Simonenko's interview with Tutberidze `Projecting the upbringing on the sport results discipline'

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Andrey Simonenko's interview with Eteri Tutberidze `Projecting education on the sport results discipline' for rsport.ru (please click the original article link for the paper's counter)

AS: Eteri, many specialists explain the success of our rivals in the men skating with anthropological reasons. Do you believe there is an `asian bones structure' or an `asian muscle' thanks to which it is, as if, easier to jump.
ET: I would talk about the East in general. I think they are indeed a bit different. In some sports it might be easier for them.

AS: And yet, what is it more - the physiology or mentality?
ET: Mentality. They are raised not to ask questions. Not even in their mind. Our athletes start rethinking what the coach told them to do and whether they should or should not do that. Especially when it's about repeating the same move. `Well, I already did it now, so the coach didn't like it?'. They are in conflict with themselves and it bothers the work. The people in the East don't have it. They were told to do a move, no matter whether do or re-do, they just go and do it.

AS: So why there were no successful Japanese skaters in the past? It all started with Takeshi honda in the end of 90s.
ET: The process began then, the results came later. They put more money in the skating and the skaters, including Yuzuru Hanuy got a chance to practice abroad. They also realized they should not close within the country. Or in Asia in general. Almost all the Asian skaters left their countries at some point and continued their career abroad.

AS: So what should we do with the men skating? How do we catch up? Should we look for a boy with the asian mentality or should we work with what we have?
ET: I can only speak for myself - there is nothing else to do but work with the material we have and try to create our own product. I just said 2 words the readers might not like `material' and `product'. But that is what it is. Zhenya Medvedeva is a product of our factory.

AS: The material, from which you would create a champion product in the men skating - have it crossed your path yet?
ET: Well, take Adian Pitkeev. A very talented boy. The judges loved him, the audience did. He has some Kalmyk routes. Among the guys from our group he was the closest the the material which could become a product.

AS: Why didn't he?
ET: The puberty came and he started asking too many questions... we had several guys on the same level at the same time but why did the coaches have to prove him he was the most loved all the time. He was literally in tears when he thought he was not wanted. Of course, he was wanted and needed, how would he not? But that's not what he thought and he spent a whole practicing period in that state, which resulted with the way it ended. Sometimes he would stop the practice - run away and throw his skaters into the rubbish bin... Of course he didn't want to retire. He wanted someone to pick those skates from the rubbish bin, clean them, bring them back to the dressing room, called him and said `Adian, come back!'.
More than that, now it seems the guys from a different generation do the same. They want us to express our love that way. I just don't get it.

AS: That's what you said in the press conf recently - being pitiful is not your thing.
ET: Pity doesn't help while working. Seriously. What will it help? Give a result?

AS: As we speak am thinking of Pitkeev's LP in the Nationals 2016 in Ekaterinburg. A bad fall from the quad, he fails his programme, he is in pain and you meet him near the border with the harsh phrase `you went out there? Take the pain!'
ET: Right. If you went out there - you have to skate.

AS: But perhaps at that time he was looking for different words? Some pity?
ET: He came to the competition in the state which caused that skate. He was kind of provocative during the practicing process. During the whole year before the championship it was hard. About a year before Ekaterinburg Adian had the Europeans which he didn't want to participate. He would shout at the practice `Withdrow me, I don't want to be a tourist there'. What do you mean `withdrow'? Why a `tourist'? Before the Europeans was a great Nationals. Why was he behaving that way? We were trying to talk him through, being kind, talking more and then almost made him go to that competition. But before the competition what went on - it was not a working process, it was a mess. In the end in those Europeans Adian as if showed with the way he looked and skated: you shouldn't have brought me here! I told you I was not ready to compete!
The normal figure skating with Adian began with... the father. For a long time he was skating with a popped jump here or there... He was sloppy, he was not trying, even though his jumps were good. His father who understands nothing in figure skating had enough and he said `if you come home again without a medal you are done with the skating'. His mom ran to me in tears `What should we do, our father is very strict, we can't go against his word, how will Adian make it to the podium every competition?'
I don't know what happened that moment, but Adian became so focused and progressed. He was deep in the work. And in almost all the competitions that followed he took medals. I'm sure it was thanks to his father's interference.
But then at the certain stage his parents `turned off'. I think they should had been stricter with Adian. It's a hard age when the guy is searching for himself. Perhaps not receiving the love from his gf he was looking for the love from us, I can't really tell what was the reason for his behaviour. But it happens and I see the same on the other kids. The parents think the kids are adult and understand themselves what do they need. Only that they don't! Not the boys nor the girls! Hence they need the parents' support. From the morning till the evening and even more from the evening till the morning. The parents have to make sure they rest enough. Meet them home or perhaps near the metro station. To feed them and put them to sleep. To make sure they feel the support. So they wake up in the morning now while their parents are still asleep, but when the breakfast is on the table. The parents should ask how the practices are going and may be even come to the rink from time to time. Yes, it's hard, but that's what the sport is like.
If the kid wins a medal, the parents should not think `ok, that's it, now he can do on his own'. He will do nothing on his own. The athlete should ricochet from the coach to the parents, from the parents to the coach. They say the real athletes are useless in the real life and when they retire they are overwhelmed with what awaits them and what they need to do.

