Stress Fractures in Figure Skating | Page 4 | Golden Skate

Stress Fractures in Figure Skating


Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Aug 12, 2014
And not only training on and off the ice. I believe that whole approach is not complex and skater's life and career are not planned and controlled in a fully functional way.

While physical and mental demands had grown enormously - things which should COUNTERBALANCE both physical and mental demands stagnate.

This must lead to imbalance in injury's favour.

I keep going back to Gordeeva and Grinkov. In her book "My Sergei," Katia included details of their training in the USSR, which included that her bedtime was early, but even before bedtime she was supposed to be resting ... and she complied, being an excellent student as well as skater.... still, this may be the time when Sergei was off partying with his age-mates and friends!

Another detail I recall is that they didn't ice skate during the summers. They went to sports camp, where they did other sports like swimming and I don't know what all. No skating ... but there were pix of them doing off-ice lifts. This dovetails with @sisinka's information that a complete break, for months, from the competitive sport is recommended.

It's like Jane Fonda said when people asked her why she quit doing her exercise routine every day: Rest is a principle of the human body.

thank you :thank:for this thread, @sisinka. I especially appreciate the whole post about sleep and its importance in recovery and rebuilding ... including the brain and concentration.


Record Breaker
Mar 7, 2015
Taking time off is key for longevity. It not only heals the small injuries but also rests the muscles which are then stronger to absorb the workload. Also, and probably just as important, it rests the brain and the soul. Doing other things really makes training more fun when it's time for training. And often, with proper rest, the next session of training is more productive, the body and mind are sharper which leads to better result.


Nov 25, 2006
Perhaps questionnaires might go through coaching schools, too? You could get data without skaters' names attached. After all, it cannot be to a coaching school's advantage to have injured skaters. They may however not be entirely forthcoming about what their regimens were. There might need to be an arrangement where the researcher would be unable to know which school provided which data?

This might not be workable...

This could be one of ways how to find out informations.
No skating school asked me to cooperate.

The info is from this interview:

The line "Everything was sort of healed - Вроде все залечил" isn't quite clear to me. You'd have to ask a Russian native speaker for the proper translation in this context.

That Russian sentence - "It looked like I cured." (I am not Russian native speaker as well, but I think I know what he meant.)

It creates the idea that doctors adviced him 6 weeks of rest and he came back on the ice without MRI which would control healing process. So after few days of jumping and being in pain they came to doctor to do MRI and it revealed stress fracture is not healed yet.

I don't know if the decision of not doing MRI before the comeback on the ice was skater's or doctor's decision. But already in February 2019 it was re-fracture, so I would expect more careful approach.


Record Breaker
Dec 7, 2022
This could be one of ways how to find out informations.
No skating school asked me to cooperate.

That Russian sentence - "It looked like I cured." (I am not Russian native speaker as well, but I think I know what he meant.)

It creates the idea that doctors adviced him 6 weeks of rest and he came back on the ice without MRI which would control healing process. So after few days of jumping and being in pain they came to doctor to do MRI and it revealed stress fracture is not healed yet.

I don't know if the decision of not doing MRI before the comeback on the ice was skater's or doctor's decision. But already in February 2019 it was re-fracture, so I would expect more careful approach.

I think it's common in Russia to not take another MRI or anything before the comeback. At least Trusova recently also said they didn't even bother to look at the current state of her injury. Of course she doesn't do competitions but she just jumps - although she's still in pain. But she just thinks that's probably how it's going to be all her life, at least that's how I understood it.
And if I remember correctly there was an interview with Samodelkina a few years ago where she said something similar; they didn't bother to check before she started to jump again.


Nov 25, 2006
Reading articles about skaters describing time before, during and after stress fracture was interesting.

There was no standardized questionnaire, so skaters were describing things based on their character and opinions. From one side it was an advantage, because it helped to see skater's "world" and it helped to understand their acts a little bit more. What was a disadvantage was the fact that not all things I was interested in were answered.

What was partially surprising for me...despite missing standardized questionnaire...some moments in the articles were repeating.

Many times I found at least one thing sending "red flags" warning BEFORE stress fracture happened.

Maybe those "red flags" things were not mentioned...maybe they were not put into a context of present situation...or they were undervalued...or ignored.

I will try to sum things up and create some main points - "red flags" things but also things which should be controlled and if not ideal, should be corrected into effective mode.

Once again I want to repeat that none of my post is written to offend anyone.
To point out and explain where the possible mistake is, examples need to be presented.

I will appreciate your opinions, if you find out that any skater WITH or WITHOUT stress fracture mentioned anything similar to my notes in an interview, I will be glad if you post it here (like @skylark did). Only point out that it is a skater WITH or WITHOUT PUBLIC stress fracture history.


Nov 25, 2006
I found additional informations about 2 ladies with stress fractures: Lina Johansson had first stress fracture at 16 (in 2004), in 2008 it was another one. Loena Hendrickx had multiple back fractures.

And list of ladies with stress fractures got extended - I included Tamara Katz, Karen Magnussen and Kimmie Repond.

- Lina Johansson - ...I got my first stress fracture at 16. It lasted one year, got all the jumps back, was in good shape, broke my other foot. I was gone for another 6 months but skated at Euros... ( )

- Loena Hendrickx - ...Several fractures in my spine, my foot and my ankle kept me off the ice lots of times which made it difficult for me to be at my best. ( )

- Tamara Katz - ...She sustained a stress fracture to her right foot and a broken hand in December 2008 (Wikipedia)

- Karen Magnussen - ...In 1969, ...she was diagnosed with stress fractures in both legs in February 1969, spent three months in a wheelchair, and returned to the ice in mid-May. She was 1973 world champion, 1972 Olympic silver medallist. (Wikipedia)

- Kimmie Repond - ...the 2022 CS Ice Challenge held in Graz, Austria in November. Doctors discovered a partial fracture in her foot days before the competition but she still decided to skate to qualify for the European Championships. ...After the competition, she took a 3-week break to let her foot heal. (Wikipedia)

Kimmie Repond's stress fracture is changing percentage of World Top 7 ladies with known stress fractures.
From 58 ladies - 28 ladies with known stress fracture from Internet sources = 48.28%.

Chart with highlighted ladies with publicly known stress fracture in World Top 7. (both document and jpg picture)

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Nov 25, 2006

1) I will call it REGIME
- DAY OFF and VACATIONS will come with other examples, I am

Simply all things which help figure skater to GET AND KEEP THE BODY and MIND in TOP FORM, help from state of tiredness and help reactivate whole skater's potential.

- both ON and OFF THE ICE
- number of repetitions in different elements, with main concern about jumps where I do expect the biggest loads

- DOCTORS - for diagnosis and controls of healing process
- PHYSIOTHERAPY (in meaning of relieving pain or muscle hypertonia, increasing metabolism and blood perfusion)
- REHABILITATION - corrections of posture and movement's stereotypes, deep stabilizing muscle's activation, control of well centered joint's position


- growing period

- certain diseases, flat feet, bone's cysts, osteoporosis, ...



Step by step let's go into details of some of those things.


Nov 25, 2006


Already mentioned in this post .

Skaters who opened up about their suffer with Eating Disorders - Gracie Gold, Gabrielle Daleman, Kanako Murakami, Adam Rippon.

Laura Lepisto mentioned amenorrhea during her skating career in her book, so we can expect eating troubles with poor nutrition as well.

Evgenia Medvedeva mentioned poor nutrition those times as well in some interviews.

Alexandra Trusova, Elizabet Tursynbaeva, Serafima Sakhanovich, Alena Kostornaya, Sofia Akatyeva, Maya Khromych, Alexey Erokhov - coming from training group where more skaters had very poor eating habits.

In general Eating Disorders are increasing possibility of injuries.

Another group can be skaters with right quantity of food, right amount of calories, but not sufficient quality of food. This may also lead to bigger probability of injuries.

I am not specialist about Nutrition, so I can only recommend to cooperate with nutrition specialist or dietitian.

I would like to mention article from Ryan Dunk in 2022 about nutrition supplements... weight-loss and muscle-building supplements are so under-regulated that they often go to market containing toxic ingredients, including undeclared and banned pharmaceuticals. ( )

- all skaters mentioned above
- Daisuke Takahashi
- "...I practiced so hard and the rapid diet to lose weight also worked badly. The lack of nourishment affected human body." ( )
- Yuma Kagiyama - ...During his break from skating, he began to work with a nutritionist to improve sleeping and eating habits to reduce future injury. ( )
- Adam Rippon - ...After over-exercising and heavily limiting his caloric intake for about two years, Rippon received a lot of praise for his appearance and performed at a quality he was happy with. This encouraged his unhealthy lifestyle. He began to associate a feeling of being hungry with working hard. That was until his body became so fragile that doing a simple off-ice jump led his foot to fracture.
( )

How can be nutrition associated with sleeping - I will mention in another post.


