Tips on effective practice

PMTS Forum

Tips on effective practice

Postby Jeff Markham » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:39 am

In a different post (, Harald said:
If you are into practice, remember only practice with exact, accurate movements makes the difference you are looking for, if incorrect movements slip into your practice, ie up movements or pushing your Cm into the trun, your results and benefits of practice are reduced considerably.

Dave Pelz (golfer) said:
Practice doesn't make perfect -- practice makes PERMANENT and perfect practice makes perfect.

Rich Messer had something interesting to say in this regard at the Big Sky A-M camp:
(paraphrased): When you get off the lift, don't snowplow. Doing so is telling your body that it is OK to snowplow. Your body is not smart enough to determine that snowplowing is OK when leaving the lift, but not OK when otherwise skiing.

Back to the topic of this post (and at the risk of asking an "open" question): What do you do to make your practice more effective?

Personally, I'm not sure whether I am always practicing effectively, but I am stubborn. Depending on my goals for the day and how the day is going, I spend part of the day practicing drills (e.g., releases, javelins). Sure, I can try to improve through sheer number of repetitions, but my practice would be more effective if I could increase the benefit per exercise.
Jeff Markham
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Postby Bluey » Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:11 am

Practicing is frustrating for me.
As I can't rely on my family to give me feedback when I ski....'cause none of them have done a PMTS camp nor are they interested in learning about PMTS ( " cause we're skiing Ok now and we just wanta have fun...." ) .

Therefore, I have a list of, primarily, visual, external clues which I work on each time I get off the chairlift.
Before I start, I take a moment to focus on exactly what I'm going to work on for that run down.
I also make sure that before I start the run down that I know what external clues I'm looking for and in some cases what sequence I want them to be in ( ...I kinda repeat them to myself in my head )....if that all makes sense....

How do I know I got it right when I get to the bottom of the slope??
Answer.....I really don't know ...all I know is that its "right" if,
I had fun on the way down & if
I felt I was in balance and control and if,
the line down felt like it was a smoooth continuous flow, then,
I know I got it right.........
I also like to recap on the parts that weren't "right" and try to mentally coach myself on what I should have done so that it would go better the next time.
I usually work on just I thing at a time....'cause that's about the most I can handle sucessfully and keep the fun factor dialled high.
"By the inch it's a cinch, by the yard its too hard".

Pretty basic stuff I guess.......


Last one down's.....
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Postby h.harb » Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:06 am

You both have the right idea, you will have success if you always find a way to confirm you are doing the practice movements correctly. Read the descriptions of the movements in the books exactly. Be your own critic, don?t get sloppy and you?ll know when the movements are right, because your turns will be easier. You may find that the exercises are not easy, but when you ?get it? you will find the movements are in effect making your skiing easier.

Our exercises combine many elements and they are exercises never before used in ski teaching. These are not from a ?bag of ticks?, these exercises are well thought out and are designed specifically to improvement specific areas of your movement abilities. They often combine many of the basic elements of PMTS or good skiing, balance always being the priority.

I just had a client come in this week for ski boots and alignment. She bought the books and videos and immediacy started reading and studying. She had been taking PSIA group lessons all winter. Her comments are so typical: "PMTS is completely different from what they are trying to teach me. I like PMTS better, it?s so much easier and it makes sense. What I am learning is taking too long, I don?t see the improvement I want." We hear this day after day, year after year. I am not going to venture into the ?them vs. us? thing, but I will let our clients do the talking. Although at times, I will let people know what our customers are saying. This is for educational purposes. We have a good thing and I think more of the skiing population would like to know about PMTS.

PSIA folks have criticized me for being dogmatic and rigid about how I approach skiing. I take that as compliment, because if you are not demanding about the quality of movement, you develop garbage. The proof is on the slopes.

Jeff is a great example; he has developed into a strong skier with great fundamental movements, in a relatively short time. From here he can go anywhere with his skiing, bumps, powder, steeps, he has the right movements.

I can remember two seasons ago, Jeff was not able to make a parallel turn on green slopes. Even last season he had difficulty. I am very pleased with his progress and that of many others in our camps. We have a large and great group of skiers who started with us as intermediates and are now skiing all mountain and enjoying the experience. Have fun, we are off to the A-Basin All Mountain Camp this weekend. It just dumped ten inches last night.

Postby piggyslayer » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:47 pm

For me knowing if what I do or what chicken does is good it the hardest.
I often am afraid to make recommendation on someone?s skiing (unless is an obvious one like do not use you big toe or rotate your skis).
Looking at tracks is a good measure of success, but this is hard, especially if skiing in the evening, after early grooming is long gone.

