Counting Pole Plants

You can use this drill for other techniques as well.


  1. Set up two cones on a hill. Chose an incline everyone can stride comfortably.
  2. Skiing naturally, count the number of pole strokes it takes to travel between the two cones. Start back from the first cone so you are skiing naturally by the time you reach the start.
  3. Next Pass: try to increase the number of times your poles strike the ground. For most people, the first instinct will be to ski faster to try to get more pole strikes. After they experience how that works, instruct them that they have to slow down.
  4. Repeat for several passes, trying to increase the number of pole strikes each time. The skiers’ movements will become more economical with each pass and they will naturally shorten their range of motion.
  5. After you reach the maximum number of strikes, reverse the process, decreasing the number of strokes with each pass, but try to maintain the same economical way of skiing. Do this stepwise.

Coach Credit

Chris Jeffries, Olympian and High Performance Director of one of Canada’s National Training Centres, is one of the three founding coaches of Nordic Ski Lab.

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