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View Full Version : Phil Hersh - there still is time to enroll at Stanford for the winter quarter



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geod2
12-17-2010, 03:29 PM
I have to say I am shocked how much I enjoyed her performances at 12 and 14. I have not yet witnessed a devolution of style like this in the sport of figure skating. It has little to do with puberty IMO. I don't think I have an explanation for it but at 12 and 14 Rachael had the grace and fluidity that usually comes to more mature skaters. And now it's completely gone. It's the opposite of what you'd expect.

Take her arm movements for instance, fluid and soft in these older videos and where are they now? Puberty does not take away your ability to move arms gracefully or your musicality--you could she was feeling the music. She also seemed to skate more effortlessly and generate more flow as a tween. Jumps did look lighter and better executed but here's one instance where the puberty monster CAN be blamed.

Still I am puzzled. What happened to her? :confused:

IceAlissa-
A very good, clear, honest, no-holds-barred historical perspective of why so many FS fans have been underwhelmed with RFlatt during the last 2-3 years when she was hitting her jumps like a robot, but without the pre-age-15 artistry...

Phil Hersh tried, in vain, to make the same points that many FS fans have also tried to make....
- What would/could Alissa Czisny be like as a skater with college finally behind her?....(now we know)
- What will Rachael Flatt be like as a skater with college directly in front of her?...(remains to be seen...so far, not good)

Phil missed (or postponed??) the chance to specifically tell us why Alissa Czisny could stage one of the great comeback stories of figure skating,
and what it would take for Rachael to do likewise ....other than the too-obvious "better results"...


_________

Yazmeen
12-17-2010, 03:53 PM
I have to say I am shocked how much I enjoyed her performances at 12 and 14. I have not yet witnessed a devolution of style like this in the sport of figure skating. It has little to do with puberty IMO. I don't think I have an explanation for it but at 12 and 14 Rachael had the grace and fluidity that usually comes to more mature skaters. And now it's completely gone. It's the opposite of what you'd expect.

Take her arm movements for instance, fluid and soft in these older videos and where are they now? Puberty does not take away your ability to move arms gracefully or your musicality--you could she was feeling the music. She also seemed to skate more effortlessly and generate more flow as a tween. Jumps did look lighter and better executed but here's one instance where the puberty monster CAN be blamed.

Still I am puzzled. What happened to her? :confused:

Is it possibly that when she was 12-14 she was still an "up and comer" and there was no pressure on her to have a particular style and get particular results? Now, things are different. There seems to a desire to "package" Rachel a certain way to get her to stand out from her competitors. I think a lot of what was lovely about her skating has been lost in that "well, she isn't natually adorable (Mirai), she isn't ethereal and elegant (Alissa), she doesn't have the lines and the blunt competitiveness (Ashley), so we'll package her to be the happy little Broadway baby with lots of mugging, overacting and cuteness to make her stand out" effort by her coach/choreographer. And she is starting to suffer for it, because all that really stands out now is her jumps, and when they go south, so does she.

Debbie S
12-17-2010, 04:20 PM
Still I am puzzled. What happened to her? :confused:I think when she moved up to Seniors (maybe not the first year, but after that), there was a push to make her look more mature. She was young, after all, when she moved up. I think she and her team went too far - instead of the bubbly-ness, we now have the I'm-so-dramatic angst look that just falls flat with audiences and judges. At her first int'ls, Rachael stood out among the U.S. ladies b/c she could land her jumps, but now others (Alissa, Mirai, Ashley) are landing jumps and present much better.

I saw Rachael at Liberty (big summer comp) in 2007 (I think) and I was struck by how slow she was moving across the ice - she almost came to a complete stop during her footwork. Spins slowed down, too. What she really needed to do was work on her power rather than the angst - that would have made her look like a Senior lady.

overedge
12-17-2010, 06:48 PM
What about off-ice fitness conditioning? I've always wondered about Rachael's stamina in a long program...her beginning speed is ok (not great though), but it really loses steam in the last half, especially with the later jump elements and footwork.

Do you really think that Rachael* isn't* doing off-ice conditioning? I don't. If she isn't, she's probably be the only elite-level skater in any discipline who isn't. I highly doubt that is the cause of her problem(s).

IceAlisa
12-17-2010, 07:39 PM
I think when she moved up to Seniors (maybe not the first year, but after that), there was a push to make her look more mature.

Thanks all for your replies. The thing is even at 12 Rachael looked and presented a very mature style. She had sort of a nice lyrical senior skater foreshadowing. And she had some power, she moved through the ice a lot faster than she does now.


I still don't understand how you can lose everything: style, power, interpretive skills and grace. I understand that puberty can rob you of jumps but until now Rachael had that. But nothing else.

Never having seen these tween videos of her skating before I honestly thought that Rachael is tone deaf musically and naturally graceless, lumbering jumping (underrotating) machine. And that her basics just suck. That is NOT the case. Or rather WAS NOT the case.

