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  1. #1

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    Practicing in Sections Vs. Full Run Throughs

    In the Universal Sports coverage yesterday, it was mentioned that Tomas Verner was now doing full run throughs in his practice sessions, rather than skating sections of his programs.

    I was curious about the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Do skaters who practice sections progress until they do full run throughs days before the competition? Do skaters who practice full run throughs start with sections?

    If you skate sections, do you repeat one section several times before going to the next?

    Just curious.

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    Obviously I'm not an elite, but when I train my program I generally seperate it into three sections. I start doing sections in isolation, then move to doing one, rest, one while in the music, then to back to back, then to full programs.

    Doing this keeps me from wanting to throw up when I start training them.

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    Since I haven't skated a program since I was like 6, I'll stick to dance as an analogy. Running sections is great to focus on the details and polish etc, but eventually you have to string it all together and there really is no substitute for full runthroughs. It's the only way to build stamina. When my students are comfortable dancing a routine I have them do double and sometimes triple runthroughs. Obviously towards the end of the 3rd runthrough it starts to get sloppy but eventually it makes a single runthrough much easier to handle. I would imagine this is the case with skating too. I think it certainly helps with consistency as well.

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    It does, floskate. Double run throughs are extremely helpful, especially when you can get to the point where you can run through both clean. I know of skaters who have done triple run throughs when training to skate at altitude, but I never have. Of course, the one time I competed at altitude, I sucked, so maybe I should have.

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    I hate watching skaters at altitude. I actually fear for them, but I can see the theory behind triple runthroughs as good preparation for it. I really don't understand how just skating sections in practice can really have any benefits at all. It's clear that runthroughs have worked wonders for Verner.

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    ITA with floskate - we always did double and sometimes triple runthroughs in the dance companies I worked with. We would rehearse sections as well, but we always did a few runthroughs at the beginning and end of the day.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

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    I had to do 2 double run throughs a day. I think it helped, if I wouldn't have done them I prob wouldn't have had the stamina I had for competition. Can't imagine how verner just started doing them daily?

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    Doing full run-throughs seems to result in a lack of stamina for some skaters, Verner included. He often seemed to run out of gas partway through his programs, starting out well, but missing jumps and losing speed closer to the end of his program. He commented in an interview that doing full run-throughs has improved his stamina.

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    From what the Canadian commentators say I gather that Russians/Europeans generally full run-throughs? There must be some logic to this system, given how many champions and strong Russian/European skaters they are.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    Doing full run-throughs seems to result in a lack of stamina for some skaters, Verner included. He often seemed to run out of gas partway through his programs, starting out well, but missing jumps and losing speed closer to the end of his program. He commented in an interview that doing full run-throughs has improved his stamina.
    I think you meant, in the first sentence, not doing full run-throughs. Certainly Tomas indicated that the European/Russian style of training does not involve full run-throughs and that was a big change for him when he came to Canada to train.

    Paul Wylie commented on the NBC coverage that, even though it's early days, the change in training style seems to have helped with Tomas' stamina.
    Can't skate but love to watch

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    I don't skate (I'm into roller dance, myself), but I can't imagine sections being helpful once the program is competition-ready (unless, of course, something needs fine tuning. I see limited value in only running sections of a program). In the early days, sections may be useful to break the choreography up and learn the basics of the program, but it's not really going to help you find the flow of the program or get you used to the idea of skating the whole thing.

    Plus, it totally helps with stamina and focus.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Since I haven't skated a program since I was like 6, I'll stick to dance as an analogy. Running sections is great to focus on the details and polish etc, but eventually you have to string it all together and there really is no substitute for full runthroughs. It's the only way to build stamina. When my students are comfortable dancing a routine I have them do double and sometimes triple runthroughs. Obviously towards the end of the 3rd runthrough it starts to get sloppy but eventually it makes a single runthrough much easier to handle. I would imagine this is the case with skating too. I think it certainly helps with consistency as well.
    100 % ITA.
    From a musician's perspective:
    One learns in parts. Then does run- throughs, and then addresses separately all the area which were problematic during the run- throughs. Then complete run- through again, trying to focus on problem areas ( in ideal world). Being able to do several run- throughs in one practice indicates that there is a good chance of a clean run- through under pressure. Of course, sometimes the material is so hard and extensive that it is not possible to repeat a run- through. Then you work on parts, build stamina and hope for the best.
    I cannot imagine doing a competition without prior run- through training. Nerves eat up energy, attention wavers... unless there are build- in resourses, a collapse is likely.
    Would love to know what, if any, are PROS for doing so few run- throughs.

