EDGE CHANGE LIKE THE PROS Click on the button to the right and get my FREE report on how to "EDGE CHANGE LIKE THE PROS" for only $29.99 (for the beginner through pro skier. Includes "X FACTOR"). Once payment is received, I'll e-mail you this report within 12 hours (usually much, much sooner).
SKI BETTER FAST
Click on the button to the right and get my FREE report on how to "SKI BETTER FAST" utilizing a style of skiing I call "Coordinates" for only $29.99 (for the beginner through intermediate skier) Once payment is received, I'll e-mail you this report within 12 hours (usually much, much sooner).
KEYS TO UNLOCKING YOUR GATES
Learn how to get killer gates no matter what syle gate you use. Learn EXACTLY when to pull out, EXACTLY when to stop pulling out, EXACTLY when to turn in, EXACTLY how hard to pull, where to look and more! Get yours today! $29.99
SLALOM SKI SET-UP AND TUNING GUIDE
From the inventor of the wing and adjustable fin and ski designer, Steven A. Schnitzer. Does your ski stop when you need it to go? Is your ski too slow or too fast? Is your ski getting enough angle or maybe too much? Is your ski set up for the water conditions at your site? Can your ski work better?
I just finished putting the finishing touches on my newest product, my "SLALOM SKI SET-UP AND TUNING GUIDE ". If you have questions about how to set-up your ski for maximum performance, get my newest guide "SLALOM SKI SET-UP AND TUNING GUIDE ", you'll be glad you did! You get 58 pages filled with the experiences of the guy that invented the wing and adjustable fin, had his own ski company and worked with almost all the rest, opened the GOODE Technology Center in Orlando in 1998, won five National Championships, set numerous National Records and won the Senior Worlds his first and only time competing in them in 2000. Just picking up one tip is more than worth the investment and there is plenty to pick up! Retail price - $79.99. Special introductory offer $49.99 Order yours today! (delivered digitally)
COACHING, SKI SETUP AND CLINICS
HERE’S WHAT I DO
At a Record Capability Tournament at OkeeheeleePark, Chet Raley blew his tail out at 3 ball @ 39 off (10.75m).He skied with us a week prior and hit 1 ball at 39.He skied with Bruce Epstein and hit an offside buoy at 39 yet at his own lake he skied fine. Chet found me at the site after blowing out his tail and asked me what he should do.I asked Chet a number of questions about what he was feeling and gave him a solution involving a fin adjustment.The next round Chet picked up 3 buoys!Later that evening while driving to dinner, my phone rang.It was Chet.I knew he was calling for a solution to a loose line on 2-4-6, which I observed while watching his run with the fin adjustment.Before he could speak, I asked him if he would like a solution and he agreed he indeed did.Again, I asked Chet a few questions and gave him a solution, which again involved an adjustment.Next round, Chet picked up a couple more buoys and managed to get around 1 ball at 41 off.
Not only do I get calls from Chet Raley, I get calls from the Big Dawg Star, Ben Favret and Pro Skier, Chris Rossi.When they have questions, they call!Here are a few of the best skiers in the entire world that use my knowledge and background not only in skiing, but in product design and setup to help themselves get and stay at the top and these are just a few of the skiers I work with!
A few skiers I have worked with that you may have heard of;
Chris Parrish (World Record Holder)
Lucky Lowe(World Champion)
Kim Laskoff (World Champion)
Thierry Malhomme (World Champion)
Mike Ferraro (World Champion Coach)
Patrice Martin (World Champion)
Clementine Lucine (Junior World Champion)
Kristi Overton (World Record Holder)
Jeff Rodgers (Former World Record Holder)
April Coble (US Open Women Slalom Champion)
Drew Ross (Pro Skier)
Jaret Llewellyn (World Overall Champion)
Previous and/or current advisor to the following water-ski manufacturers;
Skiers that benefit from the water-ski products I developed;Just about everyone (If you use a wing or adjustable fin, I invented them).
