Right at the start of this season, it was my view that Mao Asada should dispense with the triple axel and focus upon her PCS and the rest of her technical content. Largely, she has done just that and she looks far more assured on the ice. Consequently, for the first time in 3 years she has made the grand prix final. Likewise, Carolina Kostner over the last 2 years has scaled down the difficulty of her technical content and focused more on her PCS and those technical elements that she feels more comfortable with. This has brought her enormous success.
There is a lesson in all this for other skaters and it is that it is far better to focus on those elements that you can do and do them well, rather than to overstretch yourself on difficult elements that you cannot always pull off. I think this is something Adelina Sotnikova should seriously look at. In particular, I think she should dispense with the Triple Lutz Triple Loop combination and deploy a Triple Lutz Triple Toe Loop or Triple Flip Triple Toe Loop combination instead. Even during the 2010/11, she was coming unstuck with the 3Zx3L (e.g. Russian Nationals SP). This season, she has had enormous difficulties with that combination and it is clear that it has seriously eroded her confidence in the rest of her skating. She is also flutzing her Lutz - a problem she has always had. I just think that as she is having such a problem with that combination, that she should deploy a 3fx3t instead. That would remove the problem with the edge calls and by doing a toe instead of a loop, that would make the combination far more stable. Furthermore, by deploying a combination that she feels more comfortable with, that would restore her own self confidence in the rest of her skating.
Like Asada and Kostner, Sotnikova is a fantastic all-around skater and I think that by scaling back the technical difficulty and focusing more on her PCS and those technical elements she knows that she do well, she will have far more success. Just as Asada doesn't need the Triple Axel to win, nor does Sotnikova need the 3Zx3L combination.