Muscle Memory and PMTS

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Muscle Memory and PMTS

Postby jbotti » Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:06 am

I remember one of my first experiences of tipping to the little toe edge was on a lift as I was told to tip with my foot. I could hardly create any tipping movement and it seemd as if my feet and legs would just not move to this position. Months later, I spent what seemd like the entire Big Mountain Camp with Diana telling me that I wasn't tipping enough (and I wasn't). At some point I committed to tipping to the point that it actually hurt and it seemd as if it was straining my entire foot and leg. I mention this because I was on a lift this past weekend showing the tipping motion to a friend, as it had been shown to me on a lift. He (like me) could not effect the move. I on the other hand looked down and I was shocked to see that my tipping (generated solely from the foot) was substantial. It was at this moment that I realized that I have been retraining my muscles to do something that was (at least for me) essentially un-natural when I started this process. I aslo noticed that the position that Diana and Harald achieve in their dynamic countering also physically challenges my flexibility. Again this is something that I have made progress with over the past month. Muscle memory is something that I (and all of us) have been training in all athletic endeavors. However in baseball, basketball, golf, swimmimg, cycling and running I don't recall any of the positions being un-natural. Maybe it's because I was younger, but I don't think so. I think that skiing efficiently requires some un-natural positions that must be learned. Any thoughts?
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Postby Mac B. » Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:52 am

There are very few things about skiing that feel natural at first. An instuctor once pointed out to me that everything about skiing goes against your common sense. Thats where good instruction comes into play. I know some people that are serious about skiing that have skied for 10-15 years with the attitude that they're going to figure it out for themselves, and they still haven't figured it out. The sad thing about that is now in order to improve their skiing, they are essentially going to have to learn how to ski all over again. And it's real tough to unlearn bad habits that have been ingrained into your thought process for all those years. I think that a lot of skiing has to do with muscle memory, I think that in spite of the best instuction, it still requires a lot of mileage for your body to get used to movements that are not at all natural.
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At other sports, we get fundamentals earlier

Postby JimR » Thu Apr 01, 2004 8:58 pm

I think all sports have aspects that aren't natural. All of us have seen people throw a ball with the wrong foot forward, and I was coaching 15 year old Little Leaguers before I learned that the pitcher should be completely balanced before driving forward toward home. I also remember basketball practice driving home the need to "never cross your legs on defense" and "keep your body low, no matter how much it hurts (something I still tend to do when skiing)." Hitting a racquetball with the wrist instead of the whole arm was also difficult for me.

IMHO the difference is that the "proper" way of doing things is taught much earlier and is MUCH more generally available than is the case with skiing; while our muscles don't have too many bad patterns to unlearn and when we are more limber and able to do stuff. As nearly as I can tell, most of the people in PMTS are a little bit older and have been skiing for a few years.

It would be real interesting to be able to look into the future and see the abilities and rate of progression of skiers who start out and stay with PMTS. At this point, even the people who Harad coaches in college programs started with the "classic" wedge progression??
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Postby piggyslayer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:34 am

Did you guys now that there is a form of Phantom in soccer.
My father in law was coaching soccer in Europe and I have talked with him about it.
When you kick the soccer ball you are supposed to position you free (non-kicking) foot in certain way. The non-kicking foot defines the direction in which properly hit ball will travel. Is this Phantom kick of what!
This approach makes for very consistent way of placing the ball in motion.

My 2 cents to the discussion: proper alignment makes big difference in learning how to tip. It is harder for knock-kneed skiers or for some of us (like me) with foot alignment issues like forefoot varus (which collapses the knees inside when flexing). This is actually the etymology of my name Piggyslayer.
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Postby jbotti » Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:37 am

Piggyslayer,
I have a similar issue. I broke my right ankle when I was 14 (yes skiing for the first time and my bindings did not release). The bone was set with my ankle turned out some. When I flex with my right leg my knee goes sharply to the inside. This is also exacerbated by the fact that I'm 6 2" and I have very long legs in proportion to the rest of my body. Harald and Diana have done a 4.5 degree adjustment to my right boot and my ability to get to the little toe edge has improved exponentially. I hadn't really factored in what the new alignment has done for my increased tipping ability, but you are right, it must be a significant factor.
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Postby BigE » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:56 am

My wifes right foot points somewhat outwards, with knee moving inwards on flexion. This is not due to injury. She can move the knee on that leg directly forwards, but can't point it outside at all... No little toe edging using the knee joint is possible.