Nov 25, 2006


Some studies were already mentioned in this post

Other studies also support the importance of sleeping...
- from 2023 - 38 articles reviewed
- "Sleep plays a critically important role in the training, recovery, performance, and overall wellness of professional athletes.
- Professional athletes are vulnerable to a variety of sleep-related problems..."

- from 2015
- "...however, it appears a reduction in sleep quality and quantity could result in an autonomic nervous system imbalance, simulating symptoms of the overtraining syndrome.
- ...increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines following sleep loss could promote immune system dysfunction."

- from 2018
- "New evidence suggests that both sleep timing and duration may be important for optimal bone health as well."

Everything what influences athletes performance like slower muscle's action, worse strengthening - will lead to underrotation and / or fall in case of jumps. Worse muscle's action means smaller protection for joints.
Mental preparation and concentration is important in every single skating element especially in jump elements.

- "In addition to improving their sleep hygiene by restricting caffeine and alcohol intake, reducing screen time at night, and sleeping in a cold, dark room, nutrition might be able to help.
- Several kinds of fruit also show promise for promoting sleep - kiwi....cherries..."

- Yuma Kagiyama - ...he began to work with a nutritionist to improve sleeping and eating habits to reduce future injury... ( )
- Rachel Flatt - “It was difficult at times but it was definitely worth the sacrifice of sleep,” she said. (about Olympic season 2009-10) (stress fracture happened in March 2011) ( )

OTHER SKATERS (WITHOUT known stress fracture):
- Sofia Samodelkina - ...we finish about 8 pm. At nine o’clock I come home, go for a walk with the dogs, and at 10 o’clock I should go to bed, otherwise I simply will not get enough sleep and I will not have enough strength....
- And what time do the trainings start?
Sofia Samodelkina: At 9:30 we have a warm-up. I get up at 7:30 or 7:00. ( )

- The Hughes consulted a sleep specialist, who has been on tv recently, and told them Sarah should forego her early morning sessions . IMO many skaters are not training smart and are making things much more difficult for themselves than is necessary. ( )


Nov 25, 2006


Few informations from science articles in this post .

In a book SECRETS OF RUSSIAN SKATERS: Off Ice Training Exercises by Tamara Moskvina whole chapter is written about off-ice summer training. It is mentioned that training far from usual situations on the ice rinks is useful. There is also mentioned an example of week's off-ice program. Yes, it does include day off.

- Michael Weiss has history of 2 publicly known stress fractures - ankle stress fracture in fall 1999 and toe of left foot stress fracture in 2000.
Here is his change in approach after those injuries: "...Weiss made changes in his training this year, stifling his tendency to go hard all of the time. He takes a day off every now and then to rest his body." ( )

- Evan Lysacek - "It can't be easy for a single 24-year-old in Los Angeles to live like a monk, but Lysacek's diligence and concentration border on the uncanny. "I want to know that I haven't left anything on the table," he says. "That there wasn't one night when I should have been doing cardio from eight to 10, but instead I was out with friends. So I live this lifestyle seven days a week, 24 hours a day." (2009) ( )

- Evan had at least 3 stress fracture known publicly: in March 2004 (in time of his last Junior World Championships and last junior season), bone bruise in December 2006 (post-Olympic season), in March 2009 (preparing for last World Championships before the Olympic Games).
- I didn't find any article mentioning corrections of those "non-stop approach" during his career

- Jeffrey Buttle - interview after stress fracture (Augut 2006) - "Buttle usually trains for three or four hours a day on ice, six days a week. He also does an hour or two of off ice work every day. I started with more strength training after my surgery so I could handle more impact…" ( )

- Alexandra Trusova - she had stress fracture in 2021, I found article from December 2022 where she describes her training plan in Elena Sokolovskaya's group - "...Monday is usually my day off, that is why my first training day is Tuesday..."
( )

- Yuma Kagiyama - after stress fracture in summer 2022 and being urged by his father - coach, Yama made adjustments -
"Crucially, he has also started taking off one day a week." ( )

- Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (WITHOUT publicly known stress fracture) shared on Instagram how her ideal day off from ice looks like.
( )

I leads me to think that Russian skaters are used to have day off. In my country skaters have day off or free whole weekend.

I find MISSING DAY OFF like a "red flag" thing in increasing probability of injuries, mainly stress fracture.

I would also expect that skaters refusing day off will have very short or almost no vacations after season. Which means another one less possibility for body to rest and recharge sufficiently.
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Nov 25, 2006
I think it's common in Russia to not take another MRI or anything before the comeback. At least Trusova recently also said they didn't even bother to look at the current state of her injury. Of course she doesn't do competitions but she just jumps - although she's still in pain. But she just thinks that's probably how it's going to be all her life, at least that's how I understood it.
And if I remember correctly there was an interview with Samodelkina a few years ago where she said something similar; they didn't bother to check before she started to jump again.

In case of Alexandra Trusova - she should visit doctor for check-up definitely. Stress fracture was in 2021, it is almost 3 years. Without complications fracture is healed in 6 weeks. With addditional load it can pain some weeks after, which is a sign to decrease load. But 3 years is long time. And while skating in shows load is not that big. If she is still in pain, MRI should be done to control bones. There can also be other reasons why she is in pain.

As to Sofia Samodelkina's ankle injury - she was invited to come to another check-up...she didn't come. You are right @icewhite , she started to jump sooner than second check-up by doctors was planned.
"...I did MRI and was told that something like a stone had formed in the ankle. And this is either a shadow from the bone, or a piece of it, and this would already be considered a fracture. The doctors said to come for a second examination in a week, and if they find this piece again, they will put a plaster cast....As a result, by the end of the week the leg started to be back to normal. ...We performed in Sochi, then there was a Challenger in Kazakhstan, a stage of the Russian Cup in Kazan. And everything worked out. And we did not go for a second examination, since everything has healed." ( )


Nov 25, 2006
I keep going back to Gordeeva and Grinkov. In her book "My Sergei," Katia included details of their training in the USSR, which included that her bedtime was early, but even before bedtime she was supposed to be resting ... and she complied, being an excellent student as well as skater.... still, this may be the time when Sergei was off partying with his age-mates and friends!

Another detail I recall is that they didn't ice skate during the summers. They went to sports camp, where they did other sports like swimming and I don't know what all. No skating ... but there were pix of them doing off-ice lifts. This dovetails with @sisinka's information that a complete break, for months, from the competitive sport is recommended.

It's like Jane Fonda said when people asked her why she quit doing her exercise routine every day: Rest is a principle of the human body.

thank you :thank:for this thread, @sisinka. I especially appreciate the whole post about sleep and its importance in recovery and rebuilding ... including the brain and concentration.

Thank you for your mention.

Katia Gordeeva & Sergii Grinkov teamed up in 1980s. It is more than 40 years ago. I do believe that importance of sleeping and effects of sleep deprivation were known for ages. But I think that today's life with modern technologies leads to forgeting the importance of sleeping regime.

But I must admit that it can be difficult to manage time from other reasons as well.
Ice time can be different on different ice rinks, especially if rink schedule is shared with hockey teams. Also some skaters are travelling daily a long distance to get on the rink, which can also make going to sleep in right time and getting enough sleep time difficult.

From this point of view having ice rink only for figure skaters close to home is big advantage.

By the way do you (anyone) remember some skaters who had to travel a lot daily to get on the ice? I only remember Alisa Czisny who spend in a car few hours daily (if I remember correctly).


Nov 25, 2006

With main concern for jumps.

We should also remember that once body's segment is overloaded...even normal load is too big. That explains why the bone can be fractured during elements with lower load (double jump, split jump, off ice jump).

Skaters with known stress fracture history are highlighted, not confirmed with stress fracture are underlined.

What we can look at?


OFF ICE - I do expect that single skaters are doing jumps with rotations (single, double, triple, quad) on the floor, simulation of all kind of jumps with rotations on the floor, different kind of jump exercises. All of these elements are demanding as well, so number of repetitions would be important to know. As to other activities - running and different sort of athletic preparation can add additional load as well. Ballet, dance class, gym...

ON ICE - once again we would need to know how many repetitions of certain elements (mainly jumps) were done rather than how long practise lasted. The structure of skater's ice practise can vary.

