I remember Michelle saying that Raphael had taught her the importance of blade placement, but then she immediately added that, even so, she had no plans to change her technique.
Michelle did change her technique. She said she wouldn't completely change it, but there were definitely changes. Just look at her jumps from 2004 worlds. The ones she landed cleanly were spectacular and had more lift and speed on the exit. (albeit some people say she flutzes or lips but I'm talking about air position and landings) I also noted a way more curved entrance and exit on her double axel, and more curved entrances and exits on her double jumps on the back end of combinations. Her technique was different at 2005 worlds in that her lutz's were more on the outside edge, she rotated faster, and from the appearance of her landings, there was an obvious intention to make sure everything was fully rotated. At both 04 and 05 worlds, she skated much much faster than in any other year previously and in any competition earlier the season. Raphael knew what he was doing, and they had a plan. He was making her peak at the correct time. She ended up making a couple of mistakes both times out (not counting the 2004 4th place in the short program that was ridiculous), so they couldn't completely capitalize on the huge improvements on speed and technique, but the training was there. I imagine between Nationals and Worlds in 04 and 05 is when he would "chase her down the rink during her programs."
Raphael could be a fantastic coach for Ashley. His expertise in jump technique could help her get a consistent triple/triple and better technique on the jumps she has trouble with. I hope we'll see an improvement on her landings as well with them held longer and more securely. He's a big stickler for speed and flow in a program, so I hope she'll skate faster and have more effortless transitions between elements. Maybe he'll help out with removing some of the superfluous small steps and movements that both Black Swan and Samson and Delilah had that slowed her down when she should have been speeding up. (I blame the choreographers for that.) Everyone is saying there is no way Ashley will do the 2a/3t, but Raphael may be the one to fix her axel as well. Maybe I'm just desperately hoping he'll fix the things that I wish would be fixed in her skating, but I hope he chases her down the rink nonetheless.
All this speculation is just that. It would be much better for Ashley if RA does relocate down from Lake Arrowhead even if only for this season. I am not a particular fan of RA's coaching technique despite what some others seem to think. The proof will be in the pudding so to speak. We will just have to wait and see. She will need a triple/triple somewhere and more speed to make the podium.
I checked the Toyota Center site. It has a section "Look whose joining out staff". Frank Carroll was listed, but no Raphael.
I would think Raphael would have to give some consideration to Chen's and Rippon's wishes before moving.
Some days I wake up and feel like the Travelocity gnome...on my way to Toronto to work with the talented @shaelynnbourne!
5:34 AM - 30 Jun 13
This situation is not ideal for her (technically speaking). But she seems to be the resilient type. I'm sure she'll make the best of it.
Plus, I'm sure she thought this one out well beforehand. Previous articles indicated just that. Whether it's a good decision or not, only time will tell.
In all seriousness, though, it's a wise choice. She already lost valuable training time for her role in ATS, and according to her tweets, she's just now getting the choreo for her SP. Add that to a new technical coach who's supposed to get her a consistent 3-3 in a little more than three months, and I understand why she's deciding to buckle down rather than travelling halfway across the world to skate in yet another show. Ashley isn't like Gracie, who needs practice performing without the pressure of competition; Ashley can fix her biggest demons (speed and jumps) right at home.
She has mentioned regrets about biting off more than she could chew in the past, so this is not surprising.
I think she'll be fine. As long as she stays healthy, anyway. Again, look at her competitive history...she has always peaked sooner rather than later in the season.