do I need to focus on to achieve slalom greatness?”
It’s a good question — staying focused on what’s
important in the slalom course or in free skiing is what ultimately
will allow you to improve. The answer, for me, is simple: The
finish of the turn.
Focusing on the slalom course from outside to in places the
importance on the turn, and makes the wake crossings and release
off the second wake the result. So, rather than trying to break
free from the boat to get a good turn, let’s get a good turn
so our wake crossing and release become phenomenal.
Turn Rotation: With your free hand on your hip, bring your reaching
hand, the outside hip (right hip on right side of the boat and left
hip on left side of the boat) and your free hand together as
quickly as possible. To ensure full rotation, this move must be
performed at the widest point of your turn. Don’t worry about
how much speed you have, just rotate.
Absorption: Once your reaching arm, free arm and outside hip are
together, go low with your legs. You can imagine that there is a
little chair sticking up from your fin and you simply want to sit
in it. Don’t worry about squatting. I promise that if your
hands and hips are together at the finish of the turn, you will be
in a strong position and your bottom will stay underneath you as
you go low.
Perfect Leverage: As you go low with your legs, think about keeping
your shoulders level. Because you’ve just rotated at the
widest point, you now have angle without all the speed. The only
thing you have to do now is hold this position and wait for the
pull from the boat. Simply maintaining this position through both
wakes will carry you to the same wide point on the other side of
The Results: Focusing on slalom from outside to in ensures
that the wake crossings are a result of the turn. Think about it
this way: If you are trying to lean through the wakes by moving
your head and shoulders away, you will create speed. Unfortunately,
when you get to the second wake, you’ll want to slow down.
Chances are high that you’ll slow down by bringing your body
to the inside. This makes the rope go loose, giving you slack.
Conversely, if you keep your shoulders level and build angle
without speed, the line will always be tight when you get to your
next turn. Concentrating on slalom from outside to in guarantees
that you are using technique and the natural slalom pendulum as
opposed to power and an unsuccessful tug-of-war against the
Geraldine Jamin trains with Drew Ross and is the 2000 Moomba
Masters and European Women’s Slalom Champ.