11-10-2011, 06:23 PM
can't come down to Earth
I think it's because she started focusing on perfecting and making consistent her 3A.
Originally Posted by Mirunna
11-10-2011, 09:11 PM
Probably her flip. It is definitely the jump that changed the most. Reforming her jump technique was not a bad decision. Before the changes, Mao had to bend down a lot to get height on her flip. Now, it appears much less strained. The lutz is very hard to change though. Mirai spent years fixing her edge on that jump, but she still gets called occasionally.
Originally Posted by sorcerer
11-10-2011, 10:11 PM
Yes I noticed the marvelous effort and yes she has succeeded in that.
Originally Posted by miki88
Maybe Mr. Sato is going step by step from the easier jumps to the harder.
I expect Mao's Salchow more often this year.
So I don't think it is wise to risk changing her takeoff on (f)lutz when Sochi gets more closer.
It might well affect her flip, which she has rebuild, in the very Oly season.
What was Nagakubo in the earlier few months trying to correct on her jumps? Does anyone know?
11-15-2011, 03:51 PM
Here's a very interesting article on Mao, and the influence of Coach Nobuo Sato on the importance of speed and the decision not to go for 3axel at NHK. It's in Japanese, but it's worth a read even via google translator.
Sato has a policy: unsuccessful practice = no 3axel at comps
But he never tells Mao what to do, as he knows 3axel is more than just a jump for her, rather it's the biggest motivation driver, which reminds him of Yukari Nakano to whom he would insist not going for the jump, only to see her lose spark overall.
Sato and Mao have been working on speed, with the coach preaching that there is nothing that appeals stronger than speed, and they have been focusing on it throughout the off season.
Sato told her before NHK SP "from my experience, 2axel is the way to go, but the decision is yours," to which she replied, "Even if I go for the triple, I promise I won't neglect on the other aspects of the performance."
Having been patient for a year, Sato said over dinner that night, "A 2axel would've earnt higher points. Opting not to go for 3axel at one competition wouldn't mean you gave up on the jump completely. I only hope you will understand some day."
Those words seemed to affect her. At the practice before NHK LP, she told the coach she would try the jump just once. With an underrotated attempt, she would have ordinarily continued to work on the sole jump throughout the practice, but she didn't this time.
Mao is happy with the outcome, felt that the audience was engaged in her performance rather than going, "Push, push ("Gambare" in this context probably means "feeling as if they wanted to push me with encouragement from behind due to lack of speed, and hold their breath before each jump)", and is beginning to understand what Sato has been saying.
This duo seem to be working!
11-15-2011, 05:01 PM
Her speed is better and I agree it adds to the performance. Particularly in the SP she looks more athletic than I have ever see (movement-wise, not her body), and when she skates that short to the best of her ability it will really capture the audience.
11-15-2011, 07:00 PM
Hikki, thanks so much for the translation! I actually tried google translate but the result was unreadable.
11-15-2011, 07:18 PM
Thanks for the translation. Very wise words from Coach Sato.
11-15-2011, 07:28 PM
A great article indeed, hikki, and it definitely sheds light onto Mao and Sato's developing (for the better, it seems) relationship.
What struck me more than the axel at NHK, though, was that, for the first time in a few seasons, I saw a genuine love for skating in Mao's smile during both of her programs. I was worried for the girl at World's last year, where she looked emaciated and absolutely distraught (probably due to the then recent events in Japan), and I'm glad she seems to be making great strides towards a recovery.
11-15-2011, 09:49 PM
can't come down to Earth
Really cool insight into Sato's coaching style and his relationship with Mao. He sounds like a persuasive, but not forceful mentor. I like that.
11-15-2011, 10:43 PM
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
Sato seems like a great coach and wise and kind man. I hope these two become unstoppable soon! Win or lose, its so nice to see Mao smiling again.
11-16-2011, 12:20 AM
I'm so excited about this new dynamic duo! They seem to be a good match. Here's hoping this begins Mao's resurgence!
11-16-2011, 01:55 AM
I soooo admire Mr. Sato. His coaching is like a Zen master. His students seem to have such respect. It is all so very old school and based on integrity, effort, honor and heart. It seems to be having the kind of calming effect on Mao that in my eyes has put a smile back on her face as she skates, especially when she competes.
I can only imagine that it must be the case that Mr. Sato's daughter, the wonderful Yuka Sato, has some of these same calm and philosophical traits in her arsenal. Just to see the impact that she has had on some "head case" type competitors like Jeremy and Alissa - beautiful artists who have struggled with nerves at competitions, must be a wonderful aspect for a coach to have.
With Mr. Sato, I see Mao as having the kind of longevity to her career that I had always hoped for, but worried whether it would be the case given the smile that was absent from her face at times last season.
11-16-2011, 02:13 AM
My husband, who does not follow skating at all, actually said, "Wow, Mao looks a lot happier than she did last year." That tells me that she's clearly in a much better place right now.
Mr. Sato seems to have a Zen master quality to him, as Binthere said. I love, love, love his backrub/push he gives to Taka Kozuka before he skates.