If I can help all these people, there’s a huge chance I can help you too!
I now have a service where you can have the same access to me and my knowledge base as these guys have.This is called my ON-CALL service.What you will get for this investment is one hour on the phone with me (on your dime).We can talk about the kids and the weather or your skiing problems, that’s up to you but remember, the clock is ticking.We can spend 5 minutes on the phone or any portion of your first hour.After this hour is exhausted, you will be billed at $150.00 per hour (up front).At midnight, December 31st, 2011, this contract will expire as will any time remaining.The cost is $150.00 for the first hour and every hour thereafter.
While we’re on the subject of improving your skiing, you can book me for a half day, a full day or more at your site.I charge $600.00 for a half day (4 hours) or $1,200.00 for a full day (8 hours) plus expenses.Please call 1-561-670-4075 or e-mail me for details.
Please take your pick.Winners such as Ben Favret, Chris Rossi and Chet Raley to name a recent few know what I can and have done for them, why not you?JOIN NOW BELOW!In case I forgot to mention, Chet, Ben, Rossi and of course, Chris Parrish and everyone else will need to sign up too!
A brutal slalom crash!
Most people feel that falling is acceptable, that the water is soft and will cushion their falls yet the statistics clearly show the opposite. Falling causes injury. Falling causes broken arms, legs, ankles, feet, etc., etc... Falling tears away the flesh from faces. Falling puts people in the hospital and profits the medical industry. Falling is not acceptable! People fall when they hit buoys. Don’t hit buoys! It’s that simple! People fall out the front when crossing the wakes because they feel it’s acceptable to be forward in the wakes. It’s not! I see time after time in competition where people intentionally punish themselves by falling after missing a buoy or making a mistake. This is really dumb! People fall when they break old towropes and/or handles. I see old worn out equipment all the time. Breaking a rope or handle breaks ribs and ruptures spleens. People fall when they ski way beyond their limits. This usually happens early in the season, when the skier has been off the water for a couple of months or more. They get out on the water at maximum speed and keep shortening the line. Disaster lies directly ahead! Falling happens when your equipment fails or does not fit or work as it should. Make sure your bindings fit correctly, that the screws are tight, that your release system works properly, that your fin and wing are tight and free of cracks. Make sure your ski too is free of defects and cracks that can affect its and your skiing safety. Make sure your ski is set up correctly for your style. Improperly set up skis cause falls that can kill or seriously maim a skier! Make sure your driver knows what they’re doing as a bad driver can literally kill a good skier. Skiing with good technique, skiing within your abilities, skiing with a safety plan and rules of engagement will keep you safe and free of injury. Skiing wrong and outside your abilities will get you everything you are aiming for, disaster!
"Deep Forebody Penetration"
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Years ago, I skied a style that involved always staying on the back of the ski and totally avoided the use of the front. This was back in the Accuski and Perfect Pass days. When Zero-Off came out, my skiing went downhill fast. I’m not sure if it was age having caught up to me or just being burned out on skiing or Zero-Off but my practice scores kept going downhill fast. One big thing I noticed in the past few months is how deep the front of the ski rides in the preturn of the best skiers. Where the front of my front foot might be in the water early in the preturn, the best skiers water will be breaking a foot forward of this. A common theme among the top skiers is to get wide and early starting at one ball by generating as much speed and angle as possible. To accomplish this, the skier must add their own power on top of the power of the boat. This type of entrance gate can only work with a deep riding forebody. Thus, if your coach is telling you to go harder at the gates, to get wider and earlier, to create more space before the buoy, this can only work if you use the front of the ski early and throughout the preturn. If the water is not breaking well ahead of your front foot, this type of gate will not work. Thus a soft gate or one where you use the power of the boat without any of your own power added may work for you. Zero Off is designed to compliment those skiers who want more zoom out of the buoy and through the wakes. The moral of the story; learn how to use the front of your ski in the preturn! To do this, you will have to change not only the way you think and act/react, you will more than likely have to change your equipment as your needs will have changed.