- @Ic3Rabbit - "Depending on the elite skater and their team it usually ranges between 2-4 hours per day on ice and then there’s off ice depending. And that’s not every day of the week either. Usually get 1-2 days off for rest.
ETA: There’s also a variance in training time depending on if it’s season or off-season."
( )

- Kiira Korpi - "…But for example, in the USA, where you live now, isn’t the degree of athlete’s freedom is higher? – Absolutely not. At 10 years old, they are already trying to pull the child out of school, get him to study at home, he must spend from three to four hours on the ice, then this time grows. And as a result the majority get injured and leaves figure skating, this is a tragedy." ( )

- coach Aimée"…Serious competitive skaters spend 10 to 20 hours on the ice, every week. That's three to four hours a day, six days a week. Seriously, it's true. It's almost impossible to succeed at the highest levels of such a technical and complex sport, without that level of commitment.“ ( )

- Starr Andrews - "...only trains on ice for two hours per day!" ( )

- Michelle Kwan – „…By age eight, she skated several hours a day, every day of the week. Before school, after school and on weekends, she was at the ice rink.“ ( )

- Evan Lysacek - "...My daily routine works around my training. I wake up and do a workout, including some of the exercises designed to prevent another stress fracture in my hip. I then have a quick bite to eat and head to the rink. I practice on ice between three and four hours. After practice I get a good stretch then head back to the gym. That's when I do a more vigorous weight workout, then it's time to rest up for the next day." (2004) ( )

- Nina Pinzarrone - "...I was about 13 when I felt that I could really make it. ... But with only talent, you are nothing, you have to work hard. I spend four hours on the ice every day, and additionally, I put many more hours into ballet training, cardio fitness, and stretching."
( )

- Susanna Poykio - "...skates for about two hours every day. She does weights, jogging, modern dance, and jumping on the floor for about 5-8 hours a week in off ice training." ( )

- Johnny Weir - "...Five days a week, Weir hits his training rink in Delaware for 75 minutes in the morning and two hours and fifteen minutes in the afternoon, without breaks. Kill drills...." (article from 2006) ( )

- Jeffrey Buttle - "...During his competitive days, he divided his time between two training bases," ( )
..."Buttle usually trains for three or four hours a day on ice, six days a week. He also does an hour or two of off ice work every day. “I started with more strength training after my injury so I could handle more impact,” he said. “Now I’m doing more plyometrics, Pilates and ballet.” (2008) ( )

- Christine Zukowski - “They actually let us out at 12 p.m. so that we could train,” Zukowski said. “I skated four 40-minute sessions, and then I would work out and do ballet, and then I’d get home around 6 and start my homework.” ( )

- Agnes Zawadzki - "...My day typically has a late start. I'll head to the rink about 10:30 a.m. to warm up, skate from 11 to 11:45, take a break until 1:15, when I skate again until 2. Another break, and one more 45-minute skate from 4 to 4:45. After I'm done on the ice, I will either do some strength training, run, or do yoga." ( )

- Elizaveta Tuktamysheva - "...My day usually starts with a workout at Yubileiny ice rink. ...In addition to the usual warm-up, we work on a simulator that allows skaters to develop the resistance of the vestibular apparatus to fast rotations. This is a unique development of our coach Alexei Mishin, it helps to progress in jumping technique and spins....Training on the ice lasts about an hour, during this time I manage to go through my programs a couple of times and work on some elements separately...After the morning workout, there is time to have lunch and a little rest before the second workout. Usually we train twice a day, we spend seven hours a day at the rink. In addition to working on the ice, you need to work on choreography, general physical training and a cool down." (in September 2022) ( )
... "I wake up, get breakfast, go to the rink, then after the first training, we have 1-1.5 hour of break. Then after the second training, we do other things. Then around 6-7 p.m., I go home and rest. Off-ice, we do muscle work, warm-up, some exercises for jumps, or we work on the choreography because that improves it on the ice." (in November 2018) ( )
For Liza I found 2 articles from 2018 and 2022 - the same training schedule.

- Evgeny Plushenko - "...I train five to six hours each day -- morning and evening, each time two to three hours of ice and about an hour at the gym. I'm used to this from childhood." ( )

- Alexei Krasnozhon - " day take 4-5 hours a day. Usually 3 practises per day - ice practise, physical off ice training or choreography, stretching (flexibility) and second ice practise..." ( )


In a book FIGURE SKATING LIKE A COSMIC FLIGHT by Alexei Mishin, it was once again confirmed that the most injury prone elements are jumps, where load on bones and joints are enormous. Landings in triple jumps are around 5 to 10G - force.

Jumps on the ice VERSUS on the floor - in my opinion overloading will be bigger on the ice as entering speed will be higher. Also skates have more weight than off ice shoes.

How many jumps (double, triple, quad) are leading to overdosing is interesting question. I didn't find any mention about number of jumps reperitions which are "safe" and which are already "dangerous".

But let's look at Internet sources about jump repetitions.

Following article mentions 50 jumps a day – “Skaters do at least 50 jumps a day, every day that they’re training, and they train at least five days a week if they’re competitive skaters,” Ridge said. “They have a lot of force that they’re landing with, over and over again, and this contributes to overuse injuries.” ( )

Also "safe" number of jump repetitions will be individual based on every figure skater's individual physical ability and other factors like age, growing period, bone density, current tiredness...

We can't forget the difference between prepubertal - pubertal - grown-up body...

I took a part of my post from Thread Eating Disorders just to show how much different and more demanding skating is for grown-up one in comparison with skater with prepubertal body:
- “A heavier person jumping the same height as a lighter one has to do much more work to move the larger mass.“

I made an example - to jump 44 centimeters Anna (Shcherbakova) needs 576.2 Watts while Mae Berenice needs 1005.4 Watts. So Mae Berenice needs to put much more effort to jump as high as Anna (almost twice as much).

If skaters try to keep the same number of jump repetitions being in prepubertal and postpubertal stage… Being even only 10 centimeters taller and 7 kilograms more heavy (in reality elite skater mentions even 200 grams of difference)…each jump will take much more energy. Which logically means that keeping the same number of jump repetitions with grown-up body (comparing to prepubertal body) CAN lead to injuries or overtraining. Are skaters warned that child’s training approach is much different comparing to pubertal or grown-up skaters approach?

But let's come back to number of jumps per practise.

- Christopher Bowman - "...What Bowman had was a stress fracture of his fibula, a result of a training regimen in which it was commonplace to do 35 triple flips, landing on his right leg..."( )

- Michael Weiss - "...Weiss made changes in his training this year, stifling his tendency to go hard all of the time. ...He no longer attempts quadruple jumps during both his morning and afternoon training session. Now, he tries the body-jolting quads only in the afternoon and, instead of grinding out 20 a day, he prefers to do around five." ( )

- Shoma Uno - "...I remember that interview last season after summer training camp (in 2013) where he himself admitted that the 3A had become the main thing on his mind skating-wise, to the point that he would be training up to 100 a day and only landing a handful, without even getting the rotation right on most of those, while the rest were falls for the most part. And that, although falling hurt, he wanted to keep jumping until he at least got a good one since he "hadn't gotten seriously injured yet from all those falls." (úmero-uno.94182/page-2 )

- Daisuke Takahashi - "...According to the Japanese media, the injury happened on Tuesday, 26th of November (2013); but they also showed a video recording from Saturday, 23th, the last day of the weekly practice, when Daisuke Takahashi, attempting quad jumps, fell more than 30 times in one hour and a half..." (

- Diana Guseva - "...At the same time as Anya (Shcherbakova - season 2017-18), I had an injury - a stress fracture, very unpleasant. It took me a long time to recover, and after I got on the ice, I couldn't train like before. My workload was significantly reduced and I was unable to recover. Then Eteri Georgievna advised me to try dancing... I understood that after the injury I would not be able to jump two hundred jumps per training." ( )

- Alexandra Trusova - "...I jumped so many times... To learn the Axel I jumped 50 times per training after two free programs with five quadruples, for a month. Every time." ( )

- Timothy Goebel - "...when we started putting in the numbers on the really hard stuff, if we had waited until we were older — when I was learning the [quad] salchow I was doing 20 to 30 a day at least, maybe more. When I was talking to Audrey, trying to figure out why I couldn’t really train, I was like, this is how I used to train, and when I told her the amount of repetitions I did when I was starting on stuff, she was like, “What were you thinking?!” And I know that the success I had from 1999 to 2002, it was a tradeoff. What I gave up for success early on, I lost in real longevity. Even with Frank I was doing six to eight of each quad on every session every day. That’s a lot." ( )

- Roman Savosin - "...was mentioned in one of Petr Gumennik's interview - "...Roman Savosin recently talked about his training process in the “Skate Move” podcast and noted that he does quadruple jumps in small quantities - only a few times per session." ( )

- Petr Gumennik - "...If everything goes well before the competition, then you shouldn’t do quadruple jumps just like that. Between competitions you can do a lot of jumps. The day before yesterday I did a 3-4 cascade about 30 times, there were few successful attempts, but overall there were a lot of attempts. Now I’ve decided to improve my quadruple toeloop, and it works well separately." ( )


