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Thread: Technique or speed first?

  1. #11
    Senior Member ChiTownChick's Avatar
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    Pat - I wish I had your daughter's golf swing. Still working on that but as the years go on I enjoy golf more and more. Just love it.

    As far as the speed vs technique discussion goes, I agree that no Nastar course really lets you get much speed. I feel like I have always skied better and faster than I race, so I think I need more work on technique. But that is a personal thing. The kids I watch who are on the ski team are super fast when they free ski and also have great technique in the gates. So I am not sure one is more important to develop at a young age than the other. If you learn to ski young you usually do not fear speed......my opinion.

    CTC

  2. #12
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    One thing about your comparison- very few people get seriously injured taking a good whack at a golf ball (unless you are at the other end and get hit by the errant shot.) Maybe a strained back muscle or something like that due to the twisting.

    However I have seen many basic or just above beginner skiers go out into a course, try for speed and can't handle it ending up in a crash, only then to be carried off the hill by the Ski Patrol. I hate getting a DNF and would rather ski a course within my ability - even it it means I have to pick a spot to scrub some speed and make the gates.

    I also can see a big difference in the equipment helping- shaped skis allowing someone to progress, just like the bigger and lighter metal woods help a golfer to get longer drives and hit the sweet spot. The shaped skis allow for faster progression than the old school pre 1990's equipment did.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RShea View Post
    One thing about your comparison- very few people get seriously injured taking a good whack at a golf ball (unless you are at the other end and get hit by the errant shot.) Maybe a strained back muscle or something like that due to the twisting. However I have seen many basic or just above beginner skiers go out into a course, try for speed and can't handle it ending up in a crash, only then to be carried off the hill by the Ski Patrol. I hate getting a DNF and would rather ski a course within my ability - even it it means I have to pick a spot to scrub some speed and make the gates. I also can see a big difference in the equipment helping- shaped skis allowing someone to progress, just like the bigger and lighter metal woods help a golfer to get longer drives and hit the sweet spot. The shaped skis allow for faster progression than the old school pre 1990's equipment did.
    Agree w you 100%. The possibility of damage or injury is the one major difference in the comparison I suggest. That is why I contend that you need to get comfortable with speed outside a race course, where there is more room and more margin for error.
    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

  4. #14
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    As a racer, I like to take a fast run down steep pitch and scare my self a little before lining up for my league run. This puts things in perspective ,and for me time seems to slow down a bit.

    As a youth race coach - I have to strongly disagree. Going fast is a product of refined technique and control. Having a kid who is not ready to "go fast" is detrimental to their ultimate development and safety of both themselves and others. While in the rarified air or NCAA and NORAMS and the world cup, winning is often a function of pure b@lls, for kids - even most HS kids - speed is function of technique and has nothing to do with "speed training."
    That said, most of our u14 and u16 hotshots are going to Super G Camp this winter. That is a little different breed of cat.
    Go FAST. Take CHANCES!

  5. #15
    For my two cents worth I think there is no clear or correct answer....it depends...
    it depends on age.....many "experienced" racers may temper their speed in relation to the number of paid days off they have accrued
    for the younger group I believe it trades back and forth between speed and technique. Just as progress is seldom linear but rather occurs in climbs and plateaus, so does a balanced approach. I believe a student should be comfortable free skiing a speed which is greater than what they can accomplish in a course. As technique improves and speed follows, free skiing runs should increase in velocity to always stay ahead of on course speeds. My opinion is that this method may limit the number of new elements to focus on. hope I wrote this in a way that conveys my idea
    Thanks
    Rod
    "The skiing is the easy part"

  6. #16
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    My $.02

    I believe technique should come first. Speed usually ends up making you go straight, which makes late, which usually equates to skidding to crank around the gate and it snowballs from there.(I know Bode has this perfected)
    Good angles, weight balanced over skis(not in back seat as I do) quiet upper body, hands in proper position, proper transition to new downhill ski will allow you to carve around the gate.
    The other aspect of technique is course technique, inspect the course, if possible(most courses have one or two "money" gates, look ahead(not at next gate as I'm guilty of) have a good line, turn early etc

    Good form/technique will make you fast!!!
    Last edited by NCSkier; 01-27-2015 at 12:15 AM.

