SHIFFRIN’S MOVE


It is no exaggeration to state that Mikaela Shiffrin walked all over her competition in 2015-2016 World Cup Slalom. The reality is that Shiffrin didn’t have any competition. She wasn’t just all over her competition, Shiffrin was over her skis better than any of her competition.

The video below shows Shiffrin’s Move. I have slowed it down and cycled it in forward reverse to make it easier to see what she is doing.

 

Now watch Shiffrin in action.

Do you see her move? It is obvious, at least to me, that Shiffrin knows exactly what she is doing and she knows that no one else can figure it out. Well, almost no one else.

In my next post, I will compare Shiffrin to Zuzulova in the same race.

4 comments

  1. I agree and disagree with both of you. A mentor uses the term ‘simultaneous independence.’ We don’t walk one leg at a time, that is called hopping on one foot. The smoother the skier (Shiffrin for example in slalom) the more fluid the movement pattern. She is using both legs at the same time. If the skier didn’t move the old downhill leg simultaneously, they would have to step up hill to go down hill which is what happens when one ‘locks’ the downhill leg, you have to go ‘around’ it like it’s a fence post. Simultaneously one moves the old downhill/outside ski out of the way so to speak, as one simultaneously steps onto the new outside ski. One can’t ‘pull’ forward, there is nothing to pull on, so that is an act of stepping forward. This is why correct fore/aft balance is so critical because one has to ‘get over the loonie’ by stepping on it just like in a walking motion which instinctively allows one to align, as needed, in relation to the ‘loonie’ and ski through the entire turn until one switches to the other foot. By using both legs simultaneously one accurately places the body where it needs to be in relation to the only thing that gives the skier the ability to control their destination, the ski. All this is dependent on the ski boot allowing one to function as designed which takes us back to the essence of what the whole Manifesto is about, letting the body function as designed!! I would describe it as a pedaling action so try this on your bike; press down on the first met on one foot and then the other. Careful. It tips the bike side to side.

    1. “We don’t walk one leg at a time, that is called hopping on one foot. The smoother the skier (Shiffrin for example in slalom) the more fluid the movement pattern. She is using both legs at the same time. If the skier didn’t move the old downhill leg simultaneously, they would have to step up hill to go down hill which is what happens when one ‘locks’ the downhill leg, you have to go ‘around’ it like it’s a fence post. Simultaneously one moves the old downhill/outside ski out of the way so to speak, as one simultaneously steps onto the new outside ski”.

      The skier doesn’t consciously move the old downhill leg per se when they start to extend on the inside (uphill) leg any more than someone taking a step moves the old stance leg. There is an interaction between the two legs that causes the old stance leg to ‘release’ the tension when separation occurs and the leg unloads. The reaction from the unloading causes the foot to move and out of the way. Swinging of the leg forward occurs as a result of extension of the stance leg at the knee. This can only happen when we can fully support the weight of the body on the new stance foot and leg. The key to the events in skiing that make a turn a reflex event like walking, is the trigger or pulse that occurs in extension when the uphill leg finds ground and configure activates the limb. At the point, the push on the snow (ground) pushes the skier into the fall line and sets the outside leg to rotating into the turn. The elements of the foot must be able to move in 3 dimensional space within the confines of the ski boot and establish the peak tension in the arches within a fraction of a second to activate and configure the structural support of the lower. In my US patent 5,265,350 I used the term ‘without delay’ 13 times.

      “No other contact must occur at the perimeter of the foot which would act to obstruct displacements necessary to assume a monopedal stance once the transition from a bipedal stance to a monopedal stance has been initiated by the user. The avoidance of any obstruction is required in order to ensure that a monopedal stance will be attained without interference or delay. Such interference would be deleterious to the user and is, therefore, undesirable.”

      The problem, and it is THE PROBLEM for most skiers and skiing in general is that by both design and modifications made to it, the ski boot prevents skiers from getting over it.

  2. Well, this is what I see:
    In the transition Mikaela takes pressure off her stance ski (right ski in the video) by pulling her foot and leg up and back to transfer the force to her new stance and turning ski (left ski) She simultaneously moves her COG forward and downhill (head, shoulders arms and hips all move forward). Even her wrist and pole movement gives the appearance of someone pulling themselves downhill. I’m not sure I’ve identified where the magic is because, for me, it is in the total package. Mikaela is so solid on her skis, she is seldom “out of shape” and if she is, she knows how to make an instantaneous correction. For her size, I believe she has exceptional core strength which contributes greatly to her ability to recover and stay in balance.

    1. Roberto, you are seeing a lot of the key events. The order of events is critical.

      At the end of a turn, Shiffrin’s outside (downhill) leg is maximally rotated internally (into the turn and towards the center of her body). Her inside (downhill) leg is maximally rotated externally (out of the turn and away from the center of her body). She needs to make a transition move to reset and reconfigure her body to turn in the opposite direction. I like to use the pendulum action of metronome as a model for the rhythm of a turn.

      “In the transition Mikaela takes pressure off her stance ski (right ski in the video) by pulling her foot and leg up and back to transfer the force to her new stance and turning ski (left ski)”

      Shiffrin starts the transition by extending her inside leg primarily at the knee joint. The extensors unwind the external rotation and release the pressure on the old outside ski. At the end of a turn her COM is behind her inside ski. As she extends projects her torso (COM) forward so that her new outside is under her when it goes flat between edge change. She doesn’t pull her right ski back.

      “She simultaneously moves her COG forward and downhill (head, shoulders arms and hips all move forward).”
      “forward and downhill”
      Exactly – downhill. She does not move uphill in the old step up turn movement. She starts with COM uphill of her new outside ski and times her extension so she is over her ski when it goes flat. She is not fighting gravity. Gravity is the source of acceleration.

      While it appears as of Shiffrin is lifting what will become her new inside ski, this is not what is happening. Extending on her inside (uphill leg) releases the tension in the muscles of her downhill leg. The reaction is similar to the mechanism in walking that causes the knee to bend when you move onto the new stance foot.

      “Mikaela is so solid on her skis, she is seldom “out of shape” and if she is, she knows how to make an instantaneous correction. For her size, I believe she has exceptional core strength which contributes greatly to her ability to recover and stay in balance.”

      Her stability comes from a high degree of tension in the arches of her stance foot. Stability starts there and extends to the pelvis. Core strength and tension in the lats and traps stabilizes her pelvis from above. The degree of tension in the arches is directly related to ramp angle. Interference with the processes of the arches of the foot responsible for what I refer to as Intrinsic Dynamic Tension will make the ability to Get Over It and a strong stance impossible.

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