Goals for 2023 include: Run 35 off and compete in Nationals. Best of 2022 was 3@35 off in practice, 1.5@35 off in a tournament (actually a 23 season tourney in 22 calendar year).
Approach is going to continue much like last year, focusing on fundamentals and avoiding distractions.
I will most likely not have any equipment changes.
By far the biggest lightbulb in 2022 was how little “pulling” is actually required behind the boat. Literally applying zero force against the boat is the name of the game. Lean slightly, hold, repeat. By not pulling, I unlock the ability to have any pre-turn alignment or stance wake to ball. With excess rope tension this is impossible and most people don’t realize it, I certainly did not from 2004-2022. So, think about this one.
To that, we will be adding general “square-ness” to the course everywhere, particularly into, during, and out of turns. Trusting that calmly standing on the ski, staying generally open to the boat, and skiing with the lower body vs. upper body will be enough to get through the course vs “trying to get to the next buoy”.
This boils down to three big rocks for me in 23, same as 22:
High Gate: High on the boat, achieved with a twist-out forward and left on the ski, shoulders open to the boat
Alignment: Tall and level and square/open everywhere
Lean vs. Pull: Lean and hold to 4 out of 10 in intensity, arms are loose and relaxed always
By not pulling, I unlock the ability to have any pre-turn alignment or stance wake to ball.
Can you explain this statement more? I’m starting to understand getting into stacked position during or after turn and before load starts, so that I can be stacked from then until wake, but you’ve said wake to ball, not turn to wake.
Good question. Here’s what I’m talking about and it’s the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I’ve learned in my slalom journey.
I’m relatively strong in the upper body. I can pull a LOT against the rope. When we do this from ball to wake, vs. a static lean+hold, we build tension in the rope. This tension rips us out of position on the other side of the wake. We get no: width, balance, alignment and end up going right to the ball.
This “feels like” we are skiing we are “getting to the next ball” and hurrying through the course, but it’s all muscle. It is “impossible” to have good alignment behind the boat or anywhere when we decide to put tension into the rope. I feel like this is missed in coaching all the time because coaches can’t tell how hard you are pulling on the rope, it is tough to spot, so they start coaching the symptoms rather than the problem.
Rope tension should be nearly constant side to side. Hands and arms should be DEAD, completely, throughout the course. “Arms are chains hands are hooks”. Without this, every stance or stack tip or comment are void and impossible to execute. When you ask yourself “why can’t I get stacked? It’s impossible!” it’s because it is impossible if you pull against the boat at all actively.