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key flaws of the New Skate



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 16th 03, 12:15 AM
Ken Roberts
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

After living with the New Skate ideas for three years, since Vordenberg's
two articles in the Master Skier 2000-2001, I've come to notice some flaws.
The really big one I'm seeing is:

Lack of attention to the magic of pushing the ski out toward the _side_.

As a result, I missed out on that for another two years, and I bet lots of
other skiers are missing it too. The magic of pushing out to the side has
got to be a more important point than some of the other things Vordenberg
gives repeated attention to in his articles -- like say, forward hips.
Somehow they forgot to mention it at that New-Skate-oriented rollerski camp
I attended also.

Ignoring side-push ties with another omission: the principle that the only
two roles for the upper body are to (1) push on the poles, and (2) keep
quiet and just enjoy the ride. Which takes us to the amusing admission in a
more recent New Skate article: that the World Cup winners still do show
lots of shoulder rotation and swinging in their V1 offset climbing up hills,
but they would all be faster if they would just start following the New
Skate principle of Quiet Upper Body. (though the one video clip I've seen
of Carl Swenson makes it seem like Vordenberg has had trouble even getting
all his own U.S. skaters to follow that rule.)

The other key flaw is Simplicity and Visibility.

Simplicity and Visibility are great for Vordenberg's role as a
national-level mass communicator. But don't they turn into a long-term
problem for local ski _instructors_ ?

-- If ski skating is basically simple then who needs lessons?

-- If the key points are all easily visible, then why do I need a special
instructor to observe my skiing? Just have my buddy watch me. Or have my
spouse take 15-second movie clips with my digital camera, and I'll just look
myself.

-- If the same principles apply to all ability levels ("U.S. Team, master
skier, junior, and beginner"), then there's no need for me to take more
lessons. Compare with any ski school at an alpine downhill resort, where
there's 7 distinct ability levels to learn in more future lessons.

Then there is that other problem with presenting XC skating as Simple and
Visible . . .

Ken


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  #2  
Old December 16th 03, 02:22 AM
Philip Nelson
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 01:15:20 +0000, Ken Roberts wrote:

After living with the New Skate ideas for three years, since Vordenberg's
two articles in the Master Skier 2000-2001, I've come to notice some flaws.
The really big one I'm seeing is:

Lack of attention to the magic of pushing the ski out toward the _side_.


Not sure about those articles, since I didn't see them, but the ski
progressions makes it extremely clear that the movement is a lateral push
to the side. This point is emphasized in the skating dryland techniques
and roller skiing drills.

As a result, I missed out on that for another two years, and I bet
lots
of other skiers are missing it too. The magic of pushing out to the
side has got to be a more important point than some of the other things
Vordenberg gives repeated attention to in his articles -- like say,
forward hips. Somehow they forgot to mention it at that
New-Skate-oriented rollerski camp I attended also.


But not in the two clinics I attended this fall, both by USSA development
coaches.


Ignoring side-push ties with another omission: the principle that the
only two roles for the upper body are to (1) push on the poles, and (2)
keep quiet and just enjoy the ride.


I agree. I am still struggling with the role of the upper body. Bryan Fish
emphasizes it pretty heavily in his coaching, though he also emphasized
being quiet in terms of twisting, less in terms of a waist bend.

The other key flaw is Simplicity and Visibility.

Simplicity and Visibility are great for Vordenberg's role as a
national-level mass communicator. But don't they turn into a long-term
problem for local ski _instructors_ ?


I don't think so. A critical aspect of technique for both beginner and
elite skiers is effective weight transfer and body position. I think this
is why I'm so (currently) attracted to the teaching style. It is by no
means the full story of how to ski, nor of how to teach. It is an
*essential* part of the story that explains, simply I think, how to use
body position to get the most out gravity when you ski. And better yet, it
does apply to mere mortals like me and to elites like the US Ski Team,
which for the first time in like forever, has something to get excited
about.
  #3  
Old December 16th 03, 02:36 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

Glad to hear the magic of pushing out to the side is now there in the live
coaching and a video. I'd still love to see it in print. I haven't found
it yet in any of my readings of the new writing-team-partner Borowski,
either.

Philip Nelson wrote
. . . the ski progressions makes it extremely clear that
the movement is a lateral push to the side. This point is
emphasized in the skating dryland techniques and roller skiing drills.


Once the skaters of America see that pushing out toward the side is the key
to forward propulsion in skating, then we're ready for the next step:

Why not find ways to use upper body muscles to _help_ with that sideways
push?

Which then gets to the Aha! so that's why Carl Swenson and the World Cup
winners refuse to give up their side-to-side shoulder swing in their V1
offset. And that's why the winning rollerski racers are the ones with most
shoulder swing.

