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

Sasha'sSpins

♥2018 US Olympic Dream Team! Legends!♥
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Goodness, all the Negative Nellie's! Why don't we give Alysa's new coaching team a chance? She's not the only athlete who has to train virtually with coaches, as well as pretty much self-train off ice. Like other elite skaters, she's obviously unable to train as she wants to with all of the ******** restrictions, but I'm sure she's going to show much progress over the years - even beyond the Olympics as I mentioned upthread.
 

AxelAnnie

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Lipetsky had been outsourcing to various coaches and choreographers for the past two seasons (that is how Liu ended up going to Canada in the first place).

While I think a coaching change was inevitable at some point, the timing and the arrangement are hard for me to understand. If I have it right, Liu is staying in Oakland and will be working primarily with Massimo Scali in Oakland but will get video advice (and perhaps in person advice at some later date) from Nichol and Barkell?

It's an unusual arrangement to say the least. If Liu is staying in Oakland and was already working with Scali (and Nichol), why not keep Lipetsky as part of the team?

So the biggest (perhaps only) change is that Lipetsky is out...and Lipetsky is the one responsible for Alysa's success up until now. Oh well...Dad knows best.

I just hope that Alysa was really as on-board with this change as the PR would have us believe.
Perhaps Lipetsky would not agree to the total plan.
 

UGG

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I cannot imagine the pressure she is under.

I am 43 years old- I think only 3 years older than Michelle Kwan. I still remember her being the alternate for the Olympics and then winning worlds at 15 and thinking how cool it all was- not having the perspective of looking at her like a child since I was a child myself.

Looking at Alysia’s career through the now eyes of a middle aged woman with kids of my own, I just find the whole thing unsettling. I realize she is a prodigy but adults are discussing puberty (that has to be mortifying for a teen), adults are tweeting about her life, we are all just sitting here discussing her life and she is only 14 years old. I don’t really know if I am making sense- it’s hard to put what I am saying into words. I realize everything she does is going to be big news. It’s just a completely different era now with all the social media. She is so so young. It’s kind of disturbing. All this hype is almost creepy. I mean she won silver at Jr. Worlds and earlier in the thread that was seen as a reason to dismantle her entire team? That’s crazy to me. I hope she is kept safe and decisions are in her best interests and not for the adults around her.
 

rfisher

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Given how many times skaters acknowledge all kinds of issues later in life, I'd say decisions made by adults for a teenaged skater are almost always for the adults around them. Particularly, if those adults are heavily invested in said teen being an elite and competitive skater.
 

Lemonade20

Former Kurtholic
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Given how many times skaters acknowledge all kinds of issues later in life, I'd say decisions made by adults for a teenaged skater are almost always for the adults around them. Particularly, if those adults are heavily invested in said teen being an elite and competitive skater.

You’re right on that. I hope she will keep on skating. New team, changing body, all this scrutiny from her fans. It’s a lot for her and we should be cheering her on, not nitpicking what’s happening.
 

sk9tingfan

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Interesting discussion by The Skating Lesson. However, I cannot believe that he correlated Alysa's shoe size with her potential for further growth(she may get very tall). Assuming that Alysa should have gotten her period by now, I'm not sure that a significant growth spurt is in the cards.

 

layman

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It does not look like Alysa Liu has had a say in this coaching change. I just watched Dave Lease's breakdown of this matter. Now not everyone is going to agree with Dave Lease (he is a controversial figure in the sport) but this (coaching change) is a difficult situation for people outside the skating world to understand, so I do think he has some insight that the rest of us don't have.

He says that Arthur Liu patterns himself after Danny Kwan and wants to direct Alysa's career in the same way that Danny Kwan directed Michelle's career. Arthur Liu has fired Laura Lipetsky in the same way that Danny Kwan fired Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.

Secondly, Lease points out that he feels that Lori Nichol is guiding Liu's coaching change as she has steered many of her clients (Miyahara, Zhou, now Liu) to work with Barkell.

I am not going to say that Dave is right (because I don't know) but I do feel less confused after watching his breakdown.
 

Coco

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Perhaps what her former coach's comment was trying to convey is that Alyssa herself was not involved in the conversation ... or the decision?

From what I recall, Michelle told Frank directly that she was no longer going to work with him.
 

rfisher

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We'll have to wait and see how Barkell does with Miyahara and Zhou, but Dalman hasn't benefited all that much yet. Who knows? I don't think he's going to help Satoko's UR problem and probably not Vincent's, but maybe. She's a lot younger so maybe he can improve her UR issues. Or not. But, since he's in Canada and she's not, it's a moot point right now. Very few skaters can do what Nathan and Raf managed.
 

attyfan

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Perhaps what her former coach's comment was trying to convey is that Alyssa herself was not involved in the conversation ... or the decision?

From what I recall, Michelle told Frank directly that she was no longer going to work with him.

IIRC, Michelle was over 20 when she split with Frank; IMO, 20 year olds do not need dad's help to make decisions that prove to be unwise (and Michelle has always said that she was the one making the decision, not dad). Alyssa, however, is much younger ... it is normal for younger kids not to have the same involvement in decision making as is expected of a 20 year old.
 

