What does Caroline Zhang need to do to work her way back up to the podium?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Yazmeen, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    :eek: That is one of the scariest pre-jump pictures I have ever seen -- the sky-high "mule kick" would be bad enough, but she plants her picking foot so far to the side that her torso is twisted into a corkscrew! :yikes: One has to seriously wonder for the health of her hip and spine.
  2. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    There is a lot of talk of Caroline's mother, but I can't really say too much about that because I have no idea. As to whether Caroline can improve, I would say, most definitely yes.

    Why? Go back and read every criticism of Caroline in this thread. Slow speed, mule-kick, poor basics, look at all of them. Which of these criticisms were NOT true last season? She was slow, had a mule-kick, had poor basics. Yet she was bronze at Nationals and top American at 4CC and World Team Trophy. What changed? The fact is, we don’t know what changed. Maybe an injury, maybe something else, we just don’t know.

    My belief is that if Caroline can fix this mysterious problem, she can get near the top even with all her problems. Then whatever improvements she makes on top of that will only lift her higher.
  3. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    IMO, "what changed" from last season to this one is that Zhang hasn't improved as much as her competitors have. Her "mysterious problem" is really not that mysterious and has been addressed here before -- she hasn't been proactive enough to improve the flaws in her skating (saying is not doing).
    oleada and (deleted member) like this.
  4. tarotx

    tarotx Well-Known Member

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    Caroline changed coaches and had a knee injury and then changed back to her old coach. Plus it was an Olympic year. I think those events can be an excuse for a bad year. That's why I want to see important changes in the off season and will judge her more after nationals 2011.
  5. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

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    ITA. And aside from injury, looking back at that picture makes me wonder how she even manages to get up and rotate that jump most of the time. A skater should draw straight back with the picking-leg/foot for the Lutz and flip. I'm amazed she's not thrown off balance by that sideways leg more often.
  6. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    What changed is the judges started to hammer her for her problems you speak of after patiently waiting for years of them to be fixed. That is the biggest change of all. She will no longer got the same scores she had received her whole career while having those issues without correcting them even if she stays upright. The judges have drawn the line. While that is happening the field is only improving around her both nationally and abroad.

    For the record I am one of those who felt she was robbed of going to Worlds in 2009. The sad thing for her is if she had been sent there the way she was scored in early 2009 events the U.S probably would have gotten 3 spots. She probably would have been in much better sted in the USFSA and international judges eyes (especialy the USFSA) and even with all her issues her career would likely be in much better shape now. Alas as it is, it will take major changes if she is to ever even compete at a senior World Championships.
  7. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Well, many people try to get by with the least amount of work possible. :shuffle: Overtraining isn't good either. The thing is you have to train smart and efficiently, namely by working on the stuff you're bad at. That's the part she hasn't done.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    judgejudy's post says it all as far I'm concerned. She's a lovely skater from the waist up, and her spins and spirals are impressive. But the rest of her skating...not so much.
  9. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    Although the funny thing is that is how I often felt about Cohen. :lol: OK it would be unfair to compare Cohen to Zhang, her jump technique, edges, and speed were never THAT bad. Still I see Zhang as almost sort of a Cohen lite of the younger Cohen. Cohen did atleast develop wonderful musicality and choreography as the years went on (certainly not there in say 2002 though IMO).
  10. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

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    My vote - rediscover her joy/love of skating, else she will never have the fortitude to correct all the other problems everyone has identified.
  11. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    I have read this opinion before, and I can see why some posters believe it. But I just don't buy it. All the ISU and USFSA judges held a secret meeting in a dimly lit, smoke-filled room and decided to get tough on Caroline? I cannot accept that.

    Exactly! Why do so many feel she was robbed? Because she skated better last season. Compare video clips of last season against this season. You can see that Caroline skated more poorly this season than last, even with all the same flaws. Why did she skate worse this season? That is what we don't know.
  12. IceKween

    IceKween New Member

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    No, I don't think that's what anyone is saying. Juniors is totally different from seniors. In juniors, CZ landed the jumps, had great flexibility and gorgeous spins. The speed, the wonky technique, etc were all there then but for a junior skater she was 'worthy'. Now three or four years later skating as a senior the judging panel is looking for something more than that. They didn't have to meet in a secret room to decide to dump her. I'm still in awe at those who didn't recognize Nagasu as the better skater when they went 1/2 at Nationals in juniors. It was so obvious IMO. Nothing is a given in skating, but Nagasu was where I'd put all my money on over Zhang. Zhang just didn't have the basics.