- Adam Rippon - "...After over-exercising and heavily limiting his caloric intake for about two years, Rippon received a lot of praise for his appearance and performed at a quality he was happy with. This encouraged his unhealthy lifestyle. He began to associate a feeling of being hungry with working hard. That was until his body became so fragile that doing a simple off-ice jump led his foot to fracture."( )

- Andrew Torgashev - "...He was training a lot of jumps, putting a lot of reps in, and was very motivated after a fifth-place finish at the 2020 U.S. Junior Championships and an eighth-place finish at the World Junior Championships." ( )

- Amber Glenn - "...The intense training led to some overuse injuries, including multiple stress reactions in her foot and an ankle cyst that needed to be removed, forcing her to withdraw from the free skate of the Cranberry Cup in August 2021 and take three weeks off the ice to heal. She trained quads this summer and was getting close before her body decided enough was enough." ( )

- Lina Johansson - "...I practised jumps extra hard. It started to hurt my left foot, the one that was fractured before. I thought it was stress, overstrained. I continued to train but couldn’t go on the ice at the Swedish team camp in September (2008) because it hurt so much. ...I went to the hospital for an X-ray. It showed a stress fracture..." ( )

- Laura Lepisto - "...She then missed much of the season due to injury, having developed a stress fracture in her right hip as a result of practicing too many triple loops." (autumn 2006) (Wikipedia)

- Bradie Tennell - "...She also worked on including a triple Axel into her routines, which was ready at the beginning of the season, but a stress fracture in her foot in July 2019 prevented her from using it." (Wikipedia)

- Jeffrey Buttle - "...In August of 2006, Jeffery Buttle suffered a stress fracture in his back due to over training, and was off the ice entirely for two months." ( )

For more precise outcomes further and more detailed research would be needed.
To determine if:
- more jump repetitions are connected to bigger prevalence of stress fracture (I think so)
- longer ice practise time is connected to bigger prevalence of stress fracture (I think it is possible)
- increased load in ice time or increased number of jumps repetitions is presented few weeks before stress fracture happened. (I think so)


Record Breaker
Jul 26, 2003
Jumps on the ice VERSUS on the floor - in my opinion overloading will be bigger on the ice as entering speed will be higher. Also skates have more weight than off ice shoes.
I'm not sure about that, because a successful jump landing with speed on the exit will convert much of the downward force coming out of the jump into horizontal motion on the landing edge. Landing from the same height with speed should be less stressful on the body than landing from that same height with all the momentum straight down into the landing leg.

Off-ice jumps may not be as high. And skaters do often hop backward on the landing leg to simulate the on-ice landing, which may mitigate some of the downward force but not as much as actually gliding on ice.

Not all off-ice jump exercises will try to mimic the on-ice landing position, though. And, as you say, the skates do add weight.

Even falling with speed such that you slide across the ice (which also depends on how wet or scratched-up the ice is) should be less damaging than falling straight down without the horizontal sliding.

Unless, of course, you slide right into the wall, or another skater. But that would cause acute injuries, not overuse injuries.
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Nov 25, 2006

Thanks for mention.

It would need to be measured to see the difference in landing loads of on ice and off ice jumps.

Overall landing forces depend on many factors. My opinion was based on idea that on ice jump will have bigger entering speed, higher and longer trajectory in the air, skater land on toe picks of blade, in worse case landing rather on the blade - while front part of training shoes has bigger surface.

But after your post I looked on different sources and found few interesting facts.

After these findings I think that you would be right saying: "Off ice jump's load of skater A is bigger that on ice jump's load of skater B."

While for me it would be: "Off ice jump's load of skater A is smaller that on ice jump's load of skater A, the difference of loads is even bigger if skater has great skating technique."

Look at some facts...

Based on Alexei Mishin's book angle in ankle, knee and hip's joint of landing leg are important in increasing / decreasing landing load on body. Another essential thing is landing on toe-pick before moving on the other part of the blade. He mentions that landing on the blade (without toe-pick moment) increases landing loads almost twice.

In more skating books it was mentioned that...
You need good skating technique to be able to use your leg's strength on the ice. Not being able to fully use edges and toe-pick on ice height of jump may not be higher, on the contrary it can be even lower.

I looked on science articles...
- article from 2012
- "GRF (vertical ground reaction forces), joint angles, and muscle activity patterns in the lower extremities increases more with height in flat footed individuals than in people with a normal foot arch. Flat feet may aggravate the risk of shock on landing from a height; this might be ameliorated by a compensatory strategy at the hip joints to facilitate load distribution."
- article from 2018
- "Restriction of ankle motion in skates is largely caused by the stiffness of the skates...
If the ROM (range of motion) of the ankle and knee is limited, the landing has the characteristics of a stiff landing
. During such landings, the acting impact vertical ground reaction force (VGRF) is greater, steeper, and acts for a shorter period of time compared to a soft landing, where greater ankle plantar flexion and ROM as well as knee ROM during the landing impact provides for a longer deceleration phase."

For figure skaters it means two important points.
First flat feet mean automatically that take-off and landing loads will have bigger negative impact in comparison with physiologically curved feet.

Second skating boot is stiff, so once again landing loads on the ice will have bigger negative impact in comparison with off ice jump's in training shoes.

I'm not sure about that, because a successful jump landing with speed on the exit will convert much of the downward force coming out of the jump into horizontal motion on the landing edge. Landing from the same height with speed should be less stressful on the body than landing from that same height with all the momentum straight down into the landing leg.

Good point.

I was also warned that off ice landing means that foot and ankle joint need to face both vertical and rotational force. While stiff boot partially protects ankle against rotational force. (My note - if ankle is partially protected in stiff boot, the rotational force will transfer more on knee).

And another thing I was warned about are leg muscles which are responsible for take-off and landing. If they are weak skater will get smaller height...but also during landing the weakness of those muscles will lead to more stiff landing with smaller protection of joints. This effect will be more visible in off ice jumps.


Nov 25, 2006


Elite figure skaters are working for years to reach both technical and artistic perfection. They are very often perfectionists. Maximalists. Taking everything to the very last detail.

There is no way skater can become champion without these things.

But those character's features have dark side. With crossed borderline it easily leads to overloading, pain ignoring and body and mind punishing moments.

We keep talking how some coaches are cruel towards their students and I agree that it must be spoken about. While we almost never talk how skater can be cruel to herself / himself.

1) Self-esteem
- "...high self-esteem was linked to healthy sport participation whereas low self-esteem was linked to unhealthy sport participation."

2) Lack of knowledge about injury consequences

- skating through pain and postponing moment of healing injuries

I repeatedly read that skaters didn't realise that overcoming pain and injury will lead to such troubles and prolonged healing.

3) Short-term goals preference

Overuse injuries always disrupt long-term goals as World Championships and once in 4 years Olympics Games are dated towards the end of the season.

Are skaters learnt NOT to cross the bordeline between intensive practice and unhealthy practise? Are they learnt when is the time to stop? Or at least slow down?

Are coaches and parents educated to guide their skater in PAIN issues?

Are coaches ready to stop their skaters seeing overtraining issue?

Are they all educated about CONSEQUENCES of ignoring pain?

Looking at stories of skaters with stress fractures, answers are NO.

In the same moment we stand against:

1) "no pain, no gain" quote like @4everchan mentioned,

2) skaters not sharing with coaches / parents that they are in pain

3) coaches not asking about pain,

4) fear of skaters / coaches / parents that few days off the ice will lead to loss in results,

5) difficulty to evaluate and differentiate type of pain.

We have more types of pain... from growing, muscle tiredness, blisters, tight boots and so on. It is not always easy to decide what it true origin of the pain.

RED FLAGS for overuse injuries:

- pain with increasing intensity
- pain not decreasing in intensity during regeneration time

- pain not reacting or pain not decreasing just a little bit with DAYS OFF

- pain which cannot be explained by acute injury (for example spraining / haematoma)

(But overuse injury may go hand in hand with acute injury!)

- painkillers having lower effect in comparison with past

- pain increases after few days / weeks of increased practise's intensity

- pain increases after some weeks in new boots
(not being comfortable enough) or doing new element

- reduced range of motion in a joint...swelling...not explained by acute injury

(once again in can be both acute and overuse injury in one time)

- pain so big that skater is in difficulty to move or walk...not explained by acute injury

Those are few notes which come in my mind at the moment, for sure there will be some more. There are other symptoms as well in case of spine overuse injuries.
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Nov 25, 2006

part 2

Let's read few stories describing the journey of young skaters and how they got into overloading issues which resulted in stress fractures.

Skaters with known stress fracture history are highlighted, not confirmed with stress fracture are underlined.

Mood alert! If you are in negative mood, re-think reading the following...