What I found recently is that icy patches can help. Hard snow of the icy variety is the most hated type of snow by most skiers standards.
I discovered that a well executed carved turns with good patient float between and pulling the hamstrings in the top C after the edge is established is rewarded with excellent grip on ice.
The early C was something I was trying to work on for some time and I found an unlikely ally in icy snow. It provides with an instant feedback if what I am trying to do works or does not.

Hey, I must have some unfair advantage over Jeff, with his proximity of Alta powder! East is good too (at least I keep repeating it to myself).
Piggy Slayer
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Postby rbrooks » Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:56 am

Yeah, poor Jeff-only 130 inches on the ground.

Randy Brooks
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Postby -- SCSA » Sat Mar 06, 2004 10:58 am


Can I drop in tomorrow and pay the daily rate ($175) and join the camp? If so, I'm in. I'll be at the Basin early.

Postby Jeff Markham » Sat Mar 06, 2004 1:51 pm

Harald, thanks for the encouraging words. I wish that I could say that a vast untapped ski talent lay dormant within me, but it's all due to PMTS. Read the books + watch the videos + attend the camps + practice the drills = skiing improvement. It's a straightforward equation.

Piggyslayer, that's an interesting comment about ice. At the B.S. A-M camp, I asked Diana why she likes ice so much. I was expecting her to answer that it made her go fast. Diana replied that ice gives her immediate feedback when her movements are incorrect. We don't get much ice out here in Utah, but I tend to avoid the scoured/scraped packed areas. Now I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't view these surfaces as opportunities for practice with built-in feedback. Hmmm.....

Unfair advantage? Hah! I moved to Utah to get away from that ice stuff.

And it's now 141'' mid-mountain at Alta.

Heh, heh, heh....
Jeff Markham
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Postby piggyslayer » Sat Mar 06, 2004 8:25 pm

I found that good sharp slalom skis are important when trying to train Primary Movements on ice.
The benefit is obvious, with looking at tracks you have to ski first, stop, look up, maybe even walk up to look at them up close. After that ski again and try to apply small adjustements ... repeat the steps to see the tracks.
With ice I grip (good) I slip (bad).

Poor Jeff, two years back I was skiing Snowbird in mid May. The conditions where hard snow 8-11AM and then softening up. Still I do not remember ANY ice. Even the Olympic race courses in Snow Basin I remember hard but not icy.
Jeff come over and ski the East with us! We will find some blue glossy runs guaranteed.

What's the best East ... or West? :wink:
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Postby h.harb » Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:18 am

Yesterday we had a cold and windy day at A-basin but it was a great warm up day for our all mountain camp. I have the top group and three of the skiers are PMTS Blue accredited (they started with us as intermediate skiers), one is a full cert PSIA, he was already a strong skier, but only skis about four days a year). The others I have skied with before. We did a few tough runs off the steep ?West Wall? where the conditions can change this from a normally black diamond run to a double black diamond run. Yesterday, was one of those days where it was very difficult to ski smoothly and with graceful turns. The frozen crust and heavy wind blown snow in the troughs of the bumps made it challenging indeed. In addition, the visibility was very poor.

Although courage and lack of fear plays into the attempts to ski these conditions, I was very impressed how the group handled the runs. A few initial falls because of excessive tip pressure in the troughs, but other than that connected turns with good control. When you are determined and have PMTS skills, releasing, flexing and a good upper to lower body countered relationship, all this can happen. These skiers were green to blue level just two years ago. The best part of my job is watching average intermediate skiers turning into competent and in many cases expert skiers. Much more to come today!!.

Ice is a great test of your overall skiing mastery!!! More on that subject another day.

Postby -- SCSA » Mon Mar 08, 2004 8:32 am

I'm not an expert. But I do ski a lot (80 or 90 days this year) and I ski hard. I ski everywhere inbounds and now even look for some "safe" out of bounds lines.

I ski with guys/gals whom anyone riding up the lift would say, "They're great!" They are. The great skiers, all release their stance foot to start their turns. Why these skiers can handle all terrain with aplomb, is not because they have some secret sauce. It's not because they ski a zillion days a year, but that certainly helps, no doubt about it.

It's their technique.

These skiers may not consciously practice PMTS, they may not even know who HH is. But they all ski using the Primary Movements. They release to start their turns, they ski on their edges. I've said it for years. When you learn these fundamental movements, funky snow as HH describes, while not a piece of cake -- nothing in skiing should be taken for granted -- is navigated with total confidence.

When you look at great skiers, the comments are always the same. "They make it look it easy." If you had the PMTS books in front of you at that time, you'd see that these skiers are using most of/if not all of what PMTS teaches.

Skiing is easy to them, because they have a simple plan when they ski. They're using the Primary Movements.

Be cool,

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