speed and not enough technique. The first few races this year resulted in a few ugly crashes, where if I had focused on scrubbing a little to make the turn it would have been ultimately faster and less painful. (Or just given up on the run when I had a chance). There are almost no consequences to wailing on a golf ball.

    This was the result of my first run this year - got late on the last gate, laid it out and crossblocked it breaking the pole across my neck. I knew I was screwed before I got there and didn't slow down or ski out. Not enough to stop me, but I think it would give some people pause about doing this stuff.


    Last edited by chuckp7600; 01-08-2015 at 04:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TeamHub390's Avatar
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    Racer X you raise some good points for younger racers, but I think it depends on the person, especially as we get older. I have seen some excellent racers up at the Nubs Speed Series who only know one speed - all out, and I have seen some awful crashes that have sidelined some of those racers for good because they would not take a slight speed adjustment on a wonky, rutted, or glare blue ice with permanent snow cat tracks carved into it. For older racers I would suggest a small amount of caution, a very large amount of core work, flexibility and balance drills - we loose that as we age and can't absorb as much B12, or use it up by drinking too much. ;-) Smart skiing in a bad course can extend your racing years unless you don't care and want to go down and out in World Cup style.

  5. #5
    personally, i find myself not being agressive enough, and timid, and i think some pure speed training is part of the answer. Being comfortable at speed, and carving at speed.

    Beginer racers need confidence to ski fast, but you can just send them out a have them on bomber runs if they cant do it safely. (carving turns first) and im sure some beginner racers have a fear associated with speed, and in that case, they need to train speed to gain confidence.

    Within the nastar courses, you really dont get fast enough to ski faster than you can freeskiing. My point being, speed training, beyond say 40mph probably isnt usefull in the nastar arena for most people. The top 10% of racers it might make sense to do some SG or DH training, to get the feel for what your body and skis can do at speed, but there is such limited opportunities to do so. (i'd love to do sg/dh training, anybody know where?)

  6. #6
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. I 100% agree on the philosophy as it applies to golf. From the time my daughter was five years old I taught her to strive for distance. Over the years she developed a draw with prodigious length. She won the Connecticut state high school long drive contest with a three wood. Here's a slow motion video of her hitting a four iron 200 yards when she was 16 (5'7", 135 lb).



    As far as skiing goes, I kind of like the concept too.
    "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room"
    "When you're over the hill, you pick up speed!"
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  7. #7
    teamhub

    Jealous about Solden, will you be doing speed series this year ?
    "The skiing is the easy part"

  8. #8
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Danko View Post
    teamhub

    Jealous about Solden, will you be doing speed series this year ?
    Rod,

    I love doing Speed Series, and try to make it up for one or two races a year from down state. Do you have a schedule? - trying to find one on the Nubs site is ridiculously difficult. My guess is that I've already missed one or two, but I'd like to put a couple of them on the schedule for later in the season. I especially love the Super G's they run, and am going to do everything I can to try to make the last one of the year down the long course off to the left (forget the name of the run) Send me a schedule if you have one, or at least a link.

    Thanks.
    If you win, but in so doing, lose the respect of your competitors, you've not won anything at all - Paul Elvestrom - 4 time Danish Olympic gold medalist in Sailing

  9. #9
    Racer X
    not sure how to send you a message, so I will post the schedule here
    anyone who reads is welcome and encouraged to attend
    first race tomorrow night 1/9/15 GS on valley, easiest race of the series usually
    1/23/15 Super G on Valley (steep blue under the lift)
    2/6/15 GS on Smokey (steeper front side run)
    2/20/15 Super G on Smokey
    3/6/15 GS on Scarface (steepest run at Nubs)
    3/14/15 SL Nubs Open
    3/1515 Super G on SnoPro (long run, dog leg right)
    "The skiing is the easy part"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Rod - Perfect. Just what I was looking for - thanks!

    The Nubs Speed Series Races are the best value in the Midwest. Two runs on great courses for only $10 (unless the price went up this year). The courses are tough but fair, and should not be too difficult for most gold or platinum level NASTAR racer. The courses are typically about 32-35 seconds, longer than a typical NASTAR race, and the pitch is similar to lower Hughes at Winter Park. A good challenge. The have nice age classes, and a real nice party with good food (complimentary) after racing.

    If only I wasn't 5 1/2 hours away - ugh!

    Now back to the thread - techniques or speed?

    :)
    Last edited by Racer X; 01-09-2015 at 01:22 AM.

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