Alysa Liu Switches to Colorado Coaching Team

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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This type of thing often happens to child stars. Somebody thinks their decision making power over the child caused the child's success and so they try pulling strings, which destabilizes a winning formula . . . then has too much pride to put it back together.

Or just grabs for the nearest shiny thing that looks like it might be feasible. Or doesn’t know as much as they might think they do, and makes a decision based on flawed information.

And there's also the reality that every skater maxes out sooner or later, as in reaching the limit of their physical/mental ability. That's not a diss on skaters who try hard or work hard, or both, it's just a reality. And no coach can "fix" that. Coaches can only work with what the skater has.
 

Jarrett

Go Mirai!
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I really hope it works out. I never saw the grand improvements everyone saw under Abbott. We saw some solid skates and I think people just like Alysa. What I love about Alysa is that she is appears fearless so I think she can do just about anything. Gracie Gold changed to Frank Carroll during the Olympic season and that worked out fine.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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33,006
I really hope it works out. I never saw the grand improvements everyone saw under Abbott. We saw some solid skates and I think people just like Alysa. What I love about Alysa is that she is appears fearless so I think she can do just about anything. Gracie Gold changed to Frank Carroll during the Olympic season and that worked out fine.

Except for the mental and physical health problems that Gracie was developing, partly because of the pressure she was under, and which no one addressed.

Not dissing on Gracie or Frank, just that IMO I wouldn't use Gracie as an example of a skater who "worked out fine" after a coach change during an Olympic year.
 

asdf334

Active Member
Messages
350
I really hope it works out. I never saw the grand improvements everyone saw under Abbott. We saw some solid skates and I think people just like Alysa. What I love about Alysa is that she is appears fearless so I think she can do just about anything. Gracie Gold changed to Frank Carroll during the Olympic season and that worked out fine.

I think it was indeed a major transformation. However, watching even 'mid-tier' skaters like Higuchi and You immediately after Liu was a huge revelation at how much work still needs to be done to get to the next level. The skating doesn't look nearly as big or fast. I think for some this might seem like her progress wasn't that significant.
 

Willin

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As I've said, this is incredibly out of character for Alysa's Dad. It's not that I doubt @tony - just that everything I've seen and heard about her Dad wouldn't have him dumping a coaching team mid-season for no reason. It's so insanely contradictory to both private and public things we know about him.

-He was very loyal to Lipetsky depite many local coaches (even some USFS-connected ones), parents, club officials, etc. trying to get her to a better coach earlier. I heard a lot of her club coaches straight up saying her technique was trash and asking why she didn't go to a different rink (San Jose).

-USFS tried to get her to a better coach several times - to which her Dad remained loyal and only let other people consult for short periods at a time. It even took USFS literally moving coaches to her to get her to switch.

-Her Dad isn't at the rink monitoring her practices. At all. He has no idea how practice is going beyond what he hears.

-She went through a much rougher patch last year (and even a few rough patches pre-National spotlight) and he didn't switch coaches.

And, more privately I know he isn't nearly as results obsessed as people make him out to be. If he was a crazy results-obsessed parent I would've known years ago. And yeah, @overedge, I do think people play him up and make him seem crazy because it's good drama. They cling onto the Michelle Kwan quote like a million dollar bill. But it's not true. There are plenty of skaters in my generation whose parents got them into skating due to Nancy Kerrigan or Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan, some that got to National podiums, and no one takes that as our parents being crazy and overbearing.

There has to be more going on behind the scenes. If @tony's right and it's not USFS, maybe it's a sponsor/funding issue. Maybe it's Tom Z being as slimy as he often seems. Maybe it's not USFS directly but someone affiliated with him. But I refuse to believe that it's her Dad suddenly becoming a crazy nightmare parent overnight for no reason.
 

layman

Well-Known Member
Messages
435
I think it was indeed a major transformation. However, watching even 'mid-tier' skaters like Higuchi and You immediately after Liu was a huge revelation at how much work still needs to be done to get to the next level. The skating doesn't look nearly as big or fast. I think for some this might seem like her progress wasn't that significant.
...but it was. She made huge strides in a relatively short amount of time. I have never seen her skate with more speed than she does this season. I don't understand why the Dad panicked and did not see that.

