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Thread: Quads. Why or why not?

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    Tripping on the Podium gonewiththewind25's Avatar
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    Quads. Why or why not?

    I often read that people believe that Trusova and Scherbakova's quads aren't going to last and are detrimental to their health and I can't help but wonder why. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Quads at this age and why do people think they won't last and are unhealthy.

    Also, please don't turn this into a coach bashing or a skater bashing thread, because this thread is only meant to understand the positives and the negatives of doing Quads at that age.

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    Yes , Because it’s an Olympic sport!

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    On the Ice MissBeeFarm's Avatar
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    I absolutely don't know enough about technical questions to answer every aspect of your question, I'll leave that to those more knowledgable. However, the main argument I come across when people talk about those quads lasting or not is the question of puberty. It is argued that Sasha's and Anna's quads rely so heavily on speed of rotation that they won't be able to keep that speed of rotation once their bodies change due to puberty.

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    Between Yuzu sustaining a severe ankle sprain last season falling on a 4Lz last season, respraining that ankle falling on a 4Lo this season, and now Shoma apparently having sustained a severe ankle sprain as well, I think Nathan, Yuzu, and Shoma should seriously consider making a pact to water down their programs so that their bodies can survive this quadrennial. I'm only half joking. I mean, apparently Yuzu barely has ankle ligaments left.

    Oh, wait, this is about ladies?

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    “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good” Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissBeeFarm View Post
    I absolutely don't know enough about technical questions to answer every aspect of your question, I'll leave that to those more knowledgable. However, the main argument I come across when people talk about those quads lasting or not is the question of puberty. It is argued that Sasha's and Anna's quads rely so heavily on speed of rotation that they won't be able to keep that speed of rotation once their bodies change due to puberty.
    Sasha gets huge height and does not rely heavily on rotation.

    diDr2j4yr1o.jpg

    She jumps using her legs to create a massive spring.

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    On the Ice MissBeeFarm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    Sasha gets huge height and does not rely heavily on rotation.

    I know, and I adore Sasha. I'm just repeating arguments frequently found when the quads are talked about.

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    Medalist DSQ's Avatar
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    I think it depends. I think that if the proper technique is taught and care to not over train is taken then I totally want to see more quads! For men and ladies.

    People say Shebakova and Trusova won’t keep their quads because for ladies when you go through puberty you’re centre of gravity changes. This causes you to find the timing for you jumps much more difficult. It’s a problem for triples as well.

    The extra issue with quads is the force on your body is quite a lot so we don’t yet know what the health cost will be letting young girls and boys train these jumps on their softer less developed bones.

    We do know that if young children do to much weight training it damages your muscles.

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    FigureSkatingPhenom draqq's Avatar
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    We will have to see whether Trusova and Sherbakova will lose their quads when puberty hits. At the very least, it will be a very difficult transition, given that puberty adds more mass along with height, affecting the center of gravity and general body shape.

    According to an article on livestrong.com: "As a girl develops [during puberty], her body will make more fat to allow for fuller thighs, stomach and breasts, and wider hips. Lean body mass in girls diminishes from approximately 80 percent to 75 percent by the end of puberty, while the amount of body fat increases, according to the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine." Being a world-class athlete and sticking with a particular diet does mitigate this a bit, but puberty still has an impact.

    Jump technique that relies more on the upper body (the pull of the arms and the back pushing up) tends to become more laborious during this transition, which is partly why Medvedeva and Zagitova are having more trouble with both the consistency and run-out of their jumps. And it's not just the jumps of course, but the edgework and spins that becomes difficult too.

    To be clearer, it's not necessarily that one technique is better or worse in general, but that it can be better or worse depending on the body shape and other factors. And having to relearn and rework jump technique when it's been ingrained into you before puberty is tough as the body's weight distribution changes. But it's possible to learn a technique that works with a woman's changing body; it just takes a lot of dedication and time and a willingness to accept a loss in consistency during the process.

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    All draqq has said.

    I will add why jumping 4 turns jumps is more risky. A skater needs more speed and more power to get into a quad : more repeating of the quads will bring more wear to the ligaments/joints. The probability to fall on a quad is greater than from a triple, hence the risk to injure increase. Also, if the technique of the jump is not good and the skater is prone to underrotate the jump, the chance that at the impact with the ice, the foot is not in the right position is also bigger and the potential to damage ankle/knee/hips increases as well. Naturally, a skater can get injured even in a double jump or a spin, there is no guarantee for injure-free skating, but increasing the difficulty will increase the potential as well.

    Also one has to think that during the changes of the puberty for women but as well for men (which is not so much talked about), a body might be very weakened, the bones might be more brittle because of a sudden increase, the spine might be damaged more easily. Hence we hear a lot about chronic back pains in young teenager skaters and some damages are career-ending (Adian, anyone?).

