Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Snowboard Training Question

Question of the week--Snowboarding performance.

I get questions from time to time, so I am going to answer a few here on occasion.

Question--I want to get better at snowboarding, what should I do?

Great question. Snowboarding is a blast and I love getting out to ride as much as I can myself. Give me a "whoooo ha" Hard to think about winter now in mid summer, but the items below will have you all set by the time the snow flies.

1) Define what you mean by "better"
What did you have in mind? Is your goal to carve up the hill and leave massive trenches or perhaps more freestyle/park orientated? Maybe you want to stick that first stalefish grab or spin a 1080. Define what it is that you want to do and how you will measure it (e.g. What does success look like?). I also recommend putting a deadline on it (i.e. by the end of this season). For example, my goal for this coming season is to spend more time on my carve board. My goal states "to carve 6 back to back turns on a moderate slope with my hand touching the snow (laid out over the board) on 3 of the 6 by the end of the 2008 Minnesota snow season."

2) Go snowboard!
There is no substitute for practice. You can go pick anyone who is at the top in their sport/discipline and I can guarantee they have put in tons of hours honing their craft. Some have even coined the term "The 10 Year Rule" citing various professionals and how long it took them to achieve a pro level. The SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) states that your body will ALWAYS adapt to EXACTLY what you do. Practice is not the best, but PERFECT practice is the best. Pick a short goal for each session and work on executing that goal. Small achievements add up over time.

3) Get your imbalances fixed!
No I am not talking about that huge imbalance in your checkbook that explains your couch surfing habit at Uncle Floyd's pace, I am talking about the imbalances/compensations in your body. The best way to do this is to have a gait analysis done (this is the basis of the Z Health evaluation for most people) Click here for info The great part about a gait assessment is that virtually ANY compensation you have will show up, especially when it is done in conjunction with a discuss of previous injuries. During the evaluation, a Z Health drill is tried and then a re-assessment is done to note the response. Without a re-assessment, you are really guessing at what you think the body needs. At the end of the session, you leave with a few custom Z Health drills that will result in massive changes in your body in an extremely short period of time.

4) Mobility work on your feet/ankles
This is related to number 3 above. In snowboarding, the primary contact with the ground is through your feet. By doing more PRECISE mobility work on your feet (precision is key here and you can just flop your feet around like a beached seal expect results) you start to fire up more mechanoreceptors. Mechanoreceptors are little elves that live in you feet. Ok, not really, but mechanoreceptors respond to changes in joint position. If you are not using the full mobility of your foot/ankle (and most people are not), you start to lose range of motion (ROM) and the mechanoreceptors get bored and go on strike. Precise joint mobility work (like Z Health-see a trend here) gets them fired up again like a new manager offering huge pay increases and puts them back to work. The end result is that you will be able to feel the ground under the board better and adjust to any slight change much faster with a precise output. I know it sounds insane, but after a good 6 months of Z Health with lots of precise ankle/foot work, I hopped on my board this past December and I was floored by the difference. Everything just "felt" better and I had more precise control, even though I missed out on that trip to New Zealand for summer training yet again. Drat.

Focus on the 4 things above and you will be styling on the hill this coming Winter! Leave the BOSU ball circus tricks to your competition.

Rock on
Mike N