Water Ski Training How-To Tips From 2013 Big Dawg Champ, Greg Badal | How To Waterski

Big Dawg Champ Credits His Off-Water Training To His Success

2013 Big Dawg World Tour (Australia; Mississipi) Series champion, Greg Badal.

Nine years ago, Greg Badal was a great skier. He could run 38 off, and was posting tournament scores into 39 1⁄2 off on a semiregular basis. Try as he might, however, the Brentwood, California, native could not progress beyond a few buoys at 39 1⁄2 off. “Back then, I just skied,” Badal recalls. “No gym, no cross-training. Just a few sets a day, almost every day of the year. I knew I needed to find a better way, a smarter way to train.” So he decided to seek professional help, giving full control of his personal fitness to a trainer. “I didn’t really know much about fitness, but I knew exactly in which areas I wanted to see improvement.” After getting to know his trainer, Badal took him to the lake, set him up in the boat and got to work in the course, showing him exactly what it meant to be a slalom skier. “We decided that brute strength was far less important than balance, agility and focus.” With that in mind, Badal and his trainer got to work in the gym, focusing on off-balance resistance exercises that would prepare him for the rigors of shortline slalom. “Initially, it was my consistency that increased as my strength and balance became refined. My tournament scores were leveled out after my first winter of training in the gym. After my second winter of off-season training, my raw buoy count went up, and has continued to rise every year since."

As each season passes, Badal’s yearly training plan continues to evolve. “The more time my trainer spends watching me ski, the more his knowledge of skiing increases. Likewise, the more time I spend in the gym, the better my understanding of biomechanics. I continue to see the results every summer.” We'd say so. Badal is currently ranked number one in the world in the Men's 45+ division with a buoy count average of 4.75 at 41 off. In 2013, he's won two stops of the Big Dawg World Tour Series (Australia and Mississippi), and is training hard for the Big Dawg finale in West Palm Beach, FLorida, August 15-16.

1. Position your stability ball next to a Smith machine or incline bench.

2. Using the bench or rack for balance, slowly step onto the ball, one foot at a time.

3. Keep your legs soft and your core engaged to find your center of balance.

4. Clear your mind, and concentrate on keeping your spine in a straight line between your feet.

5. Once you’re able to maintain your balance, try incorporating dumbbell curls, presses and squats into the exercise.

6. This is more an exercise of the mind than one of great physical exertion. Relax and focus on your breathing.