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Thread: Miki Ando Practice Reports

  1. #1
    Custom Title MFarone's Avatar
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    Miki Ando Practice Reports

    I posted this over on the Michelle Kwan Forum, but thought a lot of posters here might enjoy this also. I was as having kind of a down day on Tuesday 5/24 when I remembered that Miki was supposed to train with Carol Heiss Jenkins at Winterhurst. I called the facility and they told me yes, Miki was on the ice. I hurried down and got to Winterhurst at about 10:45. For about 15 minutes Miki was skating alone. Carol was on the side and 3 or 4 friends or Japanese federation people were in the stands watching Miki. Only a few seconds of her music played (I have NO idea what it is ) and Miki would set up for her first jump combo. Since it was a 3 jump combo I thought this was probably for her FS. She was practicing 3z/3l/2t. She crashed about 4 times on the first jump and then a time or two she got the lutz and fell on the loop. After about 6 tries she stood up on the 3z/heavily cheated 3l/no toe. Next time around, she got 3z/3l (looked ok)/fall on toe. I think toe loop must be a problem jump for her because Carol had her practicing 2t, 2t for a little while then moving on to a 2t/2t combo. Never saw a 3t/2t but maybe that is what is planned.

    I saw her straight line footwork a couple of times. I saw what I think are twizzles, towards the middle it slowed down and then picked up speed (think COP here). The footwork was kind of slow but this is a new program and she just started practicing so I'm not surprised - no bash intended.

    She did a couple COE spirals. I could see kind of a jerk/hitch as she changed edges. The second part of the COE seemed shallow - it was almost straight rather than curving. A funny thing happened on one spiral. She was skating backwards doing sort of a fan spiral but holding the free leg and kind of lost her balance and started to tip over. She got balance back but she was laughing as she finished as was Carol.

    She practiced upright spins. I saw lots of change of edges and different position. The transitions seemed kind of sloppy and the spins traveled a lot. I think this is one area that probably needs a lot of work.

    For COP she did a back spiral into some kind of jump which I missed. A couple of lower level skaters had come in about 11 and one blocked my view just as Miki went up for the jump. Also she did some footwork that curved around into a 3s. I'm thinking this is for harder jump entrances under COP.

    Miki seemed very nice she was smiling and laughing. Carol had one of the lower level skaters (2 jumps only) demonstrate something and Miki seemed ok with that.

    For all the CHJ fans - she is just as charming and pleasant as always. Her blonde hair was pulled back. I could hear her encouraging Miki - good jump, yest that was good - so it was really fun to watch. Carol asked her once if she was ok after Miki fell. As they finished what I think was a 3 hour (yikes) session, Carol gave Miki a hug.

    Carol must have some type of leg/foot injury. She was using a cane on the sidelines and didn't have her skates on. She was helped across the ice to the exit by one of the other coaches.

    I know there are rumors that Tim Goebel may be back with Carol, but I did not see him on Tuesday. He could be here and training at a different time or training with Glyn Watts at Iceland in Strongsville. I'll keep an eye out for him.

    I know this is terribly long, but it was so much fun that I just had to share it. I'm hoping to get back early next week so you may get another long-winded post from me!

    Maureen

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    Figure Skating Fan Hikaru's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the Miki reportr, Maureen! I wonder what music will Miki use this season? I was kind of sad when she went back to the Firebird for the Worlds, 'cause I really liked the music she was using early in the season. I've been listening to some soundtracks that just make me think "this would be good for Miki" lol!
    Last edited by Hikaru; 05-26-2005 at 03:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikaru
    Thank you so much for the Miki reportr, Maureen! I wonder what music will Miki use this season? I was kind of sad when she went back to the Firebird for the Worlds, 'cause I really liked the music she was using early in the season. I've been listening to some soundtracks that just make me think "this wood be good for Miki" lol!
    Ditto Maureen on the THANKS for the report. How cool.

    ITA Hikaru - I really liked Miki's music this season and wish she had not gone back to Firebird.

    DG

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Hey, mpal, I like your new avatar, LOL!

    I don't think that Miki is lacking in musicality, compared to the other ladies. Not everyone can be a Matt Savoi or an Evan Lysacek. But she does need work in bringing her moves in the field up to the same level as some of her other elements.MM
    Miki has timing but she lacks rythym and therefore not considered musical. I could say that about a lot of skaters but it would opening those cans of worms.

    Joe

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    Custom Title MFarone's Avatar
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    More about Miki training

    I've been trying to catch up with Miki all week . Today I was told she would be practicing at 11. I got to Winterhurst at 10:50 and she was done with her session at 11:05 . All I got to see was a few minutes of her practicing a back spiral into a 2A. Last week she did this in the one session I saw, but today she made two tries and only landed a 1A.

    The last few minutes were spent on her exhibition program. It is kind of big band jazzy (I am hopeless with music). It had a lot of attitude and pizzazz and she really carried it off very well.

    I'm going to try again next week to catch a session, but who knows if I will ever succeed.

    For the Carol Heiss Jenkins fans - she was not present today. I had been told she was on vacation and that seems to be true. Miki was working with a different Winterhurst coach today.

