Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:20 PM
From another 55-year old newbie, welcome!
I took a weeklong workshop recently (best investment I could have made) and one of the things emphasized by Jerry, Garrett, et. al., was when making the switch, get out of the way of the sled...in other words, keep the sled moving in its straight line, and YOU need to step/lean back to get the clearance from the batteries. Common error is to push the sled away from you, and/or lean forward. This natural tendency promotes poor posture, fatigue and poor control.
The Handbook gives an excellent, concise primer on how to get dynamic balance. The essence is to set your monitor where you want it, place the camera cg slightly behind the post, then make the other adjustments with the battery and top stage fore/aft knob, to achieve static and dynamic balance (and spread the monitor and batteries for as much or little pan inertia you want). Clearance should generally be a secondary consideration, solved by developing your technique. Good monitor viewing, db, and inertia are your main concerns.
Before the Workshop I had a fair amount of experience with my Flyer (which has very little rear battery extension) and I had to retrain my reflexes in order to lean/step back enough to clear the batteries of the big rigs when switching. But within a day or two of concentrated practice it started to come much easier.