    So a coach should adapt the training to the body changes of the skaters to avoid wear and injuries as much as it gets. That if the coach wants a long-lasting career for their skater. If the approach is more "beat the iron while is hot", one can obtain very good results for a short period and after that retire. It is about strategy a lot. Some coaches prefer to wait and develop their skaters more slowly, other one prefer to have results as long as the skater can still deliver them. Second strategy works if a coach has many good students to choose from and replace the injured one/those who cannot keep with the working load, coaches with few skaters has to put more accent in developing.

    Once again i would like to bring the attention what the puberty (or better said the transition from a youth body to an adult one) is also very demanding for men. A look at the list of juniors from EU and world competition shows how many has not survived as elite skaters these changes, how many were set back from injuries sustained at this age (some never recovering their form). It is not always about work, but also how each body will get through these changes, which is not always dependent on the genes but also on the eating habits, stress and nonetheless on the training-load.

    Some of the fans of the skating world prefer to watch great and spectacular skating with daring elements, some of the fan (me included) prefer to watch a more balanced skating, better suited for a long career skate but refined and polished. There is no golden rule what one should prefer.

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    If a skater can learn, train and execute quads safely then why not go for them? Skaters only have one career and way back when I'm sure this same discussion would have been around the dangers of ladies doing triples. Times change and these skaters might not have a decade long career a la Kwan or Kostner but at least they will help push the sport forwards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by draqq View Post
    Jump technique that relies more on the upper body (the pull of the arms and the back pushing up) tends to become more laborious during this transition, which is partly why Medvedeva and Zagitova are having more trouble with both the consistency and run-out of their jumps.
    I think this is exactly right, and for a good example of a different technique - look at Liza Tuktamysheva’s axel and lutz. She generates most of her lift and rotation with her lower body - you can see this most easily in her axel takeoff, with a tight, strong free leg swing and strong hip snap that gets her around really quickly. Her jump technique is reminiscent of Midori Ito and Tonya Harding, who both had similarly athletic builds to Liza (in contrast to Medvedeva, Zagitova, Trusova and Scherbakova, who all have slimmer builds), and also both were able to learn the 3A.

    Again, as draqq says, one technique is not more correct than the other - but it stands to reason that if you learn to jump in a way that suits your body, and your body changes, it will cause a loss of consistency and require you to rework your technique. As a counter example to Medvedeva and Zagitova, imagine if Liza were to badly injure her leg and (God forbid!) had to stop training for a year. She would likely lose some of the strength and muscle mass she’s built up in her lower body, which is what she relies on for her 3A and 3Lz, and she would very likely start struggling with those jumps until she had retrained to the level she was at before.

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    This is a sport.
    YEs, those girls may lose their quads after puberty... Or maybe they will not.
    With more girls training 3A and quads, coaches will at some point figure it out.

    After men started jumping quads, it took quite a while to come to this day, when they can jump 3-4 quads in a program, and 95% of top senior men have at least one quad. Same will happen to ladies, I am sure. Maybe not that many, but there will be more and more girls jumping quads, and some of them will keep those jumps past puberty.

    And this amazing, because sport.

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    I don't think there's really enough evidence to say for certain that quads are significantly more risky to a skater's body than triples. I think that's mostly just people guessing and making assumptions.

    Elite athletes have high injury risks. That's a fact of life for basically all elite athletes. I don't know if we can say if it's "worth it" or not, that clearly depends on the individual and their quality of life after skating. It's also an issue for modern medicine - we know knee and hip replacements have come a very long way and are much better than they were in the past. Stem cells are now being used to regrow some tissues... this should definitely be part of the decision-making process about risk of injury.

    Also, as far as injuries go, the criticism seems to mostly be about athlete's having pain in knees, hips, ankles when they're older and done with competitive skating, that is, the risks talked about for quads is really rarely about concussion or brain damage. For me, that's a big deal. If quads are less risky for head injury than a lot of the pairs moves then I say 'what's the big deal? Let's keep the quads because they're amazing!' But if the risk of head injury is high and people just don't talk about it (because they barely talk about concussions at all for any kind of skating) then I say 'Let's reconsider quads and step back and evaluate all these moves based on risk of significant head injury.'

    It's obviously true that puberty plays a role and that doing quads (or any jumps and spinning) may be more difficult after puberty for women because of the extra body mass from hips and breasts without the extra muscle that men tend to acquire from puberty. But that doesn't mean that learning quads before puberty means it's more difficult to learn after. I think it's more likely that learning quads before puberty increases the chances of keeping them after puberty because a lot of it is mental. And also because anyone who can do a quad is going to get more helpful attention in the form of sponsorship and elite training, the younger ones probably get more opportunities.

