Dreaming and dancing
What does Nobu need to do to become a champion?
As I mentioned elsewhere, I am a bit surprised when I read Nobu saying in an interview that he was just too satisfied with the fact that he was going to skate with great competitors in the final group (A Japanese sport magazine, Number). While many ppl thought that he'd be a medal contender, his self-assessment may not have been that way. Now he says in the same interview that he wants to be on the podium at Worlds. So what does he need to do to accomplish that goal, even if not the Gold, but finally a medal at a big comp like the Worlds?
PCS is the single most important area where he could potentially garner a lot more points.
His skating skills are great, his programs are well choreographed, but I feel that Nobu could sell his programs a lot more. The little Vietnamese boy at the Olympic ex did a great job entertaining the audience. I think that his Chaplin program could go as far as that.
There is something introverted about him. I did not feel so when he was skating to the jazzy music choreographed by David Willson and the New Cinema Paradise ex program. I thought that he was a lot more free and sophisticated skating to these programs. I had felt the breeze, sparkle, humor etc, but not lately. Despite the wonderful skating skills and great choreos, he does not project the strong presence needed to be considered as a serious Gold medal contender. Hopefully in the future, but just not yet. I wonder if this is something to do with his self-confidence. His performance just doesn't say, "Look at me! I am here having fun! Let's enjoy together!"
- Try a quad (?).
Nobu said his quad was not consistent enough or something like that. This could have been actually a wiser way to go because Nobu gets huge GOEs on almost every jump. His plus GOE on 3A can match quad attempts by others. It did not work too well at this time just because he was not clean.
On the other hand, his total base value does increase significantly with a quad. So it may be worth doing it if it is ready.
Another thing that I noticed at the Oly was that a lot of ppl gave Dai a credit for trying a quad whereas his practice reports sounded as bad as Miki's quad practice reports four years ago. If trying a quad boosts recognition as a quad jumper, i.e., a serious contender, constant quad attempts may help Nobu's reputation, as I feel that the recognition as a quadless skater has hurt Johnny's and Jeff's reputations.
Nobu's practice reports had been similar to Kozuka's, and Kozuka went for it. Furthermore, Nob practices and lands 4-3-2 (4-3-3?).
- Don't make silly mistakes
Nob had missed his Olympic ticket to Torino and his World medal for the Zayak violation. He violated Zayak again at another Worlds. There was also an incident when he bumped into the fence. Prior to the Oly, I was afraid that he might make sloppy mistakes. And OMG, he did. According to his interview, the lace was cut at the morning practice, but he chose not to change it, as he was afraid that it would feel different with a new lace, and just tied it together to get through the 6-min practice and LP. I do not know how much these mistakes are preventable because it seems something to do with his lovable nature, but I hope that he tries to be a little more cautious.
Last edited by Bennett; 03-08-2010 at 08:15 AM.
You're right about Nobu looking a bit introverted. Especially in the SP. I thought last year's SP was so much better; it was to Masquerade Waltz (Mao's SP music of this season) and I thought he really pulled it off (at Worlds) until he hit the boards or something . I'm just not digging this year's cyber Totentanz thing.
He's a really 'smooth' skater; with deliciously soft landings on his jumps when they're clean. There's lots of movement in the way he skates without being 'COP arm flailing'. He has the basics of a great, likable persona on ice. He's cute, he has a really sweet disarming smile and he's not at all a sore loser (he was so brave after the whole lace thing at Olys; not at all a drama queen). It sounds very weird to say, but he should just embrace the marketability of his personality and just go all out to be a crowd favorite. I felt that was what he did in his LP at TEB. He looked adorable and he really had the crowd. At the GPF and Olys he just seemed a bit tight; I guess that when nerves get to him he gets more introverted.
I would love to see his quad in competition! His quad-triple-triple looks so solid and effortless in practice! It's weird that he's so insecure about it in competition. But you're right, Bennett, it might really boost his reputation if he became known as one of the quad-guys.
- get a better SP (not possible for Worlds but should be an important aim for next year; I never noticed Oda before last year's Worlds; but jazzy music sounds great for him)
- embrace the whole Chaplin-cutesy theme
- big smile
- a little more competitive spirit (come on Oda; you could leave Takahashi in the dust and you know it! - I like Takahashi too btw; this is just me pretending to do a pep-talk)
- don't put gel in your hair (haha this is just the girl in me talking)
Oda needs one key ingrediant - let's call it the "Evan factor" to become a champion.
I am not suggesting he begin flailing his arms - but that he loses the reputation as the worlds best practice skater and starts competing better when it matters the most.