  7. #17
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    I'll cast the dissenting vote. Generally, kids will ski fast. They have no issue wedging straight down the fall line with legs shaking. The frontal lobe hasn't formed so the brain cells that slow down adults aren't there. But, you want technique to be so ingrained that it's autonomic. Bad habits are very difficult to unwind. Don't instill fear of speed, but do emphasize skiing with focus. As evidence - search out on YouTube for Michaela Shiffrin free skiing when she was a J3. It was all about form. in http://thelast-magazine.com/mikaela-shiffrin/ she says:
    While a competitor at Shiffrin’s level would have generally competed regularly in all four disciplines—slalom, giant slalom, super-G, and downhill, in increasing order of speed—she chose to compete only in slalom and giant slalom. In doing so, she raced half as often and trained twice as much. While her competition traveled the globe—exhausted, worn, at high risk—she held her commitment to the basics, just as she did at Burke Mountain Academy, her high school. “I would take almost a month each winter where I didn’t need to race. I would just train, free ski, and do drills,” she says of that time. “We’d go to Mount Hood during the summer for ten days, and it was just a free-skiing drills camp. We would spend five hours on the hill doing drills. We’d take an hour on the hill for one run instead of just thirty seconds.”

    She also hints here that speed isn't about being reckless, rather relaxing and "letting it go"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVUTTSnxapY
    Modern Ski Racing
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  8. #18
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    Have a look at my son WAL2277. He was always a slow and careful skier in ski school and they kept putting him back a level. I put him in race camp with coach Chris McNeill and he got better but not fast. A few weeks before Chris passed away he told me my son had good form and when he was ready to turn on the speed he would. A year or two later he turned up the speed.
    Form first.
    LB
    WAL18

  9. #19

  10. #20
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    Technique, Tactics, Racing...

    You need the technical skills to be able to implement the wider range of tactical choices... Once you have them at your beck and call you can push it all aside to just focus on going faster!( the others happen automagically without a serious amount of energy required, so you have spare for the "just go fast" stuff)

    I'm the super gumby, I know nothing.

    However when I was fencing I came very close to winning against a muc better (more athletic, faster, more talented) fencer and got a bunch of points against a VERY good fencer because of one thing. I spent hours training with my coach and doing drills.

    Mostly I didn't really care - I was naturally not adept at movements and fencing needs skill and speed - so I expected to be hit and lose any time there was a scored round. I was happy learning to make movements better. The very good fencer made the mistake of intimidating a bunch of much less able fencers just because she could. She started each round by chrging down the piste and RAMMING the competition in the mask - REALLY HARD. It annoyed me - because she was good enough and fast enough to just use a touch. I got mad, turned on the analysis and drills I had learnt in lessons and got a bunch of hits on her and hurt her back. (I never even liked to make a hit normally as I was scared my poor speed judgement would hurt someone).
    The other fencer was just bad luck. I'd been stirred up somewhat by the first. Most university fencers lack technique and I found it hard to dissect what they were doing. She had nice clean technique but was still learning. She was FAST - which normally helped her. My coach had taught me to analyse and how to use others speed to counter my tototal lack of speed. Good technique and an understanding of tactics allowed me to almost beat a FAR SUPERIOR fencer. I had practised the movements required to counter her favourite attack - many many many times... This allowed me to simply "let go". I just envisioned the defence required to defuse and hit her. then put that out of my mind. Triggered by the tap of her blade that was the first move in her attack I would just "automagic" a defence. No input needed from me in real time as my body knew that rhythym and timing. As my coach described and as it happened "Everything slows down and your blade will be where it needs to be"

    Good technique, Good Tactics, and the ability to focus - and then "release" the tension into one thing - RACING. That would be my uneducated guess.

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