How to avoid excessive use of the back leg, especially to initiate heel-side turns? - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to avoid excessive use of the back leg, especially to initiate heel-side turns?

Last year while I was in Colorado I found myself doing this and I didn't realize it was bad until after I left (and the season was over). Today, the first time out this year, I avoided using my back leg as a full-out rudder, but I still find my self initiating turns (more specifically, heel-side turns) with my back leg as opposed to just leaning my whole body. Any steps I can take to avoid this in the future other than just "don't do it" (although, now that I'm done writing this, that does seem to be pretty good advice...).
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think I do this a lot also. It was pretty icy out last night and I felt really jittery in general before realizing it was icy so it was a bad start... but I was trying to lean and lead more into my turns with my front foot and do more of a quick lift and pivot with the back. Normally I just rotate from the hips and legs but kinda push and let my back foot power me through rest of the turn, sometimes little hop turns as well. I think technically this is bad technique but I was trying to correct it and it wasn't going well, perhaps partially due to conditions but who knows.

After falling on my ass way more than usual I was sick of it and went into the lodge for a quick bite and a chill. Ran into timmytard from here and we went out and did a couple steeps before shredding groomers for an hour.

During that later half I more just stuck to my instincts and what I was comfortable with and it went way better. Rode quick and hard, caught plenty of airs without hesitation. The better snow on the runs we hit helped too, but hey.

I'm planning on getting some lessons to hone my technique and push myself just out of dilligence and ambition. Hopefully you don't have to.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
Just don't do it.....

The back foot rudder habit usually develops as a rider enters their intermediate stage. They have been so focused on getting forward with the weight that they often forget to ride centered. Sure, getting forward is great for turn initiation but not so good for turn completion as the tail tends to wash out. The rider feels this and automatically pushes the tail around. A couple of things to try that may help you out here:

Since heelside is what you said gives you the biggest problem, squat into it more than you are probably doing. This will give you much better edge control without shifting your center of mass way to the inside of the turn.

Go ahead and do a foot to foot weight shift toward the nose, but try to remember to shift back to a centered stance as you reach the apex of the turn. As you go into the bottom of the turn, actually move slightly toward the tail of the board to increase edge pressure under the rear foot. If you are just a tad heavier on the rear foot, the tail is less likely to skid so so much and it becomes more difficult for you to rudder it.

Play around with this a bit and let us know how it felt to you.....

So let me get this right...

Squat
Put more weight on the front foot as I start the turn
Center
Towards the end of the turn, put more weight on the back foot


I'll try to get a video of me riding the next time I go out. But thanks a lot for the advice.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destroy View Post
I'm planning on getting some lessons to hone my technique and push myself just out of dilligence and ambition. Hopefully you don't have to.
Yea, hopefully I can take care of it early enough. I'll just need someone close by to let me know when they see me do it, cause it's a whole lot easier just doing what's easiest, not necessarily what's best for you in the long run.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Also try initiating the turn by driving your knees down on toesides, hips on heelside.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Focus on pulling back with your front foot/leg instead of pushing forward with the rear.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll definatly be sure to correct this problem asap...I'll think of it as my New Years resolution. That, learning how to carve, and getting into the park for the first time.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daggs View Post
So let me get this right...

Squat
Put more weight on the front foot as I start the turn
Center
Towards the end of the turn, put more weight on the back foot


I'll try to get a video of me riding the next time I go out. But thanks a lot for the advice.
My EASY ADVICE: Think of flexing your toes up when initiating a heel side turn. It forces you to keep your weight on the front foot, and gives you a mental map of how go about distributing your weight correctly
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
Just don't do it.....

The back foot rudder habit usually develops as a rider enters their intermediate stage. They have been so focused on getting forward with the weight that they often forget to ride centered. Sure, getting forward is great for turn initiation but not so good for turn completion as the tail tends to wash out. The rider feels this and automatically pushes the tail around. A couple of things to try that may help you out here:

Since heelside is what you said gives you the biggest problem, squat into it more than you are probably doing. This will give you much better edge control without shifting your center of mass way to the inside of the turn.

Go ahead and do a foot to foot weight shift toward the nose, but try to remember to shift back to a centered stance as you reach the apex of the turn. As you go into the bottom of the turn, actually move slightly toward the tail of the board to increase edge pressure under the rear foot. If you are just a tad heavier on the rear foot, the tail is less likely to skid so so much and it becomes more difficult for you to rudder it.

Play around with this a bit and let us know how it felt to you.....
Interesting, I've been struggling with that as well. I only recently realized that your back foot is not actually supposed to be a rudder and your post describes my habits. Especially after focusing intently on "stay forward on the board". Frustrating not being able to maintain any momentum on moderately steep runs due to the "rudder" skidding out...I'll give this a try. Though toe-side is more of an issue for me, the same principles should apply.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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One of the best things you can do as a intermediate rider, is hands down go relearn the fundamentals. For reference I classify an intermediate rider as someone who can tackle anything, but uses more "safety" turns(ie back foot rudder, falling leaf etc) to get down

I think its worthwhile to mention that the back foot rudder is simply not ideal technique. However, it gets you from A to B safely and effectively, so Ive always said its fine, just something you dont want to get in the habit of all the time.

That said, In snowboarding, we can break down the fundamentals into 3 things, stance, twist, and rock.

For stance, we want a nice low athletic stance, knees bent, centered over your feet, shoulders lined up with the board. The lower we get, the more stabilit and leverage we have over our edges.

Twist is JUST THE INITIATION OF THE TURN!!! when your board goes downhill to about a 40 degree angle across the mountain, you then rock, but...

For Twist, think of your board of having 4 separate edge "quadrants". your front toe-side, front heel-side, back toe-side, back heel-side. turn engage each turn, we want to set our front edge(heel or toe) independently to initiate the turn. This is also where the back foot needs to be stable so you really get the contour flex of the board. When I teach the twist, I focus on the front foot more than the back foot. For heel side, slowly start to point your big toe to the sky, or for toeside, try and push your big toe into the snow under the board(for toe side, also you can put your hand about 3" in front of your front knee and bend your knee to touch your hand, insta-toe-side). Try not to open/close your shoulders to much to engage the turns, stay low and even... Now for the rock.

Rocking back on our toes and heels is to follow through and solidify the carve. Try standin on your tippy toes in a toeside carve and you can really grip through the carve. Heel-side for me was always more unnatural, and really digging in those heels took some miles.

Now all that said, people get mega hung up all over the twist thing. Full on twist(as in one toe up, one toe down) is pretty much reserved for high speed quick carves to pop from edge to edge. NOT just cruisin. For all intents and purposes, through a turn you should be nice and stanced, engage your front edge and follow through with a rock and stabilize with your back foot.

Some notes:

The twist idea, helps immensely when you want small, minute, and accurate pressure point to engage a very specific turn, also when on catwalks, slight pressure change in your toes will create a nice "holds" in the snow and keep you straight and youll be able to track the fall line better on the straights. Also this whole twist idea is how you steer with one foot. We've all tried to carve with one foot to the lift at some point and most often times you do the flat 360 and eat it.

to link turns, you NEED to point the board downhill and flatten out before you can dedicate to your new edge. so... nice stance, engage to the turn, rock to hold that edge

Stance should be even and comfortable between your feet, not neccisarily centered, back or forward. a good dynamic rider will be shift weight everywhere depending on terrain, but you'll notice their feet are steering, and their body chug's along in unison. But the board defines direction, not which way you swing your arms.

All this said, steer with your feet, and stay nice and even on the board, absorbing, extending and compressing with the trail, and the back foot swing will lose its appeal.

Last edited by liner; 01-09-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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