Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
Slowing down before the jumps is definitely a problem and she never used to do that. She didn't really have a hammer toe in the past either. Look at how good her Flip used to be:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1GfZW03lM4

Her Flip is more inconsistent now than it ever was and the quality hasn't improved at all. She has been working on the Lutz for a long time now and she still flutzes every single time. At least she used to go into the Lutz with total confidence, speed, and incredibly difficult transitions (as seen in her 2008 programs). Her immaculate Triple Loop even went drastically downhill last season, although it thankfully seems to be back in place this season.

I think continuing to focus on this different technique is wrong for Mao. It hasn't done anything but make her skating worse. She should do what comes naturally to her. Speaking of which, it's really annoying how she hasn't been going for 3Loop on the back-end of combinations in the SP. She used to do that so well and there's no reason why she shouldn't still be doing it, since getting a < call doesn't kill you anymore. 3Loop-3Loop< and 3Flip in the SP is worth more than the current 3Flip-2Loop and 3Loop she has been doing. She's going to NEED those points against Yu-Na and perhaps other emerging skaters too.
I always respect your analysis. Mao is my favorite current skater no matter what, but even I can tell that her current jump arsenal may not be enough to keep her competitive. Your thought about reconstructing her actual jump plan strategically sounds very useful, because it deals with her capacities as they exist right now. I have two questions based on your explanation:
1) If she's slowing down before her jumps, is this something that can be dealt with?
2) If she has been training in this new way for about three years, is there a way for her muscle memory be able to revert to "what comes naturally"?

She has such astonishing gifts; I really hope she can regain her form. I don't give up on her, because even in this state she's lovely to watch, but I can't see my way from here, at Point A, to the Point B where she needs to be for Worlds and Olympics.