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  1. #21
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    I think her jumps have been getting weaker for years.

    Specifically, I've always thought her pick was too crossed behind her, close, and "outside" the circle (rather than on it) on her flip.

    Her loop was her best (obviously we saw 3loop on the back end of combinations in the past), but now they don't have much trajectory.

    One thing about her early time with Tarasova was that she did a good 3lutz for a while. Then it disappeared.

    Finally, I think her free leg has gotten lower and "draggy"er, especially in the past two years. There's no reason why most of her jumps don't have enough height and time to have a very clean landing, yet she's almost always close to being too crossed on the landings. I think part of it is that she was so used to doing loops on back ends of combinations.

    Although in general early this season it seems like the rest of her skating skills have fallen off, I do chalk it up to being early season. I think her flow, lightness, and extension were the best last year, it's just she had awful programs.

    It's just fascinating to me that after her 2006-07 Chopin SP, which was the perfect program for her, she's really had almost all duds that weigh down her skating skills. I think she's been overworking her jumps, whereas they seemed like she just "did" them in the 2005-07 era.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    The problem is that I don't see any change in her jumping technique. Just that she lost the rhythm.
    Same here. I saw glints of hope and potential for real improvements with those clips from Nagakubo during the summer, but now it seems like all of Mao's bad habits are coming back with interest. Since Artistry on Ice:

    1. Her jumps have even less flow
    2. Her jumps are lower (which is why she's landing all her 3As forward)
    3. Her pulling into her jumps is thrown off - she looks like she can't decide between height or rotation (and now she has neither)
    4. Her flutz has retrogressed back to 2006 quality, with no signs of trying to hold the edge like how she was in the Nagakubo practices

    Seriously, it's like she never worked with Nagakubo at all. Mao or Team Mao needs to stop with the quixotic ideals, withdraw from this season, and just focus on getting her sh*t together because competing isn't doing her any favors since she's just going to second-guess herself on the ice. (end rant)

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    She was landing triple axels in practice at TEB and NHK but they look a bit eeked out with no flow and often two-footed/UR. Mao is re-working her jumps with multiple goals in mind which she has stated in interviews. She wants to be able to achieve all 6 triples cleanly in one LP hence re-working the lutz again and bringing back the salchow, she wants to address criticism of her technique in terms of improving flow out of her jumps which she often lacks and of course she wants to gain more +GoE on them in competition.

    The problem with this is that the short term results just shouldn't be played out on a big stage where judges are watching and her reputation could be tarnished. In hindsight she would have been better to opt out of this season or just aim for Worlds and skip the GP to take some pressure off and get to work without having to worry about other competitions. However I'm not sure that would have even been an option for her considering her enormous value to the Japanese Federation in terms of ticket sales, TV rights and sponsorship. She IS their cash cow after all.

    The other problem is that too many cooks spoil the broth frankly and since 2007 she has had major technical overhauls by Arutunian, Tarasova/Folle (), Nakabuko (SP?) and now Sato. Her flip entry timing has been changed that many times I'm honestly not sure she even knows how to do a single anymore. She must be so confused
    I agree with everything. Most of all she seems so lost right now. Therefore I am glad that she has now a Japanese coach and can stay close to home. This might help her get back on track. Maybe not this season but hopefully the one after that. She is still very young.

    What works in her favor is
    1) she has a great coach now (unlike Folle )
    2) She is now in Japan and will feel better all around
    3) She does not seem to have too many problems with injuries
    4) She has always been very self-critical and self-driven

  4. #24
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    Why? Because she has the vision to look beyond just this season. Even if she is struggling with it all right now, she will find having put it all out there to be useful when she finally masters the jumps again in practice.

    And because she has won everything there is to win besides Olympic gold, and the next chance is 3.5 seasons away. She has all the time in the world to prepare herself for that. So what if she messes up her GPs and even Worlds. It will all be worth it in Sochi (or so she plans).

    And because she was to challenge herself and improve.

    Not everything is about winning. Ando won both her GPs this season but she gets much less respect from me than Asada does.

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    I agree, kudos to her if she wants to take a step back to try to improve. Let's face it Miki and Kira are hardly unbeatable, Mao could have easily rested on her laurels and still beaten them. If she wants to improve her flutz and salchow, this is the season to do it. It's not surprising her axel has gone missing, its such a difficult jump that she needs to giving it top focus to be landing it competition...and she's not, she's focusing on the flutz/salchow/toe. She wants to be at her best in Sochi, and understands she might need to sacrifice this years' results to do that. If she can fix her problem jumps, and skate relatively clean, I'm sure the big PCS will come back pronto, she really has so many great qualities.