Nate Smith - "Deep Forebody Penetration"
Open Men's skier Dane Mechler using the front of his ski in the preturn.
Regina Jaquess - "Deep Forebody Penetration"
Chris Parrish - "Deep Forebody Penetration"
Jonah Shaffer - "Deep Forebody Penetration"
Jason McClintock - "Deep Forebody Penetration"
"MEMORY IS THE KEY"
For years I’ve been saying, “if you want to be good at anything, you need a great memory”. To be great at math, you need to memorize all the formulas. To be great as an athlete, you need to memorize your body movements and enact them. To be great as a musician, you need to again, memorize and enact your body movements. Memory is the key! Years ago I wrote an article titled “THE PROGRAMED SKIER”. This was about a skier that wrote down all of the things they needed to do to be successful completing a pass, any pass and then skiing the program they wrote. It’s all about memory and connecting this memory to the flesh, be it on the water, in front of a piano, singing an opera, etc., etc… Where we spend the majority of our time training our bodies to run the programs we continually test and refine, we should also be spending an equal amount if not a greater amount of time developing our memory capabilities. Below is an article from Lumosity that explores what makes a child prodigy. They discovered it was not IQ! It was memory! Let’s start changing the world by working as hard on our memory as we do learning whatever our chosen field is for without memory, there is no learning. With memory, we can combine thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be lost. We can through our diligence, change the world. Are you ready to begin?
Inside the minds of 7 child prodigies
At age 3, a female prodigy (we’ll call her Jane) was composing music. By age 6, she had played at the White House and toured internationally. What makes Jane and other child prodigies different from the rest of us? In a 2012 paper published in the journal Intelligence, two researchers from Yale and Ohio State Universities profiled 7 child prodigies in hopes of uncovering the root of their talents. Their secret? Something quite common: all 7 excelled in working memory, a core cognitive ability that every person uses in day-to-day life.
7 exceptional people measured by 5 variables
Child prodigies, as defined by the authors of this 2012 paper, are those who managed to reach professional status in an established field at a remarkably young age. This paper examined 7 child prodigies so outstanding, each had been featured in national and international TV segments for their prowess in music, art, gastronomy, or math.
Previous attempts to uncover the root of child prodigies’ talents proposed several possible factors: general intelligence, working memory ability, visual ability, amount of time spent training in their skill (10+ years), autism, and others.
To investigate each of the above factors, all 7 prodigies in this study took a full intelligence test that evaluated general intelligence, working memory, and visual ability; an autism assessment; and an assessment of their history, lifestyle, and family.
All prodigies fall into the 99th percentile for working memory performance
Regardless of their performance along every other dimension, all prodigies placed in the 99th percentile for working memory ability, or the ability to store and manipulate multiple pieces of information in your mind. Used in everyday life to juggle multiple ongoing activities or hold onto a thought when interrupted, working memory performance proved to be the most exceptional trait shared by every prodigy in this study.
Prodigies varied considerably in all other measures. General IQ scores ranged from 108 to 142 points (where an average score in the general population is 100); the two prodigies with the lowest IQs were only in the 70th and 79th percentiles. While all prodigies were intelligent, researchers concluded that extreme IQ was not a determinant.
Prodigies also failed to display high visual abilities across the board and did not train their skills for more than 10 years before demonstrating extraordinary talent. And while prodigies scored differently on the autism assessment compared to a control group of normal people, the difference was not significant.
What you can learn from child prodigies
While this 2012 study is far from the last word on prodigies, these findings suggest that working memory may be associated with exceptional abilities of many kinds. This discovery is not a complete surprise: long considered an important ability, working memory is already known to contribute to higher-order cognitive processes such as executive control. In studies that explore topics ranging from emotional control to daydreaming to learning, researchers continue to gain insight into the implications of working memory for various abilities and populations.
