Narrow better than wide stance

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Narrow better than wide stance

Postby Harald » Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:05 am

Stance Width

We teach skiers in the PMTS Direct Parallel method to ski with their feet relatively close together. We often teach intermediate skiers to narrow their stance. The reasons are clear and logical. A narrower stance allows for many different movements unavailable in a wide stance. Movements of expert skiers are closely related to standing with balance over and on the skis. The expert skier freely allows the hips and mass around the middle of the body (center of mass or center of gravity) to travel from one side of the skis to the other as the edges are changing. Intermediate skiers and skiers who have reached a plateau in their progress do not have that ability and don?t know how to break through to the next level. A wide stance that lowers the body into an inflexible, locked hip position does not allow for movement of the center of gravity from one side to the other. I often hear the argument that the racers ski with a wide stance. So why shouldn?t the intermediate and beginner skier? Because you can?t compare the way beginners and intermediate skiers ski to racers. First, a racer skis at speeds and develops forces that are not available to the recreational skier. Second, the racer actually skis with the feet vertically separated, but laterally close: in the turn the inside boot almost touches the outside leg.

The typical PMTS skier skis differently than the skier learning the traditional wedge progression. This is most evident when you compare their ability to balance and move the body toward the new turn at the release. PMTS skiers are advanced much earlier than traditional method skiers. We know this from the comparisons that have been studied in different ski schools. In addition we teach many skiers who abandon the traditional systems because they become frustrated with the tedious repetition of dead end movements such as stemming. This is mostly taught in conjunction with a wide stance which locks up the skier?s access to changing balance from stance foot to stance foot.

It is no wonder so many skiers rave about the Phantom Move. It immediately causes skiers to bring their feet together and change balance from one foot to the other. Ski performance becomes valid for the first time and the skis react to tipping rather than having to horse them around.

With skiers who have a working parallel turn and have used the Phantom Move and tipping, we teach them to ?two track?, as they are ready for ?two track? understanding balance and balance shift. When you teach ?two tracking? to a beginner who has no balance shift and has never tipped to engage a turn (TTS teach steering to an edge) they stagnate or plateau. Two tracking requires at no more then four to six inches of ski width.

I have come across very strong skiers who ski with their feet glued together. We do not advocate that in PMTS. We have never recommended that the skis be glued together. We use pulling the skis together in some drills to accentuate balance, but not as a stance. We do maintain that a narrower stance is beneficial to more skiers than a wide stance.

I use a wider stance width exercise to demonstrate to skiers that they can flex their legs further at the release. I have them stand with an exaggerated wide stance to feel a lower flexed leg position. I also have them tilt the old stance ski into the new turn (onto the little toe edge) from that position to have them feel resistance to tipping, they have to over come. Skiersinergy, you had some good results from that exercise.

Stance width is an individual preference and depending on alignment, body proportions and edging ability, it can vary. We do not approve of the present day instruction and coaching trend, a ?cart blanc? approach that everyone should stand really wide.

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