- Eva Lotta Kiibus - "...In February (2023) I got diagnosed with stress fractures on both of my tibias. In order to recover I had to stop training for whole two months. For an athlete, well that feels like a lifetime. Time passed, expectations and desires increased. Returning to trainings I started doing too much, too fast and let my emotions dictate my decisions, not listening to my body. By August I was back where I was, injury returned. And that meant another pause, starting all over again."

...But I came back to ice and from then I knew, no matter how long it takes, I wont make the same mistakes again and have been working with the strongest people beside me, everyday towards my goals." ( )

- Mai Mihara - "...In the end of the summer (2023), before the start of the season she felt a pain in her ankle. “It was a kind of pain like twisting my toe when I jumped, but another part became painful. Although there are always some kind of pains, this was not something I had to take a long break to treat, so I thought it would heal if I took a short break when I first felt the pain.”

...“At first, I was managing with patches and painkillers but the pain didn’t subsided, and I was unable to go to practice and didn’t know what to do. Though I thought that resting for a while would improve things, the days continued and the pain did not go away.” Mihara, who was “a bit scared to go to the hospital”, finally went for a consultation. “When I had it examined, I found out it wasn’t just a pain.” She had to withdraw from the Cup of China grand prix.

...But decided to compete in her next Grand Prix NHK Trophy. Sonoko Nakano, a coach, revealed after the competition that “she could barely walk until a week before (the competition).”

...In the Japanese Nationals the following month, she improved her performance from the NHK Trophy and finished in fifth place...was selected for the Four Continents Championships.... “... but the pain started to develop during practice, and I couldn’t included the jumps as I wanted in the program.”

...“The strongest feeling inside me is wanting to give back to those who have supported me, friends, relatives, and grandmother who told me, ‘I get energy by watching you perform,’ and those who wrote me letters.

...“I’ve been taught countless things by my teachers since my young age, and they teach me every day, so I really owe it to my teachers...After finishing 7th at the Four Continents Championships, Mihara revealed that her right ankle injury was a stress fracture." ( )

- Amber Glenn - “...When I was younger, it was definitely more of a ‘get-your-job-done-at-all-costs’ mindset,” she says. “That led me to have mental crises – and injuries that weren’t properly addressed for a long period of time.

...“Because of that, the result was more substantial than if it had been handled properly and with more care in the first place.” ( )

- Polina Edmunds - "...Edmunds argued that this (physical neglect) is part of a larger issue in the community.

...“Everybody feels like they don’t have enough time to recover and come back to the same form, if not the same, even better,” she said.
...Edmunds did not acknowledge her injury until it was too late, mostly because she was not aware of how to recognize or respond to an injury. Additionally, she and her coaches did not want her to leave the sport at a time when she was experiencing great competitive success.

...“We were very much on the frame of, ‘You’re making so much progress right now. Like, you’ve made such a splash, we have to continue this momentum,’” Edmunds said. “So it was really hard for all of us to see past that and prioritize healing in a no-nonsense way...“I was at what felt like at the time my prime in terms of how I was performing, what I was able to do. And I was just on the cusp of surpassing my top competitors.”

...Edmunds had to learn the hard way that injuries cannot be ignored and rest cannot be bypassed. From this experience, however, she learned the importance of having patience with healing and prioritizing long-term success over short-term victories.

“I wish I knew when I was younger that I could take as much time as I needed,” Edmunds said.“ ( )

- Karen Chen - "...Chen’s perspective on injury changed throughout her career. Initially, she was a “push through it” kind of person. When she reported pain to her mom, her mom would advise her to get off the ice, and Chen would refuse. Her coach had to figure out when something was bothering her because she rarely said anything."

...“I realized when I pushed through [an injury], sometimes it gets worse, and it may force me to take off more time, versus kind of stepping away and taking care of it a little bit sooner before it gets to that level of severity [which] is more beneficial and better for the long run,” Chen said." ( )

- Yelim Kim - “...Despite her young age, she felt a sense of responsibility towards her parents, who supported her by allowing her to train abroad. ...

..."I was practicing jump combinations when I twisted my ankle badly. I was in shock. I went to the hospital, and they found a stress fracture near the growth plate of my peach bone (season 2019-20)...Nevertheless, Yelim Kim managed to compete in the National Championships and reached the podium. This earned her a spot in both the Four Continents Championships and the World Championships.

...“I didn’t want to miss these opportunities. I thought I had to take good care of myself until the end and focus on my skating every day, so that I wouldn’t suffer any further injuries during training,” she said.

...Yelim Kim participated in the Four Continents Championships, but people couldn’t see her during the final official practice right before the competition.

...“My condition worsened a bit at the practice rink in Mokdong, and I injured my leg again. The pain was severe, and I had many struggles, wondering if it was right to push myself in this competition when the World Championships were still ahead. The World Championships were important, but I also considered the Four Continents Championships held in Korea very important. So I thought, ‘Let’s give it a try. I’ve prepared hard, so let’s give it a shot,'” she said.

...Overcoming the injury once again, Yelim Kim delivered nearly flawless skating and achieved a score exceeding 200 points for the first time.

...After finally returning to Korea, her stress fracture, which had occurred in early January as a minor scratch, had worsened significantly. When she initially injured herself in early January, it was a small scratch, but by the end of March, after continuing to skate on it, the fracture had worsened, with a fissure forming around almost the entire circumference of the bone."

...“By nature, I tend to concentrate more on what needs to be done at the moment rather than looking far into the future, so I think I focused more on the tasks at hand during that time.”...“As soon as I returned, I focused solely on recovery." ( )


Approach of most skaters above is similar. Skaters were overmotivated from various reasons (results, responsibility, lack of knowledge). They were ignoring pain, pushing through it, postponing medical check-up, refusing to take break for proper healing.

- Camden Pulkinen - "...He noted that he does not know his limits and is fueled by his pain rather than alarmed by it. He believes his pain tolerance is too high for his health. ...“If I’m feeling in pain or if I’m feeling hurt, I just kind of shut that off,” ... “I don’t know when to stop. I’ll fall 10 times in a row and be like, ‘Let’s go again.” ( )


Overall elite skaters seem to IGNORE PAIN until moment the pain makes them immobile:

- Andrew Torgashev - So when he started feeling pain in his landing foot, he thought it was just an overuse injury. Once he could no longer push through the pain, he went to a doctor, who diagnosed him with a stress fracture in the metatarsals. ( )

- Christopher Bowman - ...ignored the pain and went to the nationals this year, hoping for a spot on the team going to the world championships...“It got to the point where I couldn’t walk,"...What Bowman had was a stress fracture of his fibula,..." ( )

- Lina Johansson - "... I practised jumps extra hard. It started to hurt my left foot, the one that was fractured before. I thought it was stress, overstrained. ...I continued to train but couldn’t go on the ice at the Swedish team camp in September because it hurt so much. I rested, started again but nobody could tell me what was wrong with my foot. One day it was ok, second day it hurt, third day I could not walk!"( )

- Christine Zukowski - "...It started when she was 16, and at first she assumed that the pain was simply caused by something out of alignment in her back. After countless doctor’s appointments and endless testing, it was discovered that she had a herniated disk and a stress fracture in her back....“I tried to push through, but I couldn’t take the pain anymore." ( )

- Evan Lysacek - "... He didn’t try a quad in last year’s world championships when recovering from a stress fracture and finished first.
...“It really did hurt when I was doing a lot of quads,” Lysacek said Saturday. “Going to the world championships last year was a really tough time, wondering if every day I was going to be able to compete and make it the next couple of weeks. I didn’t want my Olympic experience to be like that.”...Lysacek asked his doctor in Los Angeles for advice and was told not to do anything that could potentially bother it." ( )


Nov 25, 2006

part 3

Going through articles about skaters injuries, there are many examples of skater's unhealthy approach.

We need to remember that top athletes are under pressure (with their own expectations, surroundings, Federations, ISU...). They have very little space for stepping away of community to calmly re-think and decide without being pressured by time or people around. They are sometimes influenced by "it was done like this for years"... "no pain, no gain"...and other opinions. Some of those opinions are already old fashioned and proved to be wrong by current science research.

In an attempt to improve figure skater's health following suggestions come in my mind:


In best being done by psychologist.

To determine whether and how much skater tends to overload.

With known potentially dangerous character's features, skater can work on those features OR can change "direction" of those features. (Perfection is great - if you use it for practise of finished movements, clean lines, timing... but it will damage your body if you use it for increasing number of jump repetitions)


One or few meetings of mental coach / psychologist AND doctor WITH skaters and coach (and parents in case of too young skater).

To determine personal goals, possible mental and physical troubles, doctor explaining consequences of wrong health approach.

Practise of real situations: "What I will do if a) the pain starts, b) pain increases, c) swelling occurs..... analysis of right / wrong approach consequences.

In case of overmotivated members of team or in case of too young athlete these talks can be difficult. But it worth trying. It is crucially important to have at least one member of the team to understand the importancy of healthy approach.


