(Above: Jason gets ready to take a set)
It did gradually warm up on Thursday to the high 60‘s. Dave, Jason and myself managed to get 3 sets while Eric took 2 (I think). By our second set Jason and I had ditched the wetsuit and went with heater tops.
While the pace of the day was not rushed by any means, we were clipping along pretty good. We each got 1 set in the morning and then took a pause for lunch. Then took our remaining sets in the afternoon.
Dave and Eric picked up some Chick-Fil-A on their way back from the airport. If you are traveling to Oz for coaching, lunch is something you will want to plan. I think the best option is to stop at Piggly Wiggly and get some food and drink to load up in a cooler. This will save you a ton of time (you don’t want to have to leave the site), prevent you from slurping down some unhealthy meat product and keep you well hydrated for the day.
I was third person in our group off the dock, and this was my first time in the water since my ankle surgery 7 weeks prior. I was a little nervous. I had spent a ton of time stretching and warming up on the starting dock to give myself the best possible chance of success.
Thankfully, Zac is a great driver and gave me a nice is easy start. I was more focused on my ankle than the actual mechanics of the deepwater start, so I’m fortunate that I didn’t pop the handle. “Easy, easy, up, up, I’m good. All right - on top!” was my self talk all the way through.
I spent the vast majority of my time outside the course just testing the ankle and trying to get a rhythm back.
Set 1 - 6 passes of Seth’s famous pullout drills.
Set 2 - 2 passes of pullouts and 4 passes of wake crossings.
Set 3 - 4 passes of wake crossing.
I could feel my ankle getting fatigued in my 3 set so I opted to cut it short by 2 passes to play it safe. With 6 solid months left of skiing, there’s no need to push things so soon.
And now for some coaching...
One of Seth Stisher’s dominant themes to the group is the transition and the video below is just a taste of Seth’s teaching on this concept.
Most skiers would commonly call this the “edge change”, but this is a word Seth’s likes to avoid because it focuses on the outcome rather than the movement of the skier that creates the outcome.
I really like the transition concept and the way Seth’s describes it because it gives a concrete answer to the questions of when and how a skier needs to move to get the ski to begin its carve around the next buoy.
The transition is the movement a skier makes - preferably with their hips only - to release the ski from its load so that the ski is free to begin making a natural carve on it’s opposite edge.
Your transition should start at the centerline of the wakes behind the boat and the ski should land on its opposite edge somewhere around the second wake.
This is the casting position where the ski is actually on its inside edge but still moving in an outward direction away from the boat and toward the shoreline.
The more ideal the skiers body position is behind the boat, as Seth discusses below, the easier it will be to initiate the transition. We often put ourselves in a bad position behind the boat by dropping our lead shoulder, crunching our shoulders, allowing the elbows to be pulled away from the body, etc. A bad body position behind the boat will in turn require the skier’s body to travel a further distance in order to release the load on the ski allowing it to snap onto its opposite edge.
A more efficient transition sets the skier up for a more space and time between the second wake and the next buoy. Watch the Seth Stisher Free Ski video to see this concept in action, or better still, watch Seth's dog Edge give a demonstration below.