Increasing Your Water Ski Racing Performance For Better Results!

Increasing Your Water Ski Racing Performance For Better Results!


Water Ski Racing 

I am fortunate enough to be coaching and have great results with water ski racers. From junior to elite level this sport has very specific demands that must be separated from other sports! The skier must spend a long endured time on the water travelling through a range of speeds which can be excess of 190km per hour!


Proven Results

As stated above I am fortunate to work with and help optimise different walks of athletes. I have closely been working with a couple of skiers preparing for World Selections over the last year. Through this time we have improved performance on the water that has been reflected in their season results and winning multiple awards for their efforts.


What Needs Improving?

Here is a list of areas that skiers MUST improve if they want to be at their best on their water:


  • Mental Conditioning: This is reflected on the mental capacity on the water to push through the environment when the pressure is on. This is something often overlooked where most train their Fitness Level. Conditioning is your ability to maintain fitness in a stressful environment


  • Isometric Strength from different Joint Angles: Skiers hold certain body positions for a long time. It is important to train these positions with a certain intensity to maintain position for longer, limiting excess lactic acid, injury and ultimately slowing down.


  • Mobility: Hips, Shoulders, Knees,Ankles. Improving mobility will help maintain position and decrease chance of injury and prevent leaning to forward on the ski – causing drag and slowing you down


  • Force Absorption: On the water you are absorbing force through your muscles and tendon. The impact of the water and ski costs the body energy and can make your muscles less efficient to hold positioning. Force absorption is a must!


  • Aerobic Capacity and Anaerobic/Aerobic Threshold: Endurance sports require a quality aerobic capacity system and when the pressure is on and heart rate elevated you also need a solid V02 max (Anaerobic/Aerobic Threshold) to get in oxygen required to sustain output. Training both of these energy systems will make your energy replacement easier decreasing lactic acid buildup, form breakdown. Improving these systems will make you push harder and ski longer!


  • Long Muscle Endurance: Shoulders, Arms, Posterior Chain, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Quads….. You need to train these body parts for endurance. Breakdown due to muscle fatigue will slow you down and ultimately can cost you the race!


Below is a link of Kaz as she prepares for World Selections. This her last block of training where we are peaking all the above so she can optimize her performance coming into selections:

Instagram: Kaz World Selection Preparation


Exercises and Systems to Improve:

Here are some basics to improve performance

  1. Isometric Holds: Weighted Squats, Deadlifts, Back Extensions, Hinge Positions, Shoulder Raises

Holding the eccentric portion of the exercise (lengthening eg. bottom of a squat) will increase position strength on the ski. Look at the above link to see a video of Kaz and her isometric squat


2. Force Absorption: Depth Drops – do this twice a week starting from a low platform and increasing over time


3. Anaerobic/Aerobic Threshold and Aerobic Capacity: I use heart rate monitoring as a indicator here. Aerobic Capacity heart rate: 150HR minimum 4 days a week for 30-40min. For the anaerobic and aerobic threshold you want to hold at 90% of your max hr. Start at 3min and build over time as this is quite challenging.


4. Mobility: I use functional range conditioning to open hips and positions. Stretch hip flexors with psoas stretches, Pec stretches and ankle flexion exercises will help gain more range.


5. Mental:  I pride myself of being against the grain with this. You can be as fit as possible, but if you can’t perform that fitness under stress (racing) it is useless. I use some unorthodox methods, some which I wouldn’t recommend doing alone. (Disclaimer alert). Simple things of discipline like making your bed each morning, making every training session goes a long way. Also understanding your “WHY”. Why you are skiing. Having this in your held will help push when times are tough in training and in the water.


Here is a link of a mental conditioning session with my skiers, Holding breathe for time underwater. I start off with three chances and over time will decrease to one shot to beat previous marker.

Instagram: Mental Conditioning


Key Performance Indicators – Make Sure What Your Doing is HELPING your skills on the water

How do you know if your training is actually helping your skiing?

Measuring is key.

Make sure you track progression to see if what your doing is actually beneficial. I use a variety of tests to track all my athlete progress but here a few specifically I use for skiers:


Equipment: Static Rower

Distance: 1200M

Aim: Row to the 1200m as fast as you can. Divide distance by time in seconds eg. 1200 Divided by 300 (5 min) = 4 m/s – this is a marker to show aerobic threshold. Aim for a higher score


Forearm Strength: 

Dead Hangs or 4 Min Farmer Carries measuring both length and time. Rock Climbing is also great for forearm endurance.


Heart Rate: Lower Heart rate during rest periods and even during wake up will dictate improved fitness levels.


Tracking Training Numbers: Reps, Sets and Exercises 


Skiing Times: Results speak for themselves. If your times are dropping of racing. Re-evaluate your schedule.



I hope you have found value in the above notes. Train hard, train smart and get conditioned to dominate that water.


If you have any questions in regards to this blog or want to contact for programming/coaching online or in person for water ski racing please contact through this websites “contact us” page, link below


Contact Us


Coach Mick

Mind Performance Health


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