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

lurkz2

Active Member
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76
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.

Wasn't he Daleman's coach when she won bronze at the World Championships? IMHO Daleman actually has great jumps when she's well trained.
 

Skibean

Active Member
Messages
94
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.

I was thinking more along the lines of not judging her making a coaching change. We have no idea what the circumstances were, so it’s not really a fans decision on whether or not a skater remains with a coach. We are spectators- we aren’t the ones directly involved.
It’s very common for skaters to switch coaches. Let’s not turn this into a soap opera. I hope people don’t turn on Alysa as they’ve turned on a few other young girls for making a coaching change.
 

Sonata

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Messages
674
I knew I was forgetting someone. :D But that's from the 90s. So it's still pretty rare. At least in the US.
Also Brian Orser, who started with Doug Leigh at the age of 8. Doug Leigh was in his early twenties and starting his coaching career.
I had not realized how rare it was to stay with one coach until now. But generally I don’t believe skaters in the 80s and 90s changed coaches much. They would sometimes switch to another coach very late in their career, but the skaters were usually in their early twenties, when people tend to explore life outside their hometown anyways. Kurt Browning and Josee Chouinard moving to Louis Stong in the last two years of their careers comes to mind. (Btw Josee Chouinard’s first coach is now an accountant.)
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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Wasn't he Daleman's coach when she won bronze at the World Championships?
Yes. Both Barkell (her primary coach) and Orser were with Daleman in Helsinki.

ETA: Andrei Berezintsev and Inga Zusev coached Daleman to her first Olympics in 2014 and the Canadian national title in 2015 before she switched.
 
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aftershocks

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It has been a long time since the US has had a skater with the potential of Alysa.

Hmmm, you mean teenybopper tech potential in the current quad-crazy Russian teenybopper phenom environment? :unsure:

I disagree with your broad statement. Alysa has talent that is surely worth nurturing and investing in, but so have a lot of other U.S. ladies possessed high level competitive talent over the years, despite the unusual Worlds and Olympics podium drought for U.S. ladies (broken a bit by Ashley Wagner's silver at 2016 Worlds in the United States).

Since the Sasha/ Michelle era, the talent among U.S. ladies has been nothing to sneeze at. Mirai Nagasu is the first U.S. lady to complete a triple axel at the Olympics. Mirai possessed superb all-around talent despite experiencing challenging personal obstacles and institutional opposition which she overcame to achieve significant personal victories. Ashley Wagner was a gritty overachiever who kept U.S. ladies in the hunt, and she ultimately is the one who broke the World podium drought when it was supposed to have been Gracie Gold. No one should ever discount Gracie's enormous talent and huge potential. Simply because what was anticipated and expected of her did not fully materialize, should not be a cause for head-shaking gloom and dismissing what she was able to accomplish. In fact, Gracie's story should be a cautionary tale for U.S. figure skating and her talent should never be dismissed as a footnote in the annals of U.S. ladies figure skating.

The talent and potential that has abounded among U.S. ladies continues: Polina Edmunds, Karen Chen, Bradie Tennell, Mariah Bell, et al. By now figure skating fans should realize that talent and potential aren't enough in any case. It's about luck, timing, and politics, amidst a multitude of unpredictable factors. The bottom line is that talent in the rest of the world has increased and deepened. As well, luck, timing and politics too often has not been in U.S. ladies' favor over the past 24 years.

Alysa Liu coming onto the scene has been beneficial for all U.S. ladies in the sense that the more talent and potential that exists helps push everyone to improve and to up their game.
 

Lemonade20

Former Kurtholic
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565
Also Brian Orser, who started with Doug Leigh at the age of 8. Doug Leigh was in his early twenties and starting his coaching career.
I had not realized how rare it was to stay with one coach until now. But generally I don’t believe skaters in the 80s and 90s changed coaches much. They would sometimes switch to another coach very late in their career, but the skaters were usually in their early twenties, when people tend to explore life outside their hometown anyways. Kurt Browning and Josee Chouinard moving to Louis Stong in the last two years of their careers comes to mind. (Btw Josee Chouinard’s first coach is now an accountant.)