Then there's the New Skate claim that the World Cup winners would climb
faster if they just learned about Quiet Upper Body -- see under Principle 3
in Vordenberg's "The Better Way to Skate" article in Master Skier Mid-Season
2001/2002:
http://masterskier.com/archive/0102m...rwayskate.html
That's just wrong from the perspective of physics -- because
properly-synchronized sideways "reactive" force (or "inertial force") in the
upper body can increase the force of the sideways skate-push through the
ski -- it's just Newton's Third Law again. And physics says that through
the magic of the "inclined plane", most of the power of the sideways push
can be converted into forward motion power.

I think it's good for the U.S. national team to take the Risk of looking for
techniques to do _better_ than the current World Cup winners. They just had
bad luck to chose the wrong point to try it on. Time for them to move on
and try something else.

But why did the coaching of all the local and regional racers in American
had to get dragged along with this risky bet of the U.S. national team?

Seems to me Vordenberg in his writing made no effort to hide the fact the
quiet upper body was a new attempt at evolution, and never claimed that its
benefit could be proven from physics or biomechanics. Nobody offered any
controlled measured experiments to show that Quiet Upper Body was faster for
uphill V1.

Yet many American coaches have turned Pete's bold evolutionary experiment
into a fixed religious doctrine for all skating techniques. I guess the
Attractions of the new skate must be pretty strong.

But now we can see in the World Cup videos of V1 climbing, after more than
three years have gone by, that the Quiet Upper Body experiment plainly did
not work. Time for the rest of us American skaters to move on, too.

Ken


  #4  
Old December 16th 03, 03:46 PM
Jeff Potter
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

I thought I've seen writing about 'push to the side and forward with the heel'
and to direct forces laterally. That's what JD Downing taught us in his
Michigan clinic. I recall the Norgie tapes emphasize how the best skiers keep
their pushing heel down the longest and don't let the foot drift back much.

Ken Roberts wrote:

Lack of attention to the magic of pushing the ski out toward the _side_.


--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
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  #5  
Old December 16th 03, 08:20 PM
Hank Garretson
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

At 08:04 16 12 03 Tuesday, Ken wrote:
Glad to hear the magic of pushing out to the side is now there in the live
coaching and a video. I'd still love to see it in print. I haven't found
it yet in any of my readings of the new writing-team-partner Borowski,
either.


I believe Audun Endestad and John Teaford made a big point of side push in
"Skating for Cross-Country
Skiers" in 1987. Is that far enough back?


Ski Exuberantly,

Hank

Mammoth Lakes, Calif.







  #6  
Old December 17th 03, 03:42 PM
Jeff Potter
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

Ken Roberts wrote:

[ ] Which takes us to the amusing admission in a
more recent New Skate article: that the World Cup winners still do show
lots of shoulder rotation and swinging in their V1 offset climbing up hills,
but they would all be faster if they would just start following the New
Skate principle of Quiet Upper Body. (though the one video clip I've seen
of Carl Swenson makes it seem like Vordenberg has had trouble even getting
all his own U.S. skaters to follow that rule.)


Well, we know they are working on some changes. They admit it's a risk. It
could be a winning risk WITHOUT having all other countries imitate it. It might
work even in terms of training for US in OUR situation. We don't have the
heritage and the depth: maybe a technique/training adaption is needed,
something we can EFFECTIVELY key off of. It doesn't have to make sense. It has
to WORK. It doesn't have to be slavishly followed in races either. When the
racer is on the course he then does what he thinks best. His training and
coaching and technique are then his background. The final presentation is a
unique elixir! Slavishly follow anything at your risk. I don't think Pete has
ever said that in a winning race we will see Kris do this or that, or that for
others to then beat him in turn they will have to do this or that. It is
something we're trying. If it works, we will WIN. In the winning race we might
see our skier even do marathon skate or herringbone up a hill! Will this refute
his training if he wins? No! It will vindicate it! Will he likely change his
training if he wins? No! Same reason. If it works, who cares how it plays out.
Do we really know any of these things? Each skier will take his
training/coaching/tech/skis/wax/mood and do something special and custom with
it to suit him best: let the best skier win!

--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
plus national travel forums! HOLY SMOKES! 800-763-6923


  #7  
Old December 17th 03, 06:29 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

I think it's good to train and practice technique styles that are different
than how you actually race. Like I have trained lots of hours doing
hips-forward quiet-upper-body no-poles-skating, even though I will almost
never do that in a race. I think it's fine if Carl Swenson practices lots
of Quiet Upper Body V1 offset skate, even though he knows he's going to be
doing mostly shoulder-swing V1 up the hills in an actual race.

Jeff Potter wrote
It doesn't have to be slavishly followed in races either.
When the racer is on the course he then does what he thinks best.