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    As a dancer (ballet,tap, jazz, etc) and former skater I feel that doing a dance in sections can help getting the details and musicality of the dance down. I like to work in sections when cleaning a number and especially for the end of a number since it is usually less rehearsed but once you have the pieces down you have to do run throughs and double run throughs. You may think that you are in good shape but until you are trying to do a hard element with you legs burning you don't realize how much more work is needed. It is also helpful because when you are at a competition you are going to be tired from traveling and you won't have as much training time so having done double runs will help you push thru the pain and you will be working off muscle memory in the routines. The times that I did multiple run thrus of numbers in pratice really benefited me in competition even when something unexpected happened. When I was competiting in one of my dance solos that I had rehearsed hundreds of time I turned the wrong way and because of muscle memory without even thinking about it I was back on track with my choreo.

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    So, what happens with Russian/European coaches who live in North Americans? Do skaters like D&W or Weir practice in sections or full run-throughs?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinakt View Post
    100 % ITA.
    From a musician's perspective:
    One learns in parts. Then does run- throughs, and then addresses separately all the area which were problematic during the run- throughs. Then complete run- through again, trying to focus on problem areas ( in ideal world). Being able to do several run- throughs in one practice indicates that there is a good chance of a clean run- through under pressure. Of course, sometimes the material is so hard and extensive that it is not possible to repeat a run- through. Then you work on parts, build stamina and hope for the best.
    I cannot imagine doing a competition without prior run- through training. Nerves eat up energy, attention wavers... unless there are build- in resourses, a collapse is likely.
    Would love to know what, if any, are PROS for doing so few run- throughs.
    This is what I did for piano, and I'm not a professional by any means. It was just the most efficient way to practice. Determine what parts need working on, work on just those parts until they come naturally (or in my case, at least until I feel pretty confident I can get through it without freaking out ), work on the transitions going into them, then do the whole thing to make sure you can handle the whole thing mentally.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by victorskid View Post
    I think you meant, in the first sentence, not doing full run-throughs. Certainly Tomas indicated that the European/Russian style of training does not involve full run-throughs and that was a big change for him when he came to Canada to train.

    Paul Wylie commented on the NBC coverage that, even though it's early days, the change in training style seems to have helped with Tomas' stamina.
    It's not true for every Russian coach (don't know about the European ones). TAT wrote in her memoirs that she made Kulik do double full run-throughs. It took her a while to persuade him though. Apparently, Kudryavtsev's skaters were not used to such training regiment. It would explain nicely why so many of his skaters failed to perform well under pressure despite having very good technique.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    So, what happens with Russian/European coaches who live in North Americans? Do skaters like D&W or Weir practice in sections or full run-throughs?
    It depends on whether the coaches adapt to the North American system when they get here.

    I remember V&M saying that Canadians was the third or fourth full run-through of their Pink Floyd program which suggests to me that they were accustomed to doing full run-throughs and not doing them was the exception. I've never asked anyone from Canton what method they use so I can't be certain about this though.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by victorskid View Post
    I think you meant, in the first sentence, not doing full run-throughs. Certainly Tomas indicated that the European/Russian style of training does not involve full run-throughs and that was a big change for him when he came to Canada to train.
    Joubert has skated exclusively with french coaches and does full run-throughs. And there are other coaches who don't. I wouldn't talk about a unified style in Europe. It varies.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmsis View Post
    I wouldn't talk about a unified style in Europe. It varies.
    Exactly.

    Chris Howarth talked about the benefits of traing sections during commentary on Eurosport a few years ago. He said something along the lines of it helping mentally because if you make a mistake during competition, it's easier to move on because your used to thinking of the program as seperate parts. I can see that working but I also don't see how you can compete without having done full run throughs. I also read somewhere (no idea where!) that some coaches are not fans of double run throughs as by the end of the second one the skater is so exhausted mistakes creep in which lowers confidence. I guess it depends on the skater and coach. I assume the majority of skaters do a mixture of both.

  20. #20
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    ^ That's why I read somewhere that for double runthroughs, as a skater starts doing them, they'll gradually add parts to the second run through to increase the stamina and confindence. When the coach says that they'll start doing double run throughs, they don't start doing it all at once. They'll do maybe 1 and 1/4 for a little bit then gradually increase to 2.

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