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Thread: Caroline Zhang - Is She an Oly Contender?

  1. #151
    Thank God for Stephane Lambiel and Matt Savoie! shine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    I don't think you need to be too terrified, at least no more about her jumps than about her spins. Her body is unusually flexible, with no special training at all. If a normal person tries to twist into the Pearl spin, you might worry about her back and hips, too, but for her it's no big deal. Similarly with her jumps. Jump take-offs usually involve some counter-rotation to generate the torque. In her case, b/c her body is so elastic, she has to twist a little more to get the same amount of torque.
    I find this not very convincing. Mao and Yuna are both quite flexible yet have sound jumping technique, so was Shizuka Arakawa. Elene G. is also very flexible skater with great jumping technique. It's all about learning the right technique when skaters are young.
    Even if what you said IS true, the way she slams her entire leg into the ice to thrust herself into the air (instead of relying on speed/momentum and good picking technique to do so), cannot be healthy either way. There's simply too much of an impact to her waist and hip each time she does that.
    Last edited by shine; 04-24-2009 at 01:45 PM.

  2. #152
    Custom Title LeCygne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    I think part of the reason why Caroline skates her exhibitions a lot more expressively than her competitive programs because she has a lot more say over the music choice and choreography. She's great innate sense of musicality, but only for the kind of music that moves her, and the choreographers clearly haven't been choosing good music for her for the most part.
    If this is the case, I wonder why she doesn't get more of a say in her competitive programs? I thought choreography was always something between the choreographer, coach, and skater. Or is it something that happens as skaters get older?

  3. #153
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeCygne View Post
    Or is it something that happens as skaters get older?
    I think so, yes. Young skaters may "know what they like" but they usually do not know anything about music. A world class choeogrpher like Lori Nichol has an entensive muscal library and has access to advice from music experts (plus, in Nichol's case, her husband is a classical guitarist, IIRC. )

    Look at the difference between Nichol's choice of music for Michelle Kwan (Lyra Angelica, the Red Violin, the Song of the Black Swan), versus the type of music that Michelle chose for herself after 2002 (Aranjuez, Tosca, Bolero.)

  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    I find this not very convincing. Mao and Yuna are both quite flexible yet have sound jumping technique, so was Shizuka Arakawa. Elene G. is also very flexible skater with great jumping technique. It's all about learning the right technique when skaters are young.
    I think there may be some correlation between flexibility and jumps. Anyway it was so in case of Yuna. Yuna's mom once mentioned (during an interview conducted in 2006 maybe) that they(Yuna, her mom and her couch) were aware of her lack of flexibility and tried to improve it but that caused some trouble with her jumps so they decided to stop pursuing too much of flexibility.
    It is my guess that maybe the more flexible one gets the more open one's pelvic bones get (and turn out and stuff) and maybe that minutely affects the way one jumps.
    But I agree with you. It's about learning the right technique when skaters are young. Caroline picks/kicks very hard to get momentum which she's supposed to get with speed and proper turns. No matter how flexible she is, the impact can't be good for her body. I'm worried about her.

  5. #155
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeCygne View Post
    If this is the case, I wonder why she doesn't get more of a say in her competitive programs? I thought choreography was always something between the choreographer, coach, and skater. Or is it something that happens as skaters get older?
    Well, she's still very young (15). Very few 15-year-olds get a whole lot of say in their competitive music/choreography. She said she didn't really like Sleeping Beauty, for instance. Sucks skating to a program you hate... But maybe as she matures and gains a bit more independence, she'll be able to dictate her own programs more.

    As for Caroline's picking technique, she doesn't slam into the ice hard, it's not like she's creating a spray of ice or digging a deep hole, it's rather that before picking she throws her leg up real high. She doesn't even dip down with her upper body all that much compared to certain skaters. Again, I think it's related to flexibility. On toe-assisted jumps, the downward motion of the picking leg creates a see-saw effect -- this helps with creating height in addition to jumping off the front leg. One side goes down, the other side goes up. That works well if the "plank" is relatively stiff. But now imagine it's something highly elastic, then the first side has to decrease a lot in height to create a little bit of extra height on the other side.

