The sport of barefooting can be a fun and rewarding activity for skiers of all levels; however, it can also be a chore to train and improve throughout the season. Whether a skier is simply attempting to barefoot across the entire lake or defending a world title, there is always that next step that is within reach. This is what attracts footers to the sport and at the same time has the potential to reduce the fun factor of training. Progress is an important component in any sport; however, taking a step back and feeling the water under your feet, the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin is vital to your enjoyment and development on the water. With that said, here are three techniques we use at Ron Scarpa Watersports to keep footers loose, relaxed and successful.
1. Look around. While training, most skiers get on their feet and get to work right away. What's the rush? Once you stand up, take a second to enjoy the scenery. There is nothing more beautiful than morning mist rising off the water of a calm lake, yet few barefooters notice this while they are training. Make an effort to spend at least one pass looking around and stretching out your body at the beginning of each set. Notice the lake you are skiing on, the contrast between the water and the trees, even the way the hull of the boat cuts through the water. This will relax your mind and set you up for a great training session.
2. Pay attention. We have all experienced intense moments on the water when we do not hear or see anything – we just act. These are moments of intense focus and concentration in which nothing else matters but the job at hand. Although being in the zone is an important aspect of training, it's also vital to listen to your instructor or read his hand signals. Having the ability to hear and see your instructor while barefooting means you are relaxed enough to make decisions while on your feet. In other words, you will be relaxed enough to feel what you are doing, rather than just blasting down the lake, acting and hoping it will work.
3. Smile. Although it seems like a very insignificant movement compared to what needs to be done to barefoot, the ability to take a second and put a smile on your face will help your skiing significantly. It is amazing to see a student's entire body position and mind-set change when instructed to simply smile. This shouldn't be a big stretch for most barefooters, as we actually enjoy the sport, but remembering to do it is the tough part.