AS: It's typical for our country. It's quite different abroad.
ET: It differs. Take Hanuy - everything is done for him, even someone carries his bag. Not because he is so spoil, but because he does not need to think of anything outside the rink. He is only focused on warming up and skating.

AS: Marina Zueva said she does not interfere in her pupils' lives because they are functional when talking about Virtue/Moir or Davis/White when they were in her group.
ET: I don't interfere in my pupils' lives outside the ice either, hence am talking about the parents' role. As for the Canadian or Americans - they are different. The athlete is paying for his skating, more than that, sometimes it's his job. And they understand every minute on the ice costs money. And they cherish every minute. What do we need to do to make our skaters cherish the time, if they just have that ice time. They go out and take 5 minutes to take off the blade guards, 10 minutes to clean the nose and then start fixing the laces. For them time is not money.
I recall one case when I was coaching in the USA. I was coaching that girl. Her parents really wanted her to jump, but I was afraid she'd be injured. She was very tall with those long legs... so I tried to do everything to make as little jumps as possible in the practice. She would go on the ice and I would start asking `how are you? How do you feel, how is the school?'. At some point she just said `Eteri, the minute of the practice is gone and we are still talking'.
The girl was 13. At that moment I was so ashamed of wasting her time. I can't imagine a single skater in Russia who would answer me the same! The opposite - they are as if glued to the border. They do not care about that time.

AS: It's sometimes said as a joke, but perhaps our skaters would benefit having say, a Japanese skater among them? They would have someone to learn to be hardworking from...
ET: It's not the hardworking, it's the upbringing. The Asian people have so much respect to the others. In Japan, when people say hello to each other, they bow. In the USA they ask how are you. I'm afraid it's something we'll never have. Many times people walk by without even saying hello.

AS: And if you project the upbringing on the sport...
ET: You get the discipline! The understanding of what should not be discussed. I have enough skaters who do the task they are given but still hesitate. I can see that! He got the task, he is off to do it, but his mind is blowing `why?!'. Some make a face and I know will they do the task or not. What they think is what their body will do.

AS: I.e. the athlete should not be analyzing?
ET: If you came to the competition and things didn't work out you must find the reason. But don't look for the reason in the other people. Because then it's something you can't fix - it is something that is not up to you: the coach didn't prepare you well, the parents didn't feed you, someone shouted when you were taking the starting pose and you were not able to set up and think that's the reason - that means you gave up. But if you find the reason in you, next time you didn't eat on time or the coach was unable to come to the competition with you you will still skate the way you want, because the reason is gone.

AS: So the bottom line in working with the boys...
ET: A very complicated situation. I do try to analyze and find the reason why it doesn't work. See, if I tell myself that it's a combination of things not depending on me, it means I will never solve the problem. If I tell myself that they have the different upbringing, it's the East, we are not that soft or well coordinated - it means we will never have a skater who will be equally good and be competitive. We will keep giving up. Hence I've been working on that for a while and now decided I should try to take a little boy and try to change his jumping mentality. Not making the quads royal. We would not really clap when a skater lands a 3loop, right? So we should treat the quads just like any other jump. Then the skater will not be thinking `I should limit my quads' or `I might get injured' - those thoughts are always coming true.

AS: You now coach the 14 y.o. Ilya Skirda who was competing with the guys 2-3 years older than him in the JGPF. Does he have time and and an option to become one of the leaders?
ET: He is going through a hard time now. He has to overcome and start jumping. Overcome. To work hard. And his family has to support him. Not just with the words `we love you, go skate'. It's not enough. Perhaps be stricter with him. We see it when the skater comes on the ice with the wrong mood, not concentrated, when, he should be shouted at for a bad practice. It's a daily work. Shouting and proving something all the time is very tiring. And we have to do it every day. Till the result comes. We all need it, so it's not only the coach who should work towards, but the parents as well.
For me as long as the guys are not landing the men jumps they are in the ladies skating. Sometimes I insult them and call them with the girls names. As a joke. But so they understand why.
Yes, they will have to fall. The risk of the injury is huge. They should have a fear. If we didn't have a fear why would we use a lift? We would just jump out of a window. But you have to overcome the fear.
It does not mean we are not afraid for him. Even more so. But you can't avoid overcoming, hence am stressing the family support again. Recall how you were as a teenager - we all had to go through something difficult, but mom and dad were near, so it was not so scary!

AS: True. I once had a dental surgery and having my mom beside me helped.
ET: Exactly. Unfortunately, many parents come with their kids to the rink while they are still very little, and then think `well, they are old enough to use the metro, why would we go with them?'. The kid needs that support so much more than before. The knowledge that mom and dad are near would help them to overcome their fear.

