Luke Lockwood talks "Change in the pocket" and what it does for you at the buoy.
A belated Happy Easter Folks! Unfortunately water skis and gloves don’t fit inside little plastic eggs, but hopefully you found some other means to satisfy your hungers over the weekend. Let’s talk some technique this week. I figured while it’s still early it’d be a good time to work on something simple such as what I like to call Change in the Pocket. This is something that my father passed on to me in my younger days that helped set the tone for my style. Although exactly how it is executed changes from one skier to another, there is one thing that is for sure... you will not see any exceptional slalom skiers who have not perfected some variation of it. You see as the rope gets shorter, having the ski come around naturally and efficiently is critical which is why small technical details can become of major importance.
At this point you may be thinking something along the lines of “what in tarnation is this Change in the Pocket hubaloo he speaks of”. Allow me to answer gentle listeners. We refer to this action as change in the pocket because when performed correctly it appears as though one is reaching back to put their spare change into his or her pocket. I've included a couple photos that show why it is sometimes called Change in the Pocket. Some skiers however, throw their arm back and high. Either way, it causes your hips to rotate and the ski to change direction.
So in case the visual wasn’t good enough, what this means is that were standing tall and up right with our arm cocked back almost as if we’re going to scratch our armpit. If this analogy is less fitting for our non-monkey loving readers, try thinking of the pull-back motion in a bow and arrow. As the handle comes off the hips and rises into the reach, our outside hand should cock up and back tucking into our armpit.
This will not only give us a consistent position at the ball but will also open our body up more at the apex of the turn. Doing so will cause the ski to move further out and up the boat giving us more width. As long as we remain patient in this situation and position, we should then find ourselves with more angle at the end of the turn.
The upper body is ultimately connected to the lower bod via the core (hence the necessity for core strength). So when we keep the arm back and body more open we find ourselves more in control of everything going on via the kinetic chain (connection of the body’s muscles and joints). Thus, we will finish the turn in a more controlled position leading us into our wake crossing starting in a stronger position making everything more efficient.
We’ll talk a little more about this next time and a few more underlying factors, but as for now, Get out there and rip!
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