Contributing Editor for The Master Skier
Steinar Mundal is a Level 4 coach in Norway. He has been a full time coach since 1992. He is the former head coach of the Canadian and Norwegian teams. He now coaches one of the top junior teams. He placed 25th in the Norwegian Championshipís 50 Km in 1978.
Classic technique has always been THE technique in Norway, and I still think this will be the situation for the near future.
Norway has many long, well prepared tracks for skiing long easy distance in classic style, but for skating that is not the situation.
Most of the skating courses are race courses and night loops with hard and steep uphills.
To be able to work on technique you need all kinds of terrain, but most of all you need to ski some long workouts in easy terrain.
I just came back from Val Senales, a glacier in Northern Italy, where all the best skiers in the world were training. Classic technique has changed quite a bit in the last few years and Iíve noted these latest innovations.
The main differences in classic technique are as follows:
2. Lower position.
3. Start the kick early.
4. Never stand up on a straight foot on the glide face.
5. The same angle for the upper body as the leg from the knee and down to the foot at the start position.
6. Very little rotation in the hip. You can see this in the best skiers from behind.
7. The upper body stays stable, not moving back with the kick, just let the knee bend a little bit more, so you can get a better and stronger kick.
All movements start in and around the hip, the mid-part of your body where you are strongest. All power should be used to bring you forward, not up and down.
Weight shift will come with keeping your upper body stable in a forward position. One good point on this is: Always keep you face in front of your knee. If you then also hang on your pole from the start, this will also help you get a good weight shift.
You have to decide how deep you will bend the knee following the kick and letting the hip go down.
This will vary with the terrain.
Make sure you do not reach too far with the arm before pole plant. The best in the world plant the poles with a bent arm, where you are strongest. Then you can lean on the arm and use the body weight to move forward.
The best also finish the pole push a lot earlier than before. You are not strong in a position where your arms are behind the body. That is just to loosen up the arm and shoulder, but with high speed you are not really strong with the arm almost straight.
That is also about speed and frequency. The kick should start with a little bend in the knee and your full weight on the glide ski.
A good point is to start the kick by using the hamstrings at the beginning, and then start to push.
I work with my provincial team, but also with Anders Aukland, Tore Bjonviken and Espen Bjervig, all of them on the national team. Itís possible you will see all three in Salt Lake.
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