Thanks GJS - wow, alot more detail than I expected!
Two reasons for the lack of confidence.
One: The feeling catching an edge. When you are using your back foot to pivot the board you need to keep the board fairly flat to the ground when changing edges. The flatter the board the easier it is to catch the edge, but the faster and easier to pivot the baord around.
Completely agree - I think I naturally do this due to the fear of not being able to get the board around quick enough. But yeah, so easy to catch an edge. I sat on the hill just watching other guys go buy and the "good ones" seemed so calm and unstressed while boarding - that is NOT me!
Two: Feeling like every bump is going to knock you over. This is feeling is from two specific thinks. One. On your toeside your shoulders are open a little wider than they need be to the nose of the board. This cause your spine to twist up and your front leg to straighten out, leaving most of your weight on the back foot. because you need the board to be fairly flat to pivot you are creating tilt in the board by leaning your whole body. A straight leg can't absorb bumps, It is hard to maintain balance on one leg, and when your weight is out past the edge of the snowboard you have to work harder at maintaining your balance.
When you say open, do you mean my shoulders are facing the nose of the board too much? As in if I'm traveling north, my shoulders (and face presumably) would be facing north? So that would mean that if I'm traveling north, my shoulders should be facing east as much as possible? I have realized that my weight is typically on my back foot with the exception of when I try to turn quickly - I briefly put my weight on the front foot so I can get the back around quick enough. I think I naturally done this as I'm naturally nervous about going too fast - weight on front foot has typically sent me to higher speeds. From reading things on this forum, it seems that my weight should be on the front foot most of the time and to use the front foot to initiate turns - I have tried to do this but I'm obviously not there yet!
There would be two exercises I would work with you first on.
One- Rotation. We would start by getting our body to rotate and be aligned in the direction that we are turning. Two steps to this. First would be to practice rotating our hips by envisioning our knee out over our Big toe and moving out and around to the little toe for toe to heel. For heel to toe the knee would go from out over the pinky toe to out over the big toe.
Little confused by this - when you say "knee out over our Big toe and moving out and around to the little toe for toe to heel", do you mean both knees? So that would mean my left knee would move to the left (toward little toe on left foot) and my right knee would move to the right (toward little toe on right foot)? I just searched youtube hoping for a video.
Second, with our hands on the toe side have our lead hand rest on the inside of our front leg and the back hand on the hamstring/outsidebutt area of our back leg. Then when turning to the heels the hand should move to front hand on front leg hamstring and back hand on inside of back leg(as if you were goin to scratch your nut closest to the back leg). This should help keep your body front should/hip/knee/outside of front foot always pointing in the direction you are trying to make your board go. It will also help you to be aligned to be able to keep bend your knees evenly and not have one that is forced to be staighter and the other to support more weight.
Will definitely try this - will practice without the board first to try and visualize the pattern and implications of on board/balance, etc.
Two- we would work on progressively learning how to tilt our board edge. First with both feet and then by seperating the feet a little bit to get a one, two feeling. To do this we first would start with a j-turn on steeper green. Startout with the board flat and nose pointed down the fall line. Next, with your ankles followed up by levering against your highback, think of increasing the angle of your board with the snow5-10 degrees at a time. one way to envision this is to think like you are ratching your bindings, at each click you flex your ankles up an or lever your hi-back a quarter of an inch. Start with ankles first and then the levering. Try to not make a full body lean.To assist with not leaning up the hill as you ratch your ankles up, you will release your knees down(i.e. bend your knees MORE; this should feel like you are lowering your hips down toward your heels. Half way through your j you the Big toe to little toe movement from above to help round out and finish your j-turn.
When you say levering against highback, you mean pushing my calves/back of leg onto the highback of the binding, right? So as I envision this, it seems like I should be half squatting (defensive position in basketball or wall-sit), and using ankles and highback to force right side of my board to lift up and engage left edge of my board at the start of the turn, then utilize the rotation (exercise 1 above) while doing hand/leg exercises to ensure alignment of my body.
Next try this on toes by starting out on a flat board. Bend your knees out over your pinky toes like a cowboy straddling a horse. Feel your butt scope underneath your hips and your hips push forward while slightly arching your back to keep it upright. This will help position you out over the toes. Next try to bend your boots a little at time by lowering your knees and hips down. After starting to make this movement start to extend out your ankles by pushing down on your toes and raising your heels(i.e. standing on your toes like a ballerina)... Make these move similiar to the ratcheting you did on your heelside. About half way through make the front knee rotate from over the pinky toe to over the big toe. Don't forget your hands
to help make sure the rest of your body is following suit.
Question on this - you didn't mention how much you use your ankles vs. pushing down on toes. And I'm guessing that when you mean pushing down on toes, you mean pushing my shins into the front of the boot - or the opposite of levering via highback? As I mentioned in my first post, I have historically been relying 100% on my ankles for toeside, which has fatigued the crap out of my calves/feet/leg muscles. So it sounds like it should be a combination of the two (ankles and pushing down on boot)? I tried this a bit but couldn't get a sense of how much of either I should be relying on to sustain the toe-side turn.
After getting this down try starting the movements with the front first and then use the back foot.
Next step is to smooth out the ratcheting and incorporate these movements into your riding. This is jsut the start. Be sure to look through finishing your turns and not getting caught starring straight down the run. This will cause you to block your spine and prevent your lower movement(primarliy the rotary movements from being able to finish out.)
Got it - i can see how these exercises can be linked. When you say look through, that is to maintain my body alignment and avoid having my shoulders too open to the front of the board (as you alluded to in point 2 above)?
P.S. By the way for only 7 times with out lessons you are looking good.
Thanks man! I think I have decent good balance and was a big skier when I was younger so I'm comfortable being on an edge (which I think is a big part of skiing or boarding). I was able to connect connect heel and toe turns on my first day and since this point my focus has not been on technique but just getting down the damn hill. I typically pick things up pretty quickly and reach a level of ability that allows me to "play ball" (or in this case, get down the hill), but I usually do it in a way that is not 100% correct and is incredibly inefficient and then have to work extremely hard to transition from "getting down the hill" to "getting down the hill the right way". In my experience, the later takes 90% of the time and effort and is sometimes not intuitive. I liken it to basketball - you can quickly learn to shoot so the ball goes in the basket, but your shooting form will likely be terrible/ugly without proper coaching (that's where you guys come in).
Thanks for your help - I would really like to have the right technique for many reasons - 1) Good technique seems to result in less crashes/caught edges, 2) less stress/fatigue on my legs (I have to stop 2-3 times down a run),3) can go faster without feeling unsafe and lastly, 4) can enjoy myself without constant fear of crashing/burning.