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Thread: Caroline Zhang - Can She Regain Her Spot Among The Top US Ladies?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    Personally, I believe how she does at 4CCs will be very telling of where she stands in the big scheme of things. If she can upset Wagner for a medal, that would be huge.
    Traditionally she seems to do pretty well in this event, though- don't think she should have too much trouble here.
    Checking the history, Caroline has been to this event twice, skating against a total of 4 other U.S. ladies. All 4 of those ladies finished above her at Nationals the previous month ........
    ...... And all 4 of those ladies finished BELOW her at 4CC.

  2. #47
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Caroline seemed reasonably fast in her National short. I have to assume she is working on her stroking.
    I am talking more about LP where it's always much more noticeable for any skater. You can see her working to generate power, especially after the halfway point. It was worse in the fall, but it's still very noticeable that she's WORKING to get down the ice instead of SKATING. She may be working on her stroking, but if it's not currently, it needs to be a focus in the offseason, not just something that is cursorily done (lap forward, lap backward, start jumping). It's not near as much fun to work on your skating skills (stroking, edgework, power, turns, steps) as it is to fix your 3F, but in the same way you need to be able to add before you can do algebra, skating skills can take you far even when you make mistakes. This is something that is also noticeable with Tom Z's students - a decided disparity in skating ability to technical acumen (3+3 or quads, 6's in PCS categories). Good skating skills can "make up" for a missed element - that's why people always b!tch about Patrick Chan being able to win with "10 falls" - he has good skating skills.

    Look, I am not saying she needs to do patch every day for the entire spring after 4CC (although that could help A LOT of the issues currently being bandied about here between core strength, edge quality, and skating skills), but if, as eye witnesses have mentioned, that she starts jumping ASAP into a practice session with little attention paid to stroking drills, she needs to rethink this. People who are considered good SKATERS are ones who have put the time into learning the proper edge and stroking techniques. Chan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills, Abbott - ice dance and patch and now with Yuka and Jason an emphasis on skating skills, Kwan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills, Yuka - patch, and so on...Skaters who have been unable to jump for a period of time seem to be the ones who come back stronger with an emphasis on blade to ice skills (Carolina K and it looks like Christina Gao)

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Checking the history, Caroline has been to this event twice, skating against a total of 4 other U.S. ladies. All 4 of those ladies finished above her at Nationals the previous month ........
    ...... And all 4 of those ladies finished BELOW her at 4CC.
    That was BEFORE she grew and the bottom fell out of her marks both domestically and internationally.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Look, I am not saying she needs to do patch every day .....
    ...... Chan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills,
    ....... Abbott - ice dance and patch and now with Yuka and Jason an emphasis on skating skills,
    ........ Kwan - patch and an emphasis on skating skills,
    ........... Yuka - patch, and so on...
    What is "patch"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    It's boring work. Spins and jumps are a lot more fun. But if you look at the skaters who make it to the very top of the podium consistently, they all have strong basic skating. I believe to this day that if Sasha had had better basic skating, she'd have been a world champion. In her competitive days, Sasha never had it all - she always lacked strong edges and powerful stroking.
    Interesting. So do you think that Sasha's better basic skating would have made her jumps better, or would have improved her second mark (artistry under old system, PCS now)? I thought she was always held up on PCS for rather weak skating skills, so I think there was not much improvement possible as far as the marks are concerned. She always got as good or better PCS that skaters with far stronger fundamentals such as Shizuka. But if stronger basics would have improved her jumps then I believe she could have been world champion.

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    I think that better basic skating would have given Sasha better speed and flow over the ice and given her power and command of the ice. I only saw her the one time live, and even in her SP, she didn’t have anywhere close to the ease of movement or the flow of Kwan or Slutskaya, and she looked positively novice next to Arakawa. I don’t know how much it would have helped her scores which were the women’s record scores until Kim came along and obliterated them.

    But yes, I think better use of her edges and knees would have helped her jumps. My daughter once commented that Sasha didn’t land on an edge. She landed on the flat of her blade and turned it into an edge. This would explain her “silly falls” late in her programs. Landing properly on the correct edge would have given her more secure landings and probably kept her butt off the ice.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    Interesting. So do you think that Sasha's better basic skating would have made her jumps better, or would have improved her second mark (artistry under old system, PCS now)? I thought she was always held up on PCS for rather weak skating skills, so I think there was not much improvement possible as far as the marks are concerned. She always got as good or better PCS that skaters with far stronger fundamentals such as Shizuka. But if stronger basics would have improved her jumps then I believe she could have been world champion.
    It's sort of interesting; people praise Sasha for her fantastic spiral position; but I read somewhere that if you looked at her feet, she never had the deep edging and was "on the flat (is that right?)" at times. Yu-na, on the other hand, didn't have the best position on the top, but she earned those +GOE for her solid edges.