AS: Do you allow the parents in the practice?
ET: I support it. I see how the guys are changing when their parents are on the rink. Especially the teenagers. But, unfortunately, most of the guys do not get that support. One is, say, 11y.o and I see his parents once in 2-3 weeks. There are some questions I need to ask them and then I have to resolve it myself.
On the other hand - you have to raise the kids to be independent. But in the end what happens is that the parents come to the rink again and again and then wham! leave them alone. They think the kids are independent. But they are not! And our guys can not overcome themselves for some great idea. They only do it for someone! And that someone has to be nearby.

AS: When the guys are growing up they would for the gf.
ET: Ok. I don't mind if their gf comes to the rink. Just so they have a reason.

AS: A couple of years ago a grown athlete Sergey Voronov came to you...
ET: ... and his mom came with him

AS: That's weird.
ET: Weird, but I didn't mind. If his mom had time and Sergey wanted her to be present - why not. It's just that it happened... during the practice Sergey would go off the ice, go to his mom and start talking. It was unusual. In my books it was a lack of respect to his coaches. But during our work together I never told him that, even though it really bothered me.

AS: Could Sergey achieve more than he did?
ET: The inconsistency he had in the competition came from being inconsistent in the practices. Those practices when Adian and Sergey were fighting for the coach's attention. If one left the ice today, tomorrow it would be another. So they took turns leaving the ice cursing all of us. They were competing in something silly between themsevels instead of getting ready for the competition. There were different stories... For example we found the music for Adian and then suddenly Sergey would say he wanted to skate to that music his whole life. And be really pissed off because the programme was done for Adian. It was so childish: does he love me - does he not...

AS: Even though Voronov is not a child at all - almost 30 y.o.
ET: Right. And, as the parents say it, he should know things better. But I had never met a pupil who know it all himself.

AS: Zhenya Medvedeva does. Or does it only seem so?
ET: Oh, she does. She does exactly. She is the most disciplined pupil in the `got a task - did a task'. It does not mean she is not wondering `why' `is it right' and `was I treated right', but Zhenya has what I was saying - the right parents. Who make sure her free time and her background are right for the skating when things get tough. For example, she comes back from the competition, she is so tired, but she can not sit and think `oh, am so tired', she needs to find the energy. And that's where her mom and grandmother come into the picture, who sometimes are strict and sometimes support her. So our common attempts result in Zhenya finding the potential and starts practicing hard again. It is that ricochet between the coach and the parents, the passage from which the athlete can not find a way out. We always look for the easiest way and it's normal. Once the parents start feeling sorry for the athlete he will go where they feel sorry for him. Do not do that! Frankly, it's not the hardest sport that we do. Am sure there are harder - the marathon, for example, where people almost die.

AS: Perhaps not physically, but mentally, I think, there aren't many other sports that compare with figure skating - where all your destiny is decided in 2 short competitions once in 4 years.
ET: But it's not the way to think! Why? It's life. Figure skating is life. The Olympics are just part of it.

AS: Then why so many skaters `burn down' at the Olympics? Kurt Browning is a 4 times World champion, yet he was 6th, 8th and 5th at the Olympics.
ET: Because you shouldn't take the Olympics like something special. It's just another competition. That's it.

AS: Zhenya Medvedeva says she loves the practices. Is it true?
ET: Every time you overcome it's rewarding. It's the same for you. You did something really complicated..
AS: it feels nice.
ET: nice. It's the same here. When you are so tired after the previous practice, when you doubt whether you can make it through the next, you go out on the ice and overcome. That's rewarding.

AS: There aren't many skaters who like the practices?
ET: Why? Let's take someone and ask... Alina, come over!
The Junior World champion Alina Zagitova joins

ET: Alina, what do you like the most about the practices?
AZ: I like skating...
ET: Ok, stop with the learned phrases!
AZ: I love jumping, I love it when the jumps work.
ET: I.e. the overcoming! It is hard - skating the LP two times, but it worked. That's the nice part. It's the same for all of them. Just Moris...
Moris Kvitelashvili, who represents Georgia starting this season is on the rink.
ET: If his parents joined earlier... I spoke to his father and mother so many times while he was still a teenager. I told them - working with him is hard, you should talk to him home, he should come to the practice ready. But the parents would answer - he is adult, he should understand why does he need it. Allright, he is an adult. But if he doesn't understand - help him to.

AS: But it was a really good season for Moris.
ET: For Moris - yes. With no failures. But it's not Kovtun, but Kvitelashvili who could be fighting for the Olympic spot in the Russian team. In the end he represents Georgia and even with the clean skate he has no chance for the top group.

AS: The country factor takes off 5 points in the components?
ET: 5 is the soft prediction. Of course. He blew his chances to become a serious athlete. Representing Georgia was the only way, because he had no chance in the Russian team. He could be so much higher - taking he is by far not the worst athlete with the good jumps, skating skills..