UGG

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Interesting discussion by The Skating Lesson. However, I cannot believe that he correlated Alysa's shoe size with her potential for further growth(she may get very tall). Assuming that Alysa should have gotten her period by now, I'm not sure that a significant growth spurt is in the cards.


this is exactly what I am talking about. Why on earth is anyone speculating whether or not Alysa has her period? This is very personal and confusing for young girls. there are grown @$$ men who are too embarrassed to buy their wives tampons... why is it acceptable to discuss the mensural cycle of a 14 year old girl and not think that might possibly humiliating if she ever read here? Why is discussing her menstrual cycle and body a free for all?

Also regarding MK and Frank splitting...Michelle was 21 years old. Why is this even a comparison?
 
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Skibean

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While I won’t pretend to have any knowledge of what happened, my guess would be that this wasn’t an overnight decision and the previous coach probably had some idea that it was coming.

It has been a long time since the US has had a skater with the potential of Alysa. (Not only potential, but proven results.). I don’t think any of us can fault Alysa, her family, or whoever else people speculate to be involved, for this decision.
 

insideedgeua

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He says that Arthur Liu patterns himself after Danny Kwan and wants to direct Alysa's career in the same way that Danny Kwan directed Michelle's career. Arthur Liu has fired Laura Lipetsky in the same way that Danny Kwan fired Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.
Firstly, I haven’t and won’t be reading or listening to anything put out by Dave on TSL. But here’s my take on it.


US Figure Skating has been watching and guiding Alyssa very closely for a long time. I don’t remember where I read it, but I think they sent her to Junior Worlds, before she was age eligible, to watch and get a feel for what was to come for her. I’m sorry, I have no source for that. I read it ages ago. It could have been the Grand Prix Final. Either way, US Figure Skating has been investing money in her future for a while.

What I do know for sure was that she was at 4CC in LA last year, getting a look at a senior international. She was very unassuming in the stands and looked like any other young fan in the stands. She was always with a group of young friends and her coach was always very close by.

Over the days of the event Mitch Moyer, Senior Director of High Performance checked in with her family regularly. Her father was usually sitting a row or two away. Frank Carroll sat with him on at least two days, chatting away to him the whole time.

I’m sure that they’re getting advice from every direction and trying to weigh it all up and work out what the best course will be.

It must be difficult to work out what is best when you’re being given so much advice. I can only imagine that there may have been pressure on the family to change coaches for quite some time.
 

MacMadame

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He says that Arthur Liu patterns himself after Danny Kwan and wants to direct Alysa's career in the same way that Danny Kwan directed Michelle's career. Arthur Liu has fired Laura Lipetsky in the same way that Danny Kwan fired Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.
David Lease is no more a skating insider than I am. And the fact that he said this proves it because that is not how it happened at all.

I am sure the Liu family has been getting pressure from all sides to get Alyssa a coach with a bigger name. I think a coaching change was inevitable. The fact that Brian Boitano seems to be the only skater we can remember who only ever had one coach and that was in the 80s shows how rare it is for a skater to come up to through the Senior ranks with the same coach that they started with.

That said, it does seem strange to do it now with all the travel restrictions making it impossible to work with the Canadian coaches and with the season so completely up-in-the-air. Given that Liu was already working with Lori Nichol and Scali, all they are doing is switching out Lipetsky for Barkell. So why not wait until Liu can travel to Canada to do that?

I'm going to assume it was for some reason that only Alyssa's team knows. Hopefully, for the sake of my own nosiness, it becomes clear at some point, but we may never know.
 

Maximillian

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David Lease is no more a skating insider than I am. And the fact that he said this proves it because that is not how it happened at all.

I am sure the Liu family has been getting pressure from all sides to get Alyssa a coach with a bigger name. I think a coaching change was inevitable. The fact that Brian Boitano seems to be the only skater we can remember who only ever had one coach and that was in the 80s shows how rare it is for a skater to come up to through the Senior ranks with the same coach that they started with.

That said, it does seem strange to do it now with all the travel restrictions making it impossible to work with the Canadian coaches and with the season so completely up-in-the-air. Given that Liu was already working with Lori Nichol and Scali, all they are doing is switching out Lipetsky for Barkell. So why not wait until Liu can travel to Canada to do that?

I'm going to assume it was for some reason that only Alyssa's team knows. Hopefully, for the sake of my own nosiness, it becomes clear at some point, but we may never know.
I agree with all this, though I would add Yamaguchi and Christy Ness as another example of a skater who stayed with the same coach. I suspect that Liu's team was getting an earful about how Lipetsky was 'small time' and she needed a bigger name (Dave Lease himself does this with pretty much every skater on every episode of his show from what I've seen) to help her. My problem with this is that there was...NO PROBLEM, at least skating wise. She had been making steady progress in all areas of her skating, she hadn't gone into a slump, she hadn't regressed in any area. I just hope whatever improvements she makes (and how quickly they occur, which is what I suspect is the real issue) are worth ending a nine year coaching relationship.
 