    I think a lot of the criticism is really just that so few people are capable of quads and so a lot of skaters and coaches feel like there's less opportunity for anyone who can't do quads.

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    Tripping on the Podium vesperalvioletta's Avatar
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    This is just my opinion, and I want to preface it by saying that I don't believe that women shouldn't be doing quads. I think that it's exciting to see the sport moving in a direction that I'd hazard to say that most didn't seriously consider that it could move in, but that being said, I'm really not excited about young skaters doing quads.

    Its hard to argue against it when I see beautifully landed jumps like Anna Shcherbakova's 4Lz at Russian Nationals, but it almost doesn't feel real to me. I rarely agree with what TSL has to say, but a couple weeks ago they were talking about how they similarly feel a lack of excitement watching these young Russian girls jump quads because it feels like a gimmick, and I kind of see where they're coming from. Trusova and Shcherbakova remind me a little bit of Lada Sartakova, who was somewhat of a viral phenom in the ballet community several years ago, doing 32 fouettes en pointe at age 9. It was amazing, albeit concerning, but then she started at the Vaganova Academy and within a few years her peers who had taken a more traditional path technically surpassed her. Only time will tell whether the two quad girls will keep their jumps - I don't see it as something worth getting too excited about yet.

    I have a bigger problem with skaters like Young You and some of Plushenko's students (not Tarakanova) attempting quads when their triples still aren't consistently there.

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    GS Supporter el henry's Avatar
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    Sport, sport, sport, sport....



    I have walked this earth long enough to know about sports. #FlyEaglesFly I’m not sure how that answers a question about the effect of training particular jumps on (hopefully) growing adolescents.

    For me personally Jump da jump jump jump programs bore me to tears and I don’t watch them. I don’t consider it progress in the sport of figure skating. So, that’s not a justification for training complicated and dangerous jumps at a young age. I would love to see more data, more studies, more opinions from trained medical professionals with no connection to skating or no interest in a particular result.

    *That* would be progress.
    Last edited by el henry; 12-26-2018 at 12:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gonewiththewind25 View Post
    I often read that people believe that Trusova and Scherbakova's quads aren't going to last and are detrimental to their health and I can't help but wonder why. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Quads at this age and why do people think they won't last and are unhealthy.

    Also, please don't turn this into a coach bashing or a skater bashing thread, because this thread is only meant to understand the positives and the negatives of doing Quads at that age.
    It's not that quads in itself are detrimental specifically to ladies (they are hard on any person, regardless of gender), I think the "controversy" regarding Trusova's and Scherbakova's quads comes from the bad technique in which these are being learned. Yes they do quads and that's amazing, some are under, some are actually clean (particularly Trusova's, hers have amazing height) but because of this faulty technique the most likely thing to happen in the future is that they will lose them to puberty. Which is a shame, since I feel that Trusova has the potential to land those quads more consistently -and to keep them through puberty- with a better technique (she has a lot of power and speed, it's insane). I really, really hope she changes coaches before it's too late, I really want to see a senior female skater slay those quads.

    So, in short, Quads? YES! (with good technique)

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    On the Ice Mathman's Avatar
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    I think that figure skating could borrow from the large research literature from young people's sport training in general.

    For instance, there is a decades old debate about whether Little League baseball players should be allowed to throw the curve ball. The torque on their elbows is too much for developing muscles and ligaments and can lead to permanent and irreversible damage, for children under 13.

    But the eventual solution was not to disallow the technique, but rather to impose limits on pitch counts and innings pitched, plus to require sufficiently many days' rest between starts. In other words, the culprit is not the physical strain itself but rather excessive repetitions with too little time to recover between intensive sessions.

    I could see something like that happening in terms of training quads. It would be difficult to enforce, but the ISU could devise a protocol for coaches regarding excessive repetitions of quads in practice, to be followed by quieter days where the skater works on other aspects of her skating. (Maybe coaches already do this?).

    The loop jump seems to pose the greatest risk of long-term degeneration of the hip joints. That is probably the reason why even the men shy away from training a quad loop.

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    For me it is not a question whether the girls will keep their quads after puberty or not. It depends on their individuality.

    Another argument could whether the jumping of quads could bring serious risk regarding their health. But they can easily get injured even by other jumps, especially if they have some technically problems...

    The question that I would like to ask is what I want to see (on podium) at the competitions in few years. What for me does the figure skating mean? Jumping content like Sasha? Musicality like Alena? Perfect technic like Liza? Of course every girl will be unique, but it also depends on the rules what direction they will develop like with the backloading last year.

