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Thread: Why is Tomas inconsistent?

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Why is Tomas inconsistent?

    Just wondering why Tomas is inconsistent. He is not like some other skaters who tend to fall on specific jumps. Looks like he does not have any jumps that he is really bad at. But he nonetheless makes random mistakes, perhaps not as often as Caro, but nearly as often as she. Would you say it's all psychological problems under pressures?
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-24-2008 at 11:22 AM.

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    I suspect Tomas has trouble holding his nerves together during competition because, as you've already pointed out, it's not a specific jump which causes him problems (unlike Shawn Sawyer, for instance.)

    But I've also noticed some commentators pointing out at various stages of his career that he tends to run out of steam in the 2nd half of the long program. Kurt Browning actually mentioned this during the CBC coverage of the CoC this past weekend. Tomas' endurance (or a lack thereof) probably plays a role with his inconsistency, but his relatively "fragile" mental state is probably his biggest nemesis.

    He's a very emotional guy (one need to look no further than his over-the-top reactions in the K&C! ), and I'm sure that personality trait frequently gets in the way of his focus and concentration.
    Last edited by siberia82; 11-25-2008 at 01:19 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    That's true. He tends to make random mistakes during the latter half of the program, esp. on the last jump, even though he usually has nice steps and spins to conclude the program after these.

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    I think that it's definitely a mental thing with him. When he pulls off a program, he's amazing. It's getting past that mental block and not thinking through everything too much that seems to be his problem.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    I will preface this by noting that I have never met Tomas Verner and this post is therefore pure speculation on my part.

    Anyway, here's my theory: Tomas Verner has been skating senior internationals since 2001-2. I'm not sure he even had much of a junior career before this; he was 15 years old at his first Europeans*. For his first five seasons as a senior, he did not accomplish much outside the Czech Republic. He was never higher than 10th at Europeans or 13th at Worlds. He did not qualify for the SP at 2005 Worlds, which we can all agree was not really an event that featured great skating among the men, and then followed that up with an 18th place finish at Torino Olys. In short, he was, for an international senior-level skater, average.

    I have no memory of Verner as a skater during that part of his career, but at some point in 2006 he must have had a breakthrough, because by 2007 he had turned - seemingly overnight - into a top-level skater. His technique and presentation are wonderful and his personality, as comes across on the ice, is very likable. I think even those who are not fans of his can say that when he is on, Tomas is very deserving of his success. What I wonder is whether Tomas himself has actually adjusted to being one of the top skaters in the world, with all the attendant expectations and pressure. My guess is that he hasn't, and as long as this remains unresolved Tomas Verner will remain inconsistent.

    *ETA: According to his Wikipedia page, he won some medals in JGPs in 2003 and 2004, and competed twice at junior Worlds, with his best result being 14th place in 2004.
    Last edited by Buttercup; 11-25-2008 at 08:04 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    The last season's Worlds was really a surprise. I thought that he would medal especially because he nearly medaled at the previous Worlds. It was unfortunate that it did not work out in that way. But perhaps having dealt with similar pressures before may help him next times? I really hope so!

    BTW, do you know other skaters who have overcome their nerve issues?
    My pick may be Dai. He was very famous for his fragile nerves. Somehow he has become better under pressures after the Olympics even though I think that he still performs better at Nationals than at GPFs and Worlds.
    I hope that Tomas also will have a mental breakthrough at some point in his career!

    ETA: I find Caro's inconsistency even more mysterious....!
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-25-2008 at 08:20 AM.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    BTW, do you know other skaters who have overcome their nerve issues?
    Brian Joubert. I wouldn't call him fragile, and nerves can still be an issue for him - which as a fan makes his performances pretty nerve-wracking! But his meltdown at 2005 Worlds and then the 2006 Olympics were both huge letdowns, which he seemed to have overcome in the 2006-7 season. Interestingly, I get the feeling that it was the adjustment to being at the very top of figure skating that got to Joubert, too. He won Euros in 2004, and came close at Worlds; he led Plush after the SP at 2005 Euros and lost by a narrow margin, and then when Plush WD at 2005 Worlds Joubert found himself in the posiition of being the guy everyone was aiming at - and couldn't handle it; it took him a year to figure out how to deal with the pressure (answer: skate The Matrix ).

    I hope that Tomas also will have a mental breakthrough at some point in his career!
    Indeed.

    ETA: I find Caro's inconsistency even more mysterious....!
    Oh, absolutely! Huth has his work cut out for him with both.