RoseRed

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The most interesting part to me was that the international skaters who switched to Lee recently all work with Lori - I hadn't noticed that until he said it. So I wouldn't be surprised if Lori had some influence on the decision (I don't mean in a bad way).

But yeah, the timing seems weird since she can't get to Canada right now, and she was already working with Lori and Massimo. I'm sure there's a reason, just from the outside it's not clear.
 

Skibean

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Honestly, it’s not our place to judge. We aren’t the little girl out there on the ice. We aren’t the girl with the big dreams of Olympic gold, or the ones paying the coach for the guidance. This is her path and her career.
 

Sylvia

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I don’t remember where I read it, but I think they sent her to Junior Worlds, before she was age eligible, to watch and get a feel for what was to come for her. I’m sorry, I have no source for that. I read it ages ago. It could have been the Grand Prix Final.
Yes, Alysa attended the 2018-19 GPF/JGPF in Vancouver as a spectator along with her coach:
What I do know for sure was that she was at 4CC in LA last year, getting a look at a senior international. She was very unassuming in the stands and looked like any other young fan in the stands. She was always with a group of young friends and her coach was always very close by.
I recall that USFS sent a group of young skaters to watch 4CC in Anaheim, CA last year. Alysa skated her SP in the opening ceremony; local skaters Kanon Smith (2019 U.S. Juvenile Girls champion) and Sean Rabbitt also were invited to perform in Anaheim.
Yikes. All this pressure and microscopic attention on Liu ain't good.
Unfortunately, it's part of the deal of being an Olympic U.S. ladies' prospect. Sports Illustrated already did a story on her last year - link to the GSD thread I started: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/sports-illustrated-article-on-alysa-liu.105632/

Excerpt from an article by Helene Elliott after 2020 Nationals and before Junior Worlds:
Arthur Liu is proud of how his daughter has dealt with the fame that has accompanied her success. “I think she’s really mature about the media and also [the] comments people post on the internet,” he says.

As he speaks, his daughter interrupts him. “I don’t really read the comments,” she announces, which prompts a laugh from her father. “She even tells me not to read them or listen to them. She’s really mature about that,” he says.
I hope this continues.
 
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Sasha'sSpins

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Interesting discussion by The Skating Lesson. However, I cannot believe that he correlated Alysa's shoe size with her potential for further growth(she may get very tall). Assuming that Alysa should have gotten her period by now, I'm not sure that a significant growth spurt is in the cards.


A girl can get her period as early as 8 or as late as 18. As to the shoe thing, I wouldn't know, but I vaguely remember an article on the actress/model Brooke Shields. Apparently, as a newborn, the doctor took one look at the infant Brooke's large feet and exclaimed to her mom 'Your daughter is going to be TALL!'. I don't know about that though. I'm quite short and my feet are, on average, the same size as taller friends and family.

I have read somewhere that as long as one's growth plate hasn't closed you probably still have some growing to do.
 
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Eeyora1

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It does not look like Alysa Liu has had a say in this coaching change. I just watched Dave Lease's breakdown of this matter. Now not everyone is going to agree with Dave Lease (he is a controversial figure in the sport) but this (coaching change) is a difficult situation for people outside the skating world to understand, so I do think he has some insight that the rest of us don't have.

He says that Arthur Liu patterns himself after Danny Kwan and wants to direct Alysa's career in the same way that Danny Kwan directed Michelle's career. Arthur Liu has fired Laura Lipetsky in the same way that Danny Kwan fired Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.

Secondly, Lease points out that he feels that Lori Nichol is guiding Liu's coaching change as she has steered many of her clients (Miyahara, Zhou, now Liu) to work with Barkell.

I am not going to say that Dave is right (because I don't know) but I do feel less confused after watching his breakdown.
I thought Dave just analyzed how Danny fired Lori. Not Frank? He also used to phrase “Legend has it”
I watched the video at 1am so my memory may be foggy.

Yes Michelle was an adult when she fired frank. But guess what a lot of young adults are still heavily influenced by there parents. The Kwan’s were and are very close knit. Even if Michelle was financially independent. I was a little surprised with the tidbit that Danny fired Lori. Maybe Michelle had him do it because she Felt guilty.

I honestly thought the video would have been a lot better without the Michelle information.
 

overedge

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Honestly, it’s not our place to judge. We aren’t the little girl out there on the ice. We aren’t the girl with the big dreams of Olympic gold, or the ones paying the coach for the guidance. This is her path and her career.

I hear what you are saying, but at the same time, it's the "not our place" perspective that has led to some very bad things happening to skaters in the USFS and elsewhere.

Note that I am not suggesting this sort of thing is happening here. But IMO it's not unreasonable to be concerned whether decisions are being made around a skater with their best interests in mind.
 

natsulian

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Changing coaches, especially during unprecedented times, can be immensely unnerving. However, Alysa Liu has shown resilience, grit, and maturity beyond her years. Thus, if anyone can make the most out of change, it is Alysa. I wish Alysa the best and keep in mind, when asked about her goals, she talked about skating beyond the 2026 Olympic year so HER focus is on longevity and constant improvement. In an era where Olympic stars come and go like candles in the wind, I admire her spirit. Best of luck Alysa!
 

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