Week training loads, quality of regeneration,
evaluation of pain, with awareness to increasing pain.

Tiredness can be evalueted as well (bigger tiredness = bigger possibility to injure yourself).

No matter if mobile phone or paper notebook will be used.


Number of jump repetitions both on and off the ice, time spent on certain elements...this should be decided before practise or day before

AVOIDING decisions which are emotional: "I fell 7 times on lutz, I cannot leave it like I will add additional 6 attempts."


Orthopedist, traumatologist, rehabilitation doctor or some other medical worker.

Phone control of health status...once a week or once per two weeks...and everytime with acute injury.

With proper anamnesis, if needed photos send by skater. Based on this doctor should be able to determine (even by phone) if skater needs to go for personal medical check-up to specialist or no.

It is not wise when skaters themselves or coaches decide whether it is time to go to hospital or no. Even in best case their knowledge cannot replace a knowledge of specialists with many years of experience.

Of course it is possible that skater refuse medical check-up...which means that she / he needs to work on some character's features, healthy approach and improving knowledge about consequences of injuries.


I like to see that videos of elements with immediate analysis look to be used in figure skating. Skater who gets feed back immediately can make corrections and succeed much sooner.

Videos are possibility to show exact mistake in exact moment of the element. It is far better than description by words.

Also people who are better in visual learning can make faster progress. (I know that coaches are very often showing the type of mistake on themselves, but believe me, it is not the same like seeing yourself on the video.)

Little quiz for everybody.

A) healthy approach or B) unhealthy approach?

A) career is as long as you want
B) career is short with high probability of forced retirement (due to injuries)

Skater's potencial (not quad jumps only, I speak about Figure Skating with all what belongs to it):
A) reaching the maximal potencial
B) usually not being able to reach maximal potencial thanks to injuries and premature retirement

Junior achievements:
A) maybe lower results based on lower practise intensity, for example decrease of intensity during fast growing periods
B) probably better results, higher probability to be called "prodigy" and "future star"

Senior achievements:
A) possibly better results (definitely more time to skate at top competitions, more attempts to reach the top)
B) many withdrawals, big stress to compete after long break

(I will leave it on your own decision whether Junior Grand Prix Final is more important competition than Olympic Games.)

Longest breaks in training during year:
A) three weeks of vacations in time you pick (before or during summer usually)
B) forced breaks for weeks to heal an injury...but sometimes few months...or whole season

Training schedule:
A) based on your own plan, based on part of the season
B) based on your injuries - lower load, breaks in training

Culminating your skating form:
A) towards top competitions
B) who knows...injuries will dictate

Which group would you pick for yourself or for your skater?


If skaters find a way how to improve their knowledge and approach while handling injuries, figure skating will witnessed much more unforgettable performances. Figure skating will be on rise.

For skaters learning proper health management will be also something what they will use for their good for the rest of their lifes, no matter what kind of job they will choose.

If some skaters become coaches they will have a possibility and even responsibility to give their students advices about health management. They may help to create more safe environment for next generation of skaters. Starting with themselves.

Overall taking care about own health definitely worth it.


Nov 25, 2006

part 1

If skater puts too much mental and physical pressure on body...than coaching team should work on holding skater back. To prevent overloading or other damages.

The coaching teams should themselves adjust training loads (both on and off the ice) taking into account skater's current state to reduce a possibility of overloading injury.


Carol Heiss
on whether it’s harder to compete as a skater or to watch as a coach: "Much worse as a coach. I get so nervous. ..." -

Teacher. Mentor. Supporter. Part of a family. Role model. Critic. Being coach is very demanding and challenging job.

Skating coach is the most important person in every skater's team. Main coach learns skater skills which directly leads to improvements of skater's on ice qualities and skating results.

Main coach prepares short time and long time training plan, escalates student's form towards top season's competitions.

Coach spends so much time with the athlete that she / he usually becomes the one who athlete looks at and learns from even in non skating situations.

Coach is expected to mention when something is wrong with the skater.
- science article from 2018
- 253 participants...with 14 (±10.4) years of coaching experience.
- The findings: "...participating coaches have a good knowledge of depression for individuals without formal education on the topic but may lack depression awareness.
- ...coaches in the sample found out an athlete was suffering from depression most often by the athlete self-reporting."

Due to US Figure Skating Assiciation - "Coaches are responsible for teaching and inspiring competitive and recreational skaters, sharing the joy of figure skating and creating a lifelong love of the sport. A coach is an instructor, a role model and a support system,.." -

Coach should find the right words in the right time to make it possible or easier for skaters to show their full potencial at competitions.

When I was teenager I used to help at local Figure Skating competitions as an announcer, the place was very close to the ice, so I could hear what were coaches telling to their students. Talks were different usually with nervousness in the air, supportive sentences which sometimes looked forced. Then former Czech coach of Michal Brezina came with his student - junior girl. She entered the ice pale in face and nervous. He smiled and told with positive sound in his voice : "Mainly let's have a nice dance." (I cannot do precise translation because it would change the meaning of the sentence). It was the most beautiful and the most "working" sentence I ever heard there. And girl skated clean program with all planned elements (doubles only) and took the lead after the Short Program.

As much as we have so many skaters with different style....we have many coaches with different ideology and behaviour towards their students.

Finding coach who is filling skater's needs is one of key factors for skaters to succeed...and to feel safe.

But coaches are also humans. They can be ill, they can have their own troubles to deal with. Not having enough rest they can suffer from burnout.

We also need to realise that "today's" coaches were "yesterday's" skaters. Most probably they were handling very similar issues and troubles as today's skaters. Eating disorders, too strict coaching, lack of understanding, overloading, negative comments from journalists or public ...but in their times many of those issues were not spoken about. In comparison with today's skaters they usually never opened up, they suffered in silence.

For example Julie Marcotte and Brian Boitano, both skaters of 1980s, opened up about their troubles with Eating Disorders in 2020 and 2018 (based on articles I found). It is a gap of more than 30 years after their struggles. Nancy Kerrigan finished her amateur career in 1994. She opened up about eating troubles in 2017.

Many coaches have the same character's features like today's skaters. They are maximalists, perfectionists and detailists. Brian Orser - "...I’m terribly punctual." - Tatiana Tarasova - "...I guess I am a maximalist." -

Which logically leads to opinion that following healthy regime and life style will help them to stay mentally and physically healthy.
- science article from 2021
- 119 elite-level coaches from the Netherlands and Belgium active in both individual (62.2%) and team (37.8%) sports.
- "...symptoms of common mental disorders were prevalent within the coaches, ranging from 39% for depression/anxiety to 19% for distress and adverse alcohol use.
- The results highlight the importance of elite sport organizations paying close attention to the mental health of their coaches."

It is nice that ISU implements topic about coach's health into their seminars. ISU Coaches Education Qualification Framework - ISU included "Coach Health, Well-Being, and Self-Care" as one of topic in their Coach Development Lesson -

I picked few areas to write about.

1) Nutrition. Enough sleep. Vacations...
- science article from 2021
- "...The coach’s health may be equally as important to this success, as the coach plays a key role in the planning and development of training and matches, deciding when and how to train, ...
- Fatigue often appears in conjunction with depressive symptoms, anxiety, and sleep impairment..."

Few excerpts from an articles of top level coaches:

- Marie - France Dubreuil - "...all summer I was working on 80s music, and at the end of the day, I had the bigfest headache. Because it's high-pitched music that's very saturated. I couldn’t listen to any music after training. It’s high-pitched, high-energy music. And it’s interesting, because there is a lot of variety. My nervous system was tired at the end of the summer..." ( )

- Brian Orser - "...Usually my whole vacation is one week. This, of course, is terribly little, so this year I tried find two. Work doesn’t allow me to rest longer. In the spring I usually have one seminar after another, I fly to Thailand, then to Italy, then to Australia, I held training camps – couple of days here, week there..." ( )

- Nina Mozer - after World Championships 2018 - "...I will certainly stay in figure skating to some extent. This is my profession, I live with it. But after last season definitely need a break. I am running out of health and nerves. I need a break..." ( )

- Alexander Zhulin - "...Although, of course, I got used to such business last year (2007). I remember not understanding what was happening at all. I had no days off or vacation, I slept five hours a day. In addition, I also have a main job - figure skating, my pairs, which I lead. Despite being so busy with the project, I try to be at my main job every day."

( )

- Nikolai Morozov - what will happen after the Olympics 2014: "I don’t know anything right now, only that I am really tired and not so excited to go to competitions anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do after the Olympics, but I definitely need to rest...No, no, I don’t think I will quit coaching, but I do need a break. I need to have fewer students or teach little kids; I need time to relax." ( )

In case of Nina Mozer and Nikolai Morozov - they visibly suffered from burnout.

