View Full Version : Open Water Practice

09-19-2013, 07:03 AM
Now that the season is winding down, there's less boat traffic and less wakes. If you have access to a course, this time of year on a public lake can be fun.

What about those who don't have a course to run or perhaps don't have time to put it up? How do you train on open water? I try to find a nice cove and practice rhythm ... Cross wake, three count, cut, pull, cross wake, etc. Also get on camera so I can see my body position. The camera not only adds ten pounds, but also makes me look out of balance!

Any other open water practice ideas? Ski on!

09-19-2013, 11:40 AM
96 Comp really opened up a great question. Therein lies a bit of a dilema. Just my two cents as someone that started out as a free skier but is moving up into the 15/22 off ladder. So my opinion aside, I'm looking forward to the great responses.

The benefits of free skiing are many. It reminds us of how much fun skiing is and lets us carve up some calm glass w/o the pressures of beating your own PB ( personal best ) or those riding in the boat. In essesnce, the lake is yours to own. It also builds up great muscle memory and endurance. We can't really expect to develop good position and technique in less than 16-20 seconds, depending upon which speed you're running. You could really reverse some bad habits by incorporating some free skiing in between sets or before/after, if done properly. With that said, I'm trying to still figure out the right balance, so I don't have answers, just questions still.

Drawbacks: the course is about timing and if you look at your skiing frame by frame you can see a HUGE difference in your timing and rhythm on and off the course. One skier commented that he made 7-8 turns in the same amount of frame time skiing on the open lake. Whereas, he would normally only make 6 turns. E.G your edge change might happen earlier on the course than in your free skiing and if you free ski more than you're running the orange balls, your timing / memory might give you some trouble. Nothing more time on the course can't solve. But it was interesting in his example, he was turning much more quickly than on the course and his body alignment was poor, netting horrible results when he want back on the course.

I'll try and find the link but I think it was on Skiall6.com that had some free ski exercises that focused on transition/edge change w/o extending much beyond the 2nd wake. I also do pullout drills when free skiing. Just look up Seth S's warm up's and exercises and I think you can find good stuff.

Interesting fact: more and more pro's and top amatuers tell me that dry land exercises help their on the course performance by building in muscle memory. Robert Marking / Markus Brown both posted videos on this.

So in summary IMPO: Dry Land exercises = better muscle memory off season or off course; Free Skiiing= endurance and incorporating dry land techniques Course = better results

chris young
09-20-2013, 11:56 AM
So I still haven't managed to run the course at 15 off 30MPH. I was constantly getting a look at 4 ball but couldn't turn it. The first two weeks of August I free skied twice a day every day behind my own boat at the cottage. When I went back in the course, I was right where I left off. ARGGGHHH! I was feeling so much stronger, in a better stacked position and a much better off side turn, I really felt like I would run it first time out. As it turns out, my instructor was commenting that often free skiing will not help your performance in the course because we all tend to ski too narrow when we free ski. To be fair I was getting a look at 4 ball at 28MPH when I went on vacation, and when I went back I was skiing at 30, so I guess being in the same position 2MPH faster would mean that I had improved a bit at least. I have been off my ski now for 6 weeks due to a knee injury, so who knows what will happen when I go back. Right before I got injured I had mad a bit of a breakthrough on my off side, so I was feeling really positive about my chances. As for Dry land, I have a handle in my office that I work on position with, don't know if it helps or not.