AS: Many are talking about how strict you are, yet in the official practices and the competition you and Zhenay seem to be laughing all the time. Zhenya once asked me - why do you all think Eteri is so horrible and scary?
ET: That's the mood in all the practices. As for being hard... What do you expect me to do? Go and tell everyone `no, no, I'm not strict at all!'. Ok, so you made me too strict. Just how do you define it? Let us take an example in the day to day life. We have the parents who have a child. They wake him up every morning and make him go to the school, check the homework in the evening, make sure he does not smoke, curse and does not play the computer games every day till 2am. Are they too strict as the parents?

AS: Those are the parents who do their job.
ET: Right, it's the parents who love their child and do their job. Why a coach who loves his athlete and does his job is called too strict? Ok, I will let the athlete not do the tasks, not warm up, not cool down, skip the practices. What kind of a coach would I be?
AS: A pretty bad one.
ET: I'm a normal usual coach. Just like a normal usual parents who raises his child.

AS: I heard rumours you are shouting at your athletes.
ET: Again... your son doesn't want to do anything. Will you shout, or say `duuuude, you don't need chemistry, I never needed it, screw it, fail it, that's cool' or will you shout, make him open the books, learn it and do the homework?
AS: The latter, of course.
ET: Well, here I am - shouting. Because I make the athletes do what they need to do through their `I don't want to'. That's it. I act like a usual parent who must teach and make sure his child is educated. Because they love their children. If they stop watching their kids - that's not love. Of course it's hard looking after the children, they are trying to sneak out. It's hard for the coach as well - every athlete is trying to find an easier way and not do some of the tasks. I.e I need to talk to them, shout, find some other ways.

AS: In the movie you said you were dragging Zhenya on the ice.
ET: I was
AS: Do you have to now?
ET: No, there are different ways now.
AS: But you have to look for them!
ET: Right. Verbal. Sometimes we have very serious talks. She is a big girl and words are enough. Sometimes I have to - like with the remote control - set the volume higher. But then she had so many examples in front of her. She became a serious skater very early and I can always remind her `what will happen if'. There is a lot to remember.

AS: Is Zhenya really that grown up?
ET: They are all children in the real life. Even Sergey Voronov is a child. He needed his mom everywhere. But they are adults in the sports. So if we should treat them as kids they will not do a thing.

AS: Yet when talking to Zhenya she makes an impression of a grown person. And a smart one.
ET: That's right. Ad yet, in the daily life she is still a child. They are so deep in the skating.. they don't see much, all their life is set to be right for the sports.

AS: I our interviews there was a moment when I thought the competition with Zagitova is uncomfortable for Medvedeva.
ET: I don't like it when someone starts putting them one on the other's way. I teach them to respect the rivals. If someone became your rival it means they worked equally hard. And never judge the rival. I once forbid Zhenya commenting a competition on the TV. The competing athlete should not judge her rivals.

AS: Is it uncomfortable for Zhenay seeing girls who land the quads every day by her side? Or Zagitova, who, perhaps, in a year will aim for the Olympics gold as well?
ET: Zhenay spent her whole life in a competition. Starting with Polina Shelepen, who was much better than her. Then Yulia Lipnitskay, then face to face with Serafima Sakhanovich. Zhenya always fought for the attention on the ice. Hence the competition is her usual state. Of course it adds some nervousness in the practices. But.. ok.

AS: Does it add the nervousness knowing less than in a year you might be a coach of not one, but two Olympic gold contenders?
ET: I just have to work. Work a lot. Now we'll go on a vacation and am afraid of that. When you let the skaters out of your sight for a while you never know who will come back. We let Anna Scherbakova off for 5 days for the New Years and got a broken arm.

AS: On the way to the Olympics - do you know you every step, taking your Sochi experience?
ET: Am not even trying to use that experience. Everything was so convenient - the schedule, the location... It will be different now. Far away. We are going there for so long.

AS: In order to prepare them for the Olympics...
ET: We have to work. First create the good programmes. Now it's the most important thing.

AS: I'm a bit afraid asking that question knowing how complicated it is, but still: at least 2 people told me Yulia Lipnitskaya might come back to you.
ET: No. Lipnitskaya will never come back to me. She will never do that. It took her so long to leave... Besides, she knows I would not change. We have to work. Why would I take her back if she will not work? To be there for the statistics? She is not the girl for the statistics only.

