Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

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Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby precisionchiro » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:34 pm

I think I'm preaching to the choir here, but...

Does this phrase bother anyone else here? (I don't know if this has been discussed yet or written about in PMTS circles, I've never seen it used in any of the books and manuals I have)

Not just because it's traditional USSA/PSIA jargon, and has been for decades... but, words have meanings, and the concept of "separating" body halves or regions seems like a VERY sloppy description or explanation of how a whole body is supposed to function in athletics. Separated, disconnected, divided, split up, detached....

I think this one is even worse than when coaches say "Keep the upper body quiet."

U/L Body "Coordination" seems to be the most appropriate way to label it and teach it, IMO... something that reflects the opposing yet complementary movements that must combine together for the desired outcome.

Thoughts or comments on this?
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby ErikCO » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:03 pm

I'm sure others will chime in on this, probably more elloquently than myself, but I think a lot of it comes down to traditional systems describing an outcome while PMTS describes inputs that will produce an outcome. "Quiet upper body" would certainly be an apt description of what an expert PMTS skier looks like, but that is not specifically the goal. The goal is proper execution of primary movements. Upper/lower separation is, I would agree, worse because it makes it sound like the two parts don't influence each other. And it is even more poorly worded than quiet upper body. It is not at all obvious what one is supposed to do when told to separate them.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby h.harb » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:31 pm

Eric very well said.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby blackthorn » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:53 pm

I think that separation is a very poor term and for many leads down an ultimately ineffective path. The PMTS terms counter action and counterbalance are so much better. While the upper body may look "still" there is a a lot of work going on left side vs right side depending on the turn direction. There needs to be an intimate relationship between upper and lower body movements - not separation.
The kinetic chain concept, associated with PMTS movements and drills is far better.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby Obrules15 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:42 am

I really hate the term separation. I always felt like I was supposed to unclip my top and bottom halves at the start of a run. But I need my top and bottom halves together!

I know it sounds silly, but words have meaning and if they guide you in an unhelpful direction, that's not beneficial.

I can't unclip my halves, but I can counteract my pelvis (theoretically) and counterbalance my torso. So much more helpful when phrased like that.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby h.harb » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:38 am

We don't use U and L separation in PMTS. If I wrote about it at some point, it's only because it has been in ski terminology for decades. Not how we use definitions that have meaning. ULBS doesn't describe what is happening. We use counteracting.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby geoffda » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:58 pm

h.harb wrote:We don't use U and L separation in PMTS. If I wrote about it at some point, it's only because it has been in ski terminology for decades. Not how we use definitions that have meaning. ULBS doesn't describe what is happening. We use counteracting.

When you wrote about it in the Expert Skier books, you called it Upper Lower Body Coordination--which was and still is totally accurate terminology.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby h.harb » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:51 pm

Yes Geoff, true. This is exactly what we do to develop Expert skiers. We teach them how to coordinate their upper to lower body, as well as give them, in the process, the correct timing cues. PSIA can't come close to achieving this with their teaching. Especially not with "upper and lower body separation". in fact they don't even separate the upper from the lower body. Their pole swing to the ski tip, in addition to the leg steering, make the body act as one unit.


With the PMTS system, everything has been thought out and tested. When I wrote it, the system became even more precise and refined. Why and how? I accomplished that because once you write it, it can't be misleading, confusing or conflicting. As well, it has to stand the test of time and it has to work exactly how it is written. Writing makes you analyze and work through everything you put on paper or it's garbage. A written technical document is scrutinized by everyone who thinks they are experts in the field.

A "Traditional System" like the one PSIA uses, (it's not their system BTW) has to announce continually "We have something new" this year. They have to say that: because they realize that what they have it's catching on. Plus they have to keep their followers interested and coming back to expensive training that is virtually useless. With our system, we are constantly training our coaches. Even during our camps, we have a roving trainer that moves to the groups and helps the coaches. The result I have seen from this is the satisfaction levels by our campers keeps going up and our coaches are always improving.

PSIA members have to keep coming to training sessions year after year and nothing changes except the way they ski. The movements don't change, but the precision and efficiency get worst.
PSIA management needs to keep the revenue coming in, and they do that on the backs of their instructor membership.

No ski teaching method in the world is as well thought out as PMTS Direct Parallel. We have delivered a system that has answers that don't conflict with the forces developed in the vertical environment.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby precisionchiro » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:48 am

h.harb wrote:A "Traditional System" like the one PSIA uses, (it's not their system BTW) has to announce continually "We have something new" this year.


Huh... Interesting, but not surprising.

Harald, do you know who or where that PSIA system (I have a lot of trouble even calling it that... it's more of a "bag" of disconnected ideas and drills) came from? Is it just borrowed or copied from something else, or many other something else's?

Have to say... I took a USSA Course Setting clinic earlier this week. The course conductor was a bit of fresh air for me, as he said a few things that I was relieved to hear.

He hates the phrase "pole plant." He prefers pole tap or touch, to emphasize that it isn't a big swinging movement, and it's NOT used to "bring your hips forward."

At least six times, he complained about most other coaches in general, saying they really don't know what the hell they're doing, putting kids on the wrong terrain, teaching the wrong things, they can't even ski at the level they're attempting to coach others how to do... Whenever I hear an instructor or coach complaining that much about other coaches, I instantly pay closer attention, because it's likely that they have a better idea of what they're talking about. The worst coaches and instructors seem to praise PSIA and USSA and worship their examiners and the resources PSIA/USSA puts out, like their stupid "drill cards" to carry in your pocket, etc.

The better coaches seem to express a lot of frustration with popular traditional coaching and instruction.

He loves using poles as a Hip-o-meter with kids, as a way to "integrate" (his word) upper body movements with the edging and balancing movements (his words) of the feet and legs...

He hates how much "rotary" is used and emphasized in any kind of ski instruction, especially racing...
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby h.harb » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:33 pm

Who? I might know him.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby precisionchiro » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:52 am

h.harb wrote:Who? I might know him.


Steve Mergenthaler.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby h.harb » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:10 pm

Good Austrian name.
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Re: Upper/Lower Body "Separation"

Postby thatguy_onthehill » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:57 pm

German, actually, but Bavaria is pretty close. :wink:
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