    Maybe she'll be successful, maybe not. But I really admire her guts and competitiveness.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyBut View Post
    I agree, kudos to her if she wants to take a step back to try to improve. Let's face it Miki and Kira are hardly unbeatable, Mao could have easily rested on her laurels and still beaten them. If she wants to improve her flutz and salchow, this is the season to do it. It's not surprising her axel has gone missing, its such a difficult jump that she needs to giving it top focus to be landing it competition...and she's not, she's focusing on the flutz/salchow/toe. She wants to be at her best in Sochi, and understands she might need to sacrifice this years' results to do that. If she can fix her problem jumps, and skate relatively clean, I'm sure the big PCS will come back pronto, she really has so many great qualities.

    Maybe she'll be successful, maybe not. But I really admire her guts and competitiveness.
    Exactly. But as a fan, I really hope it works out for her in the end.

  7. #27
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    I don't think any of us here have the right to criticize her. If she feels she needs to rework everything, more power to her. I admire her for her dedication to improve; as the reigning world champion, I'm sure it's not easy for her to go out and skate in front of thousands in the condition she's in right now. But she knows she needs to do it, and hasn't backed away from anything at all.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ponta1 View Post
    I'm sure it's not easy for her to go out and skate in front of thousands in the condition she's in right now. .
    This I think must be the most difficult part of it. To go out there and compete with all the fans , sponsors, critics and media constantly questioning your decisions, agape that the reigning World Champ is not contending for any medals. I don't know how she does it, I'd opt to skip GP completely, but she feels she needs to put her programs out in competitions. She must be of such a strong mind and character, and singlemindedly steadfast in her belief that she's doing the right thing for herself. Who would have though a lady could land 3 3axels in one competition...yet that was her goal last season, and she did it. I hope her efforts will pay off in the long run this time as well.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponta1 View Post
    I don't think any of us here have the right to criticize her. If she feels she needs to rework everything, more power to her. I admire her for her dedication to improve; as the reigning world champion, I'm sure it's not easy for her to go out and skate in front of thousands in the condition she's in right now. But she knows she needs to do it, and hasn't backed away from anything at all.
    I second this post, and the others who are supporting her. I really hope everything pays off for this humble, sweet, determined pixie...and given her track record, she's more likely than not to succeed.

    I haven't really taken to any of the up-and-coming youngsters, Japanese or Russian. There is a uniqueness about Mao that I know I'll miss when she retires in the future, which I hope will be after she peaks and reaches her full potential. A gentle soul with a strong internal core, able to whip off 3Axels while executing difficult steps and pulling off divine, fluid positions... I'm not holding my breath imagining there will be another like her for a long, long time.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakewood View Post
    As I understand it, it was Nagakubo who wanted Mao to rework on her jumps. But, Sato thought it was too dangerous. He wants her to improve only the speed and flow to the jump entry. I think Mao is working on the speed and flow to the jumps.
    Where did you get this information from?

    Because I read somewhere else that Asada had literally started re-learning everything from scratch for some of her jumps, starting at jumping singles....

  11. #31
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    Her jumps has always been small compare to Miki or Yuna, and she relie on fast rotation to compensate for that. If work when you are 15-16 years old, but once you get older and your body get fuller its harder to get the rotation done and thats why Mao has problem with underrotation. On top of that, on her toe pick jump, she goes very low and spring it for heigh.

    But if she wants to get one thing that got a way, O gold, its better in the long run. Like someone said, she pretty much won every thing there is to be won, except the Olympic gold.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakewood View Post
    As I understand it, it was Nagakubo who wanted Mao to rework on her jumps. But, Sato thought it was too dangerous. He wants her to improve only the speed and flow to the jump entry. I think Mao is working on the speed and flow to the jumps.
    Well, on the axel, I find it worse than before. But on the Flip, it's better, but she lost the rhythm on the jump.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    Well, on the axel, I find it worse than before. But on the Flip, it's better, but she lost the rhythm on the jump.
    Whenever you tear down your technique, everything goes: timing, rhythm, and confidence. This isn't a two week process. More like two years. Mao seems unphased by her results this season. Thank heavens for that. If she listened to all of the doom and gloom on the boards, she'd give it up.

    Before she put all of her time and emphasis on the 3A, she had better speed, stroking, and edge control. Her skating degraded horribly in the two seasons she worked with Tarasova. Long distance coaching just doesn't work, nor does working with assistants of the long-distance coach.

    I can see signs that her speed, flow and edges are improving. I look forward to seeing the jumps come around too. But it will all take time. Lots of it.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Figure skating fans are not a patient bunch. But they should be because this sport is a marathon not a sprint.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyBut View Post
    If she wants to improve her flutz and salchow, this is the season to do it. It's not surprising her axel has gone missing, its such a difficult jump that she needs to giving it top focus to be landing it competition...and she's not, she's focusing on the flutz/salchow/toe.
    That's what's so frustrating to see - here's a lady who was a wunderkind that burst onto the scene landing triple axels and triple-triples and attempting quad salchows in practice. Then somehow she lost the toe and salchow (when/why did this happen?). She dropped the flutz, made an attempt to get it back before 2010, then dropped it again. She dropped the triple-triple due to the old UR penalties and swapped in triple axel combos instead. Now the triple axel and flip have left her - leaving her with only the triple loop as her only reliable triple and even that one is prone to UR calls.