Yes...compared to the Japanese and Russians, Alysa still has a long way to go, but she was on her way.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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33,006
And, more privately I know he isn't nearly as results obsessed as people make him out to be. If he was a crazy results-obsessed parent I would've known years ago. And yeah, @overedge, I do think people play him up and make him seem crazy because it's good drama. They cling onto the Michelle Kwan quote like a million dollar bill. But it's not true. There are plenty of skaters in my generation whose parents got them into skating due to Nancy Kerrigan or Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan, some that got to National podiums, and no one takes that as our parents being crazy.

I see what you're saying, but I don't think the parents of any of the skaters you named would be described as crazy results-driven parents. Danny Kwan was intense but I got the impression that he wanted his kids to work hard and do their best, not that he was going to disown them if they didn't win all the time.

I don't know Alysa's dad and have never seen him in a rink or at a competition. But I'm also mindful of what others have said here in these discussions, that the pushy results-obsessed parents are not always the ones that are at the rink every day or the ones that are yelling at the coaches or skaters when they are there.
 

canbelto

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I mean you don't have to be like Pat Lipinski to be an "involved" skating parent. I feel like any parent that invests that much time, energy, and money into his child is going to want results.

It's especially intense for parents who don't come from money. Like the Kerrigans or the Kwans -- neither were independently wealthy.
 

layman

Well-Known Member
Messages
435
As I've said, this is incredibly out of character for Alysa's Dad. It's not that I doubt @tony - just that everything I've seen and heard about her Dad wouldn't have him dumping a coaching team mid-season for no reason. It's so insanely contradictory to both private and public things we know about him.

-He was very loyal to Lipetsky depite many local coaches (even some USFS-connected ones), parents, club officials, etc. trying to get her to a better coach earlier. I heard a lot of her club coaches straight up saying her technique was trash and asking why she didn't go to a different rink (San Jose).

-USFS tried to get her to a better coach several times - to which her Dad remained loyal and only let other people consult for short periods at a time. It even took USFS literally moving coaches to her to get her to switch.

-Her Dad isn't at the rink monitoring her practices. At all. He has no idea how practice is going beyond what he hears.

-She went through a much rougher patch last year (and even a few rough patches pre-National spotlight) and he didn't switch coaches.

And, more privately I know he isn't nearly as results obsessed as people make him out to be. If he was a crazy results-obsessed parent I would've known years ago. And yeah, @overedge, I do think people play him up and make him seem crazy because it's good drama. They cling onto the Michelle Kwan quote like a million dollar bill. But it's not true. There are plenty of skaters in my generation whose parents got them into skating due to Nancy Kerrigan or Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan, some that got to National podiums, and no one takes that as our parents being crazy and overbearing.

There has to be more going on behind the scenes. If @tony's right and it's not USFS, maybe it's a sponsor/funding issue. Maybe it's Tom Z being as slimy as he often seems. Maybe it's not USFS directly but someone affiliated with him. But I refuse to believe that it's her Dad suddenly becoming a crazy nightmare parent overnight for no reason.
Thank you for sharing. It's interesting to hear that club (developmental) coaches saw her technical problems early on (but were kept away).
 

Karen-W

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17,587
There has to be more going on behind the scenes. If @tony's right and it's not USFS, maybe it's a sponsor/funding issue. Maybe it's Tom Z being as slimy as he often seems. Maybe it's not USFS directly but someone affiliated with him. But I refuse to believe that it's her Dad suddenly becoming a crazy nightmare parent overnight for no reason.
I just want to point out that @tony's original post as well as the handful of posts he has made in this thread since did not offer any editorializing and all of the conjecture has come from others (myself included to an extent). Regardless of WHY this decision has been made, @tony is quite certain that Abbott & Scali have been fired, that Alysa is currently in Colorado, and that this wasn't USFS-driven.

