Actually, I mean skating skills, which is perhaps the most weighty component of all five. This is not about Rachael Flatt, or Tom Z's students, or whoever. Frankly, excellence in skating skills among US skaters (excluding ice dance) are few and far between. I don't even need both hands to count the top few US skaters who have skating skills that are comparable to the internationally competing Japanese skaters: In men, Jeremy Abbott, Keegan Messing, and possibly Nathan Chen and Jason Brown, although I have not yet seen the latter 2 live and cannot predict they will develop into excellent mature skaters. In women, Mirai Nagasu, and Alissa Czisny in practice but usually not in competition. Others may add a few more, but you get the idea. I am not a skater and don't know how much time and effort it takes to *drastically* improve one's skating skills, but I suspect that when you get to Caroline Zhang or Rachael Flatt's or Adam Rippon's age, it's way too late to turn into Chan or Kozuka with hard work or a magical coach. I suspect that the key issue lies with developmental coaches, not the prominent coaches who get their skaters at 14 or 15 or 16 or even later. Perhaps, my guess is, Japan (Canada?) has a few developmental coaches who are better at teaching the fundamentals to younger kids than the average US coach. Or, perhaps, the culture n the US skating circle puts more pressure on learning jumps as early as possible, and skaters who are slower in learning difficult jumps are discouraged from continuing. What can anyone do to improve the overall competence of US skaters' skating skills? I don't know. Have younger skaters train with ice dance coaches? (Do their parents have the money for extra lessons?) Shift the jump-centric training culture for young skaters? (Is it even possible in a quad-crazed era?) Incorporate figures early in training?