Good -- but surely it makes sense also to _train_ with the techniques I know
I'm going to actually use in the race. Because shoulder-swing V1 uses
different upper body muscles than QUB V1, and those muscles are not going to
perform as well if they haven't been trained. So I've been spending time
specifically training my shoulder-swing V1.

It's paying off for me. Yesterday out on real snow on real hills I tried
out my shoulder-swing V1 and I felt strong climbing the hills. Sometimes
lost the shoulder swing and started slowing down (but my view was nicer
without my head making that big loop motion). I noticed that I was bogging
down, and it hit me that I had lapsed back into the old Quiet Upper Body
mode. So I consciously started my shoulder swing again, and immediately my
speed up the hill felt better.

I didn't actually measure the difference with a stop-watch -- sounds like a
future experiment for me.

Ken

"Jeff Potter" wrote in message
.. .
Ken Roberts wrote:

[ ] Which takes us to the amusing admission in a
more recent New Skate article: that the World Cup winners still do show
lots of shoulder rotation and swinging in their V1 offset climbing up

hills,
but they would all be faster if they would just start following the New
Skate principle of Quiet Upper Body. (though the one video clip I've

seen
of Carl Swenson makes it seem like Vordenberg has had trouble even

getting
all his own U.S. skaters to follow that rule.)


Well, we know they are working on some changes. They admit it's a risk. It
could be a winning risk WITHOUT having all other countries imitate it. It

might
work even in terms of training for US in OUR situation. We don't have the
heritage and the depth: maybe a technique/training adaption is needed,
something we can EFFECTIVELY key off of. It doesn't have to make sense. It

has
to WORK. It doesn't have to be slavishly followed in races either. When

the
racer is on the course he then does what he thinks best. His training and
coaching and technique are then his background. The final presentation is

a
unique elixir! Slavishly follow anything at your risk. I don't think Pete

has
ever said that in a winning race we will see Kris do this or that, or that

for
others to then beat him in turn they will have to do this or that. It is
something we're trying. If it works, we will WIN. In the winning race we

might
see our skier even do marathon skate or herringbone up a hill! Will this

refute
his training if he wins? No! It will vindicate it! Will he likely change

his
training if he wins? No! Same reason. If it works, who cares how it plays

out.
Do we really know any of these things? Each skier will take his
training/coaching/tech/skis/wax/mood and do something special and custom

with
it to suit him best: let the best skier win!

--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
plus national travel forums! HOLY SMOKES! 800-763-6923




  #8  
Old December 18th 03, 01:41 PM
Jeff Potter
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

Yeah, maybe QUB isn't so 'real world' after all. Maybe the answer is that one
can aggressively USE twisting/tilting for speed OR one can also bail out into
it, collapse one's technique around it. Maybe the difference b/w those things
hasn't been explored well enough.

I've seen plenty of WEAK skiers do the 'marching marching' technique with
twisting/torquing action, going nowhere. Maybe one way that twisting amounts
into a bail-out is when people aren't strong enough to DP up a hill and instead
use their hangpole as basically onesided poling---it seems like a torque can
amount to wimping out on poling hard with the weak side.

--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
plus national travel forums! HOLY SMOKES! 800-763-6923


  #9  
Old December 18th 03, 02:52 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default key flaws of the New Skate

Jeff Potter wrote:
I've seen plenty of WEAK skiers do the 'marching marching'
technique with twisting/torquing action, going nowhere.


My theory about the problem with twisting and torquing for weak skiers
skating up a hill is:

-- they're just desperately trying to find _something_ that helps. But the
physics and biomechanics of skating with poles is so complicated that the
probability is low that they'll get the upper body moves somewhere near
effective.

-- if you get the timing wrong with upper body motion, it absorbs power
rather than augmenting it.

-- they don't have a _foundation_ of true two-legged skating: either in
neural balance+coordination or in muscle-specific training. So they cannot
effectively use the full strength of both legs to get them up the hill. And
given the complexity of skating with poles, there's not much chance they're
going to _learn_ the foundation that way.

So my current theory of learning progression is that the New Skate is right:
First _learn_ Quiet Upper Body -- which simplifies the physics and
biomechanics enough to learn true two-legged skate-pushing. (Thanks to Rob
Bradlee for an insightful off-line comment to me on learning progression,
though he keeps his own wisdom about the true role of QUB).

Once you have that foundation, you have a live _option_ to play with finding
effective shoulder-swing for uphill V1. I think it's best to play with it
first on flat pavement with low-resistance rollerskis or inline skates.
Once you can _feel_ the engagement and neural coordination rhythm of new
upper body muscles there, you can transfer it to more strenuous uphill
skating.

Then you have a _choice_ about whether to use QUB or shoulder-swing style
for effectively for uphill V1 -- or likely some blend of the two.

Ken


 




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