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Thread: Tom Z's skaters

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    Tom Z's skaters

    Do you think that Tom Z's skaters are receiving inadequate coaching? It seems like many of his skaters are lacking in basic skating skills. (Skills such as power in stroking, flexibility, musical interpretation, line and edging) If so, should the USFSA interfere and ask him to change his approach to training?

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    Clearly he is good at teaching jumps and consistency.

    But I wish he worked with someone else for basic skating skills and the presentation side of things. None of his skaters, aside from Abbott, have very good basics. Additionally, his skaters are honestly just boring, show little understanding of the music and showmanship and are packaged very poorly. Zawadzki shows such potential, but I'm afraid it's totally going to go to waste unless she finds someone else to work with for her basics, speed and gets better programs/packaging.

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    The thing is Tom Dickson works at his rink so some of skaters should at least be balletic and have good artistry. But none of them especially the ladies do. Maybe they should all go to Mitchell. Perhaps, Tom Zzzzz and Mark Mitchell should join forces and create a mega-rink. After all, all of Mark Mitchell's pupils are artistic yet can't jump to save their lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oleada View Post
    Clearly he is good at teaching jumps and consistency.

    But I wish he worked with someone else for basic skating skills and the presentation side of things. None of his skaters, aside from Abbott, have very good basics. Additionally, his skaters are honestly just boring, show little understanding of the music and showmanship and are packaged very poorly. Zawadzki shows such potential, but I'm afraid it's totally going to go to waste unless she finds someone else to work with for her basics, speed and gets better programs/packaging.
    I was actually thinking about Zawadski in particular as I was writing this post. It's all too easy to focus on Rachael Flatt's flaws, but Zawadski is on the verge of making an impact on Nationals and yet she needs so much additional training to impress the judges and become a well-rounded skater.

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    I don't disagree with these points, but there's not really anything USFS can/should do. These things go in cycles. After Mroz, Flatt, and Zawadzki either finish their careers or move on to other coaches, the well will dry up to some degree. Or some other coach will spring up in the CO Springs area and begin stealing students. Tom and Becky obviously have some skills to be training as many successful skaters as they do. But I do think they've been lucky also to acquire some natural talents like Ryan Bradley and Jeremy Abbott. Kind of how the Scoltvolds had Nancy Kerrigan and later Jenny Kirk, who lacked the natural talent that Nancy had and their old-fashioned style could only take her so far.

    Regarding Agnes, I get the feeling she's no fool. If she begins to feel that her skating is stagnating, she will make the necessary changes. At least, I'd like to think so. It's only her first year as senior, so we'll see what develops...

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    Quote Originally Posted by haribobo View Post
    ITom and Becky obviously have some skills to be training as many successful skaters as they do. But I do think they've been lucky also to acquire some natural talents like Ryan Bradley and Jeremy Abbott.
    I think Tom has quite a few talented skaters under his wing right now, and it would be a shame to waste their talent and potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oleada View Post
    Clearly he is good at teaching jumps and consistency.

    But I wish he worked with someone else for basic skating skills and the presentation side of things. None of his skaters, aside from Abbott, have very good basics. Additionally, his skaters are honestly just boring, show little understanding of the music and showmanship and are packaged very poorly. Zawadzki shows such potential, but I'm afraid it's totally going to go to waste unless she finds someone else to work with for her basics, speed and gets better programs/packaging.
    IIRC, I don't think Abbott learned to skate with Tom Z and his basics is attributed to the fact that he spent some time training in ice dance which benefits him today. I'm hoping Zawadzki runs far, maybe to Callaghan, Laws or someone in Canada but it doesn't seem like many of Tom's students leave him.

    He must be doing something "right" that many of his students are loyal enough to stay. Someone like Alex Gilles has good basics but is getting no where and it seems like she's been forgotten by him. Her placements are getting worse.

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    I find his personality so off-putting. He does seem to inspire a certain amount of loyalty in his skaters, and there must be a reason for that, but I don't know what it is. I remember last year when he did his Olympic blog, he had the post about "Real Men Do Quads," criticizing the US men for not trying quads in the SP and then when he got some blowback in the comments, he was ridiculously defensive and catty, even going so far as to tally up all the quads Jeremy landed in competition when training with him compared to with Yuka.

    Anyway, Agnes definitely needs to get out of there, and I bet she will after this season, but not to Callaghan. I don't think anyone should train with him.

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    Not necessarily a negative.

    I remember reading an interview with Tom Z on icenetwork.com, and when he mentioned Rachael's college plans, he said he was open to whatever she chose, though he also said 'the Flatts have been so loyal'.

    I wasn't sure what to make of that statement then, and I'm still not sure now. Did he mean just that they would handle the situation with courtesy, or that the Flatts have stuck with him as a coach even when their relationship wasn't so great?

    To me, the statement seems to miss the point. Rachael should do whatever is best for her skating, and her coach should support that, and understand when she needs something new. It seems to me after this weekend's performance, Rachael is very much in need of a new coach to round out her skating, to push her more, and give her a new perspective. She's growing up, and forging a more adult relationship with a new coach can help her mature on the ice as well. And I don't think a coaching change is a negative thing, or a slight against Tom Z. I think it's just a part of growing up and becoming a stronger skater.

