Early spring training requires tons of repetition. Most important, you need immediate conditioning (aerobic fitness) to get your skiing muscles and skiing heart back into shape. Second, you need plenty of time to regain last year’s perfect form and strategies before the water really starts to warm up.
Skiing with low intensity and high repetition is the fastest way back to last season’s skiing form. It provides you time to think in the course and concentrate on proper skiing technique, rather than rushing through passes that were difficult even at the end of the last season.
To get the high reps with low intensity, skiing back-to-back passes is a must. During spring months you should never reach your hardest passes. For example, if your best score from last season is three buoys at 22 off, you should ski plenty of sets at slower speeds at 22 off, and leave your two hardest passes alone for at least a month.
Before you shorten up the line, you’ve got to be totally comfortable with the previous line length. You must feel like you’re skiing it early and wide. The more time you spend on earlier passes and rope lengths, the easier the following ones will feel.
Typical early-season training problems usually involve a weak cut through the wakes and timing problems through the gates. Concentrating on a strong body position and pushing yourself to go late from a wide position at the gates are two things that will help you attain last fall’s skiing prowess.
Once you’re feeling ready, late spring and early summer is the time to try new passes, speeds and line lengths. Many of these may seem a little slow at first, as most of them are progressive techniques. But after teaching ski school for many years, I’ve learned that more is not always better and that quality, rather than quantity, in your training is far more productive.
Targeting times when you want to peak (like tournaments) is very important. The aim is to be performing at your best when it counts most. That can be either at tournaments or at the lake during your summer vacation when everyone can see how much you have improved. Start two to three weeks before your chosen date and steadily increase intensity up to a final set the day before you compete or perform for the crowd.
Steve Cockeram knows about early-season training. He is a consistent finisher in the season’s earliest tournament, the Moomba Masters, held in Australia during March.