On the left is Sophie Caldwell, US Ski Team Member and 2014 Olympian. At Sochi, Sophie achieved the best-ever individual American female Olympic finish – a 6th place – which was in the freestyle sprint. In this recent photo, Sophie is doing classic speed work with Annie Hart from Stillwater, MN. I coached Annie for 3 years in high school. During that period, Annie went from placing 80th in the Minnesota State Meet as a freshman, to winning State two years later as a junior; and among other things, winning the Junior 5K Classic race at US Nationals her senior year. This is Sophie’s 3rd season as a professional; Annie, who graduated from Dartmouth this June, is just beginning her professional career. They are teammates on the SMS T2 Team based in Stratton, VT.
This photo demonstrates the speed advantage of forward hips. As shown by the angles I added below, Sophie’s hips are farther forward. This gives her a bigger range of motion. When the poles move down her feet swing in, creating more force. With this bigger range of motion, Sophie can shoot her feet forward and accelerate her body. This increases her speed. It is similar to a person throwing a baseball, and using the wrist to snap the ball for extra speed.
Another thing this photo shows is the benefit of training with and behind people who currently are better than you. Annie is doing a great job mimicking Sophie’s technique. Over many hours of supervised training with skiers like Sophie, Annie’s forward hip angle and speed will continue to improve. It is almost impossible to substantially improve technique on your own. Your best bet is to join a regular group lesson including skiers who are better than you, and under the supervision of a coach who knows technique and can teach it.
Here are a couple of photo’s by US Ski Team’s coach Pete Vordenburg with top athletes double poling.
Here is an article from US Triathlon about training, keeping it simple on how to be your best. It is a short to the point article.