A Chat with Friends at Extreme Sports in Cincinnati
After listening to this episode of The Ski with Wade Podcast you’ll know why the secret to greatness – on water skis or in any other facet of life – is simply this: Do the drills! Host Wade Cox is sharing the very specific routines and techniques he has developed to help water skiers of all ages improve their speeds, swing and fun on the water. He talks with a group of his up-and-coming students, who share the skills they’re working on and some of the overlap between what they’re learning on the lake and what they do in school and while competing in other sports. You’ll also hear lots of shout outs to all the people who have shaped Wade’s coaching philosophy as well as venues and support for his busy Ski With Wade Tour and clinics, happening all the time around the U.S. and beyond!
- A shout out to sponsors, update on availability of merch, tour info at Wade’s website links and description of where he is podcasting from on this episode.
- Meet the Kuenning Family, regulars and like family for Wade!
- About how 14-year-old national champ Jack Kuenning worked on strategy for effective (and beautiful) one-handed turns. He’s also a talented baseball player with a big future ahead!.
- One of the biggest challenges with waterskiing (or any sport, really): Keeping morale up after a poor practice or performance. Attitude is everything!
- How Wade’s drills help skiers learn to dominate? Jack Kuenning gives the step-by-step value in slowing way down.
- Wade chats with Jack’s sister, high school sophomore Josie Kuenning, who plays competitive volleyball in addition to waterskiing. This season’s goal: Cut the rope.
- Meet littlest Kuenning sibling, 11year-old Sammy, who plays baseball and basketball as well as training as a slalom skier coming up fast! His goal for this year: 26.
- Next Up: The Warren Family!
- Calvin gives a breakdown on how Wade’s gate drill works and what he allows himself to do once he’s through the gate. It slows the course down and makes it better and easier!
- Getting the update on Calvin’s enthusiasm about lacrosse, including some definitions of unique terminology provided courtesy Wade (who has also coached) and what it looks like to truly “earn your stripes” in lacrosse.
- Calvin’s younger brother Carson, a fifth-grader, steps up next to chat with Wade. He’s a phenomenal piano player of three years who explains exactly what it means to do one of Wade’s “Three Rights and Three Lefts” drills.
- Shout Out: Wade praises host Josh Streby after a recent visit to Glassy Waters in Newton Falls, Ohio. Just east of Cleveland, it’s a stop on the Ski With Wade Tour.
- Wade’s last guest for the episode: Rocking a Baylor Bears cap, Luke Gage is sharing the story of how a kid from Cincinnati decided to attend college down in Waco, Texas.
- The first time Luke was ever on a slalom course was a year ago, but he’s stepped up to next-level after a stint with champion phenom Fred Winter at The Boarding School in Orlando, Florida. His expertise has grown by leaps and bounds.
- Luke’s continuing his upward trajectory, running Wade’s drills and getting used to the concept of swing on his skis.
One of the great things about working with young skiers is how quickly they “get it” once they start running the right drills. It’s incredibly fun to watch their skills blossom and get stronger with every run. The key is putting the right progressions in place, which I realized after watching some of the little guys struggle. All they needed was the right drill to help them over the hump, so that’s what I’ve been working on and developing ever since.
This recent conversation with some great young skiers I’ve been working with at Extreme Sports, home of champ Dane Mechler and located right on the eastside of downtown Cincinnati, really provides the roadmap for making quantum leaps in skill. Case in point, it was amazing to talk with Luke Gage, a Baylor Bear who ran his first slalom a year or so ago and is now skiing at competitive levels.
You’re going to learn all the ins and outs of my teaching methods through the eyes of some of my fantastic students. The Warren and Kuenning families step up to share their experiences with my mainstay drills: Three Rights and Three Lefts; Alternating Gates; Cut-and-Coast and (for the advanced) the Gate Glide. So fun to hear their impressions from on the water, including how they respond to some of my secret tricks (like increasing boat speed or decreasing rope length during practices, making competition conditions feel gentle by comparison!).
It’s fun to hear not only about what these young people are up to in their waterski development but also how they mix it up with other pursuits like lacrosse, volleyball, baseball and even piano. The trend towards mono-training seems to me like a recipe for burnout, so I’m glad these multi-talented athletes are diversifying!
Special shout outs to lots of friends, old and new, as well as former students and wonderful sponsors like Gordy’s Marine, a really special place on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. Go and enjoy not only a great selection of boats for sale, classes and water sport supplies. There’s even some fantastic dining right on the water. Check it out!
See you soon for another chat about all things water skiing – and life! And remember this great advice from Chet Raley – an inspiring coach and skier – “Go to bed defeated, but wake up undefeated.” That’s the kind of attitude that defines winning no matter what your goals!
“I started changing the way I coached when I started watching a bunch of these little guys struggling.” – Wade
“You’re going to not get on base more than you get on base, right? With waterskiing you always end up a failure.” -Wade
“When you’re in the course a lot of times you’re thinking, ‘I need to run this pass’ or ‘How many buoys am I going to get to.’ But when you’re in the drill you’re really thinking about your staff position and you take everything slower and focus more on your fundamentals. Once you do that a few times – even if it’s just right before you go ski the course – it just becomes natural.” – Jack
“To do an alternating gate drill, you pull off your gate on the right and left side, just like you’d do on the course, and then you pull out and make sure you’re on your front foot then get a good set position and pull in. Once you pull out, you drift back in and just keep going. It really helps you with the gate one you get into the course.” – Calvin
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do through these drills is create equal strengths and weaknesses, going both directions, where basically the ski doesn’t know if we’re going toe-side or back-side and the ski doesn’t know if we’re right or left foot forward.” – Wade
“Basically we get used to the swing … Like golfers, you have to learn to swing the club. So you learn to swing right on the ski and when we do, great things happen.” – Wade