Now the point:

She was recently aligned by an extremely good boot fitter. I am not privy to what he actually did, but she now likes the setup far better.

But, it took a whole day to get used to it! She was very very upset about it on the first run. She had learned to compensate for the original mis-aligned boots, and after alignment felt that she needed to "relearn how to ski"! Her exact words.

Muscle memory plays a huge role in all sports.
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Postby tommy » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:43 am

But, it took a whole day to get used to it! She was very very upset about it on the first run. She had learned to compensate for the original mis-aligned boots, and after alignment felt that she needed to "relearn how to ski"! Her exact words.


I can relate to that experience! I'm knock-kneed. Last year's Hintertux camp, Harald got me aligned before camp, with new footbeds. I went to ski the day before camp started, with the new footbeds, and while walking the short distance to the lifts, I immediately noticed that my already comfortable boots felt even better, almost like sneakers. However, on the slopes, I simply could not turn anymore!

I took notes during entire camp, and here's the original notes a wrote down after the initial day skiing after having been aligned:

- no control in "normally easy" slopes
- difficult to engage stance ski
- stance ski not stable - wobbling, particularly in right turns
- right turns generally difficult, very unstable
- when going straight down the fall line, with skis parallel, they wobble
- skis wobble in T-bars

I was ready to give up skiing, well at least to throw the new footbeds out after that first day, but already the next day I started to understand "how to ski" without compensating for my earlier misalignment.

What I believe happened with the alignment was that the new footbeds to some extent mitigated my knockneedness, and thus made my howe grown "press the inside edge of the outside ski at all the times" technique more difficult. It took a few days of camp coaching until I started to feel comfortable with the new footbeds and the new technique.

Cheers,
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Postby piggyslayer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:50 am

This is also exacerbated by the fact that I'm 6 2" and I have very long legs in proportion to the rest of my body.

jdb, are you sure we are not related?

Consistent with jbotti and BigE story, it took me lot of practice to get used to tipping.
I am still suffocating my piggy a bit, but my piggy is much happier now (I think).
It helped me a lot to practice the tipping movements without skis (but with ski boots) at home.
I also think that the teeter board can be very helpful for people (it did help me) who have hard time getting the tipping working.
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Postby jbotti » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:20 pm

Yes, yes and yes. It did feel quite uncomfortable the first time I had an alignment adjustment. Having said this it is not clear which has helped my skiing more, the adjustment or the instruction I've gotten from PMTS (not to take anything away from how great the instruction is). Interestingly, when I went from a 3 degree adjustment in my boot to 4.5 degrees, because I was already working on skiing correctly and on the tipping motion, the new adjustment felt better immediately.
Piggyslayer, we are probably not related, but I was born and raised in New York and I lived a good percentage of my life in NYC. I broke my leg at what I've been told is nothing more than a roller of a hill: Vernon Valley/Great Gorge. Luckily, living now in the SF Bay area, I get to ski real mountains regularly.
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Postby piggyslayer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:30 pm

Interestingly, when I went from a 3 degree adjustment in my boot to 4.5 degrees, because I was already working on skiing correctly and on the tipping motion, the new adjustment felt better immediately.


Same for me, Harald has done a conservative adjustment on my foodbed (about 3-3.5 deg) and then recently I have added 5 layers of duct tape to thicken the boot board on one side under my forefoot. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

PS. Vernon Valley/Great Gorge is now Mountain Creek changed the owner (now it is owned by INTRAWEST). They have closed for this season already.
Are you sure you have no Polish ancestors? :wink:
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Postby jbotti » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:39 pm

With a name like Botti. Probably not.
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Postby piggyslayer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:58 pm

On the mother's side? Grandmothers maybe? :)

OK. we are just in the same PMTS family.
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