This is a very important photo. Nate's ski is on the decelerating edge before exiting the foam. Nate has not "released" any pressure and is in fact still under enormous load. Note his elbows are still connected or touching his vest. Nate's upper and lower body are on separate planes and it appears that Nate is using his ankles independently of his lower legs. This photo shows what 99.9% of every tournament skier needs to work on. More photos here. (click on the picture)
"BEATING A DEAD HORSE" Unless you practice doing things right, you might as well be "BEATING A DEAD HORSE"! Practice should be about learning, implementing and burning in the rght way to do things, not getting good at making mistakes! "See Below"
ARE YOU BEATING YOUR DEAD HORSE?
Here at the beginning of the season, I am totally amazed as I watch skier after skier hacking their way down the slalom course, chasing buoy after buoy, breaking rule after rule, pass after pass, day after day. These skiers risk life and limb, all the time in the quest to round more buoys. They practice, practice, practice, mistake after mistake, attempting to achieve stardom. Where they should be replacing bad habits with good, they continue to perpetuate their errors and further burn them into their memory banks. Not only are you wasting your time participating in this insane behavior (doing the same thing and expecting a different result), you are wasting your time, your money and of course, your crew's time! If you want to be a winner, you need to think and act like a winner. There is not one great skier that consistently breaks forward after the wakes. There is not one great skier that consistently is on a pulling edge after the wakes! Not one great skier is consistently turning on their back foot. Why would you continue practicing these mistakes? The skiers who make the least mistakes will be the winners, period! Look at Chris Parrish and how easy he makes it look. Look at Nate Smith (Nate wants to have his ski flat by the center of the wakes). Look at Jamie Beauchesne. These guys are winners because they do a lot of things right! I know, you have tried to do things right but you just can't make the same number of buoys. Poor you! You might have to take a step back to take a step and a quarter forward or maybe there will be no gain at all but at least you will be skiing safer and will startle the immense crowds lining the shores at your local tournaments with your beautiful new technique. As far as I'm concerned, either do it right or you will pay the price when your competitors do! The moral of the story? Don't beat a dead horse!
Want to get your season off to a great start? Have me at your lake for a day, a week, a month, etc... Please call for rates and dates. 1-561-346-4933 Schnitz!
"ATTENTION LONG PULLERS" Here is one of the best skiers in the world, Nate Smith at the edge of the foam after the wake. Notice which edge Nate is on! 38' off - 11m Got Questions?
Nate Smith's 4 Tips to Better Turns from WaterSki Magazine.
CORRECTION / MAJOR ZERO OFF REVELATION
Correction regarding the Zero Off 'R' revision. Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth. Maybe only 4 of you will understand this completely, but basically you'll have all the current ZO settings with the addition of the + setting. This way all the + settings will come in faster than last year. This should result in a softer feel from the boat when you are in the course. Here is the comment from Will Bush:
The elevated or target speed outside the gate is a percentage of the "set speed". For the "normal" setting, it is +.75% ; for the plus "+" setting it is a +1.6% elevation outside the course. This is true for all letters.
34.2 MPH 34.5 34.7 36.0 MPH 36.3 36.6
There are also a number of other factors that change with Version R for slalom. This is from Will Bush of the Driver's committee and Will works closely with Zero Off.
From me (Gordon):
I'm not all that technical, but as a skier I can tell you I would rather come into the course faster so I could pull the boat down a certain amount and it can catch back up in a smoother way than the current noticeable acceleration that is necessary if you come into the course at actual or close to actual speed.
