The Sport of Barefooting


Have you ever wondered what other barefooters think about when they ski? Are they nervous, not afraid to take a fall, or maybe even calmly playing the next trick out in their mind?

The truth is, at one time or another, we all have done these things. In fact, barefooting is a very technical sport and takes not only a lot of physical preparation, but a lot of mental as well. We all know what it feels like to take a hard, unexpected fall but are willing to do so in order to learn new tricks and techniques. Hopefully, as we progress, we take fewer falls and build confidence which makes us better skiers.

I would like to share with you some personal techniques that I use that help me focus and concentrate on improving my skiing. They are very simple ones that I either learned from someone else or I developed on my own.

I never train in the same order everyday; I mix it up. For example, yesterday I skied Wake Slalom first, today I’ll start with Tricks. You never know what event order you’ll be required to ski at the next tournament. Also, mix up practicing your back and forward Wake Slalom…don’t always practice in the same order. That way, when you ski in a tournament, you’ll be prepared to ski backwards into the wind and forwards with the wind….you won’t be psychologically affected when you have to ski out of your normal routine. This also applies to Tricks, the bottom line is not to develop a set routine, mix it up, be able to ski on demand.

I sing a song in my head when skiing This allows me to clear my mind of any negative thoughts, think positive. It also helps to calm my mind and perform every trick/wake crossing slowly and deliberately. Of course, the songs that I use change all the time, but the concept remains the same. I picked up this technique from World Junior Champion Mike Caruso. I’ve have driven him in many tournaments and noticed that he was whistling when he rode over the jump. he later told me that whistling his favorite song helped to calm his mind. It seems to work for me, you should try it.

Train your weak link, that is practice your reverse tricks first. I will sometimes ski an entire set of only my reverse turns, toe holds, etc. You can perform your basics without any trouble, why not make your reverse as solid as your basic. This I learned from none other than the Coach himself ( Swampy ).

Well, hopefully some of this may help your skiing…… couldn’t hurt to try. And you can be sure that I’ll be watching and learning from all of you either during my next time at the World Barefoot Center or in my next tournament!

Jim Forster

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