- The mechanics of the kick are similar to diagonal stride.
- The greater emphasis of the kick is at the start of the kick.
- It’s about loading the weight overtop of the ski so you set the kick zone, so that you can make the grip wax work for you in order to be able to propel, or to kick backwards.
- Weight is over the entire foot at start of kick.
- Chris discusses how he feels like there is a claw on the bottom of his foot and he is grabbing the ground during a diagonal stride or kick double pole kick.
- The kick lasts slightly longer than in diagonal stride.
- The foot creeps forward a little just before the kick and that increases the length of time for the ski to push against the snow.
- Weight is forward. Check the lower leg angles and look for the knee to be driving forward to assess how far forward the skier’s weight is.
Note: The full course transcript is available for download in the sidebar.
So, looking at kick. The first thing I’ll say is – this is one of the things we focussed on a lot when we did diagonal striding – was the timing of the kick and where the emphasis of the kick takes place, and it’s very similar.
It’s right off the start. It’s that first… that concept of the kick in kick double pole is still the same as in diagonal stride. It’s about loading the weight overtop of the ski so you set the kick zone, so that you can make the grip wax work for you in order to be able to propel, or to kick backwards.
So, in order to be able to set that kick zone, you need to be able to drop your weight over top of that foot. So, that happens right here.
Kim: And, at that moment, when you’re dropping your weight –
Chris: And we are looking at the left foot, by the way.
Kim: Yes. Left foot. So at that moment – that’s actually a really good shot to show it, eh? So, do you think that at the start, the ski stops at the start of the kick. And when he sets the wax onto the snow, and then, how do you think his weight is there on the bottom of his foot there? Do you think it’s through the whole foot? Mainly at the front, but through the whole foot? Only at the front? What do you think?
Chris: In kick double pole I think it’s mostly the whole foot. And, the reason for that is the best skiers are able to reach their foot forward on a kick double pole. We’re not going to look at that quite yet in detail. That will be more towards the end. I think it’s something that applies more to the most advanced skier, but I know from just his position there, that it would be almost impossible for him to get his weight from where he is currently is onto the ball of the foot right now. So, I think you’re almost pulling a little bit more from the heel at this point than you are from the toe.
Kim: Right. I think I remember asking Ivan about this, not in Kick Double Pole, but maybe in diagonal stride. He was kind of grabbing the ground with his hamstrings a little bit. But he comes forward really quickly onto the foot.
Chris: By here you’re onto the ball of the foot. But for the bulk of the kick it’s a fairly flat foot. Using the heel to kind of stomp and grip at the snow. I kind of mentally and visually I think of it as gripping the snow almost like I have a claw under my foot, my whole foot.
Kim: Yeah. Maybe it was you who mentioned that to me then. And you don’t try to do that in diagonal stride?
Chris: No. I do. Especially, the more I climb. If I’m climbing steeper stuff I focus on it even more. I used to, when I was younger, really think about getting on the balls of my feet and kind of jumping. But now, to make a much more efficient kick I do try to get my whole foot onto the snow (in diagonal stride?) in diagonal stride.
Kim: Sorry, I know this is about diagonal stride and we’re talking about kick double pole, but in diagonal stride when you’re gliding on the ski are you gliding more on a flat foot, or are you trying to glide on the ball of the foot?
Chris: Probably more towards the ball of the foot, but still having the whole foot on the snow. Because you are trying to be weighted a little bit forward in all your techniques. But you also don’t want to be too much on the ball of your foot because you don’t want to make that front of the kick zone dive down. You want to try to keep it fairly even kick zone camber to the snow.
Kim: Sorry for taking you a little off topic there.
Looking at the left – we’ll go back to the right. So, left foot, the bulk of the kick is here to here. That’s what we talked about. Same thing in diagonal stride. No difference. The only difference is that the tendency can be to extend the kick phase further back here. Like, if this is diagonal stride, I’d want you off that ski by now. Because you just don’t have as much time. You want to also – you don’t want to get into such a forward leg angle this way. But in kick double pole you kind of can afford to get there a little bit just because of the extension you can create with the use of the upper body here and the leg hinge back here.
But the poling and the legs in diagonal stride is timed more together. There’s a bit more – they’re almost timed opposite in kick double pole than diagonal stride. I should say, they are totally timed differently.