AS: The athletes left your group and never came back. Have they ever asked to?
ET: Some did. But they left differently. If we are talking of the top skaters...
Polina Shelepen. Escape from Novogorsk and I've never sen her again. She didn't even say goodbuy. Why not say thank you for the years we spent together? We are all in the same sink. Especially as she remained in the figure skating. But I've never seen her again.
Alexandra Deeva. The first season after she left I saw her in a competition. She walked near me without saying goodbye.
Adian Pitkeev - the only athlete who left and came there to say goodbye. He brought flowers and started crying. I saw his tears and was in tears myself. I asked him `why are you crying?' He said `I'm so sorry for you - you wasted so many years on me'. I told him - no Adian, don't feel sorry for me.
Serafima Sakhanovich: Unfortunately her family could not live in 2 cities at once - mom in Moscow, dad in St. Petersburg. Besides, there were some other obstacles: Sima and her mom rented an unfortunate flat in Moscow - they were robbed several times. Once the thieves got into their flat in the middle of the night when Sima was asleep, her mom heard the thief, he jumped out of the window and in the morning they found a knife under the window. Another time they were robbed of everything - they even had to ask the FSF to give Sima a 2nd set of the equipment - she had no cloths for the competition. Then her father had a complicated job situation in St. Peterburg so her mother had to come back and she couldn't leave Sima alone here. It was all very complicated. Sima didn't want to leave, she was crying. Now when we meet at the competitions she always says hello.
Yulia Lipnitskaya. Once after she left she wrote me... As for her leaving: she told me on the ice in the principle office. But I knew it by then. Remember that GP event in France where she went with Sergey Dudakov? There were rumours on the internet I don't care about Yulia because I didn't come with her to the competition. But it was not the case. It was not even discussed that I had to go to Bordeux with her. More than that, my sister, who has some property in France wanted to come over so we would spend some time together. We had the flight tickets. And then I received a call from the federation `Eteri, Yulia asked as to send Sergey Dudakov with her'. At that moment Yulia was in front of me in the practice. Of course, if that's what the skater wants - to have the 2nd coach with her - sure. But why wouldn't she come to me and ask me? I would call the federaion and pass Yulia's request, she would go with Dudakov, but it would be done the right way and not the reverse.
So I never gave up on Yulia, but it was obvious we can not continue the journey together. When I was taken off that competition through the federation - that was the point of no return. Then, as I was said, I was called to the principle office, given flowers, thanked. And 10 minutes later I saw an announcement on the Federation website Yulia left the group. An hour later - on some other website - a huge article and an interview with her new coach Alexey Urmanov. I.e. everybody knew it, except for me. I think it was wrong. After all we spent so much time together, won some medals... I was hurt.
Sergey Voronov. I didn't see him on the rink, his mom came to take the paperwork. Again, immediately came out an interview from which I learned he switched to Inna Goncharentko. He now says hello, but the first year after he left he wouldn't in the competition. Why? It's so impolite. When the skaters and the parents come to me the first thing I ask is the reason for the switch. And I really don't like it when the parents start trashing the old coach. It means they would be trashing you later. I always say you not only have to say hello to the old coach, you have to thank them for all they did for you! They gave you the life in the sport, they taught you something! If I accept you into my group it means you are a decent skater and that's something to thank the previous coach for! You can't just leave the coach without bringing the flowers. The least you can do is look in the eyes and find the right words.

AS: Perhaps it's easier for them to leave like that? Without the words? They are afraid of that moment?
ET: I.e. to walk near me and not say hello is easier?

AS: You are afraid of those words and create kind of crust. For example, for me - if I screw up and don't make the article on time and am out of the dead line - it's easier for me not to answer the editor's call the next day.
ET: But it really sucks being inside that crust.
AS: Yes. But I will write the article eventually.
ET: The skater has to live with that `sucks'. They walk by, not say hello and destruct themselves. They dive into that negativity.

AS: Since we recalled the articles I can't avoid asking: all the years Zheya competes and wins you are being blamed in starving her, not coming up with anything new but just reshuffling the elements in the programme. Why do you never answer those accusations?
ET: Am I supposed to answer that nonsense? Run after and shout `See, see, am not a donkey, I don't have a tail?'

AS: Well, the hunger accusations Zhenya replied she read it while eating a piece of pizza. But many think if you don't answer the accusations - it means they are true. For example the moving of the elements of the 2nd part of the programme was taken seriously in Japan and there are now offers to change the rules and demands some jumps to be landed at the beginning of the programme.
ET: Ok, so talking about Zagitova's LP: it's right for the music - the strong music begins at the 2nd part and the jumps are placed right. I think such a layout should be justified.

AS: Yet the general mood is against us - they feel they can't do something and try to make it illegal.
ET: Yes, like with the meldonium. Even though it's not really a doping they felt we know something they don't. The Americans sent a letter to WADA, asked to take measures. We didn't act against. So it was forbidden.

AS: Hence am afraid if we keep quiet now the figure skating rules will be changed again.
ET: If they will be changed we'll work with the new rules. I always tell the athletes: we all have the different colours. We need to paint with what we have.

AS: And the black-white Picasso....
ET:... also became a masterpiece.
 

altai_rose

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,220
Thank you so much for the translation!

I love that Tutberidze has no filter, no sugarcoating--just brutal honesty (and much of which I agree with). :respec: She reminds me of my piano teacher when I was young. Strict, because they care about you and want you to succeed. But I know it's not for everyone.
 
