This video is a technique tip, not a drill. It’s about the forward leg recovery swing in diagonal stride (when the leg swings back to the start position). The advice is to power up that movement by swinging the leg forward with some extra gusto.
This is a common tip and it’s usually cued as a leg drive, foot drive or knee drive. Skiers are often taught to drive the leg forward, rather than letting the leg recover passively.
Two benefits of being more energetic and forceful with the forward leg swing are:
- It’s a way of using the the mass of the leg to carry more momentum into the glide.
- Like the Snap-Kick Drill, which is another striding drill in our library, this is another back door way of improving the kick. Putting an accent of effort on the leg swing can help sharpen the kick in the other foot because you are creating a sort of snappy exchange between the two legs.
Two things that are important to keep in mind when working to make the forward recovery leg swing more vigorous and powerful:
- Having a strong forward body position is a prerequisite; without that ability, this cue will just lead to over striding.
- You want to power up the swing without interfering with the work that gravity is already doing for you.
If you’re an intermediate classic skier, you probably have a lot of room to get your weight more forward.
In my experience, master’s skiers have the most trouble with this forward position. It’s more extreme than people expect and sometimes I wonder if people worry that they’ll look goofy as they bring their weight more forward.
If you’re wondering about this, have someone take a video of you. You can send it to us or share it on the NSL community forum. Or ski with a buddy and work on the drill called the 1-2-3 Clearance Drill, which I find the most useful for helping skiers get their weight more forward.
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See below for a low resolution, downloadable version of this video. There’s also a short, one minute video of the drills demonstrated for on snow reference.