As I coach, it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation novice course skiers carry around with them – usually due to the influence of their local “Tournament Skier.” But don’t be ashamed of the myths you may carry in your ski bag; just keep an open mind and take a look at the flip side of a few common slalom myths.
Myth 1: You have to lean back on your ski at all times.
I think this is a reaction to the fear of being pulled over the front of the ski. The problem is that it causes a greater drag coefficient, which forces you to ski at a faster speed and makes learning the course more challenging. You also lose the ability to direct the ski.
Correction:Try to balance your weight equally between both feet so that the ski is riding across the top of the water rather than dragging through it. Think of being in an athletic stance much as you would be when participating in any other sport – weight on the balls of your feet.
Myth 2: You have to pull through both wakes, then release.
Most of us who grew up on public lakes without professional coaching can relate to this one. Pulling all the way through both wakes before initiating an edge change causes you to open to the boat too abruptly, which causes you to come up narrow in your approach to the buoy.
Correction: If you initiate the edge change at the centerline of the wakes, but maintain the connection between your elbows and the core of your body until you cross both wakes, you will maintain your direction and come into the buoy with a wider, earlier approach and better rope control.
Myth 3: More lean equals more angle.
Many skiers have been taught that this is the only way to get wide and early in the course. This mistake causes you to release inbound (toward the boat) and thereby lose your direction, and experience a narrow approach to the buoy, with a loose line.
Correction: Take only what you need. The idea is to achieve angle with as little load as possible on the line. Keep your shoulders up and open to the boat, and you’ll be able to make a more controlled, outbound edge change, which will ultimately result in an earlier, wider approach to the buoy.
Seth Stisher is the owner of H2Osmosis Sports, now located at Trophy Lakes, and is available for coaching at your site or his. Check out www.h2osmosis.com, or call 843-559-2520. Seth is sponsored by D3 Skis, MasterCraft Boats, Zeal Optics and Fogman Binding Systems.