SLALOM made Simple

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South African National Championships – 3rd to 6th of April 2015.

SLALOM Tip: Keep it Simple

As water skiers, we are always looking to improve our technique so that we can use less brute force and more technique to swerve more buoys on shorter rope lengths. While focusing on technique can become very complex, slalom is not as difficult as it may seem if you just keep it simple. After coaching extensively during December (again), I came up with three basic keys that are highly important to improving novices’ slalom. Not matter what level you are at, whether you are just starting out or running short line, the following tips are guaranteed to help you improve.

  • Hips: Hips movement is the most fundamental part of slalom skiing. Focus on keeping your hips up to the handle, facing down course and locking in your elbows to your sides. If you are bent over, and your hips are behind your shoulders you are in weak position. This not only will cause the boat to pull you forward and off balance, but you will most likely end up hurting your back. Having trained with pro waterskier, April Coble Eller, one of the most distinct differences between her and your average skier is the positioning of her hips. Do yourself a favour and YouTube April Coble Eller and watch her edge change and how she pushes her hips through the edge change.
  • Tip pressure: If you have ever drifted a car or seen a car drift, you will notice the driver brakes so that the weight of the car transfers to the front wheels. This allows the rear end of the car, to drift. This is the exact same scenario with water skiing. Simply push your front knee over your front toe and ensure your legs are bent and this will allow you to put pressure on the front of the ski. Sitting down on the back of the ski, pulling through the wake on your back foot in order to generate more angle onto your back foot to slow down the ski as you come into the buoys are all slalom misconceptions. Stay on your front foot for the ski to slow down, turn and then generate its angle once again. This ties in with keeping your hips up to the handle because if you sit down, not only do you rock onto your back foot but you allow your hips and the ski to get behind you.

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