Leg Motion in a Ski

6 years 4 months ago #20876 by dannyboy
Leg Motion in a Ski was created by dannyboy
So i'm new to all this. picked up a used Fenn XT. Pretty comfortable except for a few swims.

I have had the footboard adjusted so i can fit one fist between back of knee and the bucket.

I know I am pushing on the footboard and using my core not just arms. I see virtually no movement of my knees.

In this video:



Szolt seems to be pumping his knees up and down. i do not see how this can be done in a ski unless he has a swivel type seat.

I wear lycra biking shorts and they are slippery in the ski but try as i might I cannot get leg motion like Szolt does (or others in videos i watch)

Must I get a pumping motion of the knees to have proper form?

I have tried to shorten and lengthen the footboard but my knees just do what Szolt's do.


What am I missing. Or is he incredibly flexible at the hip joints?

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6 years 4 months ago #20878 by Fuyang Guy
Replied by Fuyang Guy on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Hi Danny,

I am no Guru, but there are a couple of things you could try.
1. Actually moving your footboard further away, You will not have the fist's gap, but may actually be in a better position, as A short guy, the fist Gap is not achievable for me, and I find I get better leg drive with lower knees.
2. Try putting a pair of board shorts on over your lycras, not a permanent solution, but it should definitely improve your ability to slide, if this was the issue.
3. Tighten your footstrap and pull with the opposite leg to the one you are driving with.
4. Focus on moving your hips, not your knees. They will follow.
5. Improving your flexibility will help most aspects of your paddling.
6. Do stroke drills, where you break the stroke down into components and train one component at a time, 1 side at a time. (this is Oscar's approach)

Also worth remembering that as a National team member from about 10years old, Zsolt will have grown up with Professional coaches every day of his life. Unlikely that most of us will ever attain the level of stroke perfection he has.
What is more important than piston like knees, is that you are having fun.
Your stroke will improve with time.
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6 years 4 months ago #20880 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
If you can't get leg drive, which is what you're describing, then you have your foot plate set either too long or too short. I suspect short if you are using that very out dated method of having a fist under the knee (this was fine decades ago when skis were flat, not now when humps are always different).

As FG has said, push the foot boat out a few settings. The ideal setting is one which allows you to push hard with your heals into the plate, but is long enough to allow your hips to move forward and back in the seat. Once you get that hip movement, leg drive will happen and you will see massive improvements in performance, as well as taking a lot of pressure off your lower back, which you will be doing currently as you have no rotation through the hips.

You can assist hip movement and leg drive by using the straps on your foot plate correctly also, which I have described here:

www.thinkkayak.com.au/2011/05/foot-straps/

Welcome to surfski paddling, keep asking questions, as everyone has started at some time and have gone through what you are learning. We're all here to help.

Cheers. :)
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6 years 4 months ago #20883 by dannyboy
Replied by dannyboy on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I have never tightened the foot straps! Never thought about pulling with opposite foot!

I suppose part of me had concern about "escape" in event of a spill.

Looks like I have alot to learn.

I'll tighten down the foot straps next paddle.

Thanks.

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6 years 4 months ago #20884 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
A good rule of thumb is to keep your paddle shaft parallel with your chest at all times, this will make you rotate your chest and hips. Your legs will have to move up and down if your feet are on the foot board.
You are just using your arms therefore no leg movement.
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6 years 4 months ago #20887 by kwhatmough
Replied by kwhatmough on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Also I find that posture is important. Sitting up straight seems to reduce friction and joint pain, making hip rotation easier.

New boat, same old engine.

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6 years 4 months ago #20927 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Don't tighten the straps too tight! You can twist an ankle or remain stuck after falling off, plus it is not necessary to be too tight to get started with leg drive.

Some flexibility is required at the hips to get a very strong rotation/full leg drive - I can feel I am restricted there somewhat compared to folks who do it professionally and are younger. Still, most should be able to get about at least one fist difference b/w the top and the bottom knee when pumping...

