USFS announces Alysa Liu's coaching change to Barkell & Nichol in Toronto and Massimo Scali in Oakland, CA

Sylvia

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Might as well start a new thread now that the news is official...

USFS' press release is out: https://www.usfigureskating.org/news/press-release/alysa-liu-announces-coaching-change
Two-time and reigning U.S. champion Alysa Liu announced today that she will begin training under a new team of coaches including Lee Barkell, Lori Nichol and Massimo Scali. She has worked with all the coaches except Barkell in the past.
Liu, who became the youngest lady to win a U.S. title at age 13 in 2019, will continue to be based in Oakland, California.
“I am very excited to announce that I will be training under the guidance of a new team of coaches including Lee Barkell, Lori Nichol and Massimo Scali," Liu said. "I look forward to working with all my coaches even though some of them are located in different parts of the world.”
...
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my former coach Laura Lipetsky for everything she has done for me since the beginning of my career,” Liu said. “We’ve worked so closely together and she has helped me get to where I am today.”
Liu will compete as a junior internationally and senior domestically during the 2020-21 season.
Copying over what I posted earlier today in the U.S. Ladies thread:

Excerpt that quotes Massimo Scali on working with Alysa from this article after the 2020 Nationals SP: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/01...-has-long-climb-at-u-s-skating-championships/
Most recently, Liu has started to work with Massimo Scali, a three-time Olympic ice dancer from Italy.
“The goal for Alysa’s improvement is to raise the level of her skating skills to reach an effortless way of skating,” Scali said this week. “Also, improving the maturity and the quality of her movements by focusing on her expression and connectivity throughout the programs.”
Scali is confident the 4-foot-10 Liu will eventually become a more complete skater.
“Alysa has absorbed so much new information in just a few weeks of working together,” he said. “She’s already more polished and demonstrating better flow, attention to detail and expression. That’s what I expect from her this year and I know she will make it happen.”
 

olympic

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I think the time was right to move on.

But uncertain how this will work out. She still needs to work on aspects of her technique, not just improving flow across the ice, quality of movement and expression. Maybe that is where Lee Barkell comes into the picture? She is going to grow and she will have to adjust for the 3A and any quads she might planned.
 

overedge

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That sounds like a lot of travel for her. Not everything can be done via video coaching.

And although the press release has quotes from her, I'd be curious as to whether the change was her idea.
 

Sylvia

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Didn't Massimo Scali move from Michigan to Florida with Marina Zoueva?
No. I believe he was based in Chicago for a while before relocating to the Bay Area last year.

Lee Barkell currently coaches at the Granite club: Gabrielle Daleman, Satoko Miyahara, Vincent Zhou (not there right now)... is he still a secondary coach for Stephen Gogolev?

Skate Canada NextGen team members Alec Guinzbourg and Iliya Kovler both list Barkell as their primary coach now (both previously were coached by Andrei Berezintsev & Inga Zusev through last season).
 

Maximillian

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I'm probably in the minority here but I'm of the school that if it ain't broke don't fix it. I guess her placement at Junior Worlds would be considered disappointing...I guess...but to me, Alysa looked like she was improving season to season at a steady rate. I'm just really over coaching changes, not that anyone has asked my opinion but this just feels a lot like when Mirai Nagasu left Charlene Wong all those years ago for Frank Carroll and I don't think it really helped one bit, but Carroll was a 'name' coach, etc...again, I hope to be proven wrong, but I just don't see why Liu couldn't have 'outsourced' for things like skating skills, speed, etc. instead of having to turn everything upside down.
 

bardtoob

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I have more confidence that Liu will keep her jumps as she grows than others because she has the 3A, which requires her to really jump.

That being said, she need to work on her skating skills and presentation. Her costumes and everything else seem dated, like something from the mid-80s to mid-90s.
 

skateboy

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I'm probably in the minority here but I'm of the school that if it ain't broke don't fix it. I guess her placement at Junior Worlds would be considered disappointing...I guess...but to me, Alysa looked like she was improving season to season at a steady rate. I'm just really over coaching changes, not that anyone has asked my opinion but this just feels a lot like when Mirai Nagasu left Charlene Wong all those years ago for Frank Carroll and I don't think it really helped one bit, but Carroll was a 'name' coach, etc...again, I hope to be proven wrong, but I just don't see why Liu couldn't have 'outsourced' for things like skating skills, speed, etc. instead of having to turn everything upside down.
I sort of feel the same way. Alysa appeared to be making great strides with her longtime coach.

Brian Boitano stayed with Linda Leaver forever and he didn't too bad...

Although, I can understand if perhaps Alysa just needs to be around more high level skaters. I wish her well on this new chapter!
 

bardtoob

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I am willing to bet that Team Liu looked into working with Raf but obviously he has Bell.

Unfortunately, Liu is 14 and Bell is 24. There is not much Raf can do with Bell but there is a lot he can do with Liu.
 
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sk9tingfan

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I felt that a coaching change down the line was inevitable. But, I think that had Rafael Arutunian was not coaching Mariah Bell, she might have selected him.
 