by Gordon Rathbun
Bob LaPoint on "SKI DESIGN"
Corrections at the end - THE SUMMER OF 41
Oh the memories that get stirred up from the summer of 41. You see, I was a wee lad back then. A mere 60 years of age when I witnessed it. It started early that mornin……. For years we’d been watching, waiting and wondering who would be the first guy to run it. Dave Miller was getting close. Jay Leach was getting close. At one of the Big Dawg qualifying rounds during the 2012 Nationals, Greg Badal went out and ran 4.5 pushing the record a little bit deeper. A couple days later WaterSki Magazine editor Todd Ristorcelli pushed the record deeper again to a full 5 buoys. The elusive was getting close but who would be the first. With Andy Mapple skiing Big Dawg, everyone expected it to come from him but then all of a sudden, right on cue, out of the blue, Jeff Rodgers, the first guy to run 39 at 36, the first guy to run 41 at 36 comes along and demolishes the pass and the record becoming the first guy in all of recorded time to run 41 at 34. Jeff not only destroyed the record, he ran 41 three times that weekend. The humble well driller from South Carolina had accomplished what no man or woman ever had and never again can. Jeff Rodgers, a name that will go down in history as one of the greatest skiers of all time!
And then there was the young’n Nate Smith and that good lookin, pole dancin Italian feller, Thomas Degasperi who tied with 1 @ 43 and had a runoff at Soaked at Lake Eola in Orlando. Well, you see they each went out and ran 41 three additional times, tying each other until Nate was declared the winner (I really can't tell you why). I’m not sure who else ran it that fateful weekend in September but I think Will Asher and Aaron Larkin did it too. If someone has the exact count, please forward it to me so I can update this.
And then there’s Nate Smith again! The very next weekend in North Carolina, at the same tournament where Jeff Rodgers was changing the rules of the game, Nate went out and ran 41 a couple more times pushing his total 41’s at this site alone to eight times in record capability competition! Is this nuts or what?
The very next weekend, for the first time in history, 41 was run by two skiers in the same tournament. Will Asher and Nate Smith both ran it at the Diablo Shores competition last weekend!
Yes sir, we’ve entered the twilight zone. The zone where a 41 from Nate Smith and Jeff Rodgers is almost as common and expected as food at the supermarket. Did I mention the story is officially over (unless something changes)!
Well, something changed and big time. Jon Travers, Nate Smith and Will Asher all ran 41' off on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at Swiss Ski School behind John Shealy! Will ran 2 @ 43' off tying the World Record! Nate ran 1 and Jon ran 1/2 and they all ran it in succession! This is historic! Congratulations to everyone involved!
HOW WE’RE SQUEEZING 40% MORE TRAINING OUT OF EVERY PASS AT OKEEHEELEE
Back in January, the Ski Club of the Palm Beaches installed a new slalom course, eight buoys in length in addition to the five existing courses. Skiing on this new eight-buoy course gives the skier 40% more practice. How you might ask? Skiing on a normal six-buoy course basically give you five turns as number six is not a complete turn but something totally different. Skiing the eight-buoy course gives you seven turns if you use the same analogy. Two additional turns on the eight-buoy course out of the five turns you get on the six-buoy course equal 40% more practice! Not only do you develop better technical skills, you also develop more strength, stamina and mental awareness and all this using the same amount of gas! One of the skiers takes this a step further, turns eight ball, and heads for the imaginary nine and ten ball! I’ve tried to ski this course exclusively for the past couple of months. Yesterday the course was occupied and the sun wouldn’t wait so I skied one of the normal courses which was a bit windy and ran the easiest passes of the year. This six buoy course was a joke! I highly recommend you utilize these longer courses to accelerate your training!
Want to ski like a champion? Do as he does! THIS IS REALITY!
In every photo above, the skier is going to their off-side turn (if right foot forward, it's going to 1-3-5). Stay tuned for photos of skiers going to their on-side turns.