    She looks bigger, maybe taller and heavier. And she's had to really amp up the donkey kick to get her off the ice, even if it is only a couple inches. And really, will you admit that she has looked miserable in her performances this season? There's no heart there, no fun. It's hard watching someone do something that they are clearly gifted at yet being so unhappy doing it.
    What I'd like to know is what is the point of having a coach in the infant stages of a career when they allow such horrendous technique? If MamaZ is so in charge of things, why didn't she say "Uh, no! That looks horrible and l don't want my daughter having knee and hip replacements by 25. Coach, you need to do better at teaching her". Then again maybe she has. I'm not quite familiar with anyone other than Lu Chen that Mingzhu has coached, so maybe Mingzhu just lucked out with a gem first time out.
  13. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    The interesting thing is back in Juniors though Zhang came back to beat Nagasu for the Junior Worlds title even though Nagasu skated cleanly there. Zhang got higher GOE on the jumps and higher PCS. Also by the points Nagasu wouldnt have won U.S Junior Nationals that year either even with her clean performances without the errors Zhang made.
  14. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Caroline Zhang was considered as the next BIG thing, despite her very big flaws. I think judges gave her the marks they think she would deserve in the future. The problem is that she never improved her skating.
    IMO, judging was her biggest problem. If she had the marks she deserved as a junior, she would have been forced to rework her technique at a young age (13 or 14 y.o.) ;)
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  15. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    Did you put all your money on Nagasu 2 months later at Junior Worlds? ........ or last year's Nationals? The fact is, both girls have had ups and downs.

    Caroline's biggest margin of victory came at her first international competition, the JPG Mexico in September 2006 where she won by 53.60 points. Her last event before that was Junior Nationals where she finished 8th.

    The ISU judges in Mexico gave her higher scores than she deserved because of her fearsome reputation? :confused: :confused:
  16. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Coach Li is listed as having started coaching Zhang from 2005. I don't recall offhand if she was her coach at 2005 U.S. Nationals when she won the Novice pewter medal. I know Zhang had several coaches before Miss Li and, from what I've heard from my southern California sources, Zhang's flaws (lack of speed and power in her stroking, small jumps with questionable technique) were often overlooked under the 6.0 system due to her many strengths (flexibility, spins, lines, ability to compete well, not fall much, etc.). Since Zhang usually had excellent results in competition from a young age, she most likely had little reason or motivation to improve/change anything/push out of her comfort zone. It is my assumption that had U.S. judges had been tougher on her at the lower levels (Novice and below), she might have been forced to fix the flaws that are so evident today.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  17. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    There is an old adage ( I'm not sure if it's true. ) about boiling a frog. Supposedly, if you drop a frog in hot water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog in cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it will remain in the water until it dies. This may be what happened to Caroline. If you look at old video clips, her mule-kick is there, but it's not too bad. It seems to have slowly gotten worse over the years. Because it slowly got worse, her coaches may have overlooked it. They would have panicked if her mule-kick showed up overnight.
  18. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

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    If you actually go back and look at the protocols from that event, you'll notice that her main competition wasn't all that fierce. None of the other top girls had the 3flip (which was the required jump in the SP that year). Also, judges weren't deducting for wrong edge take-offs in 2006-07. If they had been, Caroline would NOT have been getting +1s for her Lutz and Lutz combinations in both the SP and FS (and her flip would have likely gotten an "!" as well). Furthermore, in 06/07, the technical panel wasn't scrutinizing downgrades as much as they do today. Had that competition been judged under the current rules (which have hurt Zhang so much), she wouldn't be winning by over 50 points.
  19. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  20. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    Maybe those with access to her FB can mention if she's had any recent updates?
  21. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

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    Caroline needs to make a big change this off season or she is done.
  22. centerstage01

    centerstage01 Well-Known Member

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    IMO, Caroline needs to take this entire year off and rework her technique. Because if she wants any kind of chance at Sochi, this really is the only year she can do this. Work on the jumps, the speed, the footwork...pretty much everything but spirals and spins. She's got those down.

    I really like Caroline, but if she doesn't find someone to lay down the law and if she doesn't follow it to the letter, she may as well forget about ever being on a podium again in a major competition.
  23. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    There really isn't any "OFF". She can take her year to fix her problems, if it takes that long, and still compete. So she finishes 46th at the Grand Prix, so what? She doesn't lose anything by competing and finishing low. Most people on this board have written her off anyway, and she is a non-entity as far as the news media are concerned.

    I don't have the details right in front of me, but somebody over at the MK Forum posted that there was a nice ad featuring Caroline in People Magazine. I will try to find it.

    ........ EDIT ..........

