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Thread: Coaching Technique and the Skater

  1. #1
    TriGirl Rinkside
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    Coaching Technique and the Skater

    There has been a lot of talk lately about coaches and skaters. Both MK and SC have changed coaches recently. There has also been talk about Frank Carroll's (s/p?) approach/motivation. So what are the key elements to a coach/skater relationship?

    To a certain degree it is unique to the individuals, although, there are some coaches who have a history of producing top flight skaters such as Carroll, Callaghan, Tarasova, etc. However, the skater and coach need to mesh. I think this is more important as the athlete ages. For example, maybe Michelle was willing to be passive in her relationship with Frank until a certain point. When she became more of an adult, a one-sided relationship could be unworkable.

    There are also some interesting comparisons between US coaches and Russian coaches

    Anyway, just some random thoughts. A translated article on the AYDG made me think. Here's the link.

    http://pub76.ezboard.com/falexeidisc...cID=6319.topic

    It's a long, but interesting article. Some interesting points (IMO) below:

    But they say, Russia is just as rich in talented kids as America. The recent National Championships only prove that. Where do all these talents disappear?

    Do you know, what is the difference between the American kids and our kids? Our coaches try to put so many triple jumps into a program that a kid starts to miss even those things that he/she did perfectly before the competition. At that level, the Americans put into programs only those elements that are stable. That's why they skate with pleasure. They smile, skate to the music... With my school, I've decided to go that way. First of all, we demand the precision of the moves from our kids. It's okay if a skater doesn't do a triple, but he/she must do a double perfectly. From the very beginning a skater should learn how to skate clean. Not to push it too much. The difficulty will come.

    IDEAL AND REALITY

    Speaking abour difficulty. Do you think there is a possibility that somebody from the present generation skaters will manage to do all the quadruple jumps?

    A skater like Plushenko potentially can do it. But, to do all the jumps separately is one thing, and to land them all in one program is a whole different story.

    If you had to create a perfect skater, whom of the present generation skaters you would took as a model?

    Interesting question. I think, I would take Yagudin's jumps. Plushenko is also a great jumper, but he doesn't have the same sudden explosive reaction as Alexei. The spins I would take from the Canadian skater Sandhu. He has good positions and variety, his spins are very fast. As for steps and in-betweens, I like Kulik's style. Ilia was always trying to create his own manner of skating. His skating is never trivial. I saw one of his performances lately and, as a coach, I was greatly impressed. But if to take the whole performance of the program, I prefer Yagudin's style. Highly expressive - and very manly at the same time.

    I understand that it's not very tactful of me to ask the coach of the World silver medalist this question, but if we assume that an American lady will win the Olympics in Torino, whom would you name?

    Michelle Kwan.

    You think she will be given the Gold for her longevity?

    Why? She's skating very well. She's a phenomenal skater.

    What's the reason?

    First of all, as I've mentioned earlier, it's the promotion. Kwan entered the world's elite when she already was a star. If we take a closer look at her skating - there is nothing special in it. Even the spins that seem to be more of a ladies element Plushenko can do better.

    Michelle strengths are different. It's the accuracy, the purity of all the elements, the precision of musical phrases. Besides, she's now working with Rafik Arutyunian, and Russian coaches work better than American ones.

    I've already heard that from Tarasova.

    It is really so. By the way, after Tarasova had to split with Sasha Cohen, I've heard from a very reliable sourse that this action was carefully planned. It's not about Cohen's mother, and not about Sasha's character. Just that the US Federation was not happy about their elite skater training under the Russian coach.

    But what if Sasha Cohen didn't leave Tarasova?

    Then I would put my money on her in Torino.
    Last edited by tharrtell; 01-19-2004 at 07:16 PM.

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    Thartell,

    Thank you for posting it. I'll have to take some time to digest it before commenting further but it was very interesting. There are some quotes that I loved. i.e. Michelle winning Olympic gold and Alexei's style as the preferred one.

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    By the way, after Tarasova had to split with Sasha Cohen, I've heard from a very reliable sourse that this action was carefully planned. It's not about Cohen's mother, and not about Sasha's character. Just that the US Federation was not happy about their elite skater training under the Russian coach.
    I wonder if this is true. Why would they care who Sasha was being coached by? Does this mean they'll do something about Michelle's coach? With all the different theories running wild, I don't know what to believe.

    Interesting that Kudriavtsev thinks Michelle will win in 2006, and that Sasha would have won if she stuck with Tarasova. I personally agree.

    Thanks for posting!

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    A good read! He's very much into himself as a coach and an observer of the whole FS thing. I was happy to see he is happy with Klimkin, and confused about his remarks about the USFSA being the break up of TT and Sasha. If that is true, then why is it ok for MK to be with Arutyian?

