Does anyone think that Caroline Zhang might have stage fright?
One thing that's always been offputting to me about her skating is her lack of connection to the audience. I have noticed in her 2 GP's this season that her eyes are downcast for her entire program. She doesn't even look at the judges or even at the audience let alone make eye contact with anyone.This kind of behavior is very typical of people who get stage fright.
I'm wondering if this is the case for her, and if so is this added uncomfort of performing in front of a crowd affecting her skating. She doesn't seem particularly shy when doing inteviews so I'm not sure if this is the case or not, but I just can't think of any other reason that she would be so introverted during her programs.
I really don't think so. Of all the US women, (and throw in the tops skaters of the world), Caroline has actually skated the most vertical programs. Vertical as in she had stood up on all of elements. Of course, I'm talking about a "clean" program to the eyes of a casual fan. Then, when you look at her protocols, that's a different story. No matter how crappy her technique is, she has to have enough confidence to be able to put three back to back vertical FS programs last season (2009 nationals, 4CC, Japan Open/Jr. Worlds)
The thing is Caroline is not typically flashy on ice. She's had a tame and reserved expression since her senior debut.
I'm not talking about being flashy. Mirai, for example, usually has a reserved expression, but she doesn't look down at the ice while skating. The same is true for many other reserved skaters. Its not the lack of expression that I am referring to but rather the fact that she turns completely inward and will not even look up from the ice.
Originally Posted by DarkestMoon
I don't doubt that she has self-confidence either. You can be confidient and still have stage fright. I get very tense when I have to speak in front of people, even when I am totally confident in what I am doing.
I saw Caroline live at the TEB this year and I remember I could not stop thinking "look up from the ice"!
There were absolutely no connection at at all and it is such a shame with her talent as her programs are very (especially the SP) likeable.
I also saw her 2 years ago at the same competition and did not get the same impression so I don't know what is going on.
Kostner for example was exactly the contrary, she did a lot of mistakes but she never kept her eyes on the ice as Caroline did and the overall impression in the end was much better.
It is strange because Caroline seems to be such a "fighter" in a way but more for the competition part than for anything else..she is so much more a performer in the shows
I have noticed that she looks at the ice quite a bit too. While part of this may be personality, I see it as more of a deficit in her own belief in her ability to compete. To me, she appears tentative and focused, rather than simply a lyrical or introverted performer, who could look outward and still convey the lyrical nature of the piece and still be seen as as an introverted performer. In other words, introverted does not necessarily lead to looking at the ice.
So I'm not sure I think it is pure stage fright issue. Seems that she is lacking the mindset of a strong, confident competitor, which could generate stage fright I guess. If she has great practices, learning to translate practice skates to competition skates should produce a stronger competitor. If she has poor or inconsistent practices, building consistency would go a long way to helping her feel more confident.
Does she look at the ice as much during her show programs that people seem to love?
Dreaming and dancing
Her posture is good and a person who practiced ballet for such a long time looking on the ice sounds a bit strange to me. I just watched her 2009 TEB videos on youtube but the screen is too small to tell where she is looking at. Her posture looked just fine and her head position looked fine as well. I also watched an ex video of hers and she does look softer and fluid in Ex though, with a little smile on the face as well. Is she like Mao who is three times more expressive and joyful in Ex than in competitive programs?
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I think it is a fear of the judges. She seems to love performing in exhbitions when the pressure is off, but in competition she gets so determined to skate well that she loses all her musicality and interpretation. She skates slow and the whole program has the feeling of "getting through it" rather than performing it and loving it.
I appreciate all your thoughts (I forgot where I put this thread, so it took me a while to find it again).
I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed it. I was starting to think I was making it into something more than it was.
I tried looking at some of her exhibtions online, but I couldn't really tell if there wase a difference, either the quality was too low or she was facing away from the camera for most of the performance.
Whoever it was that said she looks tentative, I think you hit the nail on the head...I wonder if that's part of the reason for her lack of speed?
I doubt it...have you seen her and heard her talk? She's always saying hi to all her friends on tv and waving and giggling at the camera. If anything, she seems to be a bit of a diva who loves the attention. It could be all a cover though, maybe she's shy and nervous underneath it all. Mirai never struck me as shy before though and now she sort of seems it, either that or she's just uncomfortable with her body right now because she is always slouching. Caroline still seems as outgoing as ever though
"Hold an edge and look sexy!"
I think bad technique and weak basic skating skills (edging, speed, ice coverage) are bigger problems for her than alleged stage fright. She certainly doesn't have a confidence problem. She does seem to have a problem of denial about what her weaknesses are by the way she scoffs at scores that she deserves for weak skates. She's still young and still searching for her identity on the senior level. I think she is very frustrated that her senior level career isn't going as smoothly or as successfully as her junior level career did. She knows she is not in the judges' favor (for good reason with the way she has been skating) and I think she is used to being adored and people telling her how wonderful she is as a junior skater. The senior level is a lot tougher!
Last edited by museksk8r; 11-30-2009 at 12:04 PM.
There was an interview with Caroline back in September where she said, "......I have a problem being faster in programs. I have a footwork coach and I'm trying to work on edges, so I'm hoping that will show up." At the very least, she doesn't seem to be in denial about her speed and edging issues.
Originally Posted by museksk8r