    OK, I found it.

    http://mkforum.net/forum/showthread.php?t=23848
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  24. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    If Zhang seriously works on rehauling her techniques on the lutz and flip then it's most likely she wouldn't even be able to successfully do doubles for quite a while. The only competitions she would be able to do during this interim are local competitions and non qualifying like Liberty Bells. Would Zhang be willing to take that risk?
  25. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    There isn't much risk. Most of her jumps are pretty good, give or take a little speed. She only mule-kicks her flip and lutz.
  26. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Seriously? Her 2A is practically from a standstill and her 3Lo is awful - have you seen her corkscrew entry into it? Her only "good" jumps are the 3T and the 3S, which isn't even very consistent for her.
  27. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Lol, you're right, but the Salchow is often under-rotated ! :p
  28. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    The judges dont seem to feel that way. Even her cleanly landed jumps were almost all getting -GOE this season, not just the flip and lutz. I would like to see her restart her jumping and basic skating technique from the scratch as tough as that is. Most of the rest of her skating is excellent, wonderful spins and spirals, pretty good footwork, beautiful positions, a nice style, elegant and graceful movements, very nice musicality (though this year she didnt give much to some of her performances). However it is becoming increasingly clear she is never going to make it ignoring the most basic fundamental things of the sport which is the ability to skate and do basic things like stride, glide, hold edges, and the ability to jump.
  29. Braulio

    Braulio Well-Known Member

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    This thread again???
  30. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    You know what they say ....... "All roads lead to Rome."

    True, but they DID feel that way last season. They put her lousy technique in front of Rachael's clean technique twice in 2 months. It just seems that even if she does rework her jumps, she won't do well unless she can defeat whatever problem has hampered her this season.
  31. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    That's a gorgeous split falling leaf. Fantastic air position, lovely arms, stretch and everything. Such talent. Le sigh.
  32. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    Nice shot.
  33. Burmese

    Burmese New Member

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    One problem that occurs very early is when other young skaters begin landing jumps with flawed technique. Very dominant parents demand results from the coach,and some give in and achieve the landings with flawed technique. It is very hard to break this later. For example,why are there so many flutzes? It is more difficult in the earlier levels to take off on an outside edge. For the same reason,some coaches teach the toe axel,forever dooming the jump. It is shear economics. Nobody wants to lose their most promising skater. When the judges choose to overlook this there is no motivation for the skater or coach to correct the mistakes.
  34. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    Well, the Olympic season is over now. Caroline can take her time, fix her problems and come back strong when she's ready.

    Next season is going to be very interesting.
  35. wonderlen

    wonderlen New Member

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    All of her jumps are bad bad and bad. She mule-kicks her flip and flutz big time. Her loop always give me a chill and i'm afraid she is going to snap her tiny hip. Same with salcow. Her 2A is the worst; even junior ladies and lower ranked skater can do it better than her. How she managed to get the revolution on that almost standstill jump just amaze me. She is even slower than Rachael Flatt. She has a lot to work on. If she wants to continue to skate till Sochi and want to get on a W or O podium. How long it going to take her to correct her flaws?? Who knows!!
  36. tangerine_dream

    tangerine_dream New Member

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    This isn't my first time saying it, but everytime I've seen Caroline either in person or on TV at a competition, she has looked like she doesn't want to "be there". I'm convinced she'll quit the day she turns 18. There might not be much to improve her skating with such lack of enthusiasm and drive, but at least she can improve her smile by doing something she likes, instead.

    Yes, these are just my impressions. Yes, I could be wrong. Then again lots of people thought Ann Patrice McDonough looked like she was enjoying her time on the ice, too.

    I laughed and would agree with this, but you need to realize that Caroline only skates away from the boards when her mother freaks out and screams at her. If her mother were not there she simply wouldn't skate at all. She's not above throwing fits either, which is often what happens when a coach makes her do things she doesn't want to do, so if she were forced to skate by someone *other* than her mother, it wouldn't fly.

    As to why she isn't improving her jump technique...if she really isn't happy out there, why would she bother? She only gets screamed at to be on the ice, not to be on the ice and fix her jumps. She does whatever gets her by, like anyone else who doesn't give two craps about what they are doing, does.

    I've known Nagasu would end up beating Zhang since the 2003 (2004?) Golden West competition where she was skating as a novice. You could tell one thing about Nagasu: She WANTS to be there, she LIKES to skate. Contrasted by someone who is only on the ice out of fear, Caroline didn't stand a chance. Nagasu has certain things Caroline never had, and would need in order to improve: drive, self-motivation, passion, and a desire to improve. Without these, it's a lost cause.
  37. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    So should I interpret this as she's being forced to skate (or to practice) by her mother?

    If so, she is done. I can relate in a way to this. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, you will never get better. You have to WANT to be good in order to be willing to put in the effort because talent only gets you so far.
  38. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

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    If this is all true, that is so, so sad. I just can't imagine doing that to my child or to any child for that matter.
  39. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Granted, it's also very frustrating for any parent to stand by and watch their child waste away an immense talent.

    For a skater at Caroline's level though, I think the expenses in keeping her in the sport would trump that kind of frustration. :shuffle: At least for my cheapo Asian parents. :lol:
  40. IceKween

    IceKween New Member

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    Hypothetically speaking, maybe her parents are footing the bills for her national level until she gets into a prestigious university? You can sell yourself much better to Stanford or Harvard if you are a nationally ranked skater than a burn-out. Is she entering her junior or senior year of HS?
    It's really a shame that she was taught such bad technique on her jumps. She has a fighting spirit, but when you are fighting against the bad technique constantly it does seem like 'why bother'.