    It's really sad to see her go from a jumping bean to having even fewer and less reliable triples than a novice girl. At the Japan Open/NHK/TEB I was hoping to see *some* evidence of improvement even if she fell, but it's disheartening to see her jumps have even smaller height and the flutz is back to the same obvious inside edge and not even landed correctly.

    And maybe it's just me, but she looks unsure and lost out there and the confidence and determination she used to have is not present any more. That's why I'm really wondering if competing and placing well below the podium is doing her any favors because she hasn't been the picture of consistency as of recent years.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantALoop View Post
    That's what's so frustrating to see - here's a lady who was a wunderkind that burst onto the scene landing triple axels and triple-triples and attempting quad salchows in practice. Then somehow she lost the toe and salchow (when/why did this happen?). She dropped the flutz, made an attempt to get it back before 2010, then dropped it again
    But did she really need to drop the flutz? I mean, why not keep on doing it, even with the deductions that flutzing entails? You say that she tried to improve it, but then dropped that project? The lutz is such an important jump, it seems unwise to stop working on it even for a while.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantALoop View Post
    That's what's so frustrating to see - here's a lady who was a wunderkind that burst onto the scene landing triple axels and triple-triples and attempting quad salchows in practice. Then somehow she lost the toe and salchow (when/why did this happen?). She dropped the flutz, made an attempt to get it back before 2010, then dropped it again. She dropped the triple-triple due to the old UR penalties and swapped in triple axel combos instead. Now the triple axel and flip have left her - leaving her with only the triple loop as her only reliable triple and even that one is prone to UR calls.

    It's really sad to see her go from a jumping bean to having even fewer and less reliable triples than a novice girl. At the Japan Open/NHK/TEB I was hoping to see *some* evidence of improvement even if she fell, but it's disheartening to see her jumps have even smaller height and the flutz is back to the same obvious inside edge and not even landed correctly.

    And maybe it's just me, but she looks unsure and lost out there and the confidence and determination she used to have is not present any more. That's why I'm really wondering if competing and placing well below the podium is doing her any favors because she hasn't been the picture of consistency as of recent years.
    She didn't lose her toe and sal. In fact, she has been landing her sal in every competition this season. Kinda ironic, since it has been hailed as a problem jump for her. Her toe jump has improved from before and she landed it consistently last season. From the practices, her flip seemed improved. She was landing axels in practices. They might have been UR, but she was landing them.
    I agree with Dragonlady, I felt Mao handled this as well as she possibly could. If she weren't determined, she would have just withdrawn. I heard some say the sponsers wouldn't let her but meh. If Mao asked, they'd have let her. I think her sponsers would much rather see her come back in a better shape than to see her struggle. Maybe it's just me but I also felt she didn't give up on the performance this season, especially in her LP despite the popped jumps/falls.

  17. #37

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    Mao stopped doing the salchow because working on the quad messed up her timing on the triple.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    ... this sport is a marathon not a sprint.
    Amen to that! The reality is that Mao is not going to please everyone all the time so as the song says, she might as well please herself. If this is what is needs to do, then she should do it.
    A good rant is cathartic. Ranting is what keeps me sane. They always come from a different place. Take the prime minister, for example. Sometimes when I rant about him, I am angry; other times, I am just severely annoyed - it's an important distinction. - Rick Mercer

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    You say that she tried to improve it, but then dropped that project? The lutz is such an important jump, it seems unwise to stop working on it even for a while.
    Mao tried to fix her flutz twice - once during the off-season before with Tarasova (which was less of a lutz and more like minimizing the edge change to a split second), yet the lutz never appeared during the Olympic season. She tried again this summer with Nagakubo and it looked a lot more convincing as she was actually trying to hold onto the edge and turn out her knee. Now it's back to the obvious inside edge that she was doing before Tarasova and Nagakubo, and with less success.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantALoop View Post
    Mao tried to fix her flutz twice - once during the off-season before with Tarasova (which was less of a lutz and more like minimizing the edge change to a split second), yet the lutz never appeared during the Olympic season. She tried again this summer with Nagakubo and it looked a lot more convincing as she was actually trying to hold onto the edge and turn out her knee. Now it's back to the obvious inside edge that she was doing before Tarasova and Nagakubo, and with less success.
    What she was doing with Nagakubo really did look like it was working, and all of his skaters (Suzuki, Imai) have pretty solid jumps with good height. But Sato is great for basic skating and speed.

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