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  1. #1
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    Genesis of bad technique

    I was reading comments in the Caroline Zhang thread re CZ, Vanessa Lam, Yasmin Siraj, etc. and was ready to post there, but thought a separate thread might make this more interesting -

    Why do you all think a coach permits a pupil to learn bad technique?

    1. Physical limitations: The pupil is limited and can't handle anything beyond whatever gets them to rotate?

    2. Coach tries to teach, but pupil doesn't listen?

    3. Coaching is bad, takes the money year in and year out and pupil suffers

    Something else???

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    #3.

    I don't think most coaches "allow" bad technique. It takes a real dedication and determination to want to skate correctly. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink...

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    Any or all of the above.

    Are we talking about jumps or about basic skating? Because those talents don't always go together, and coaches' coaching strengths don't always include both.

    Some skaters are more talented, and more committed to serious training, than others.

    Some coaches are more talented and knowledgeable than others.

    The skater needs to be exceptionally talented and/or hardworking ever to learn triple jumps. A skater who does have those qualities but who starts out with a less knowledgeable coach who mostly teaches recreational skaters who never get beyond doubles may develop bad habits before they reach the point of switching to a better coach.

    On the other hand, a less talented skater who starts out with a strong coach may be able to get pretty far with good technique, but ultimately their success will be limited by the limits of their natural physical gifts.

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    In the beginning was Good Technique, and the Good Technique was with God, and the Good Technique was God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Any or all of the above.

    Are we talking about jumps or about basic skating? Because those talents don't always go together, and coaches' coaching strengths don't always include both.

    Some skaters are more talented, and more committed to serious training, than others.

    Some coaches are more talented and knowledgeable than others.

    The skater needs to be exceptionally talented and/or hardworking ever to learn triple jumps. A skater who does have those qualities but who starts out with a less knowledgeable coach who mostly teaches recreational skaters who never get beyond doubles may develop bad habits before they reach the point of switching to a better coach.

    On the other hand, a less talented skater who starts out with a strong coach may be able to get pretty far with good technique, but ultimately their success will be limited by the limits of their natural physical gifts.
    You could be right about needing to learn a different technique if you plan to do triples. I overheard a coach (who used to compete at the senior level internationally) instructing her student who already had a double toe loop. She wanted her to change her technique. She was telling her that the new technique would seem awkward at first, but it was a better technique for doing triple jumps when the time came.

    However, hasn't Caroline Zhang been training with elite coaches for a long time? I think she has just gone through a complete change in body type. I've seen young girls who had all of their single jumps at seven just starting on doubles at 13 or 14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    You could be right about needing to learn a different technique if you plan to do triples. I overheard a coach (who used to compete at the senior level internationally) instructing her student who already had a double toe loop. She wanted her to change her technique. She was telling her that the new technique would seem awkward at first, but it was a better technique for doing triple jumps when the time came.

    However, hasn't Caroline Zhang been training with elite coaches for a long time? I think she has just gone through a complete change in body type. I've seen young girls who had all of their single jumps at seven just starting on doubles at 13 or 14.
    Caroline had awful technique back in 2007, 2008 when she was still tiny. The mule kick was already there.

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    Sometimes coaches (or skaters, or skater's parents) want to have good results as soon as possible. But learning how to jump correctly and improving skating skills always take time. Coaches like Mishin whose students have solid technique would never let the kid to do triples when they are not sure he/she will do it correctly. Other coaches only care if the kid is able to land the triple and win the competition now. That's it

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    ^Thanks for the feedback, all.

    I agree that sometimes the coach wants an immediate result and lets the pupil/competitor do whatever they can to rotate a jump, and get thereby get immediate results for any given competition.

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    Not to mention that some kids don't move to private coaching until they have a couple of doubles. If a kid figures out how to rotate an axel or double toe on their own or in a group class setting, that may be ingrained for a while.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Plus, coaching change is rarely good for this. When you have different coaches during the year, the summer practices...
    To have a proper technique, you need to work a lot, and as a coach, you need to tell the skater that it's bad, many many times !
    If the coach wants the skater to stay with him/her, it's better to say "yeah, not that bad" instead of "very bad, try again".

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    Vanessa's technique isn't exactly that bad. She just doesn't get much height on her jumps and the entrances are a little rushed and jerky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    ^Thanks for the feedback, all.