I think there is a middle ground where everything @tony has reported can be true and still jibe with everything you know about Arthur Liu's character - loyalty, obsession (or lack thereof) with results, lack of heavy-handed involvement in Alysa's day-to-day skating, etc. I suspect you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph. It's entirely possible that Alysa made the decision to relocate (for any number of reasons) and asked her dad to handle the icky, confrontational part of it with her coaches, which is now being presented as "her dad fired her coaches" - well, yeah, she is still only 16, so of course her dad would be the one handling any contractual issues.
 

Skibean

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189
Except for the mental and physical health problems that Gracie was developing, partly because of the pressure she was under, and which no one addressed.

Not dissing on Gracie or Frank, just that IMO I wouldn't use Gracie as an example of a skater who "worked out fine" after a coach change during an Olympic year.
Gracie was known to have shouting matches with her previous coach and some other issues as well. Frank Carroll didn’t cause Gracie’s issues. There was pressure on her long before she switched to him.
 

Brenda_Bottems

Banned Member
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801
Sheer madness.

Pray tell,where is the USFSA? How about they spend less time printing cardboard cutouts and composing canned woke social media postings and actually take charge of this dire situation? Where is figurehead President Cammett? One thing is certain: shenanigans like this NEVER would have been permitted with someone strong and principled like Morry Stillwell in charge.

In a year in which vulgarity has been in vogue in ladies' figure skating,Alysa Liu's tasteful and classical programs have been the proverbial city on the hill. To change the coaching team weeks before Nationals is saddening and flabbergasting.

-BB
 
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bardtoob

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14,311
It's not that I doubt @tony - just that everything I've seen and heard about her Dad wouldn't have him dumping a coaching team mid-season for no reason. It's so insanely contradictory to both private and public things we know about him.
This comment makes me think there may be a legitimate parenting concern completely unrelated skating.

I will point out there has been a rise in shootings in the Oakland, CA area very recently, including a two year old killed in his car seat by a stray bullet while riding in his family's car on the freeway.

 
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skylark

Well-Known Member
Messages
327
What makes the most sense to me is the suggestion that the coaches might have been fired because Jeremy Abbott will be going off to tour with Stars on Ice at a critical time when Alysa needs a coach who can maintain her jumps, and at the very least, not lose ground 2 months before the Olympics. At most, since Massimo and Jeremy together have been advancing her technique a bit at a time, there would be every expectation that this steady improvement would continue over the next months or at least be stable.

I mean, can you imagine Frank Carroll leaving his Olympic-hopeful skaters at such a time, to go tour in an ice show? Or John Nicks, or Rafael, or anyone who takes his or her coaching vocation seriously?

Wiki says that it was announced on Sept. 25, 2013 that Frank Carroll would be Gracie Gold's coach. That's 4 months from the Olympics. Gracie came in 4th in Sochi. Granted, that's twice as much as 2 months. But with Alysa's sunny, stable personality, I wouldn't count out the possibility that she'll take it all in stride. Hunker down and put all her energies toward Nationals and Olympics. I join others who hope that she'd be training with Christy Krall. But there are options in Colorado, and as someone has mentioned, a whole system of resources. I recall Ashley Wagner and Raf spending a month in Colorado before an important competition just for the benefit of the altitude training and the system supporting the skaters.

Whatever happens, I think Alysa is grounded enough to pull it off. I want to see her keep skating. She has such natural talent and a happy, unaffected spirit. She brings herself and many who watch her skating a great deal of joy.
 

Holy Headband

listening to Grassl's Spotify playlist
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It was under Scali and Abbott that she improved massively in terms of spins, skating and expression/musicality. (Feels like they actually did with Liu what Lambiel thinks he's doing with his skaters, but that's a whole other subject...)

It's true her jumps can be problematic, but she's become a special overall skater and she's still so young and her trajectory has been good and Scali and Abbott didn't seem to push her to overtrain or starve herself, which boded well for her longevity and potential for improvement in the next quad.

Even if she stabilises that 3A and fixes her underrotations, there's absolutely no way she's getting on the Olympic podium this season (using e.g. Higuchi's results as reference), so it would have been smart to keep encouraging her and working toward the Olympics without heaping pressure on her to reach her career peak RIGHT NOW and instead to start planning for the next quad, when I genuinely think the wheels may start to come off in Eteri's camp.