Maybe this is something that can't be taught - but I also think Oda needs to command the ice better too. Dai is not that big but skates like a giant. Sasha did too - so it is not a matter of height but of projecting better.
Sometimes it is hard to believe all of these practice reports. It is hard to understand if Oda was landing quads and quad combinations in practice why he didn't try it in his LP in Vancouver.
What did he have to lose?
Dreaming and dancing
Actually he was saying prior to the Oly that his goal was not to medal, but to land the quad. But he looked really nervous in both programs. He had tried the quad only at the Nationals and failed it there. So he may not have been confident enough to use a quad that he hadn't succeeded this season yet. Besides, Morosov's strategy is to have the skater play safe in big comps and wait for others to falter.
Originally Posted by janetfan
Nobu needs to become more imposing on the ice. I know that will be harder for him than some other skaters considering he is so small, but right now he looks small on the ice in addition to being small. Dai is hardly bigger than Nobu but he does not look small on the ice despite being small, he is imposing and energetic and captivates the audience.
I also think new programs could package Nobu better. The Charlie Chaplin was a bit juniorish and I feel he was not too expressive in it. I think with more upbeat, powerful music Nobu could really shine.
According to Joubert, Plushenko and Stoyjom, Oda needs a Quad which may become mandatory.
No point saying he is landing them in practice or he is working on a quad diligently. It must be shown in competitions. If he does not show one in Torino, he will not be on the podium, and we will have to wait till next year.
I do not agree with this, but this is happening.
Gadfly and Bon Vivant
Unless there's a big overhaul in CoP he doesn't need the quad. He needs more confidence (by all accounts he's shy and introverted) and to talilor his programs around his strengths in a way that can maximize points. I'm not entirely what that would mean in his particular case, but at this particular point in time securing the quad is like investing in confederate bonds, it might make you feel more secure but it's not likely to actually to give you a big pay out when you expect it.
Gadfly and Bon Vivant
I'm not a 100 % but from what I know about Japanese culture (and how attractive the idea of overcoming overwhelming physical challenges is within it) that sounds like the kind of thing you're expected to say whether or not it's true, the same way NAmericans are supposed to say "I try not to pay attention to other skaters, I just want to do my best".
Originally Posted by Bennett
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
Nobu needs an SP in which he really performs like he is capable of, this year he was just skating with the music in the background which didn't really suit his style IMO. I wihs he would just go for the quad now and then, he has such a beautiful one in pratcice and will never land it in competition if he never tries it.
He obviuosly has the ability, his coaches and chreographers need to give him those footwork sequences that get level 4, smart freeskate layouts etc. And of course not make stupid mistakes. That his coach even let him on the ice for his olympic freeskate with a tied together lace is unbelievable. These things, and things like hitting the wall in the SP at Worlds last year have to stop happening.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
Realistically, he needs Daisuke to retire because if he can't even be the no. 1 man in Japan, he can't be much of an international champion.
But let's say he could beat Daisuke. How?
Maybe he needs to do complete run-throughs like Evan to build up his confidence so we can see that quad.
And he really needs to reinvent his on-ice persona. He is challenged by his "funny face" which lends itself to comic routines, but this diminishes him as a skater. I think he could overcome it instead. He needs to be more of a Fred Astaire, less of a Charlie Chaplin. Astaire was funny-looking but sublimely elegant as a dancer and he didn't pigeonhole himself as a comic. (As an actor he was a comic who could also be a romantic lead.) Nobu needs programs that call attention to the sheer beauty of his jumps and landings, and don't distract us or the judges with comic details.
Somehow with Oda the challenges seem purely mental. He needs to think of himself as a champion and act (and choose programs) accordingly. He seems to think of himself as a kid, but as a skater he's all grown up now.
He still looks like a little kid though out there on the ice.
Originally Posted by Spun Silver
leave no stone unturned
I for one liked Chaplin a lot. And in the grand prix it was marked high enough without a quad anyway, around 160? He was unfortunate at Olys, and in general all the goofy things happen to him. I have a soft spot for Oda.
I dont know if he needs a quad but his 4-3-3 is so amazing, i wish I could see it one day in competitions.
- * -
I think the broken skate lace at the Olympics really hurt him. If that hadn't happened, wouldn't he have been like 4th? I remember Rod Black saying that if his lace hadn't broken, he would have finished ahead of PChiddy.
Maybe his first move should be to leave Morozov and find a new coach? I feel like Nobu might do better with someone else, plus I just have reservations about Morozov as a coach in general. I don't see why he doesn't try the quad in his programs though, they always look amazing in practice. I bet Worlds will be Nobu's time to shine, with Evan and Stephane and possibly Joubert not competing there, he has a very good shot at a medal .
Find a piece of music that suites him better.