    Yu-na, Miki, and Joannie are all relatively inflexible, especially in their backs. Inflexibility helps with creating more rigid-body-like movements, which helps making jumps higher and spins faster, and moreover it allows the skater to create momentum more easily by using a little bit of counter-rotation or contraction, etc. Imagine you have two springs, one very elastic, the other very stiff, now squash them to the same depth and see how high one would go versus the other. Then imagine bending one versus the other. Then imagine rotating one versus the other. The stiffer one reacts much more strongly to any small distortion compared to the elastic one.

    That's not to say that flexible people can never create a lot of speed/height/angular momentum, but it takes extra work, they have to really work with their back and abdominal muscles to make up for the fact that their joints are so
    "weak" in the sense that they don't give as much resistance/support. Mao is very flexible, but she is also quite muscular, I think either she is naturally muscular or she worked on a lot of strengthening exercises. Caroline said she never really did strengthening exercises until this past season, plus her body changed so much in the last two years so she had to spend a lot of time/energy just adapting to her new body.

  6. #156
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    One thing to remember about Sasha Cohen was that her flexibility came from training for Gymnastics, and her jumps were wobbly in those beginning years of skating. However, her jumps did improve as she got older, and she continues doing acrobatic workouts as we saw on TV.

    For myself I see Caroline as a work in progress. She is not a wunderkind, and it will take time to iron out the creases. At 18 she will be formidable. I do not see her in the race for this Olys, but if you allow a skater to develop over time, she will be among the best contenders in 2014.

  7. #157
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Oh, Caroline IS taking music suggestions. She said neither program is finalized.

    So, suggest away, please!

  8. #158
    Custom Title LeCygne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Oh, Caroline IS taking music suggestions. She said neither program is finalized.
    Really? Hmm I'll have to think about it...

  9. #159
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    I created a new thread to take suggestion. Please post there, thanks!

  10. #160
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    Caroline will need to work on her speed. Perhaps an old training method.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoEEPoBwf7Y

  11. #161
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Caroline will need to work on her speed. Perhaps an old training method.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoEEPoBwf7Y
    Can anyone explain just how much speed is necessary for Caroline, and indeed, how much speed is the minimum for any skater?

    We know that high speed makes jumping easier. The jumps, of course, must have good technique. YuNa is the best at that.

    Caroline is making her jumps now and getting credit for them. Is she the only one who does not have the speed of YuNa? Name others, and I may understand what is meant by "needs more speed", and how much speed is necessary to satisfy this blip in the scoring system.

  12. #162
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    She doesn't need the speed of Yuna. But she does need the speed of a senior lady.

  13. #163
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    She doesn't need the speed of Yuna. But she does need the speed of a senior lady.
    and what, pray tell me, is the speed of a senior lady? Does Kimmie have the speed of a senior lady? Does Rachael? Does Joannie? Does Mao maintain the speed throughout? Bebe Liang arguably has the most speed of most of the international skaters.

    Can you be more explicit? Should a timer be used to ensure the speed is correct for senior competitive purposes? Does the music matter?

    just trying to get a grasp on speed, in general

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    and what, pray tell me, is the speed of a senior lady?
    I think Caroline being extraordinarily slow is another misconception that's sprouted along with the false notion that Caroline is a constant underrotater. Sure, her overall speed and speed going into her jumps are slower than the elite ladies, and that is why she lags behind them so significantly in PCS. But Caroline's speed has improved, and is certainly adequate enough for a senior lady. If Caroline has no business being a senior lady because of her speed, then Alissa and Rachael should go back into juniors as well.

    I recall posters like Medusa (who can provide an unbiased and knowledgeable opinion) mentioning that Caroline was not terribly slow at competitions like the WTT, etc.

  15. #165
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    I think Joesitz raises a good point about speed and music--does it really make sense to tear around the rink when skating to something like Ave Maria?

    That being said, however, I think Caroline does need to work on her speed if she wants her PCS to get a boost, as speed seems to be regarded very highly by most. Speed should not be an end to itself, though, but should come from good edges and such.

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