Skate Technique Teaching Progression for R & G Instructors

Use these descriptions as checkpoints for your own technique analysis. If they make sense, use them. These items are what I think about when breaking down the different techniques and deciding how to teach them.

w/o skis
First night review how to use straps and talk about proper dress and
hydration. Talk about stretching. Then begin with the following topics and
take them at what pace the class will bear.

1) Relaxed position
Lean forward with hunched shoulders. Arms dangle in front at knee height
a) double arm swings
b) add abdominal crunch (loose arms!)

2) Ski walking
Walk along at an easy pase and get used to the V1 timing of 2 poles and
one foot.

3) Falling drill
a) Fall to the front and side on to one leg and catch yourself with the
other leg at the last moment.  Remember fall with a straight leg from the
ankle. (both sides)
b) Link several together (fall walking drill)
c) Add kick at the last moment (do both sides)
i) test for heal pressure by having partner put fingers under other
persons heel.
d) Link several together
i) add arm swings
ii) add compression
e) kick to high hip hill drill
Find a moderate uphill. Stand at the bottom.  Place one leg with straight
knee 2 feet up the hill. Collapse ankle and bend knee of other leg and
push (kick) up and over the uphill leg.  Lead with head, rest hands on the
small of your back.  Push hard enough to almost fall on your nose, hold
for a second.  than fall back on to downhill foot and do
again.  Do both sides.  This is what high hip feels like when you do it
right on skis

4) Bounding
Bounding is continuous linked motions taught in the falling drill
a) flats
i) Do it slow at first without arms and concentrate on good form
add arms only (really throw the arms ahead to help propel the body
then add poles
ii) Then pick up the speed trying to maintain the same form, add
arms and poles as       pupils get the hang of it.
Poles are difficult to use in this drill when moving slow.
b) hills
Do the same progression as on the flats.  Do more work with poles here.
Try counting steps to a certain point on the hill, then repeat trying to
do it in fewer steps.

with skis

1) Double pole
a) Lean from the ankles, then compress with the abdomin and fall on the
poles and follow through the arms
b) Try unweighting one leg as you do the double pole.  Alternate legs.
c) Move into the psuedo kick double pole.  Used to help get weight forward
before the fall on the poles
d) Double sticking to develop the feel for pushing with arms (no crunch,
all arms)
e) Advanced double pole: Try Keeping weight on heels as the arms follow
through and push toes up the track.

2) Free skate (ie without poles)
Concentrate on pushing with the whole foot.
Keep the relaxed stance.
Carry poles crosswise in front of you at knee height.
Ski slowly with good weight transfer
Try to glide a long as possible to work on balance
Remember the falling drill
Try to get that high hip feeling

3) V1 - There are two version of the V1 technique.  Strong side left and
strong side right.  The strong side is the side where the foot and the 2
poles touch the snow at the same time.  You need to be able to do this
technique on both sides.  The strong side pole is sometimes called the
hang pole and the other pole is called the push pole.  This is your main
technique especialy when learning.  More advanced skiers only use this to
climb hills or on slow snow.

Timing - Three points of contact (2 poles 1 foot) followed by one (1
As you fall onto the poles on the strong side and do the abdominal
compression the hands proceed to the rear as you glide on the strong side
ski.  As the hands pass the leg you collapse the ankle and knee and push
off to the week side.  Continue pushing with the poles as you rise up onto
a high hip on the week side.  The pushing leg naturally swings back to the
center and the arms swing forward to get ready for you to fall and push
onto the strong side ski. Repeat for 50k.  Do on the other side as well.
Think about all the pointers talked about in the free skate and try to
incorporate them here with the poles.  Never hesitate to go back to the
free skate to practice the motions.  Skating without poles should be at
least 30% of your workout time.  Try skating with only one pole, either
hang or push, to learn what it feels like to push with the poles.

Switching sides
Stop your arm push early (half way through, just touch the snow with the
poles) and switch to the other side and start the arm push all over again.

Increase cadence, widen stance, push hard with good weight transfer

Strong side to the uphill side

Strong side to the outside.  Shorten the strong side step and lengthen the
weak side step.

4) Field skate - Like the V1 there are 2 styles of the Field skate (left
and right) determined by which ski is on the ground when the pole push is
done.  This is a faster technique for the flats and moderate uphills (once
V1 has been mastered). It is not as strong a technique as V1.
The timing can be learned by doing the free skate and after the right ski
touches down and you begin to glide on that ski, bring your arms forward,
plant the poles in a double pole fashing and begin to push.  Fall on the
poles, compress with the abs and as the hands go by the legs kick with the
leg to the left ski.  Glide on the left and as the arms swing forward for
the next stroke push off the left ski on to the right.  Use the arm swing
momemtum to help transfer the weight to the right side. The weight should
be completely transfered before the poles are planted for the next stroke.
This is Field skate on the right side.  The only difference between this
and V1 is that in V1 the right ski and the 2 poles hit the snow at the
same time (at the beginning of the glide phase).  In Field skate the ski
touches down first followed later by the poles in the middle of the glide
phase.  This delay allows the body weight to fully transfer before the
pole push is started allowing a stronger push after the slight glide.
This technique is meant for fast conditions where the delay between
setting the ski down and the start of the polling does not cause too much
slow down.  The V1 technique makes sure there is now loss of speed by
beginning the pole push early in the glide phase.

hills (for advanced groups)

Field skate on the down hill side.  Very efficient way of skiing side
hills.  With all your weight on the downhill gliding ski double pole and
kick up to the uphill ski  (*****  I don't remember the technique, I'll
have to wait til I get on snow again, my body will remember)

5) Downhills  (survival and performance)
a) snowplow
i) Come to a dead stop, then proceed slowly.  Learn
Knees together, heels out, tips together, weights on heels
and dig edges in
Dig in harder on one side, shift body weight to that side:
result turn other way!
b) tuck
Rest arms on knees
Lower hands to feet if too scary
c) cornering
i) in track (lean to inside of corner, move hands to inside
as well
ii) step turns
Keep weight on heels.  Unweight one ski, lift tip and step
it to direction of turn. Push off with other ski and repeat.
Emphisize short quick steps.  The higher the speed the
shorter and quicker the steps.

6) V2 - This technique is the Field skate on both side.  No skate
one side pole the other.  In this technique you skate and pole on
both sides continually.  This technique requires fast arm recovery and
exceptional balance.
Start out double polling on the flats.  Unweight one ski and then
the other on alternate pole strokes.  Start actually lifting the ski off
the snow as you pole.  This is the V2 timing.  Now start angling the skis
out to the side in the skateing form.  Once angled out try pushing off
that ski as the arms pass the legs.  As you push off transfer the weight
to the other ski. Add an abdominal crunch as you push,  Agressively move
out over the new gliding ski.  Leave the trailing leg extended for short
time to aid in balance.  Then let the trailing leg return to the center
(think about almost clicking your heals together) and get ready for the
next stroke.

hills (for advanced groups)

7) Marathon skate

A section of drills to improve balance, flexibility and strength.  All are
very important in both styles of skiing
a) balance
i) 1 legged bend over touch ground
ii) 1 leg swings
iii) leg kicks
b) relaxation  (VERY IMPORTANT)
i) arm circles ala Antonina
ii) arm swings
iii) lean forward and run very "loosely" with arms dangling
and shaking
c) flexibility
i) ankle circles
ii) shoulder dislocates w/poles
d) strength
i) dips
ii) pole hops
iii) skipping
iv) snow dance
v) one leg lunges