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6 years 4 months ago - 6 years 4 months ago #20928 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
That's right, no reason to do the foot straps up too tight, even Oscar teaches you not to do the straps up tight, you should not be pulling back on the strap, you get the drive from your paddle in the water which bends the leg on the offside as you rotate, both legs should be driving into the footplate.

Different coaches, different advice, try for yourself and think about what you are doing and why and find out what works for you.
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6 years 4 months ago #20929 by Selkie
Replied by Selkie on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Having come from a sea kayak background, I have always wondered what the real purpose of the foot strap is? I am guessing that is to keep some contact with the ski over the bumpy stuff. I did manage an instinctive roll up after a wave caught me side on. The wave must have kept me pressed in the bucket, but I also think the foot strap helped a bit :silly:

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6 years 4 months ago #20930 by Chookman
Replied by Chookman on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Kayaker Greg wrote: That's right, no reason to do the foot straps up too tight, even Oscar teaches you not to do the straps up tight, you should not be pulling back on the strap, you get the drive from your paddle in the water which bends the leg on the offside as you rotate, both legs should be driving into the footplate.

Different coaches, different advice, try for yourself and think about what you are doing and why and find out what works for you.

I'm not convinced pulling back on the straps does anything at long distance racing speeds. I use a knotmeter rather than GPS in my K1 because it is superior IMO in that it gives instantaneous speed. If I consciously pull back on the strap, my speed drops by around 0.2 kph.

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6 years 4 months ago - 6 years 4 months ago #20936 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Yesterday I had to readjust my foot straps from winter to summer paddling, so had a chance to experiment again with the foot board position and straps tightness.

In the winter I wear paddling boots, neoprene socks in them, latex socks on my dry suit under them, and some fabric socks Under them against my skin. You can imagine that all this bulk requires the straps to be almost an inch wider and the foot board about 1/2" further away compared to when I paddle barefoot. Yesterday, I tightened the strap some but did not initially move the foot board back. My knees could move quite a bit, but were lower than ideal - I could do mild rotation, but if I tried more, then the hump would be in the way. Moved the board back a bit, so that I barely touch the hump at full rotation/extension of my pushing leg, and that was good.

The other point I also experimented with yesterday was the tightness of the straps. Too lose, and my feet would slip around and I would not have good control of the ski - it was bumpy (Saturday afternoon in a VERY busy marina/channel). But I never tightened them too much. I wanted to see if I needed to pull on them - I did not. As mentioned, it seems that the most efficient way to rotate is to only push enough to counter the paddle forces. No need to pull with my other leg to do that - pulling or pushing in excess of what the paddle requires is wasted, in general.

One thought on pulling on the straps is that, if I wanted to continue to rotate much after the paddle is out or nearly out of the water (so I can no longer pull against the paddle with my arms), I would need to pull against the strap. I suppose that may be needed during sprints, but I don't think is was needed most of the time yesterday for me, where I was just paddling about at below maximum effort most of the time.

Any other thoughts on the need to pull?

As for the OP, start by positioning the foot board as far back as needed when your pushing leg is as straight as it will ever be for you during your more powerful strokes with more rotation. It will be somewhat bent and the amount of bend will depend on how high your ski hump is (the leg wont be straight ever, in a ski with a hump). As you learn better technique and your rotation improves, you will likely find you start touching the hump more and that is restricting your rotation. Then, you will move the foot board even further towards you from where you started. That was the case with me - Initially I maxed out the cockpit length, now I have almost an inch free in front of my foot board - I am rotating more, my legs are bent a bit more than before, and my feet therefore need to be a bit closer to me.

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6 years 4 months ago #20939 by Abel
Replied by Abel on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I have a Epic V10 Sport. DO YOU REALLY PUSH YOUR HEEL INTO THE FOOT PLATE?? I push a little bit but not to hard as I feel I will detach the foot plate from the ski and break it? How hard does one push?

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6 years 4 months ago #20941 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Just enough to counter your pull on the paddle against the water. Any more, and you are unnecessarily pushing your back against the rear of the seat pan...

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6 years 4 months ago #20942 by Fuyang Guy
Replied by Fuyang Guy on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Abel,
Oscar, at his clinics, instructs everyone to push with their heels. If there was any chance of anyone breaking an Epic footboard doing this, I doubt he would stress the "heel" drive.
Try it, it may take a few minutes to start feeling normal, but I found it helped me.