Here’s an interesting scenario, suppose you were to take a 1” x 6” the same length as your current ski, put a fin slot in it and then mount your fin, wing and bindings to it.How well would you ski?Most likely, you wouldn’t ski well at all!What we have just determined is how vitally important a high performance ski is to high performance skiing.Upgrading your ski and/or accessories to a model that benefits you is the fastest way to ski better.Upgrading can mean replacing your equipment with something better or simply tuning what you have.With a screwdriver and an Allen Wrench, you can add a ton of brainless buoys to your score or take them away if you are not tuning correctly.I say “brainless” because you won’t have to learn any new skills to perform at a higher level.The key to tuning is to identify what your needs are and then adjusting your equipment to address these needs.Prior to making any changes in your equipment, write down the original position of whatever it is you are changing.If you are moving your bindings, write down exactly where they are before you touch them!If you are changing your wing angle, measure both sides and write down the angle(s).If you are messing with the fin, WRITE DOWN EXACTLY WHERE IT IS OVER ALL THREE DIMENSIONS USING AT LEAST AN 8” CALIPER.Write down the measurements to four digits past the decimal point as this is critical information to high end skiing and restoring the fin to its original position and performance.Not doing this will cause you to be what I call; LOST IN SPACE” as you will be totally lost and the performance you used to have will be gone forever!The three dimensions to measure are length, depth and distance from the tail.If you ski and test a lot, get a Mititoyo 8” caliper.If you are a weekend Wally, you can get away with a cheaper one.I sell them both on my “SKIING TOOLS” page.
Once a change is made, you must test it.You should make only one change at a time in order to isolate the change in performance.One change means you must ski with the same boat, same driver, same rope, same handle, same gloves, etc., etc., with the only change being the one you made to the ski, fin, wing or bindings.Once you have skied this change, ask yourself, is this change better or worse?If the change is better, is it enough or could you use more?Is it too much?Was the change in the right direction?If not, try going the opposite way.Continually ask yourself, “if the ski could do something better, what would I want it to do” and then keep testing until you find the answer.
I use the word “DESIGN” because you may have an idea for something new and revolutionary (like the wing and adjustable fin once were).Design it, build it, then test and refine it.Doing these things will force you to become a better skier!Better skiing is what it’s all about, RIGHT?
In their article “Long-Term Athlete Development: Trainability in Childhood and Adolescence,” Istvan Balyi and Ann Hamilton describe what researchers call the 10-year or 10,000-hour rule: Talented athletes need 8 to 12 years of training to reach elite performance levels in their sports. The 10,000 hours break down into about three hours of practice every day for 10 years. Most of us can only wish we had three hours a day to train like the pros. Because most recreational athletes don’t, they may need a lot more time to reach the peak of their skills. This is great news because it means that you are likely still getting better.
Putting skill progression and learning into this long-term context forces us to reevaluate the idea of peaking for a weekend tournament or any short-term view of training and performance. Rather than emphasizing immediate results, we can refocus our training on a long-term plan for improvement. If you want to get better, continue to have fun, build on your success, and learn to win.
Benefits of Late Specialization
Some sports, such as gymnastics, are young people’s games. Gymnastics requires early specialization to reach elite levels. The gymnasts in the Olympics are as young as 14 and 15 and are at the peak of their competitive careers. After college, little or no competitive or recreational opportunities exist. Water skiing and wakeboarding, on the other hand, are late specialization sports, providing lifelong opportunities for skill development and fun. The physical requirements of these sports require you to be more developed physically to perform the movements at the elite level. Thus, water skiers and wakeboarders reach their peaks later in life and are likely to continue to participate for longer periods of time.
Thirteen-year-olds may dominate in gymnastics, but you won’t see them jumping 200 feet (61 m) or running 39 off on the slalom course. You will, however, see people 40 years old and older ripping it up on the water and still competing at elite levels. You will also see water skiers and wakeboarders participating in the sports recreationally well past their competitive peaks. This is great news because it most likely means that your best years are ahead of you. I am living proof of this. Although I had been a recreational slalom skier on open water, I did not get on a slalom course until I was 19 years old. Because water skiing is a late specialization sport, I was able to ascend to the top ranks of the sport
and have an accomplished pro career spanning three decades of competition.