Kim: So, I was a little confused there. At first you said that the kick was just at that little bit right there, but then his foot actually stayed down quite long, so do you push against the snow longer in kick double pole?
Chris: Yes. And it’s because you’re kind of poling and kicking at different times. Whereas in diagonal stride, you’re polling and kicking at the same time. (Right.)
So we finished with the kick back here. Again, it’s a little bit higher than you might ordinarily see in a lot of diagonal stride. The nice thing about the height is that it gives you a higher platform to be able to drop the foot in, back in beside you. And that extra bit of height can create more momentum, which is going to help you with the poling power. Because, again, opposite forces help with us generating force.
But as the foot, just like in diagonal stride, comes in, you’re not dropping the foot down behind you here, or here. Like that foot comes in nicely right beside this other foot. Boom. Right there.
And then you – this is part of the technique that’s very specific to kick double pole that you don’t see in any other technique, but now the legs are – there is no kick here. (That’s all glide.) All glide, so, the poling motion starts as that foot comes in beside your other foot, and then it’s just a glide phase as you finish the poling motion.
So, this phase here is like the recovery phase of your diagonal stride. Starting the poling motion. Then this phase here is like double pole. So you’re basically – you’re combining two techniques. You’re combining diagonal stride and double pole to create your core components of your kick double pole.
You’ll probably have to watch it a few times in order for it to make sense. The other thing that both Ivan and Olivia do, that – Whenever I do courses with recreational skiers, this is a piece that’s really hard for people to do, whereas for me, it’s just automatic. Like, I couldn’t not do this. Just because I’ve been doing it for so long. But, you watch – so, he’s about to start his – he’s just finishing his left kick. His left foot is coming back underneath him.
And then, while he’s in his gliding phase, here, watch his right foot, His right foot starts to creep forward. He goes into a split stance. So what that’s going to do is it allows him to basically have this much more kicking length. There’s that much more contact time with his ski on the snow than if he was to keep that right leg basically in line with his left leg.
Oh, someone is just calling me on the phone. (I’ll pause this for a second.) K, ready?
So, yeah, it’s a very subtle sliding move and I would say it’s definitely on the more advanced side of things. Out of all the techniques, this is probably the one piece that’s probably most advanced, which is…So the best skiers…it allows…so one of the things we talked about in Two Skate earlier was the fluidity of it, the timing of it. And what I really like about…if you can find yourself being able to introduce this little foot slide it makes the technique more natural. More fluid. And it just gives you better timing for it all than if you were to just keep that foot kind of right next to that other foot when you start the kick.
That movement is more mechanical.
Kim: Yeah. He puts his foot in that position where he’s able to, like you were talking about, to be able to claw the ground.
Chris: We’ll go ahead here and watch Olivia a little bit.
So a lot of the same mechanics. Olivia gets a very aggressive foot slide there, especially on her right one. Boom. But, again, the mechanics are very similar to diagonal stride. Like, where you’re placing the emphasis on the kick – it’s right as you set your weight over top of that kicking ski.
Olivia is a bit more textbook from what I would like to see, where she doesn’t necessarily over stride behind her. It’s like she’s kind of…her foot’s maintaining contact, and compared to Ivan, see like this angle here is, like, a little bit less forward. Like, Ivan’s knee was driven a lot more forward. I also think that was a bit of a random kick.
If you watch Ivan coming head on you can kind of tell that his kick is a bit more – is a bit tighter. This is a tighter kick from Olivia. And what I like about the tighter kick is you don’t lose your hips quite as far back. So her position here isn’t quite as forward. Her knee isn’t quite as driven forward. Like, Ivan’s leg was more like this. So, here.
Kim: And you like this?
Chris: I like this more. Any time you can keep the hips more controlled and tighter to how the whole body is set up, I’m a bigger fan of.
Kim: Her hips really…as she swings her hips continue to move forward through the movement. Her upper leg swings more upright.
Chris: So I think that’s kind of covers off the majority of the kick. I mean, a lot of the same principles that we talked about in diagonal stride.
Kim: Yeah. And if you’re having trouble timing the rhythm in kick double pole course in there. I think it’s called Power Up Your Preload in Kick Double Pole. So, it kind of helps you find that rhythm a bit. So that’s it for the kick.
Chris: Yes. Kick in Kick Double Pole.