2) Lack od datas

Looking at number of stress fractures and taking into account that there are many other injuries from overloading...It looks that even today with all modern technology available...coaching teams have very little to no knowledge about ideal training scheme which will prevent overloading.

Modern technologies should allow us to study and later calculate ideal load for every athlete. It is not done yet, visibly.

Which is very bad taking into account quad jump's progress in past 25 years.​


Nov 25, 2006

part 2


1) Nutrition. Enough sleep. Vacations...
2) Lack of datas
...were mentioned in previous post.

3) Which things form coaches' soul and determine training approach?
A) Negative approach and negative behavioral patterns
- article from 2022
- "...Personal identity formation and evolution are impacted by various internal and external factors like society, family, friends, ...",5&q=coaches+patterns+from+childhood&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&t=1718287266766&u=#p%3Dk2SO9yOi9uQJ
- science work from 1975
-"...coaches' personal-social characteristics are a product of the lifelong socialization they have undergone. Socialization is the process by which an individual learns attitudes, values, behaviors, and expectations of others...",5&q=repeating+wrong+behaviour+from+parents+to+children&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&t=1718363514290&u=#p=DaErjIW73_kJ
- science article from 2018
- "Pathological identification is a learned, psychological phenomenon in which a person unconsciously repeats or reenacts problematic behaviors, feelings, attitudes, relationship patterns or dilemmas exhibited by significant others, usually parents, in the past.” ...
- Pathological identifications appear most obviously in parenting situations in which people repeat their parents’ negative behavior while attempting to raise their own children..."

Negative coaching behaviour consists of any behaviours including mental, physical or verbal that diminishes a players' autonomy, competence...( )

Many years ago one skater had a coach with negative behavioral patterns. Skater was suffering thanks to this a lot. Finally skater changed the coach. Some year later the skater revealed that for whole next year there were tendencies to partially behave like previous coach on the ice: "I became a "small version" of that coach!" Skater was frightened realising this. Being working on mental health skater was able to come back to normal behaviour after one year.

People who we spend most time with in childhood are having the biggest impact on behavioral patterns which we use in adulthood. It can be positive patterns...but unfortunately negative patterns as well.

- Tatiana Tarasova is living legend who raised many Olympic Champions - just in 1990s it were Klimova & Ponomarenko, Grishuk & Platov (they won twice), Ilia Kulik, later in 2002 Alexei Yagudin.
But she was criticized in past for not appropriate comments - "...Why can't you raise your voice? When a person makes a mistake a hundred times that can lead to a serious injury... And you can't yell at him or her? So we yell. ...But it is possible to slap him. With great pleasure! I practiced this with my athletes, and they improved afterwards. This method is rarely used, but it is effective," Tarasova said. ( )

That's harsh. After all the skater didn't steal a car or didn't shoot somebody. He only kept falling probably because of some technical mistake. I am not coach but in my opinion slapping somebody may increase fear and anger, but it can't improve skating technique by itself. And such behavior usually has negative impact on skater's mental side.

Many articles were written about Tatiana Tarasova's early life and when she talked about her childhood I realised that unfortunately harsh approach was someting she experienced herself. And was forced to adapt to.

- "...she was brought up in a Spartan way, like a boy. At the age of 4, dad taught her to swim in a simple but effective way - he threw her into the sea,...

...Crying? No. It was not customary for us to cry. Even when they could beat - it is now impossible, but it's okay, for lies it is necessary to beat. No, not dad. Mum. And with exercise - it became a habit. You run, you are cold, and dad looks from the balcony and says: "You need to run faster - and it will be warmer." At least in New Year, even on your birthday. For me then on December 31, finishing my workout at 22.30 was no problem..."
( )

When Tatiana Tarasova lived in America many of her students were living with her, she was even cooking for them. Some of her students were like her own children, she loved them deeply. Many of her students speaks nicely about Mrs. Tarasova.

- Eteri Tutberidze is another coach connected with too strict approach. She raised another Olympic Champions - Alina Zagitova and Anna Shcherbakova, Olympic Silver medalists Evgenia Medvedeva and Alexandra Trusova, European Champion and Olympic Team Event Gold medalist Julia Lipnitskaya and many other talented skaters.

She was coached by Edouard Pliner.

Eteri Tutberidze also gave insight into her own career - "...Edouard Pliner was very strict, but he never shouted. If he demanded it, then it was not discussed...

... After another fall, the figure skater (Eteri) was diagnosed with a crack in the vertebra.... "I was offered to go dancing."

...Having moved to dancing, Eteri searched for her coach for a long time, but never found her: “I perhaps lacked the feeling that the coach needed me, that he was interested in me.”

...“Perhaps I would have stayed with Natalya Vladimirovna (Linichuk), but at that time she had a huge group. Ten adult couples, not to mention juniors. At every training session, a real battle for the ice unfolded...

...And Eteri went to Tarasova, but did not find the main thing there - attention...“Much later she told Tarasova: “You worked with Klimova and Ponomarenko - and you didn’t see anything around at all. It was obvious."
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There are similarities of Eteri Tutberidze's early years and stories of some of her students, right?

Being strict has many forms and not every form leads to skater being mentally and physically hurted. Lack of empathy or understanding or overlooking is negative behaviour in my opinion, but IF or how much are skaters hurted depends on individual skater's character and intensity of such coaches' approach.

Many skaters praised Eteri Tutberidze as a coach in an interviews.

- Julia Lipnitskaya was one of her students - "...I believe that Julia Lipnitskaya is the new Eteri Tutberidze. Julia is the strictest coach at our academy. She is a fan of figure skating, she is on the ice from morning to night, "chewing" (=working hard) on the ice with her students, taking them to the starts. ...said Yana Rudkovskaya, Evgeni Plushenko's wife." ( )

- Anna Tsareva was coaching Anna Pogorilaya (European and World medalist). Maybe some people remember more strange moments between coach and skater. When Anna was falling hardly during programs, her coach never comforted her after the skate, on the contrary...Anna Tsareva was highly critical and ironical.

At Skate Canada 2017 Anna Pogorilaya was already seriously injured, it was chronic back injury which got worse, training process was affected for whole summer and autumn. During Free Program she had terrible falls on Double Axel and Camel Spin, she hardly finished the program. Russian media re-wrote her coach's speech in Kiss & Cry corner - "Why are you dying, are your legs giving out? Don't you think you need to skate the program more in training? Not once a week, but more often?... You skate like something lifeless,” said Tsareva. “I will not go to you (after skate) at all, you’ll go to competitions alone." ( )

- Anna Pogorilaya is already working as coach - "... At the Russian Jumping Championships, the 12-year-old Elena Kostyleva had a painful fall on a quadruple salchow, followed by another fall on a triple lutz.

Anna Pogorilaya's comment: "I look from a coaching standpoint, you shouldn’t show it at all if you’re in pain. I explain to my athletes that everyone doesn’t care, the judges don’t care. Of course, it’s a pity. But for some reason, I felt that it wasn’t so injury-prone there.
When athletes fall face down on the ice, something cracks, or like Semenenko fell headfirst in the show – that was scary. But here, it wasn’t that scary. I was a bit skeptical about it; in principle, it could have been frozen, a little shot of painkiller, and continue. I take a somewhat cold-blooded approach to this.

Zhurankov (reporter): Ruthless coaches you are.

Pogorilaya: I am very kind, I love my athletes, it’s just that judges don’t care if something hurts for you. People go out with broken legs, broken fingers. You shouldn’t see that something hurts there.

I’ll probably be hated in the comments, but nevertheless, I think any coach would say the same. Then she (Elena Kostyleva) sat there and cheered for others; it wasn’t visible that there was anything serious. I hope she has nothing serious."
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Anna's somehow cold-blooded approach to skater's injury looks to be a projection of her previous coach's behavioral pattern, just in smaller range. Anna Tsareva didn't show any concern about harsch falls and possible injuries Anna could have after the falls.

- Aljona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy & Bruno Massot & their coach Ingo Steuer's story. Aljona won Olympics and later World Championships with Bruno, they became multiple times European and World Champions and two time Olympic Bronze medalists with Robin. Ingo Steuer is European and World Champion, Olympic Bronze medalist in pairs with Mandy Wotzel. He became coach. Aljona & Bruno changed coach coming to Alexander Konig.

