For those looking to get a start in timber sports you will often find a lack of experienced individuals to consult for proper training. After reading this article you should have a solid grasp on techniques and methods that can improve your time in the cross-cut event.
Step 1: Develop a Stance
Your stance can vary depending on the partner you are competing with.
-You want a wide low stance that allows you to use your whole body when pulling the saw through the entire height of the cant.
Note: In the attached image the man to the left does not have a wide enough stance, that is why he is bent over. the women on the left has a good wide stance that allows her to get low, keep her back straight, and use her entire body.
-You also need to be the right distance from the cant. This can vary between partners because this is determined by the length of your arms. You need to be able to use the entire length of the saw wherever you stand. When your partner finishes their pull your arms should be in a position where you can quickly begin your pull with power.
Step 2: Starting the Pull
How you start off is also something you have some options with, you will want to do which ever works best for you.
-Some like to start off with the saw sitting still on top of the cant, I prefer this way because you are less likely to make a crooked cut. Since the time starts as soon as the saw touches the cant place a small wood chip between the saw teeth and the cant while it's resting.
Note: The attached image shows what I mean by resting the saw on a wood chip
-Another way you can start is by pulling the saw back and fourth above the cant and using a countdown have one partner bring the saw into the cant. This method will better allow you and your partner to get timing down before you start, but could result in a crooked cut.
Keep in mind that cutting out of the cant is a disqualification.
Step 3: Balance Speed and Power
You will realize while practicing that it is easy to let the teeth dig too deep into the cant and the saw gets stuck. When this happens you will have to pick the saw back up a little to continue. To avoid this from happening you need to know how deep you sink the teeth.
- If you are pulling the saw with ease, but you doesn't seem to be cutting much with each pull you may need to angle the blade downward more so you grip more wood.
- If you are getting the saw stuck in the cant a lot, or it is really hard to pull the saw you may need to bring the blade back up a little so you grip less wood.
Step 4: Follow Through to the End
As you practice, and watch others you might find that near the end of the cut a lot of people will start taking shorter strokes with the saw.
- It is important that you continue to use the full length of the saw all the way to the end.
- Shorter faster strokes will not be as effective as long ones because you spend more time changing direction.
Step 5: Take Care of Your Equipment
The condition of your saw is one of the biggest things that can affect your performance, not to mention they can be very expensive to repair or replace.
- Make some sort of case, or cover that will prevent anything from hitting the teeth on the blade.
- Keep the saw in a dry place and spray it with WD-40 or some other water displacement product after each use to prevent rusting.
WD-40 can also be sprayed on the saw while you are using it, this will help it glide through the cant easier.
Step 6: Workout
Strength and cardio training is one of the most simple things one can do to improve themselves at this event, but you'd be surprised at how many people don't do it. Just like most sports physical conditioning is one of the biggest factors that makes the difference between winning and loosing. The cross cut is an event that can last as little as 6 seconds, make sure you can complete the event with full strength and speed all the way through.
Step 7: Practice
Since every one is different, there is no exact technique that will be perfect for every individual.
- Practice is necessary to determine what works for you, and what does not.
- If you are serious about improving in the cross-cut I would recommend that you and your partner practice at least three days per week.
- Experimentation during practice can really help you to feel what can be done to improve your time.