    Maureen

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Thanks Maureen for the Cleveland Report. I really appreciate news about skater's practice sessions without judgement. I wish others who see top skaters at practice sessions submit a report.

    Miki should be a top 5 skater this year but I can think of 10 skaters who can be in the top 5 finishers. the Ladies Division will be a hot one if all of them skate their best,

    Joe

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    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Thanks Maureen!

    Count me in as another one who really appreciate your Miki reports. I hope this change works well for her.

    DG

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the update. Wouldn't it be cool if we had reporters at all the skaters' practice sessions, so we could compare notes!

    Mathman

  9. #9
    Custom Title MFarone's Avatar
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    A little more Miki

    I've had a real blast going to Miki's practices, so I thought I would share a little more. I THINK I saw a 4s on Tuesday. It was so fast I kept thinking no it can't be, but darn it, I think it was a 4s. It wasn't in the program, just in isolated practice. Her music for the FS starts out with the haunting, plaintive melody from The Red Violin. I'm a MK fan, so I recognized that part. It goes onto something else I didn't recognize but you have a little snippet of what she is using. She starts with her arms extended in front of her, slightly bent, and graceful. She clasps her hands behind her back and does some backward gentle edge moves and goes into the layback. She has more arm movements then the Worlds FS and she seems to be moving to the music. Her leg is in an attitude position (not as good as Angela or Sasha), and drops to the crescent. Miki doesn't seem to have a lot of stretch or tension in the leg positions. I didn't see a Bielman in the run through but did see one the combo spin practice. She got the foot up, but was not spinning very fast.

    The COE spiral still has a wobble before the change and a very shallow edge after. The back position is about the same, the leg perhaps a little more amplitude and steadier than at Worlds. The back spiral position seemed more secure than a couple of weeks ago.

    Since she is known as a jumper, I'm a little surprised that she has problems with lutz and flip and toe (all pick jumps). She was working on flips today. It seems like she was putting 3z/2t where the 3z/3l had been but maybe I'm confused.

    Tuesday she did a very nice back spiral, step around into a 2x. She did a couple and had very good run out on the 2x.

    Gee, this is turning into a novel .

    Her exhibition is really cute. I have no idea what the music is but the lyrics include "accent the positive, eliminate the negative". Think big band, swing and I'm sure someone will know what it is. Miki is very playful and seems to really get into the music. I think her jump combo for the exhibition is 3f/2t.

    Anyway, Miki is headed back to Japan and won't be back to Winterhust until July 5.

    On a side note, Carol Heiss Jenkins is back (didn't see her Tuesday). She's not using a cane today and had her skates on, so what ever was wrong a few weeks ago seems to have healed. I also saw Tonia Kwiatkowski today and she was looking fine and doing some coaching. She is married and told me she has a 2 1/2 month old daughter and that life is great.

    Hope you enjoyed this report, though its way too long. I've had a ball watching and had to share.

    Maureen

  10. #10
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Thanks Maureen!

    Don't EVER EVER think your practice reports are too long!!!! I for one (and I bet I'm not alone!) will read every word you are willing to type!!

    Wow - hope that was indeed a 4S and we get to see in next season in competition! Also glad to hear that you are noting improvements in other areas as well.

    I hope Miki has a nice visit home with family and what not. Will look forward to more news in July!! Thanks a million for sharing.

    DG

  11. #11
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl
    Don't EVER EVER think your practice reports are too long!!!! I for one (and I bet I'm not alone!) will read every word you are willing to type!!
    Ditto from me. This is great!

    "You've got to ... ♫♪
    accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    ♪ ♫ Don't mess with Mister In-Between."

    Is it Bing Crosby singing that old Johnny Mercer classic?

    Mathman
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-16-2005 at 03:56 PM.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Mathman - Where did you get those musical note smilies?

    Thanks Farone. I think Miki is really working it and I think it will pay off with her jumps.

    Joe.

  13. #13
    Old school Tim fan
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    Thanks for the reports. I love them.

  14. #14
    Custom Woman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I think Carol Heiss will be more than satisfactory as a coach. She apparently loves figure skating since she's been at it for how many years.

    I think Miki has gotten very hippy (bodywise) and that may preclude that quad she was training for. Also I think Carol knows enough choreographers to get Miki to the right one.

    You have to remember a coach can give a skater so much but when it comes to the moment of truth, it is the skater who has to utilize all that training in front of the judges.

    TT is an example of the 'perfect' coach, and she may well be, but Shizuka and Andrej did not come through this past season. This is not TT's fault. The skater must rise to the occasion.
    Hey, Joe. I know this is rather late, but just got here. First of all, great points in every paragraph of this post, but I do have an additional take on them. (Surprise, surpise, lol.)