Aljona about former coaches from her childhood - "...“I had coaches who would hit me on the head with pads if I did any elements badly," she said. "I’ve had coaches shooting water pistols in the cold ice rink. I’ve had coaches who gave us little food...“‘You have to lose weight. You’re too fat!’ [a former coach said]," added Savchenko. "I said, ‘Okay, how am I supposed to lose weight?’ They said, ‘If you eat, you throw up." ( )

Ingo Steuer: "I am the one who gives the direction and the two have to march." Robin Szolkowy describing training: "...but the communication with each other...on a friendly, uncomplicated was far far from that." Aljona describing training: " You say your piece and you say your piece and we take something from everyone in a jar and turn everything into one direction...that's what was missing."( )

Aljona described her new couching team while skating with Bruno Massot, she was comparing with previous coaching team: "...Savchenko experiences very different training methods than in the past. "Mr. Konig trusted me, I trusted him. We have a great connection. It's just really important to also have good communication in the team. The right kind of communication." ( )

Despite coaching changes to better... based on Bruno Massot's story after the Olympics 2018 Aljona was behaving badly and mentally pressuring him. Once again it looks to be possible repetion of negative behavioral patterns which skater went through in previous years.

Bruno (about Aljona) - "She knew exactly where to poke to make it hurt. I was insulted on the ice, I was a piece of sh* to her. ...for his partner, he is only a lazy..." ( )

- Anna Levandi is accused from abusive behaviour.

Parents described what Anna's behaviour towards their children was like - "It is common to use the words stupid, moron, or princess (with irony) when coaching children. ..."...Anna spat on her in practice after a failed jump and threw skis at her, narrowly missing her face." ...A similar pattern emerges from all of them - athletes leave Levandi's care mentally or physically broken..." ( )

Anna Levandi was coached by Edouard Pliner (who was strict based on Eteri Tutberidze's memories), but this coached was praised by her a lot.

But Anna Levandi was also coached by Stanislav Zhuk since 1984/85 - "...Zhuk, accustomed to tough working methods, demanded more dedication from Anna in training. Although Kondrashova herself admitted that sometimes they did not bring any results, but only caused pain... Anna’s colleagues more than once noticed how a specialist mocked her because of her excess weight...
…Ekaterina Gordeeva said: “Once I saw Zhuk hitting Anya...he hit her on the back...Anya cried. There was nothing new in this. She cried almost every day. Zhuk constantly tormented Anya with some unimaginable suspicions..."
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Those are excerpts from coaches' and skaters' interview. We don't know all facts from their life to make a whole picture. Described things lead to opinion that negative behavioral patterns are repeated there, but more informations would be needed.

I tend to believe that if coaches repeat unintentionally negative behavioral patterns which they experienced from their previous coaches or relatives, than they have smaller ability to mention and understand when skater is physically or mentally getting into bad shape.

I also tend to believe that such coaches have bigger tendencies to increase training loads without realising and re-thinking that it will injure the skater.

I don't think that coaches I mentioned wanted to hurt their students. And I never wanted to pretend anything similar. I don't know who Aljona Savchenko's childhood coaches were and Stanislav Zhuk had troubles with alcohol. But as to other coaches I do believe that they want to do all the best for their students. But they naturally chose patterns they knew the best because they experienced them in past...and some of them look to be repetitive negative behavioral patterns.

For all skaters and coaches who ever experienced negative behavioral pattern (in general, I don't talk about examples above). It definitely doesn't mean that everybody must repeat such behaviour later in life. There are more factors playing role, the length of experience is important as well. But IF it happens and person starts to repeat negative behavioral patterns which may effect negatively both person and people in surroundings, it should be solved fast. It never has sense to allow negative experience from childhood or early youth to effect one's life and damage great positive impact one can have.

4) Which things form soul of coach and determine training approach?
B) Positive approach and positive behavioral patterns

And now turn the page to positive side. There are many coaches with primary positive and supportive approach towards their students. Coaches who do not believe that beating, screaming or any form of negative behavioral patterns are needed to achieve high results.

I would like to mention that coaches below raised World and Olympic Champions also. And I would also like to thank them and every other coaches who behave this way. Because coaches who are coaching in this positive way - they not only help to develop talented athletes into great champions...but they also lead those talents to grow as people with healthy mental well-being and self-esteem. Those are things incredibly important in every human's life.

- Tamara Moskvina concentrated mostly on Pair cathegory. She raised two time Olympic Champion Artur Dmitriev (with Natalia Mishkutionok and Oksana Kazakova), Olympic Champions Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze, European Champions and World medalists Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov. And many other both Russian and foreign couples who were winning big medals. Last seasons her young couples were winning European and World titles - Anastasia Mishina & Alexander Galiamov and Alexandra Boikova & Dmitri Kozlovskiy. Anastasia & Alexander are 2022 Olympic Bronze medalist. After Russians representing Russia will be allowed to compete again, I do expect big battles for medals again.

- Tamara Moskvina about her first coach, Ivan Bogoyavlensky: "He was a very good coach because he conducted the lessons, group lessons, with such a joy, such attraction, that it was fun to come every day for the practices...We (with her pair partner Alexei Mishin) never quarreled, we never shouted at each other, we never said bad words at each other, because we were two intelligent and educated people, and this was fun to skate together." ( )

Dmitri Kozlovskiy (pair Boikova & Kozlovskiy) about their former coach - "...Tamara Nikolaevna is amazingly professional! It’s amazing how she always knows how to interact and control, carefully adapting to the athlete. She is always learning something new for herself and is always moving forward." ( )

Anastasia Mishina & Alexander Galiamov about their coach Tamara Moskvina - "...Everything is very quiet with Tamara Nikolaevna. She never yells at us or scolds us. ...We have a friendly atmosphere on the ice. Tamara Nikolaevna will not allow anyone to be disrespected, no matter if it is a coach or an athlete." ( )

- Alexei Mishin raised Olympic Champions Alexei Urmanov and Evgeni Plushenko, World Champion and medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. And many other great skaters.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva about Alexei Mishin - "...Someone needs discipline; someone needs a warmer relationship with the coach. With Aleksei Nikolaevich, it’s everything together. He is a strict coach; he does not shout, but you will obey. On the other hand, you can always talk to him; he can always lighten the atmosphere; he can understand me and feel my mood. He knows how to work with it. And he accepts my mood and does not demand from me what I cannot do today." ( )

- Evgeni Plushenko became coach - "...And I forbid rudeness towards children, and when coaches come to me, I always say that we will work in a calm manner, without shouting. Anyone who is not happy with this either leaves or I fire him." (евгении-плющенко-мне-очень-нравится-тренировать-нравится-общение-с-детьми

- Brian Orser raised Olympic and World Champions as well. Yu-Na Kim, Yuzuru Hanyu, Javier Fernandez. He also coached many other great skaters.

- Doug Leigh was Brian Orser's former coach - "...Leigh starts by assessing a skater's speed, agility, flexibility, power and line. "I'll address skills one step at a time. I'm like an architect. You learn more, and then you shape development. It's all part of my responsibility and my process. I'm always analyzing where the skater is -- constantly...Leigh's coaching envelops human growth and development." ( )

Brian Orser - "...I do spend much of my time managing the top skaters. We make sure they have a plan for the season, monthly and weekly. ...I also make sure that all my skaters understand respect for one another and treat others with simple manners... Teaching some basic “life” tools that they can take with them on their journey. Many don’t have parents around and it makes me proud to witness my skater being kind to a fan or another skater or coach or whomever." ( )

- Silvia Fontana trains Kevin Aymoz.

- Carlo Fassi was Silvia's coaches in youth - "...Just the tone of his voice, the command, it almost transferred so much confidence. He knew exactly how to make you better. And to me, that is how I remember him as a young woman growing up. He gave me a lot of confidence, and whenever I felt that he believed in me, it made me believe in myself that much more."
Then she trained with Frank Carroll and his team - "I learned a lot from the coaches and from the skaters. Now in coaching I find myself relating stories of training times with Michelle, and how she would start off a long program and maybe missing her first jump but continuing the program as if that never happened, in practice as she would do it [in competition]." ( )
Later Silvia moved to Galina Zmievskaya, Viktor and Nina Petrenko, she also speaks very nicely about them.

Kevin Aymoz mentioned his coaches in an article - “A lot of things happened to me and I was really lost. John and Silvia were there, and we worked a lot on ice to help me to push away my problems. I think through that I became stronger and every competition was a fight and every competition was a good memory and good result.” ( )

- Carol Heiss coached Timothy Goebel, Tonia Kwiatkovski. Timothy later won Olympic Bronze medal and World medals.

- Pierre Brunet was Carol Heiss' coach - "...Pierre was a second father to me, and I can say that now because as the years went by, my mother became ill, and he comforted me during my mother’s death..." ( )

Carol Heiss - "On whether it’s harder to compete as a skater or to watch as a coach: Much worse as a coach. I get so nervous. I’m better now but oh, I’m superstitious too...But it’s like a parent. You know you can’t be a parent, you’re a coach...But I also tell them, you’re very special. Anyone who is attracted to the sport of figure skating, it’s the most difficult sport. The more I am around skating, and the more I coach it, and the more I understand it — it incorporates so many different life lessons..." ( )
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