I thought Kurt moved to Toronto because of his then-girlfriend.
 

Lemonade20

Former Kurtholic
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565
I don’t know. My general point being that it was more common to see a high level skater stick with their childhood coach for a long time and Browning did.

True, I wonder how common it is to switch coaches late in your skating career. I totally get it early on like with Alissa. She’s still learning, evolving and becoming a better skater. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her
 

feraina

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2,295
I’m worried. It sounds like Alysa will not have a real technical coach since she’s staying in Oakland. If she loses her jumps she will be in real trouble. I hope there’s someone local she can at least take lessons with to maintain her jumps. I don’t understand the logic of switching over to Canadian coaches that she can’t even see. My guess is perhaps her dad thinks she’s being taught the wrong technique (like Jason Brown) and needs to correct it ASAP. But not having a local technical coach at all... I have to say this switch does not inspire confidence.
 

overedge

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I thought Kurt moved to Toronto because of his then-girlfriend.

IIRC he had also been under some pressure from the CFSA, as it was then, to train in a large city with a higher-profile coach. The CFSA tried to make him move to Toronto earlier in his career, and he refused, because he liked being in Edmonton near his family and friends, and he liked training with Michael Jiranek.
 

essence_of_soy

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,625
IIRC he had also been under some pressure from the CFSA, as it was then, to train in a large city with a higher-profile coach. The CFSA tried to make him move to Toronto earlier in his career, and he refused, because he liked being in Edmonton near his family and friends, and he liked training with Michael Jiranek.

Browning may have done more memorable work with Stong in Toronto. But he had better results with Jiranek in Edmonton.
 

essence_of_soy

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Messages
5,625
I’m worried. It sounds like Alysa will not have a real technical coach since she’s staying in Oakland. If she loses her jumps she will be in real trouble. I hope there’s someone local she can at least take lessons with to maintain her jumps. I don’t understand the logic of switching over to Canadian coaches that she can’t even see. My guess is perhaps her dad thinks she’s being taught the wrong technique (like Jason Brown) and needs to correct it ASAP. But not having a local technical coach at all... I have to say this switch does not inspire confidence.

I am reminded of how Marjorie Chin meddled with her daughter, Tiffany's training, and we all know how that ended.
 

Skibean

Active Member
Messages
94
Hmmm, you mean teenybopper tech potential in the current quad-crazy Russian teenybopper phenom environment? :unsure:

I disagree with your broad statement. Alysa has talent that is surely worth nurturing and investing in, but so have a lot of other U.S. ladies possessed high level competitive talent over the years, despite the unusual Worlds and Olympics podium drought for U.S. ladies (broken a bit by Ashley Wagner's silver at 2016 Worlds in the United States).

Since the Sasha/ Michelle era, the talent among U.S. ladies has been nothing to sneeze at. Mirai Nagasu is the first U.S. lady to complete a triple axel at the Olympics. Mirai possessed superb all-around talent despite experiencing challenging personal obstacles and institutional opposition which she overcame to achieve significant personal victories. Ashley Wagner was a gritty overachiever who kept U.S. ladies in the hunt, and she ultimately is the one who broke the World podium drought when it was supposed to have been Gracie Gold. No one should ever discount Gracie's enormous talent and huge potential. Simply because what was anticipated and expected of her did not fully materialize, should not be a cause for head-shaking gloom and dismissing what she was able to accomplish. In fact, Gracie's story should be a cautionary tale for U.S. figure skating and her talent should never be dismissed as a footnote in the annals of U.S. ladies figure skating.

The talent and potential that has abounded among U.S. ladies continues: Polina Edmunds, Karen Chen, Bradie Tennell, Mariah Bell, et al. By now figure skating fans should realize that talent and potential aren't enough in any case. It's about luck, timing, and politics, amidst a multitude of unpredictable factors. The bottom line is that talent in the rest of the world has increased and deepened. As well, luck, timing and politics too often has not been in U.S. ladies' favor over the past 24 years.

Alysa Liu coming onto the scene has been beneficial for all U.S. ladies in the sense that the more talent and potential that exists helps push everyone to improve and to up their game.

well, judging by results- Alysa has accomplished a lot and she’s just beginning. She’s already a 2 time US National champion- back to back titles- landing triple axels and quads. Her talent can not be denied. I can’t remember the last time the US has seen such talent/potential.