    Nevertheless, a good read.

    Joe

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    TriGirl Rinkside
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    Originally posted by Joesitz
    ... confused about his remarks about the USFSA being the break up of TT and Sasha. If that is true, then why is it ok for MK to be with Arutyian?...
    I was thinking the same thing. I don't doubt politics could have played a roll in the TT/Sasha split ... not necessarily politics of the USFSA. I don't doubt anything, though.

    I thought his take on the difference between US and Russian coaches to be interesting. If Russian coaches stress difficulty before the athlete is prepared to compete a certain level of difficulty, why will Michelle improve with Arutunian and would Sasha have a gold in Torino with TT?

    I think he's right about promotion in the US - don't know what it's like in Russia - but I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. Adds pressure and expectations that can weigh on an athlete in a negative manner. The US does like the little porceline doll.

    I do like the perspective of someone who is in the thick of it all.

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    This was a very interesting read but lets face it, he is a Russian coach and is partial to Russian coaches. It is just one man's opinion.

    As for TT and Sasha --- When you saw them together TT seemed to really like Sasha. She may have really liked her or it could have been because she saw Sasha winning her another OGM. I always felt Sasha was a little cool and distant. Of course, that could also be Sasha's personality and not a sign that she was unhappy with TT. That said, either Sasha or her Mother was unhappy with TT and something tells me it was both of them or Sasha would have changed coaches after the season was over, or not at all. Didn't they have a contract? I wonder who broke it? Sasha was winning with TT as her coach but I think she will do well with Robin also. Maybe Robin will be able to keep Sasha calm for the major comps. TT wasn't able to do that.

    Ladybug
    Last edited by ladybug; 01-20-2004 at 01:58 AM.

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    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Back OT, all of the coaches that you mentioned
    here are some coaches who have a history of producing top flight skaters such as Carroll, Callaghan, Tarasova, etc.
    are known control freaks. I remember reading in the press that the Hughes just basically handed Sarah over to Robin and said "we trust you to do it right, do whatever you want". And from various articles I've read, Russian coaches are used to having complete control over thier skaters. Further in the article exerpted above, he goes on to inply that Volchkova was being ruined by her interfering skatingMom.

    Personally, I couldn't last in this type of relationship, but I think that results speak for themselves. Bowman suffered after the split with Caroll. Bobeck suffered after the split with Callaghan. Kwan suffered after the split with Caroll. Hughes suffered once she stopped listening to Wagner. Sasha suffered once she started disagreeing with TT.

    I supose that Fassi would be an example of a successful laid-back coach, althought I don't know too much about his style.

    And certainly, there are disaster stories concerning control freak coaches who didn't know what they were doing, Soldatova's cautionary tale comes to mind.

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    Agree with the above. As a general rule, two strong personalities don't often work together very well, the matchup appeared ok at first, but I don't think Sasha is the type of student to just hand over her entire life to a coach. Now that she's older, she seems to want a certain amount of input in her skating, and there was a control clash with TT perhaps...I'm glad she did go to TT though, I think even that short time with her did an enormous amount of good to her skating.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    The bottom line in all this is simply whatever works is best.

    There is no denying that the US Ladies have held the limelight for decades. If they weren't first they were silver. Not a bad record.
    with whatever coach.

    I'd like to give natural talent a credit for all skaters.

    Joe

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    Originally posted by blurrysarah
    Agree with the above. As a general rule, two strong personalities don't often work together very well, the matchup appeared ok at first, but I don't think Sasha is the type of student to just hand over her entire life to a coach. Now that she's older, she seems to want a certain amount of input in her skating, and there was a control clash with TT perhaps...I'm glad she did go to TT though, I think even that short time with her did an enormous amount of good to her skating.
    Sasha had lots of clashes with her previous coach (John Nicks) and in the end, Sasha did whatever she wanted to do under Nicks because there wasn't much he could do about it. I think it took a little longer for conflict to develop between Sasha and TT because Sasha in the beginning was in awe of her. Once they disagreed, though, it seems the relationship quickly disintegrated.

    Now there's Robin. When Robin worked with Sarah, she was given free rein by the Hugheses early on, and by the time of SLC, Robin and Sarah had a close and trusting relationship. Things went a little sour only post-SLC, when Sarah began to shift her focus to other interests.

    I wonder if there will be a control clash between Robin and Sasha or Robin and the Cohens. Robin is used to being the one in control, and she is not used to parental interference. I doubt very much that Sasha will ever be anything BUT Sasha, meaning she very definitely has her own ideas and tends to be headstrong. Should be an interesting season.

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