    Though to be honest, I've always thought of Kostner as a Sasha Cohen type: one clean skate per event (at most). And of course, she was another skater who was under an amazing amount of pressure a few years ago with the Torino games - flagbearer at 18 years old, and apparently her face was all over the Olympic village.

  8. #8
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Yeah, Joubert now seems to be comfortable being at the top. Dai was also saying that his goal was to win every event that he attended.

    I thought that nerves took the best of Caro at Torino. But she has remained inconsistent regardless of the level of comps. So I now wonder if she might be inconsistent in practices as well or it is rather competition-specific inconsistency regardless of the level of comps.

    Do Caro and Tomas still practice together? If so, they could figure it out together so that both can suddenly become consistent and dominate the Worlds!
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-25-2008 at 08:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post

    BTW, do you know other skaters who have overcome their nerve issues?
    Maria Butyrskaya comes to my mind.

  10. #10
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    I thought that nerves took the best of Caro at Torino. But she has remained inconsistent regardless of the level of comps. So I now wonder if she might be inconsistent in practices as well or it is rather competition-specific inconsistency regardless of the level of comps.

    Do Caro and Tomas still practice together? If so, they could figure it out together so that both can suddenly become consistent and dominate the Worlds!
    I think a bad performance in a high-profile situation, like Caro's at Torino, can do severe damage to an athlete's confidence, which might be manisfested for a long time afterwards. In her case, she did even worse at Worlds a month later. A skater can't just know that he/she can do it but feel that he/she can do it.

    And it's not just figure skating; I've watched baseball pitchers who never truly recovered from giving up runs in certain situations, and I'm sure it's true in other sports as well.

    Oh, and yes - Caro and Tomas still train together at Oberstdorf with Huth.
    Last edited by Buttercup; 11-25-2008 at 09:07 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I think a bad performance in a high-profile situation, like Caro's at Torino, can do severe damage to an athlete's confidence, which might be manisfested for a long time afterwards. In her case, she did even worse at Worlds a month later. A skater can't just know that he/she can do it but feel that he/she can do it.
    Watching British EuroSport broadcast of her performance at the Worlds a month after Torino, I remember the commentators talking about the Torino and speculated her hurt feelings. They were very sympathetic and fatherly and IIRC I thought they said something like "the hurt will eventually heal." I hope that this was the case for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Oh, and yes - Caro and Tomas still train together at Oberstdorf with Huth.
    Last season, it sounded like they were very nice teammates. Hope both do well this season (and not bad so far!).
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-25-2008 at 09:48 AM.

  12. #12
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    Tomas, Carolina and Anton have much fun in Oberstdorf as you can see on Anton Kovalevski's new fanpage.You can find the photos in the sections "forum" and "photos"

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    Thank God for Stephane Lambiel and Matt Savoie! shine's Avatar
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    A more interesting question would be, Why is Tomas Verner inconsistent and bombs his LP a lot and still gets the respect from judges and get those huge ***, puzzling PCS.

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    The first time I heard of Michael Huth was at the time he trained the German skater Silvio Smalun. He also was a "head case" and a very artistic skater. I couldn't help but wonder if Michael Huth had an influence here, because his other (famous) students are also "head cases".

    The first time I remember Tomas Verner is of the official practice at 2004 Worlds in Dortmund. He was in the first group of the LP. I remember thinking he must be a head case, because he was clearly better than the other skaters of his group (especially jump-wise).

    Interestingly, Carolina is the more successful skater(2 time European champion, better placements). I think the reason is that the girls are more inconsistent than the guys. So her inconsistency doesn't have that much consequences.

  15. #15
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    A more interesting question would be, Why is Tomas Verner inconsistent and bombs his LP a lot and still gets the respect from judges and get those huge ***, puzzling PCS.
    Because he has everything to put him at the very top except for those bombs and a little lipping Esp, his skating skills and steps are simply fab. His programs are very well thought-out and interesting. Even when he falls, he still dances Despite being inconsistent, he has had wonderful performances/placements once in the blue moon. The fourth at 2007 Worlds and Silver and Gold at Euro Champ during the last two consecutive seasons are good enough. He also had a very strong competition with Dai at 2007 NHK. Dai was considered to be the World Champ favorite by many ppl last season, as you know, and Dai was "on" at that comp. Besides, Tomas attends more comps than other elite skaters so that he can make up the points that affect the world ranking. His ranking has been pretty good.
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-25-2008 at 08:14 PM.

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