    I agree that sometimes the coach wants an immediate result and lets the pupil/competitor do whatever they can to rotate a jump, and get thereby get immediate results for any given competition.
    sounds like you are talking about Machiko Yamada! Her students have the worst techniques.
    Last edited by ks777; 02-08-2011 at 12:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    Vanessa's technique isn't exactly that bad. She just doesn't get much height on her jumps and the entrances are a little rushed and jerky.
    I would say that Vanessa's technique is one of the worst among the top US ladies at this point. I fear a growth spurt disaster. She has improved tremendously this year, so one can only hope she works on her jumps after Korea.

    And on the subject of Yamada, yes, many of her students have poor jumping technique...Asada and especially Murakami. That lutz!

    I'm confused about Siraj though..seems to me that her technique is pretty sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    I'm confused about Siraj though..seems to me that her technique is pretty sound.
    Wow, Jenna, we're disagreeing completely on skaters' jump techniques! Just because Vanessa gets little height and is very jerky on her landings and takeoffs doesn't mean the rest of the technique is bad.

    Anyway, Siraj definitely doesn't have good jump technique. She delays the rotation too much on her axels and salchows. Also on her lutzes and flips, the alignment of her legs to her torso is not exactly straight in the air. If Siraj grows any more she won't be landing those triples anymore.
    Last edited by smarts1; 02-07-2011 at 11:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    She has improved tremendously this year, so one can only hope she works on her jumps after Korea.
    Aside: Vanessa Lam wasn't named to Junior Worlds - she is the first alternate.

    In Caroline Zhang's case, she was judged under 6.0 through 2005 Nationals when she won the pewter medal in Novice. Had IJS been in effect earlier, who knows how different her jump technique would be today?
    Last edited by Sylvia; 02-08-2011 at 12:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    Wow, Jenna, we're diagreeing completely on skaters' jump techniques!

    Anyway, Siraj definitely doesn't have good jump technique. She delays the rotation too much on her axels and salchows. Also on her lutzes and flips, the alignment of her legs to her torso is not exactly straight in the air. If Siraj grows any more she won't be landing those triples anymore.
    Why is it bad for her to delay the rotation on her axels and salchows? In order to prepare skaters for triple axels and quad salchows, it is common for coaches to have them do double axels and triple salchows with delayed rotation. That forces them to get enough height for an additional revolution if they just pull in sooner. The real problem is when a skater starts rotating as soon as she leaves the ice and doesn't jump very high. Once she grows bigger and heavier, she won't be able to complete the revolutions in time.

    I think a coach always has two choices: (1) Let the skater go on to learn the next element once she demonstrates a reasonable grasp of the first one, in order to keep the student interested and challenged, or (2) don't let the skater start learning the next element until she has perfected the form on the first one.
    In an ideal world, where little girls' bodies didn't have a limited number of years in which they could learn triple jumps and where kids and parents didn't lose patience with an apparent lack of progress, every coach would hold every skater back until each element was perfected. That's not the way it is, though, and I actually know some teenage skaters who have had to drop out of competition because they were taught by perfectionist coaches and never got beyond perfect single axels and a few perfect doubles. It is arguably harder to learn triples for the first time after puberty than to relearn triples after landing them with poor technique.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    In Caroline Zhang's case, she was judged under 6.0 through 2005 Nationals when she won the pewter medal in Novice. Had IJS been in effect earlier, who knows how different her jump technique would be today?
    Exactly. She was still able to do well in competitions under 6.0 because she was landing triples through 3Lz (albeit underrotated) when her competitors were only landing easier jumps. She didn't get scoresheets with those annoying < marks and points subtracted, and that made it easier to ignore that she had an underrotation problem that needed to be addressed.
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 02-08-2011 at 12:14 AM.

  17. #17
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    ^ By delaying the rotation too much, I meant that there is excessive delay. For example if you look at her salchow, she doesn't even get into rotation until the 2nd rotation when you should to the very least get into rotation by the end of the first rotation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smarts1 View Post
    ^ By delaying the rotation too much, I meant that there is excessive delay. For example if you look at her salchow, she doesn't even get into rotation until the 2nd rotation when you should to the very least get into rotation by the end of the first rotation.
    How is it possible to "not be into rotation until the 2nd rotation"? Either you're rotating or you're not. Do you mean get into a cross foot position?
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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    ^ Yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Aside: Vanessa Lam wasn't named to Junior Worlds - she is the first alternate.
    Oh no!

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