Six-Stage Model of Skill Development
Waterskiing and wakeboarding are sports that provide a lifetime of fun, and they require a specialized model of skill development. Balyi and Hamilton’s article presents a six-stage model of development for late specialization sports. I have adapted this model to help waterskiers and wakeboarders of all ages map out a lifetime of fun on the water. I have tailored the model to fit our sports skill development and to address the various points at which water ski and wakeboard athletes may begin the process. The model includes the following six stages:
1. Learning to move
2. Learning to train
3. Training for improvement
4. Training to compete
5. Training to win
6. Training for recreation
My book, Waterskiing and Wakeboarding provides the goals, tasks and training plans for each of the six stages but for this article I will focus on the most elusive to most athletes, Training to Win. Winning is a learned skill just like learning to do a flip, or run the slalom course.It is about learning to put yourself in the right position at the right time and knowing what to do and how to do it to win.
In the training to win stage, the objective is to maximize fitness and sport-specific skills as well as performance. This stage occurs in males 18years and older and in females 17 years and older. If there is one stage that is most needed by the overwhelming majority of water skiers and wakeboarders, it is training to win. It is definitely the most overlooked stage in our sports. Many compete, but few win, and even fewer learn how to win consistently.
This stage is the final frontier of skill development; in this stage you learn how to consistently and predictably perform your best, how to turn it on when it matters and make it happen. Training to win is about peaking for major competitions as well as knowing how to adjust, adapt, and dominate the competition even when everything is not set up for a peak or you are not at your best.
The training-to-competition ratio in this phase is 25:75, with the competition percentage including competition-specific training activities. Training to win mostly involves trial and error and testing precompetition routines and practice rituals. It takes great at attention to detail and precise tracking to find the consistently reproducible mix of training, warm-up, intensity, focus, and mental calmness so you can ski or ride your best.
In this stage, you need to keep and analyze a detailed log of everything to find Patterns of performance in both practice and competition. Think of all the statistics used in golf—driving percentage, greens in regulation, putts made and missed. The same is true of tennis—winners, unforced errors, serving percentage. Track your stats and know what your go-to moves are to win. Likewise, have a plan for situations that force you away from your strengths. So much of learning to win consistently is simply putting yourself in situations you know how to manage and having a plan to execute your skills. A plan helps you eliminate self-doubt and second-guessing and focus on execution. Following a plan, rather than leaving your performance to chance, gives you the best chance of winning.
Great athletes constantly are evolving to stay ahead of the competition. Michael Jordan added a fall-away jumper and a three-point shot as he progressed in age and his ability to blow by defenders diminished. As he aged, Muhammad Ali learned that he could bully smaller fighters and took punches to wear down his stronger opponents in pursuit of victory. Michael Phelps began an overhaul of his stroke almost as soon as he returned from the Beijing Olympics so he could get faster. In each case, the athlete had a plan and a process that resulted in consistent improvement and winning. You too can have a plan and a process to chart your course to victory, read Watersking and Wakeboaring to learn how.
SPINNING BACK TO BACKS
The other day, as the sun was setting in the east and everyone had left the lake, a photographer friend of mine wanted to do a photoshoot of me skiing. Off the dock I went with a 28’ off warm up pass. At the end of the lake, in order to save time, I decided to spin the boat and get right back into the course. At the end of that pass, I dropped and shortened the rope to 32’ off where I did four spinning back to back passes and then another four. During this session, I was able to get concentrated skill, strength and endurance practice. Years ago, I was able to run eight spinning back-to-back 38 off passes. Nowadays, I'm running 4 - 32 off passes. Back to backs allow you to work on your skills in a way you just cannot duplicate if you drop at the ends of the lake. I highly suggest you implement these into your training regimen. As your skills, strength and endurance increase, so will your buoy count! Ski Great!
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIDN'T GET IT THE FIRST OR SECOND OR THIRD TIME, READ THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!