I am a fan of all the ladies you mentioned and am not an uber Alysa fan at all, so I’m not going to engage in a huge debate over it, but there’s no denying her talent and accomplishments to date.

My point is that she has huge potential and the USFSA recognizes this. How could they not? Of course they are paying attention to her career choices and providing guidance. It really has been along time since we’ve seen the type of results Alysa is getting, and at such a young age.
 

concorde

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Messages
547
Alyssa has great talent but . . . most things around her appear a bit off to me and do not seem to add up. I get the impression that dad is driving it and she is along for the ride (and why not? it appears to be a great ride).

Anyone else find it strange that she gave her 1st National Championship medal to her dad? I can possibly see the 2nd but not the first.

Who is paying for all these training sessions (coaching fees and for the non-local ones airline fees, hotels)? Dad is an attorney but most attorneys are not huge wage earners. Those that make the big $$ tend to be partners in large law firms that require LOTS of time in the office. So how is dad able to be so involved in her training (including paying all this $$), working to pay the bills, and still able to raise 4 other children alone?

Schooling - She is home schooling so grades are somewhat irrelevant but a year ago it was commented that she was in 5th grade and now it is reported that she is in 11th grade. Given her age, she should have just completed her freshman year of HS (9th grade). Just seems that the grade information is just randomly thrown out.

Others I know have voiced similar comments so I know I am not the only one scratching my head. Others may completely disagree with my comments.

I hope that the dad know what he is doing.
 

VGThuy

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Skating really is only open to the upper classes full of respectable people of a certain breed if some of those questions above are popping up.
 

Miki89

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While I appreciate TSL for providing a lot of good skating content, Dave's constant insistence that he is an skating insider by basing his analysis on assumptions and rumors he heard from talking to people at a rink is a bit off-putting. Personally, I find it hard to believe that such a strong-willed person like Michelle, at 20 years old, would allow her father to make all of her coaching and choreography decisions without her input.
 

gkelly

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I had not realized how rare it was to stay with one coach until now. But generally I don’t believe skaters in the 80s and 90s changed coaches much. They would sometimes switch to another coach very late in their career, but the skaters were usually in their early twenties, when people tend to explore life outside their hometown anyways.

Or very early in their career, if the local rink did not offer sufficient ice time or advanced coaching to permit serious training toward an elite career.
 

DreamSkates

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2,561
...

Although, I can understand if perhaps Alysa just needs to be around more high level skaters. I wish her well on this new chapter!
With the next Olympics looming and the very strong field of ladies skaters from Russsia, and Japan, now is a good time to seek coaches of the highest level, to attain all she can by the time the Olympics rolls around. All her jumps (esp. quads) were not secure this year (called for under rotations) so if she (and her father) feels that she needs others to fix those problems, then this is a good move for her.
 

DreamSkates

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2,561
I guess there was something else going on if Lipetsky was already having Liu go to Scali and then Liu suddenly leaves her for Barkell but kept Scali.
Not necessarily. Isn't it common for upper level figure skaters to have multiple types of coaches they work with? According to the Skating Lesson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Ldjmm-CaA Liu was already working with several different coaches over the years for various aspects of her skating. I don't think there is a "one-coach-can-do-everything" coach. Example: Orser is a fantastic coach but he doesn't coach alone. He has a team. Each member makes a contribution to the whole of the skater's development.
 

DreamSkates

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She did put a nice spin on it, by refusing to comment further. If she'd said that she was really angry, and said negative things about the skater, the skater's dad, and/or USFS, then you'd be getting on her case about that too :rolleyes:

I don't see why Lipetsky wouldn't be upset. She's been dismissed from working with someone who she's worked with for a long time, and coached to two US championships. Alysia is staying in the same area, so it's not like Lipetsky was dismissed because Alysia was moving somewhere else. That has to hurt at least a little.