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Meoima

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,117
Thank you for the translation.
ET: It differs. Take Hanuy - everything is done for him, even someone carries his bag. Not because he is so spoil, but because he does not need to think of anything outside the rink. He is only focused on warming up and skating.
Huh but Yuzuru always brings his luggage by himself even at the competitions. :p
Fancam at WC 2017 here: https://youtu.be/qWWEpsNvW1I

Yes he does abuse Brian and Mr Kikuchi to bring his Pooh. But Pooh is hardly a luggage. :rofl:
 
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starrynight

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,550
It's interesting how Eteri extensively talks about the role of parents pushing their children. I was contrasting it directly in my mind to the situation of Ian Thorpe (Australia's famous swimmer) who famously had a rule with his parents when he was a teenager that swimming training was never to be mentioned in their house - I think so he could compartmentalise his life and have time away from the sport at home. But I suppose that is the difference between athletes who are self motivated and those who aren't. Or maybe the difference between champions and non-champions.

I can only imagine a lot of North American skaters who are teenagers are staying with host-families or billets while they train away from home (I remember reading that Tessa and Scott stayed with host families when they initially moved away as teenagers to train). No doubt while the host families would be supportive, I'm sure that they are not ghosting every minute of the skaters' existences.

I suspect the key difference is that elsewhere in the world, skating is so very expensive, that if a skater isn't really interested any more, they just stop. Parents would only re-mortgage their house to pay for ice time and competitions if their children were truly motivated and passionate.

You can talk all you want about cultural differences and obedience ... but I think the issue is that they need to focus more on finding or developing skaters who have passion and enthusiasm for the sport. The discipline and single mindedness will follow and will genuinely come from the skaters themselves. Hanyu's ability to train like he does isn't just his culture - it's him.

I'm also a bit uncomfortable with Eteri promoting a situation where skaters are so micro-managed they have no life skills...
 
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Kasey

Fan of many, uber of none
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15,692
Thank you, @TAHbKA , as always, for all the hard work on translating. As for the interview....hmmmm. I do appreciate honesty in a person; I don't tend to appreciate a person who has so little good things to say about so many people. I don't get it with agendas.
 

kwanfan1818

I <3 Kozuka
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32,861
I think it's great that she's up front about what she expects, because as a parent, you can say yes or no to it, and if you say "yes" but don't follow through, the results will reflect it. There are plenty of rinks in Moscow for younger kids that parents can choose instead.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
Hanyu's ability to train like he does isn't just his culture - it's him.
I agree. He is so unbelievably driven, it has to come from within.
I'm also a bit uncomfortable with Eteri promoting a situation where skaters are so micro-managed they have no life skills...
Here I totally disagree. Someone who had the work ethic and perseverance to climb to the top of the sport, who learned to manage time, perform under pressure and understand IJS, can learn to balance a checkbook, hold down a job or make dinner. It can all be learned later. Is it really that important for the skater to worry about paying their utilities bill as they take their starting position?
 
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zebraswan

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,171
And I really don't like it when the parents start trashing the old coach. It means they would be trashing you later.

But it's ok when the coach trashes the old students and parents? Well, and a couple current ones too.

On the one hand, it's very entertaining to read (the image of Sergei throwing a fit over Adian skating to Muse is :rofl:) and I appreciate bluntness, but I don't know how her skaters and their parents feel about having all their business put out there in the public, and they're the ones who are directly affected. I guess Eteri has never heard of TMI. And she can't really expect anyone else to hold back when it comes to her after interviews like this, but I suppose she can take the heat.
 

Karpenko

Not Impressed.
Messages
13,708
I love her no-nonsense approach to things. She kind of scares the crap out of me though, but that's partly why I've grown to really respect her. Some of the answers had me :rofl:
 

kwanfan1818

I <3 Kozuka
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32,861
I don't think the issue is so much learning life tasks, but having the life skills to make complex decisions about your own life, thrive during a normal work or school day, fill your time, and create more typical friendship networks when you're existing with single-minded focus taking commands at the rink and at home and your whole life is about keeping your body in peak form.

In many ways, it's like being a retired ballet dancer: you go from total structure, eyes on you all the time, extreme physical and mental discipline, being told what to do constantly, with a ready made social environment and not much time to meet people out of it and sustain friendships, especially given the schedule.

Then, one day, you're "out there."
 

starrynight

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2,550
Here I totally disagree. Someone who had the work ethic and perseverance to climb to the top of the sport, who learned to manage time, perform under pressure and understand IJS, can learn to balance a checkbook, hold down a job or make dinner. It can all be learned later. Is it really that important for the skater to worry about paying their utilities bill as they take their starting position?

I think the belief that because an athlete is good at sports they will automatically be good at other things is a total fallacy. Real life and the bubble of elite training are not the same thing.

The rates of serious depression and adjustment problems in retired athletes will tell you that. Many high profile examples I can think of. I know in a lot of other sports programs have been started up to give athletes life skills and direction which will assist them in their life after sport (which can often occur really suddenly in the case of injury).

