“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a person turns about
When they might have won if they stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,-
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.”
This quote gets me fired up! What a great way to segue into our next inspiration session. After the beating we took in the magazine (NFTE #23a), this should get us all pumped for an advanced article that might be over the heads of some, but should be motivation for all!
Also, please remember to check out the FREE NEW E-Book I just made available for download at our site, www.thefootersedge.com But let us concentrate on greatness in the world of inverted jumping.
“REQUEST PERMISSION FOR
FLY-BY” INVERTED JUMPING
Yet, there are many people who want to learn this “inverted style” who have been lured into the fallacy that this is a new and different technique. Inversion, in fact, is not a new style but a simple and natural progression that involves the most efficient use of the barefoot jump. To learn to jump inverted is not a super-human effort put forth inches before the jump but carefully calculated use of basic jumping skills that I am going to explain to you.
To understand the “how” of inverted jumping you must first understand the “why” or the philosophy that will help you to fly. The first principle that must be mastered is the principle of force. If you want “the force to be with you,” then you must understand how the force works! The jump is your friend and it will accelerate the force that is applied to it. There are three forces that should be studied; horizontally forward, horizontally backwards, and vertically upwards.
Horizontally Forward Force (HFF): if your body position is such that you are heavily resistant in your approach to the jump, then your feet will be exerting the above force. With our understanding of how the jump will help accelerate our applied force, we can project that this horizontally forward force will be exaggerated. In other words, the feet will “slip” forward which will cause the skier to fly through the air on his back. This is not good! Slippage means ineffective use of the jump and thus low distances (not to mention surprised and somewhat fearful facial expressions).
Quintessential Skill: Ultra Mega Glide (UMG) in all forward positions is critical for anyone wanting to “go large” on the jump! You can review this in The News from THE EDGE #14 which is available as a free downloadable E-Book at www.thefootersedge.com . These positions must be perfected on shoe skis and then your feet both on the boom and behind the boat! All this is critical to the skills needed to jump and must be combined with awesome posture in order to not only be safe, but also to jump well! I would never consider jumping a safe or prudent endeavor for any student who has not perfected these skills, and I cannot stress the importance of this enough. It is possible that a skier could be killed or seriously injured by jumping without the form I have described. Please refer to my two hour instructional video, The Footer’s Edge which goes over this in great detail.
Horizontally Backwards Force (HBF): if your body position is such that you are dangerously forward with your body either before the jump or on the jump, then your feet will exert a backwards force that will cause a different type of slippage that will cause your upper body to “slip” forward prematurely. This is not good. Although this gives a visual appearance that might appear at first glance to be correct, it is in-fact dangerously incorrect. Although this will produce longer distances than the “h.f.f,” this can cause brutal falls and is an ineffective use of the jump.
Vertically Upward Force (VUF): when your body position is in the safe and correct position that I will teach you, then “the force will be with you.” This position maximizes your potential and it allows the jump to give you major lift that will produce the greatest possible distance. In short, Posture and Glide rule the jump world!
The Three Phases of Inverted Jumping
Approach, Raise, Landing
The proper ski position is the primary concern of the approach. It is also the true key to the simplicity and safety in jumping! In order for this position to exert a “v.u.f,” then the body position must be one that is secure while incorporating the Ultra Mega Glide” (News from THE EDGE #14). This is in direct opposition to a heavy plowing position or a dangerously forward position. I believe that this is the biggest mistake I see in jumpers of all levels regardless of how long the skier has been jumping.
As you can see in the picture my knees are safely over my feet with my shins flexed as I keep the ball of my foot pulled-up as high as my ankle flexibility will provide, my thighs are parallel to the water (optional: only slightly higher for more advanced skiers), my lower back is arched, shoulders back, chest out, and my arms are relaxed.
This position must be mastered first directly on the boom (always shoe skis first!), then mastered on the five-foot extension, and then finally on the long-line before any actual jumping is attempted. Do not take any short cuts here, as you will only be jeopardizing your own safety and consistency. This is the biggest mistake that most of the jumpers that come to me for help make.