She is capable of stretching, of looking elegant, of interpreting the music naturally and of flowing over the ice, it turns out. She needs to fire everyone around her, start new and healthy off ice conditioning and eating habits that would allow her to partially recover the long look she had (this doesn't mean starving or losing curves, just leaner and meaner look), hire someone who can coach her back to the Rachael she was just a few years ago in terms of interpretation and style. And hire a ballet teacher for goodness sake! Lose Lori Nichol too.

pinky166
12-17-2010, 08:03 PM
I don't know. Is there any style that really suits Rachel? I think she shares the same problem with Miki. Every time of music serves merely as background for her technical elements. But in Rachel's case, she doesn't even have the jumps Ando has.
Also, I'm not sure if puberty was a big thing for Mao. She had her big growth spurt under Rafael and was survived pretty well. I think the bigger culprit was her lack of a real coaching situation with TAT.

Miki has several things going for her in comparison to Rachael though. One, her jumps are much bigger/better and therefore have more of a impact and can make up for other weaknesses, two, her bodytype is leaner/thinner and this improves the lines in her spins and spirals which otherwise wouldn't be very impressive, and three, her programs although boring at least accentuate her strengths (jumping), usually she choses powerful music and the jumps occur at crescendos with the music.

If Rachael can get her jump consistency back she should ditch this whole jazz thing and amp up the conditioning so she can be a Miki or Irina type of skater. The whole trying to develop artistry isn't really working, IMO.

peibeck
12-17-2010, 09:42 PM
I still don't understand how you can lose everything: style, power, interpretive skills and grace. I understand that puberty can rob you of jumps but until now Rachael had that. But nothing else.



In late 2006 (or maybe it was early 2007) she had a severe back injury (cracked vertebrae) which has limited a lot of her flexibility especially in spins/spirals. I think her style has been effected ever since then.

IceAlisa
12-17-2010, 10:10 PM
In late 2006 (or maybe it was early 2007) she had a severe back injury (cracked vertebrae) which has limited a lot of her flexibility especially in spins/spirals. I think her style has been effected ever since then.

Hmm, that could explain some but not everything that her skating suffered. Her back may have lost flexibility as a result but what about the rest of her? Kwan didn't have a particularly flexible back, couldn't do a nice layback and resorted to the rather aesthetically pleasing crescent spin instead; and otherwise looked elegant on the ice.

MacMadame
12-17-2010, 11:03 PM
Kwan didn't have a particularly flexible back, couldn't do a nice layback and resorted to the rather aesthetically pleasing crescent spin instead; and otherwise looked elegant on the ice.

But everyone is different and every "bad back" is different. It's possible that Rachael's back problems limit her in ways that make people think she is 'lumbering' while Kwan's particular issue did not.

Also, Kwan ended up with pretty bad hips at the end. Maybe Rachael is trying to avoid that.

IceAlisa
12-17-2010, 11:15 PM
But everyone is different and every "bad back" is different. It's possible that Rachael's back problems limit her in ways that make people think she is 'lumbering' while Kwan's particular issue did not.

Also, Kwan ended up with pretty bad hips at the end. Maybe Rachael is trying to avoid that.

If her injury was such that this is the only way she can skate now, I'd consider it a career ending injury. And we are back to square one: Stanford.

Skittl1321
12-17-2010, 11:20 PM
If her injury was such that this is the only way she can skate now, I'd consider it a career ending injury. And we are back to square one: Stanford.

Except that with the back injury she got to the GPF (and the Olympics). So she might be ungraceful, and kind of boring- but she's better than most ladies, otherwise she wouldn't have qualified. It's not like she's doing that badly. It's been one bad competition, due to another injury, that may or may not resolve itself. I'm waiting to see how she does in the next one before I write her off.

Coco
12-18-2010, 01:13 AM
Hmm, that could explain some but not everything that her skating suffered. Her back may have lost flexibility as a result but what about the rest of her? Kwan didn't have a particularly flexible back, couldn't do a nice layback and resorted to the rather aesthetically pleasing crescent spin instead; and otherwise looked elegant on the ice.

Aren't you a doctor?

A bad back and residual pain could totally affect how she moves her arms and her quality of movement.

It's also possible that self-consciousness has reared it's ugly head for her post-puberty like it does to so many. Hope she never reads here!

But honestly, and this is really stepping in it, I've always got the sense that those around her want to still see her as a little girl and a perfect child, and not the young woman she has become. I think this has all contributed to the style of her programs and perhaps the inability of those in her camp to see and adequately address her flaws. And ALL skaters have flaws. She's hardly alone here.

B.Cooper
12-18-2010, 05:45 PM
In late 2006 (or maybe it was early 2007) she had a severe back injury (cracked vertebrae) which has limited a lot of her flexibility especially in spins/spirals. I think her style has been effected ever since then.

Flatt suffers from several bulging discs in her lower back that occurred back in 2006 according to the interview she did with SKATING magazine . She said in her interview that she has worked to improve the strength in her back to protect the discs, which are still bulging. I suspect surgery will be the only way to correct the injury.

query5
12-18-2010, 05:49 PM
in a way i agree with phil hersh.
rachel didn't skate bad at skate america. she won the free skate.
she didn't skate bad at gpf, if was injuy maybe, but has she really ever fought through her programs and more like just skated.
she might be saving herself for nationals.

IceAlisa
12-18-2010, 06:10 PM
Coco, the injury may or may not affect the rest of her movements--every back is different. It would be unusual in someone so young and fit but you never know. I don't even know which vertebrae is involved. But if it does, as I've said before, than this is likely a career-ending injury.