For sure, having nothing else in your life and being unable to boil an egg will probably help for the tiny period when you are competing. (Although I question the ability of such a person to show true artistic depth). But I was thinking more in terms of the overall life quality for these athletes.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
Messages
37,282
I don't think the issue is so much learning life tasks, but having the life skills to make complex decisions about your own life, thrive during a normal work or school day, fill your time, and create more typical friendship networks when you're existing with single-minded focus taking commands at the rink and at home and your whole life is about keeping your body in peak form.

In many ways, it's like being a retired ballet dancer: you go from total structure, eyes on you all the time, extreme physical and mental discipline, being told what to do constantly, with a ready made social environment and not much time to meet people out of it and sustain friendships, especially given the schedule.

Then, one day, you're "out there."
Yes and? Most people would say it's worth it. It's part of the sacrifice elite dancers and skaters make. They also miss out on a lot of socializing, while we are at it.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
I think the belief that because an athlete is good at sports they will automatically be good at other things is a total fallacy. Real life and the bubble of elite training are not the same thing.
But the skills are very similar and transferable. They are something I'd rather see in a potential employee, than not.
The rates of serious depression and adjustment problems in retired athletes will tell you that. Many high profile examples I can think of. I know in a lot of other sports programs have been started up to give athletes life skills and direction which will assist them in their life after sport (which can often occur really suddenly in the case of injury).
And you have studies to show direct causation? The research I've seen is equivocal, some of it showing higher rates of depression in athletes who are still competing.
For sure, having nothing else in your life and being unable to boil an egg will probably help for the tiny period when you are competing. (Although I question the ability of such a person to show true artistic depth).
Wait, how did we get to artistic depth? If only certain skaters knew how to boil an egg, their PCS would soar? Someone call Boyang!
 

starrynight

Well-Known Member
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2,550
But the skills are very similar and transferable. They are something I'd rather see in a potential employee, than not.
And you have studies to show direct causation? The research I've seen is equivocal, some of it showing higher rates of depression in athletes who are still competing.

There's literally oceans of studies on the topic. I watched one of my favourite athletes completely flounder after retirement and develop alcoholism and borderline suicidal depression, so it's a topic quite close to my heart.

http://believeperform.com/wellbeing/life-after-sport-depression-in-retired-athletes/

Many sports federations around the world who care about their athletes encourage them to live more complete lives for example by pursuing study or work in their spare time. Rather than encouraging an attitude of just chewing up children and spitting them out at the end.

It's also doubtful that this kind of isolation gets better results. Some of the hardest working and successful skaters in the world come from North America where they live independently in share houses, study at university, cook their own meals, drive themselves to training and motivate themselves.

The irony of Eteri's comments is that she wonders why her athletes are not self-motivated -- but that would require the athletes to have independence in the first place. I just read so many Russian coaches complain that their skaters lack motivation because things like ice time are just given to them. But they still want to promote a system where the skaters do nothing for themselves and are just pushed pushed and pushed externally. I doesn't really add up.
 
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IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
There's literally oceans of studies on the topic. I watched one of my favourite athletes completely flounder after retirement and develop alcoholism and borderline suicidal depression, so it's a topic quite close to my heart.

http://believeperform.com/wellbeing/life-after-sport-depression-in-retired-athletes/

Many sports federations around the world who care about their athletes encourage them to live more complete lives for example by pursuing study or work in their spare time. Rather than encouraging an attitude of just chewing up children and spitting them out at the end.

It's also doubtful that this kind of isolation gets better results. Some of the hardest working and successful skaters in the world come from North America where they live independently in share houses, study at university, cook their own meals, drive themselves to training and motivate themselves.

The irony of Eteri's comments is that she wonders why her athletes are not self-motivated -- but that would require the athletes to have independence.
Please share some of these studies out of the ocean that show a direct link between not doing chores and post retirement depression. You are reducing the complexity of the topic. Have you ever thought that the success of NA athletes rests on something more than cooking their own meals? The article you shared doesn't engage in reductionism like you:
Schwenk et al. (2007) stated that the transition is often found to be difficult because of the sudden cessation of intense demands of elite athletic performance, compounded by the sudden loss of the athlete’s intense devotion to professional athletic competition and its attendant rewards.
Clearly, other, more complex factors are at play here.
I also see very successful Japanese and Russian athletes, at least in the sport of interest.
 

starrynight

Well-Known Member
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2,550
The athletes who have other life interests, goals and qualifications often find it much easier to replace the void left by the absence of their sport.

For sure, the success of North American athletes probably has lot to do with the fact that if you're paying for your own ice time, you've had to drive yourself to training etc etc you're less likely to blow half a session by storming off the ice and throwing your skates in a bin.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
The athletes who have other life interests, goals and qualifications often find it much easier to replace the void left by the absence of their sport.
You just moved the goal post. We were talking about everyday skills like boiling an egg and now we have interests?
For sure, the success of North American athletes probably has lot to do with the fact that if you're paying for your own ice time, you've had to drive yourself to training etc etc you're less likely to blow half a session by storming off the ice and throwing your skates in a bin.
Then how come we have all these Russian, Chinese and Japanese champions? Generalize much?
 

zebraswan

Well-Known Member
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1,171
TFor sure, the success of North American athletes probably has lot to do with the fact that if you're paying for your own ice time, you've had to drive yourself to training etc etc you're less likely to blow half a session by storming off the ice and throwing your skates in a bin.

