Ski Academy - Test 1 - Ankle Flex Drop Test
Started by Admin in Ski Technique 17-Nov-2016
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Admin posted Nov-2016
The ankle joint is the closest major articulating joint to the skis and snow. If this joint is allowed to flex correctly the power transfer to the ski is both efficient and effective whilst allowing the skier to maintain good center balance. The success of this movement can be determined by two factors. Firstly the ski boot itself must be fitted correctly with accurate canting and footbeds provided. It must also have the correct flex rating relevant to the skier's weight and level.
Secondly the skier's personal physiological limitations must be considered. If the skier has limitations in the calf muscle or the joint itself this will play a huge role in how the movement can be applied on the mountain. This is where our 'Drop Tests' comes in. By taking a measurement of how far each person's ankle allows them to flex, we can tell early on if the simple mechanics of the sport will work or not. The ideal range for safe skiing on the drop test is between 15cm and 20cm with the same flex range on the right and left ankle.
Skiing without ankle flex in the common 'back seat' position.
A classic example of the correct leg flex pattern
Of the hundreds of people tested we were astonished to see the huge difference in ranges. Our lowest score was a worrying 4cm and our largest score was a huge 35cm. The key factor was the average score was 11cm drop before a heel lifted on either side. Despite this 95% of people tested had a clear difference between their left and right ankle joints, meaning one heal would lift off the ground before the other.
To rectify these flexibility issues each person was given some basic stretches to work on over a period of 3 weeks and encouraged to keep the Academy up to date with their progress. The key to success was to keep in contact and help monitor the change in the scores. We've already had over 100 people writing in with score updates that are very different to 3 weeks ago. Ultimately they will go away with a much better ability to flex their boots and also reduce the risk of injury should there be a sudden impact or compression.
Warren Smith delivering the ankle flex drop test during the UK tour.