I just don't see the point in abandoning what works and moving to a training centre with a mediocre track record mid-season. There must be something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, like personal life or money or timing/scheduling or a conflict of some sort.
 

seabm7

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2,104
What makes the most sense to me is the suggestion that the coaches might have been fired because Jeremy Abbott will be going off to tour with Stars on Ice at a critical time when Alysa needs a coach who can maintain her jumps, and at the very least, not lose ground 2 months before the Olympics. At most, since Massimo and Jeremy together have been advancing her technique a bit at a time, there would be every expectation that this steady improvement would continue over the next months or at least be stable.

Abbot's mid-December tour will be at maximum two weeks including rehearsal time, not two months. The tour starts on the last day of the Grand Prix Final. A parent would not be happy if the coach cannot accompany the child to GPF, but the holiday season in US will follow any way.
 
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skatinggold

New Member
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I don't know why people are complaining about Alysa switching coaches. There must be a good reason, no one is that crazy to switch coaches a few weeks before Nationals and Olympics. What would you do if your primary technical coach left you and is off in skating shows and while you have no technical coach? If I was her dad, I would fire them too. It's no coincidence that the news came out right before the ice show that Jeremy is doing today.
 
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SkateFanBerlin

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There are some questions whether I misinterpreted information, and the answer is simply no. I honestly fully expected to wake up today and have all of the normal crew reporting on this. Alysa's father absolutely fired the coaching team and hastily moved her to Colorado. I don't know if the official coaching situation has been sorted there, but the previous one is over. Also, as much as I think the USFS is sometimes ill-informed or behind the times, I am sure they were not any influence in the decision and I'd venture to guess that they would have strongly advised against this- at least at this point in the Olympic timeline. (ETA- that isn't to say they never have influence, but we are 6 weeks away from Nationals).

We shall see how it goes.
I agree, it was not USFS encouraging the change. They've had enough experience in pushing juniors/new seniors ahead of their time to know these things can't be rushed. I think it's the dad; feel sorry for such a young girl having all this pressure swarming around her.
 

Colonel Green

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I don't see her finishing behind all of the Japanese women - two, yes, but the top US lady is NOT going to finish behind all three of the Japanese women, nor will she finish behind BOTH Korean women. At worst, we are talking about 8th and, if the tech panel is generous/she goes clean, she could be the highest non-Russian finisher (ie 4th).
I don’t see how you could assume this. The highest-placing American woman in Pyeongchang finished ninth. Alysa could readily finish behind all of the cited skaters.
 

kwanette

Fetalized since 1998
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This is per several personal sources- take it as you want at the moment. Her father has fired Scali & Abbott and now she's in Colorado.




Philip Hersh

@olyphil

·
1m

1 / Just got official word on the Alysa Liu coaching situation in a text from her father, Arthur. She has left Massimo Scali and Jeremy Abbott and her SF Bay Area training base and has moved to Colorado Springs to train with Christy Krall, Drew Meekins and Viktor Pfeifer.
 

feraina

Well-Known Member
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2,392




Philip Hersh

@olyphil

·
1m

1 / Just got official word on the Alysa Liu coaching situation in a text from her father, Arthur. She has left Massimo Scali and Jeremy Abbott and her SF Bay Area training base and has moved to Colorado Springs to train with Christy Krall, Drew Meekins and Viktor Pfeifer.
Oh thank god. The best possible outcome in a dreadful situation. I like Krall. She seems both very capable and nurturing for 16 yo suddenly having her world turned upside down.
 

feraina

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I’ve always wondered why Krall hasn’t been more successful since Patrick Chan…

The good thing about Colorado springs for Alyssa is also that she’ll be living at the dorms at the Olympic training center. I would guess? That’s not too bad for a 16 year old, I mean versus on her own or even with a host family. It should be professionally run and have high standards, and she would have many other athletes to socialize with. It’s kinda like going to college early. Not too bad for her age/situation, except there’s so little time before the Olympics to get used to a new life/training situation. I think this makes it also seem like her dad intends for her to stop skating after the Olympics. Well, skating is so expensive. Who can blame him?
 
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