And it seems that Lipetsky also sent Alysia to other coaches who had more expertise than her in some areas. So it's not like Lipetsky was hanging on to Alysia and wouldn't let anyone else help with her.
The person who pays the bills while the skater is under age 18, has the most input into these decisions.
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
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12,421
Alyssa has great talent but . . . most things around her appear a bit off to me and do not seem to add up. I get the impression that dad is driving it and she is along for the ride (and why not? it appears to be a great ride).

Anyone else find it strange that she gave her 1st National Championship medal to her dad? I can possibly see the 2nd but not the first.

Who is paying for all these training sessions (coaching fees and for the non-local ones airline fees, hotels)? Dad is an attorney but most attorneys are not huge wage earners. Those that make the big $$ tend to be partners in large law firms that require LOTS of time in the office. So how is dad able to be so involved in her training (including paying all this $$), working to pay the bills, and still able to raise 4 other children alone?

Schooling - She is home schooling so grades are somewhat irrelevant but a year ago it was commented that she was in 5th grade and now it is reported that she is in 11th grade. Given her age, she should have just completed her freshman year of HS (9th grade). Just seems that the grade information is just randomly thrown out.

Others I know have voiced similar comments so I know I am not the only one scratching my head. Others may completely disagree with my comments.

I hope that the dad know what he is doing.
Wow! Alyssa has always thanked her dad for supporting her dream. I don't see anybody pushing Alyssa but Alyssa.

They are not a traditional family but they are a loving and caring one.
 

soogar

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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.

Not to hijack this thread, but about foot size- Liza Tuktik just posted a video of herself on Instagram at her second Russian nationals and said "the moment when you are 12 years old, your foot has already grown, but the body not yet."

I don't know how big Alyssa's feet are, mine were size 8 at 10 years old and I only grew 2 inches. Tara Lipinski is still very small and she had similar proportions to Alyssa.
 

Polaris

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1,167
The talent and potential that has abounded among U.S. ladies continues: Polina Edmunds, Karen Chen, Bradie Tennell, Mariah Bell, et al. By now figure skating fans should realize that talent and potential aren't enough in any case. It's about luck, timing, and politics, amidst a multitude of unpredictable factors. The bottom line is that talent in the rest of the world has increased and deepened. As well, luck, timing and politics too often has not been in U.S. ladies' favor over the past 24 years.

You mean ability to deliver...

The US's ladies medal drought has nothing to do with lack of luck, timing, and politics and everything due to inability to deliver when it counts. US Fed is more than willing and capable of politicking a skater to Gold if a skater meets them halfway.
 

Spun Silver

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One rare trait that Alysa has going for her is that she seems to have nerves of steel.

Like Yamaguchi before her its such an AWESOME trait to have.

So admirable imo.
Also she seems to shrug it off when she makes mistakes. Not that she doesn't take it seriously, but she seems too secure, happy and motivated to dwell on mistakes. Wonderful kid!!
 

Tinami Amori

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19,605
So who is now Alysa's main coach who works with her on daily basis?
Alysa has two skating sessions, AM and in the afternoon. 6 days a week. Someone has to be with her at the rink for the morning training and then again for the afternoon training.

Laura L. has other skaters at Oakland Ice Centre and spends most of the day on ice, so it made sense she coached Alysa in AM and then in the afternoon.

There is no info if Massimo Scali has any other students at this rink, so how would it work with AM and afternoon split time? he'd come to the rink on the same day 2x with a 4-5 hours break in between? If he has other students in Oakland Ice Centre that's another story....
 

million$momma

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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.
Can Alyssa even go to Canada at this point? The border is closed to non-essential travel.
 

essence_of_soy

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5,625
I’m worried. It sounds like Alysa will not have a real technical coach since she’s staying in Oakland. If she loses her jumps she will be in real trouble. I hope there’s someone local she can at least take lessons with to maintain her jumps. I don’t understand the logic of switching over to Canadian coaches that she can’t even see. My guess is perhaps her dad thinks she’s being taught the wrong technique (like Jason Brown) and needs to correct it ASAP. But not having a local technical coach at all... I have to say this switch does not inspire confidence.

Or when Patrick Chan dumped his jump coaches, and had a dance coach for the remainder of his career. His consistency on certain jumps, particularly the triple axel, faded somewhat.
 

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