    I really hope that Rachael makes the leap to a new coach sooner rather than later, so she can get comfortable in a training situation close to Stanford well before she begins attending there. That will give her greater stability next year, and help her really make those changes she's been focusing on.

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    One of my friends who trains at the Broadmoor said Tom Z doesn't give Ryan alot of 'attention'. Meaning he doesn't really care about Ryan's training or anything.

    ETA: This was when Brandon Mroz became a breakout star, like in 2009.

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    I hope that Mroz would try to get Frank Carroll as his coach.

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    I dunno. Abbott is a special case, he is an innately musical skater, he would express music with whomever he trained. For the rest, of which many are great technicians- they all need more individual input ( Ryan B. aside)) he is a natural entertainer. So, at least one could say if Tom Z. does not exactly develop artistic side he does not kill it if one is so inclined) Who interests me these days are Zawadski and Farris- they have what it takes, will they develop in both technical AND artistic direction?
    I used to adore Dickson, still do- but I don't know- does he ( or Lindgren) have a say in artistic development of skaters at CS? Or do they have a say only if somebody comes to them for choreography? I do not like Mroz's SP at all this year- and am rather confused about what Dickson is thinking; I used to think he could do no wrong
    improving my ballad- like lines

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanbfan View Post
    ETA: This was when Brandon Mroz became a breakout star, like in 2009.
    I saw Tom Z., Brandon, and Jeremy together at a competition, and it was clear that Tom's attention was more on Brandon. Jeremy looked very unhappy around them, and not too long after that Jeremy moved to Yuka. I got an impression that Tom was very controlling. I think that type of coaching may be okay when skaters are younger, but it may become a problem as skaters get older....

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    Wasn't there something on the internet about how Tom Z. uses negative reinforcements to get results? Like how he would make poster boards with his students' rivals and put them by the barrier as they train? Or am I just making this up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indra486 View Post
    Wasn't there something on the internet about how Tom Z. uses negative reinforcements to get results? Like how he would make poster boards with his students' rivals and put them by the barrier as they train? Or am I just making this up?
    I wonder if Patrick Chan is on one of those poster boards?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanbfan View Post
    One of my friends who trains at the Broadmoor said Tom Z doesn't give Ryan alot of 'attention'. Meaning he doesn't really care about Ryan's training or anything.

    ETA: This was when Brandon Mroz became a breakout star, like in 2009.
    I heard this also. I think this is also partly why Jeremy left CoSprings in 2009. The tension between him and Brandon at the USOC Media Summit in summer 2009 was visible...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indra486 View Post
    He must be doing something "right" that many of his students are loyal enough to stay. Someone like Alex Gilles has good basics but is getting no where and it seems like she's been forgotten by him. Her placements are getting worse.
    I think you said it best: he's got too many skaters to have a flock of perfect skaters. Not that I think he's a bad coach or that his students aren't good.

    For Rachael, I think a coaching change is necessary because I think she needs fresh perspective. It's too early to decide for Agnes. I think Tom has helped her a lot already. He did take her from a nervous kid who couldn't skate cleanly in competition-ever-to a young lady who doesn't panic in competition. Alexe may benefit from some more time-she herself said that this is the first season where *she* has been the sole focus in her family. I think they all have potential (yes, even Rachael) and just don't know how to get from where they are now to where they want to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edonice View Post
    I really hope that Rachael makes the leap to a new coach sooner rather than later, so she can get comfortable in a training situation close to Stanford well before she begins attending there. That will give her greater stability next year, and help her really make those changes she's been focusing on.
    Another thing: I was so afraid based off of something Rachael said that she was going to wait until the summer to make the transition...BAD idea! I almost think it would be better for her to finish out the season with two coaches than to wait.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanbfan View Post
    One of my friends who trains at the Broadmoor said Tom Z doesn't give Ryan alot of 'attention'. Meaning he doesn't really care about Ryan's training or anything.
    I have heard the same thing about Jeremy when he trained there. What I heard is that Jeremy could only get a lesson at 6 am, even when he was nat'l champion.

    In Tom Z's Oly blog, I think he mentioned something about pushing his male senior skaters to do a quad in the SP cost him Jeremy as a student. I think there was more to it than that. Whatever the reason, I'd say it was a good move for Jeremy.

    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    I wonder if Patrick Chan is on one of those poster boards?
    Since Patrick trains at the Broadmoor rink now, I would doubt it.

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    I'm not a fan of the guy and after watching the final I not a fan anymore. Poor Rachael was very upset and there he was grinning away for the cameras. Not a pat on the hand or anything. Chan is there because he loves the dartfish. And from what I have seen with Ryan B, I don't think anyone could say anything to him and he would listen. Maybe a long time ago he did.
    I think Tom and his teams do well with skaters until they become contenders, then they seem to get stuck.

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