Polaris

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I am willing to bet that Team Liu looked into working with Raf but obviously he has Bell.

Unfortunately, Liu is 14 and Bell is 24. There is not much Raf can do with Bell but there is a lot he can do with Liu.

??? Is there a conflict of interest there? Liu and Bell will be entering in different Olympic cycles.
 

bardtoob

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??? Is there a conflict of interest there? Liu and Bell will be entering in different Olympic cycles.

Liu already is a two-time US Sr. National Champion. Bell was the most recent runner-up.

In my mind, there is not really a conflict of interest because they are not at all playing with the same deck of cards, but I am certain Bell would not see it that way.
 

aftershocks

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I sort of feel the same way. Alysa appeared to be making great strides with her longtime coach.

Brian Boitano stayed with Linda Leaver forever and he didn't too bad...

Although, I can understand if perhaps Alysa just needs to be around more high level skaters. I wish her well on this new chapter!

I don't really know too much about Alysa' specific situation, but my first thought is that we probably shouldn't transfer or compare other situations. Someone else mentioned Mirai being influenced to move from Charlene Wong to Frank Carroll. In that situation, it may not have been entirely Mirai's or her parents' decision. And the personalities are completely different as well. Mirai's personality did not match well with Frank's coaching style, to say the least.

I often recall Brian Boitano staying with Linda Leaver throughout his career. But they were extremely close, and Leaver also had the good sense and the foresight to get Brian additional help, specifically with presentation and choreography, via Sandra Bezic,, et al. It was also surely Brian's preference to remain with Leaver. That was also a different era.

Alysa's coach, Laura Lipetsky, likely along with U.S. figure skating have been getting her additional help with presentation, choreography, etc. But who knows why exactly this decision was made. It might have been a collective choice. I don't know, but maybe Lipetsky felt Alysa would benefit at this point forward from help by other top level coaches. I hope the decision was arrived at without any conflicts or hard feelings. OTOH, it may have been a difficult decision emotionally for Alysa and Lipetsky based on their close relationship. Still, for all we know, everyone may have ended up agreeing that this move is the best choice for Alysa's career going forward.
 

bardtoob

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:huh: There's nothing 'unfortunate' about either of these athletes' current ages. Also, Raf has actually 'done' a great deal in assisting Mariah Bell to make significant improvements in her skating, which have borne measurable and very successful results!

You're right.
 

Sasha'sSpins

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I think this will be a great move for Alysa. IMO, with a world class ice dancer by her side, her edge work, speed, quality of movement, etc. are going to improve by leaps and bounds. She already presents very nicely, and has a bit of the show biz in her. That too will only be further enhanced. Her jump quality will hopefully see improvement too as she grows. With Bartell and Lori also on her team, I'm very excited to see her progression over the years, even beyond the 2022 Olympics.
 

barbarafan

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I think this will be a great move for Alysa. IMO, with a world class ice dancer by her side, her edge work, speed, quality of movement, etc. are going to improve by leaps and bounds. She already presents very nicely, and has a bit of the show biz in her. That too will only be further enhanced. Her jump quality will hopefully see improvement too as she grows. With Bartell and Lori also on her team, I'm very excited to see her progression over the years, even beyond the 2022 Olympics.
While she is in
Toronto training with Barkell she prob. plans to spend time with Lori to tweak and revamp the chore. so that it is an evolving masterpiece.
 

Miki89

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A lot of coaching changes don't make the most sense to me; it seems like last ditch efforts to increase reputation or jump content by joining a more famous training camp. However, this one does make sense because Liu is still at an early stage in her career and needs to look elsewhere to improve her jumps and skating skills. She wasn't very good at either with her former coach. She will also train with more experienced skaters like Satoko and Daleman, but they are not direct rivals for her, which is good.
 

puglover

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I am not sure if I am remembering correctly but I thought I watched a clip of her training with an outside person, maybe Lori, and that her rink was extremely cold. In fact it was so cold it was mentioned as she removed layers as they went. That seems like a disadvantage to me.
 

sk9tingfan

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IMO, I think that her father is loathe to send her clear across the country to Canada full time at the age of 14, almost 15. I think that this shows good judgment, allowing Alysa to mature within a controlled support system. Interesting that she is an 11th grader, well ahead of the usual educational timing. Based on that, if she were not to take a gap year during the Olympic year, she would be graduating at 16. She is obviously very bright.

Also, there are four siblings and her father raises all five with the help of a "community". I would guess that there is no way that he or anyone else could move to Toronto to be there with Alysa.
 

kirkbiggestfan

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"Massimo Scali and her father informed me that I would no longer be working with her " That sounds very odd. Why can't the dad just pick up the phone and have a conversation with the coach? (I am tempted to make Italian mafia jokes. :EVILLE: ) Laura Lipetsky is a classy lady. I guess she would not agree to a shared coaching situation with Barkell, while Scali did.
 

Vagabond

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"Massimo Scali and her father informed me that I would no longer be working with her " That sounds very odd. Why can't the dad just pick up the phone and have a conversation with the coach?
Because his accent isn't quite so charming as Scali's? :unsure:
 

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