Nah, just their team jacket ;)

A lot (maybe the vast majority?) of NA skaters are from wealthy families and spoiled in different ways, and not all of them are successful, either.
 

ChiquitaBanana

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,000
I agree. He is so unbelievably driven, it has to come from within.
Here I totally disagree. Someone who had the work ethic and perseverance to climb to the top of the sport, who learned to manage time, perform under pressure and understand IJS, can learn to balance a checkbook, hold down a job or make dinner. It can all be learned later. Is it really that important for the skater to worry about paying their utilities bill as they take their starting position?

I take it as healthy mental life skills. I have known many high-level athletes who became totally disorganised when they stopped competing because they were always thought what to do, they never experience life by themselves (in most part). Many of them are well-driven people, but misadapted to the real life. Going back to reality was hard. We are not only talking about practical skills, but mental development. It is not because they are high-level skaters that their brain are wired differently. Authoritative versus authoritarian. http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.ed...=AUTHORITATIVE_AUTHORITARIAN_AND_PERMISSI.pdf
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
^^^I am not sure I understand your post. Also, not sure how the article you posted applies here. :confused: I know a lot of high level athletes that adapted to post competitive life just fine. In fact, having had an elite sports career isn't something people hide on their resume. It's an asset, not a liability.

Obviously, there are those who don't do well after retirement and the reasons for that are varied and complex.
 

kwanfan1818

I <3 Kozuka
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32,861
You just moved the goal post. We were talking about everyday skills like boiling an egg and now we have interests?
I was talking beyond everyday life skills, which can be taught, and you blew it off as "It's all worth it.".

Martha Graham said that dancers die twice, and the first time is harder. Whether or not it was worth it doesn't mean that it's easy.
 

IceAlisa

discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado
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37,282
I was talking beyond everyday life skills, which can be taught, and you blew it off as "It's all worth it.".

Martha Graham said that dancers die twice, and the first time is harder. Whether or not it was worth it doesn't mean that it's easy.
But they don't die twice because they lack everyday skills, which is what was under discussion. As the study showed. They miss the intensity, the recognition, the achievement among other things. Letting go of all that is hard, as well as losing the purpose and the structure. But that wasn't what we were discussing.

Why does saying that it's worth it equivalent to blowing it off? I think everyone agrees that this kind of achievement means a lot of sacrifices in different aspects of one's life.
 

dinakt

Well-Known Member
Messages
6,701
All I know is that Tutberidze is not my cup of tea. And though iron discipline is necessary for success, I do not think such absolute hardness is required. Yes, sometimes teenagers want to throw a fit and have somebody call them and tell them they matter. So freaking what. Of course it is all a matter of degree.
I agree with people who say the solution is to find people who are self- motivated. Maybe less "promising" at age of 7, but more driven.
Interesting that Russia has such success with women, but not men. Might be just the way cards fall, might be something deeper.
I have to admire Medvedeva's mindset even more after reading this interview. Does not mean I love her skating, but what a perfect athlete she is.

Of course people who manage to have some life outside skating (friends, hobbies, education) and still achieve results will have easier time adjusting to life after sport than people who do not. The thing is, it is often either/or. But the lucky few who are capable of multitasking and still achieving their goals are better set for the future.
 
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kwanfan1818

I <3 Kozuka
Messages
32,861
Everyone who succeeds at this level has made great sacrifices. The difference between those who are so regimented and controlled that they have few other interests or life skills, not life tasks skills, and who haven't the practice of creating friendships outside of their insular world, have it a lot rougher than those who don't. There are coaches like Moskvina, Ade, and Gauthier (and maybe Carroll) who specifically say that their goal is to prepare their students for life during and after skating. That is not what Tutberidze is describing as a recipe for success.

She is teaching children, though, and bringing them up through the ranks, dealing with them through puberty. Most of them are done right around the time they would normally transition into adulthood, ie, post university age, and she's relatively new at this, unlike the long-time Pairs coaches, who are working with students who transition into adulthood under their watch as they compete and peak later. Her school is more like the Vaganova academy or Bolshoi school or SAB, where they can afford to lose most of them, thinking there's always another one to replace them, so she can keep with the formula and not care about this crucial transition.

On the subject of the Men, besides the mistaken idea that boys are logical and stoic :lol: the fact is that there are fewer of them, and the act like they do because they are a precious commodity, and they can. (Another parallel with ballet.)

Even when Russia dominated, there was nowhere near the depth that Russian Ladies have now or the rank of contenders waiting to dethrone them.
 

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