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6 years 4 months ago #20943 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Crack the footplate! not likely.
You should push as hard as you can, this is the main part of the power of your stroke. The other power part is your rotation, the arms are just the connection to the blade via the shaft, they do very little in terms of work (power) in the paddle stroke.

Do NOT push against the back of the seat but rotate yourself around.

Another of Oscars drills is to do precisely that, pull yourself off the back of your seat and then paddle like that, pushing against the footplate with your heels. Your back should just lightly touch the seat back. This allows you to have no friction for rotation and you can feel the rotation, not jammed or locked in!

I must stress if you have an unstable ski you have very little chance of paddling correctly. I paddled for 30 years on skis and kayaks that were just too unstable for me and could do nothing but concentrate on keeping upright. Finally I switched to something more stable and whala! full body rotation.

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6 years 4 months ago #20945 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Have a V10 Sport too. Having the strap reasonably snug, driving by pushing my heels into the footplate accomplishes three things.
1. Increased stabilty
2. Better rotation
3. More speed.

Pulling back on the strap with the foot after the "drive" is something that a lot of paddlers seem to take a while to pick up on. Also, my legs do not overly "pump" as I drive. Rotation with a hard heel push and foot pullback against the strap works for me.

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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6 years 4 months ago #21050 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Chookman wrote:

Kayaker Greg wrote: That's right, no reason to do the foot straps up too tight, even Oscar teaches you not to do the straps up tight, you should not be pulling back on the strap, you get the drive from your paddle in the water which bends the leg on the offside as you rotate, both legs should be driving into the footplate.

Different coaches, different advice, try for yourself and think about what you are doing and why and find out what works for you.

I'm not convinced pulling back on the straps does anything at long distance racing speeds. I use a knotmeter rather than GPS in my K1 because it is superior IMO in that it gives instantaneous speed. If I consciously pull back on the strap, my speed drops by around 0.2 kph.


I'm the exact opposite, straight away see a jump if I've lost concentration and don't pull with the recovering leg. Guess we're all different.

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6 years 4 months ago #21051 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Kayaker Greg wrote: That's right, no reason to do the foot straps up too tight, even Oscar teaches you not to do the straps up tight, you should not be pulling back on the strap, you get the drive from your paddle in the water which bends the leg on the offside as you rotate, both legs should be driving into the footplate.

Different coaches, different advice, try for yourself and think about what you are doing and why and find out what works for you.


Can you describe how you can drive both legs into the plate at the same time? Very curious to hear this technique.

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6 years 4 months ago - 6 years 4 months ago #21052 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
It may have something to do with the motion of the hips, you really need to feel it for yourself. I was taught to drop the hip on the catch side, this lifts the hip on the off side and if you engage your core and have a good catch it is not hard to drive both legs into the footplate. However, if you look at many paddlers you will see that the hip often is not dropping on the catch side and the boat tilts the opposite way, I'm picking perhaps these are the paddlers that have trouble driving both legs into the footplate.

Have you ever had the opportunity to do a session with Oscar? Ask him about driving with both legs if you get the chance, he might be better with words being someone that has taught paddlers for many years in technique. But if your driving with one leg and pulling with another you really are not transferring all the forward motion into the foot plate that you could be, your feet are attached to your paddle in the water through your body (I think the word is tensegrity?) or something like that. Sorry, I'm not a teacher, I just try to feel what I have been taught and keep working at it all the time.

And your legs still go up and down as you rotate I should add, just in case there is confusion about that.

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6 years 4 months ago #21053 by Thorny
Replied by Thorny on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
There is lots of very good advise here but, IMO the best thing you can do is to join a paddling club and pick their brains and participate in their coaching programs or get some private coaching. There are plenty of great coaches around. I spent too long trying to teach myself how to paddle and poured over the you tube videos too with mixed success. The biggest help to my paddling has been getting some coaching. The hardest thing now is to unlearn all the bad habits I've picked up over 100s of hours of paddling. Good luck with it!

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