WHY ARE YOU WASTING PRECIOUS TIME AND MONEY?
Here at the beginning of the season, I am totally amazed as I watch skier after skier hacking their way down the slalom course, chasing buoy after buoy, breaking rule after rule, pass after pass, day after day. These skiers risk life and limb, all the time in the quest to round more buoys. They practice, practice, practice, mistake after mistake, attempting to achieve stardom. Where they should be replacing bad habits with good, they continue to perpetuate their errors and further burn them into their memory banks. Not only are you wasting your time participating in this insane behavior (doing the same thing and expecting a different result), you are wasting your time, your money and of course, your crew's time! If you want to be a winner, you need to think and act like a winner. There is not one great skier that consistently breaks forward after the wakes. There is not one great skier that consistently is on a pulling edge after the wakes! Not one great skier is consistently turning on their back foot. Why would you continue practicing these mistakes? The skiers who make the least mistakes will be the winners, period! Look at Chris Parrish and how easy he makes it look. Look at Nate Smith (Nate wants to have his ski flat by the center of the wakes). Look at Jamie Beauchesne. These guys are winners because they do a lot of things right! I know, you have tried to do things right but you just can't make the same number of buoys. Poor you! You might have to take a step back to take a step and a quarter forward or maybe there will be no gain at all but at least you will be skiing safer and will startle the immense crowds lining the shores at your local tournaments with your beautiful new technique. As far as I'm concerned, either do it right or you will pay the price! Suggested reading; "EDGE CHANGE LIKE THE PROS" (see below). Better yet, attend one of my clinics! Clinic info HERE.
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
Imagine if you will, that GOD came to earth and skied the slalom course at 43 off. Being that GOD is perfect, it would look easy. I know this is possible when I watch Nate Smith run all of his passes up through 41 off. He makes these passes look easy. If Nate is capable of making the near impossible look easy, then GOD is capable of making them look much easier and effortless. To make it look easy, I cannot imagine GOD exerting excessive force as this would make the task at hand look hard. GOD would simply use the energy of the boat for propulsion. This being the case, GOD would not be pulling hard at any time, as there is no need for this. GOD would not be hooking turns as this would create excessive force and again make the task at hand look hard. Instead, GOD would be using the minimum amount of effort to create the maximum amount of efficiency. Anytime GOD would make a mistake, GOD would have to create load (speed) to make up space and get back on track. Since it is not possible for GOD to make a mistake, the need to create load is non-existent! In our skiing, I believe we should try to emulate how GOD skis. We should use the least amount of energy and ski in the most efficient manner. We should constantly be seeking to improve our technique, our equipment, our minds and our bodies and strive to become one with perfection!
DISASSOCIATING YOUR ASSOCIATIONS
The biggest problems holding a majority of skiers back are their associations, namely reach and edge change. Most skiers reach and edge change at the same time while in the world of pro skiing you will never see this. The best pro skiers are in the middle of their edge change in the middle of the wakes and reach out by the buoy line. They broke apart the reach/edge change association long, long ago. At slow speeds, it’s easy to get away with reaching and edge changing at the same time but as the speed increases and the line shortens, you need to break this association and replace it with a much earlier edge change and then reach (read my article “EDGE CHANGE LIKE THE PROS”).
Another damaging association is the turning of the head when turning the ski. Doing so causes an upper body turn when in fact, the turn should be accomplished with the lower body, ideally by moving the inside hip towards the buoy while keeping the shoulders level. A turn that starts with the head eventually ends up at the feet. In other words, since your ski needs to turn, start your turn with your lower body and not your head! By fixing your eyes on a downcourse object like the next downcourse buoy or perhaps the boat guides out in front of the boat, you can lock or freeze your upper body movement which will force your lower body to cause the turn. These new skills are big changes and big changes take big pieces of time. Work diligently on fixing your problems and chase not buoys, as skill combined with will is far more efficient than will alone (and a lot safer too)!