    1. ITA that Carol Heiss is a more than satisfactory coach. My only concern is that she seems rather set in her ways. I don't think Tonya Kwiatkowski was artistic at all--Rgirl dodges tomatoes. She had some decent positions and was consistent enough to make 6th at Worlds the one time she went in place of Tara Lapinski. And I always admired Tonya for going to college while she trained at the elite level, so please don't take this as a criticism of Tonya. Maybe Tonya knew she didn't have the "it" factor for skating or perhaps lacked the desire to put her whole life into trying to become a world champion or podium skater. In any case, I always found her to be a rather awkward skater. CHJ trained her from an early age to always be very well put together in terms of hair, make-up, and costume for her competitions and these things did go a long way in helping Tonya's overall appeal. The grace, musicality, stroking, edging, and speed just weren't there, and this comes from having seen her several times in person. My point is that CHJ did the best she could with Tonya and IMO Tonya did the best she could considering her physical limitations, but too often that magic factor of natural talent isn't there even if you have the right coach with whom you have great chemistry.

    2. I agree that Miki's puberty has left her with unfortunately wide hips, which are going to make 3/3s and especially the quad very tough, if even possible with the quad. I'd like to believe the CHJ will get Miki the right choreography because I like Miki and think she has it in her to express herself choreographically if she can just get the right one. But I have not see evidence from CHJ in the skaters she coached in the past that does know how to get them the right choreographer(s). What I've seen CHJ trying to make her female skaters into little CHJ clones whether that style works for them or not. OTOH, maybe as Carol gets older, she'll be willing to let the choeographer have more say on not only the look but also the interpretation of the movement so the skater can make it her own. I think Miki is badly in need of finding and refining her own style, which I think would be a knock-out.

    3. "You have to remember a coach can give a skater so much but when it comes to the moment of truth, it is the skater who has to utilize all that training in front of the judges." Although I couldn't agree more, the other side of the coin is when all the coach's training and influence does not suit the skater. I think this happened with CHJ and Timothy Goebel. Carol announced at the end of a competition that next season Tim would be doing a quintuplet toe. From everything Tim did while he was with CHJ, it seemed clear that she became obsessed with training Tim to do quad/combos and a quint. The rest of his skating really suffered and it wasn't until Tim went to Frank Carroll that he made progress. The problems Tim has had in the last two years with boot problems and injuries have been ones that the best trainers, physical therapists, sports medicine physicins, etc. have not been able to figure out, which is what I call the "negative x factor" in athletes. That is, you never know if a congenital problem is going to rear its ugly head once an athlete reaches a certain level of training; if a small injury from years earlier is going to start to cause chronic problems once the athlete reaches a higher level; and if all kinds of unforseeable problems might crop up. My point is, while Goebel was with CHJ, he did everything Carol trained him to do, but that was nothing but jumping machine.

    5. "TT is an example of the 'perfect' coach, and she may well be, but Shizuka and Andrej did not come through this past season. This is not TT's fault. The skater must rise to the occasion." I realize you qualify your statement that Tarasova "is an example of the 'perfect' coach with "she may well be." But I can't agree that Shizuka and Andrej's dissapointing seasons were not TT's fault. Although I agree that the skater "must rise to the occasion," I also feel it is the coach's responsibility not to set that "occasion" too high. During Ilia Kulik's second season and going into the Olympics, he struggled with a serious back injury. True, he rose to the occasion at the Olympics, but it was only in about the last six weeks before the Olympics that the combination of physical therapy, rest, appropriate off-ice training (designed by Kulik's trainer and Kulik) that his back gradually got well enough that was able to skate a mistake-free program, including the first quad in the Olympics, for him to win the OGM--and he was still in pain from the back problem. Was it a problem with Tarasova's training? We don't know. I'm sure Kulik has his opinions, but I'm sure he'll be keeping them to himself. Also, injuries just happen. However, one thing that is a buzz around Tarasova's training is that she tends to spend a short period of time overtraining her new skaters and then because of having to spend time with other skaters, health problems, or traveling to Russia, even her top skaters are left with one of TAT's assistants, who may not have the same interpretation of what the skter should be doing sas Tarasova. My point is, as I've said before, it may not be as simple as "So-and-So's a great coach so it's up to the skater to rise to that coach's level of training. Even a great coach may be the wrong fit for a grait skater.


    Anyway, for the most part I agree with you, Joe, and think this and your other posts raise great points. I just feel there's another side to these issues and, for better or worse, wanted to put them out there for discussion. After all, IMO it's not just the skaters who need to take a good, long look at themselves, but as skating changes, so do the coaches.

    Okay folks! Get out the tomatoes!

    Rgirl

  15. #15
    Go NJ Devils
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    Great to read you again, RGirl!

    FYI: David Wilson is Ando's choreographer for next season. I assume the Japanese Federation set that up, not CHJ. Ando is one of the few non-Canadian skaters for whom he'll choreograph; most of his skaters are ones with whom he's worked from a relatively early age and has brought them along choreographically over the course of their careers. It will be interesting to see what this year's "It" choreographer will do with Ando.

    I thought Ando's guitar concerto LP from last year was a big step in the right direction. The only change I thought it needed -- and eventually got -- was a simpler entrance into the first spiral, which Ando bobbled during her first competitions. It was a big disappointment for me when she regressed back to Firebird for Worlds. Were she to repeat and reject a Wilson program just before major competition, he might not be so willing next time to make an exception.

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