    My preference is to see clean performances, consistency and I will enjoy more a 2A from Kostornaya then some underrotated quad.


    Everyone says, these juniors are phenomenal, let's wait a year-two how long can they keep the quads... For me it will be enough if they will be healthy, happy about their achievments and still have a strong passion for skating regardless of their jumping content. And all the rules should be made to secure this first.

    I really like that Alena with her cleaness and concistency could be a real threat for Sasha an Anna and that Liza has shown that with the right technique you can be on a podium even above the age of 20.


    If all the girls like Tarakanova, Tarusina, Kanysheva start to train and really perform their quads like their high priority I am afraid that in a year, we will be watching competitions with falls, bad skating, where a lucky one, who will be able to land her quads, will win.

    But maybe this scenario is not going to happen. This season, Sasha, with the best quads still hasnt won a gold on a major competition this season. What is kind of interesting development.

  19. #19
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    There was only one major for Sasha: the JGPF and she won silver.
    RusNats won another quad girl - Anna. It was a pure politics to disgrace Sasha with absurdly low PCS, TR especially, just to show her her place.
    The Board alone is not enough to stop her from attempting more and more quads.
    She dreams to close the line but admits the necessity of 3A before everything else.

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    The major problem I have with Trusova and Shcherbakova quads is the fact that I’m almost sure at 100% they are not going to last. I don’t have any problem with quads, actually I want ladies to do them more and more. I find it puzzling that the ladies category is so late compared to the men’s category. I want to see more technical advancements, because I don’t understand why people are still in awe in front of a lady doing triple axels, more than 20 years after Midori Ito. I want to see more quads, I want to see more triple axels for these ladies, because I think that if it’s done right, these strong ladies can do it.

    However, I’m not too fond of Shcherbakova and Trusova quads. When people praise them, I’m like “Yeah, it’s good, but whatever”.
    That’s mainly because I don’t see (with their current technique) how they are going to keep their quads. Both Anna and Alexandra have an “Eteri’s technique”. It means that their jumps are heavily dependent on their body’s condition, their rotation speed and their upper bodies. To sum up, their technique is not right at all and is not made to last.

    Trusova and Shcherbakova heavily rely on the fact they are light and petite. Their actual body’s structure allows them to complete their rotations because they are fast in the air. People often bring the height of Trusova’s jumps to support their claim of “she is going to keep them”. Those people forget that jumping high is also related to your body’s structure. The more petite you are, the lighter you are, the highest you can jump. Of course, it doesn’t mean she will lose all her height. Actually, she is quite powerful in her legs, so I don’t think (at least, I hope it’s not going to happen) her jumps are going to shrink drastically. However, I don’t expect her to keep a height like that either.

    Shcherbakova’s quad lutz is beautiful to look at. However, I think she has even less chances to keep her quads than Trusova. If her quad lutz was delayed, I would be like “Okay, maybe”. But, actually, her quadruple lutz is not delayed but prerotated. Her quad lutz is prerotated while she has a child-like body. Imagine what It will be like in the future. I don’t want to see the results in a few years, when puberty will come.

    Because, people seem to forget it, but puberty is not just gaining some pounds. When you experience puberty, of course you are going to gain weight, but you will also have another center of gravity, because you will not look like a stick anymore. You will have butt, breast, hips…Lots of things are going to change. And I honestly don’t see how these girls are going to keep their quads with their actual technique. I know people are quite reluctant to admit it, but just look at how Medvedeva and Zagitova’s skating has deteriorated over the years, the older they got. It’s because this technique (based on upper-bodies, lightness, rotation speed) is for children. Are they going to be children all their life ? Of course not.

    Furthermore, I don’t think they are going to keep their quads, because of their training methods. We all know that Eteri has a method, which basically consists of doing the same thing again and again (jumps, run throughs). This method is good for juniors, and children. Morever, it allows those sportmen and sportwomen to be quite consistent and that’s a good plus in competition, of course.

    However, we have to keep in mind that when a skater lands a quad, the impact force is roughly eight to ten times his/her body weight. When you do quads over and over, you are receiving hundreds of times your body weight. Let’s just say that I don’t think receiving huge loads like this is particularly good for your skeleton, and I think it’s even less good when you actually have a technique which is based on rotation speed, and your upper body.

    But of course, I know we are supposed to be in awe in front of these girls, and say to everyone out there that they are the future of figure’s skating, and blah blah blah. Sorry, but with their technique, I don’t see that happening, unfortunately. I don’t see them keeping their quads, even if I want them to. If they change their technique overtime, then, why not? Maybe. But with the current way of things ? No way.

    But, what do I know.

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