    To answer your question, I think better edging would have help Sasha with her flutzing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    It's sort of interesting; people praise Sasha for her fantastic spiral position; but I read somewhere that if you looked at her feet, she never had the deep edging and was "on the flat (is that right?)" at times. Yu-na, on the other hand, didn't have the best position on the top, but she earned those +GOE for her solid edges.
    In her earliest senior years, Sasha's spiral travelled in straight line. If you're on an edge, you will travel in an arc. She got better over the years, and there was a big jump in her stroking after she worked with Robin Wagner, even for those few months. I had real hope that she had the right coach to address her issues, but we know how long that lasted. I also think that Tarasova directed Sasha to go to Wagner because Sarah Hughes, for all of her other issues, had excellent basic skating, edges (flutz excepted) and stroking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    In her earliest senior years, Sasha's spiral travelled in straight line. If you're on an edge, you will travel in an arc.
    Yes. A perfect illustration is her 2002 LP. Her opening to Carmen (although not her official spiral sequence) had 2 spiral positions. The first went in a straight line parallel to the judge's table. The second, in a straight line right at the judges. Likewise, her actual spiral sequences, if viewed from above the ice, would have looked something like: \/\ At 2010 Nationals her spirals were the best I think I've ever seen.

  10. #55
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    Back to Zhang- obviously, she is not suddenly going to be speeding across the ice after a couple short months. This stuff takes time, and if improvement can be seen in her speed (hard to tell on TV, honestly) then it's obviously being worked on. I agree that a better command of the ice will go a long way, but it also must be balanced with how much of a bump in scores she will see, if any.

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    One way to judge speed on TV is to watch the signs on the boards behind the skaters. If you can read the sign easily when the skater is moving across the ice, the skater is very slow. For the fastest skaters, it's difficult to read the signs at all when they're moving.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    I think that better basic skating would have given Sasha better speed and flow over the ice and given her power and command of the ice. I only saw her the one time live, and even in her SP, she didn’t have anywhere close to the ease of movement or the flow of Kwan or Slutskaya, and she looked positively novice next to Arakawa. I don’t know how much it would have helped her scores which were the women’s record scores until Kim came along and obliterated them.

    But yes, I think better use of her edges and knees would have helped her jumps. My daughter once commented that Sasha didn’t land on an edge. She landed on the flat of her blade and turned it into an edge. This would explain her “silly falls” late in her programs. Landing properly on the correct edge would have given her more secure landings and probably kept her butt off the ice.
    I think that better edges might have given her more confidence as well, which would have helped her know that she could depend on her jumps during the big moments. It's fascinating to realize from what you and the others are saying here how logical it was that Sasha had the problems she did. It wasn't some arbitrary twist of fate that caused her to fall in the middle of the most crucial competition of her life. There was a reason for it. I still found her one of the most compelling skaters around, but there's a pang of regret in the awareness that fixing that one shortcoming might have vaulted her to the top of the heap internationally. Let's hope Caroline will seize that chance and make all the repairs she needs to before Sochi.

  13. #58
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    Sasha may have had some technical issues, but that can't be the only reason that she always came in just short of winning the gold. Other top girls made big mistakes now and then, too. Just by the luck of the draw, she should have won at least one world championship or a couple of national championships, given how many opportunities she had for things to go her away. And it wasn't that she couldn't ever skate a perfect LP, as she did do a couple of times in the lesser competitions. She just could never keep it together in big competitions -- if other girls made mistakes, she crumbled even more. Sure, having a stronger technical basis would have helped her, but the really good competitors rise to the occasion, they skate *better* than they do in practices or small events. Rachael Flatt is really impressive that way. Some of the Russian skaters clearly have that mental fortitude too. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, for example. You see her falling and popping jumps in practice and warmup, then when the real competition begins, boom, she lands her 3-3 and other hard jumps without giving away any hint of doubt. Actually, Michelle Kwan was really, really good that way. She clearly enjoyed the experience of being on competition ice -- it brought out the best in her.

    Back to Caroline, I think she does have a tendency to peak later in the season, which could be why she usually did better at 4CC than at National's. She's been scoring pretty steady scores in all her competitions this season, the only exception being the FS at SA (she was in bronze position after the SP). Unfortunately that was also the biggest stage, thus leaving the impression she was having a bad season. Ashley I think will do quite well. She's been looking strong all season, since the summer, and now with a 2A-3T she has even higher scoring potential. Agnes Zawadski is the biggest question mark, I think. She has had only one solid program this season, the SP at National's. The FS at National's was more like her typical program this season. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.
    Last edited by feraina; 02-07-2012 at 10:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    I am talking more about LP where it's always much more noticeable for any skater. You can see her working to generate power, especially after the halfway point. It was worse in the fall, but it's still very noticeable that she's WORKING to get down the ice instead of SKATING. She may be working on her stroking, but if it's not currently, it needs to be a focus in the offseason, not just something that is cursorily done (lap forward, lap backward, start jumping).
    Hi, I am curious as to what a typical training session designed to improve stroking looks like. What kind of exercises do the skaters do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    What is "patch"?
    Figures

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