This is actually the scariest part of the process to learn, but if you follow my instructions to the tee, then it can be the most exciting and fun part of this process. The raise must be perfected directly on the boom and followed up with massive repetition until it becomes so natural that it is instinctive as to when and how quickly you rise.
First begin by raising your butt about six inches from the position that you have mastered while keeping yourself from 1) being pulled forward or 2) by resisting the pull of the boat. Do not try and visually mark a distance at which you must begin to raise. By simple repetition, video analysis, and professional help, you will develop timing in your raise that will feel natural. Start with timing the raise so that fifty percent of it is done before the jump and fifty percent is done on the jump. As you progress, and your ability to maintain your position while you raise increases, you will be able to do more of your raise directly on the jump.
As you perfect your six-inch raise, slowly keep increasing the amount that you raise until you are able to perform a complete raise by the top of the jump. This will take time, patience, and practice. I highly recommend seeking help from a qualified instructor who has a good track record for teaching with safety as the main concern. After perfecting this raise on the boom, perfect it on the five-foot extension by alternating between your feet and shoe skis. The next logical step is the long-line. If you have done your homework properly, then you will have a reverent respect for the jump while not feeling petrified as you approach it. If you have any problems on the long-line, then you simply need to take some more time on the boom, five-foot extension, and on the shoe-skis.
Although many people believe that the landing is the most difficult part, this is usually not the case. A bad landing is usually the result of a poor take-off (approach or body position). If the raise is the problem it is most certainly because the correct body position was not maintained throughout the raise. Assuming that the above procedures were followed, then the mechanics of the landing must now be studied. Landing, in short, boils down to timing! Proper timing is the result of relaxing in the air until the very last minute when you must aggressively pull the handle into your hips just as your feet hit the water. Try to absorb as much of the landing on your feet.
I like to refer to this by the example of jumping out of the top bunk bed. You would never just let your butt take the full impact. I also believe that you would never land with your feet wide. I believe that by keeping ‘soft’ knees as your feet hit the water, you will be able to reduce the impact on your spine (by keeping your butt from taking too much impact) and slide into a forwards deep water position in which you eventually are gliding on the “slipperiest” part of your wet-suit which is the part of your butt closest to you tail bone. Stay in this position until you are sure that you have gained control and then simply stand up!
Problems and answers
Problem: feet slip forward as soon as they touch the ramp.
Lane Dawg: adjust position as described above so that knees are over feet. Work on the Ultra Mega Glide (UMG) separately before returning to jumping.
Problem: handle “pops” out of hands as soon as body touches water.
Lane Dawg: although this could be one of several problems, the basic problem is that more of the landing must be absorbed in the feet and knees. Then quickly transferred into the slippery forward deep position. Also make sure that your approach position is maintained throughout the raise. A poor position will cause an uncontrollable flight that cannot be landed easily. On the boom and the five-foot rope, practice landing “feet-to-feet” without any part of you butt to hitting the water.
Problem: Feet either split wide or one foot slips more than the other
Lane Dawg: the skier fearfully lowering their position right before reaching the jump almost always causes feet going wide. The same condition occurs when a position is too low coming into the jump. The cause of one foot flying upward or outward in a different direction than the other foot is always because the skier has not kept the weight on their feet equal as they attempted to rise. This is the responsibility of a good drift. Although you must stay heavier on one foot to cut to the right as you come into the jump (long-line), you must make sure that your feet are exactly equal in weight as they touch the ramp.
Question: what speed should I use?
Lane Dawg: comfortable forwards speed. Increase gradually as proficiency increases. Always confirm with a professional.
Question: when should I begin learning to jump?
Lane Dawg: it is safe to begin learning on the boom as soon as all forward tricks have been perfected on the long-line, but never begin a jump program without first seeking the advice of an expert jump instructor. Unlike learning tricks or slalom, jumping could cause severe injury if an experienced instructor does not first teach you!
For additional information and related articles referred to in this article, you can download Lane Dawg Bowers’ FREE E-Book at www.thefootersedge.com