Loose is fast

Roll on, press above the fall-line and let the skis run. Simples, right?

When coaching ski instructors to become ‘racers’ the biggest challenge in our experience is changing a candidates psych/tactics from trying to demonstrate the ‘perfect’ technical turn to charging down a course using effective inputs and managing the outcomes.  Ski racing is not a subjective sport.  Is there a panel of strictly come dancing judges lined up in the finish of Kitzbuhel with scorecards at the ready waiting to add time penalties onto Svindal because arms didn’t look pretty enough?  Certainly not!  (I’d like to see them try, the man weighs in excess of 100kg!).  Now, I’m not saying that you must disregard all body management in the name of speed.  There is definitely a cut off point where those wild arms and backseat position will have a detrimental effect on the clock.  However, as long as your ski is running clean and your pressure is early, why not allow for a little individual flare if it means you’ll ski faster?  When we set up the timing equipment on our training camps more often than not when we ask our trainees which of their runs was quickest, they pick the most controlled one.  This is rarely the case!  I’ve had horrified trainees say to me during video sessions “look at the state of my inside hand, its noticeably lower than the outside!”  My response is to draw their attention to the clean and early track above the gate and early pressure release they have achieved at the same time….. I know which I’d rather have.  So the next time you’re standing in the start gate, be it in a real life test or simply another training run, try not to worry too much about trying to fulfil the “perfect” image of how an instructor should look and focus a little more on doing everything you can to keep your ski running.  Even if it does mean dragging those knuckles for a few gates 😛