Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Trankov


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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Maksim Trankov for (please click the original paper link for the counter etc...)

EV: One of your previous coaches, Oleg Vasiliev once said that the art of coaching is, first of all, how well your team is prepared to a competition, how they get through the stress and how fast do they recover after the competition. How was the beginning of the season for you? How nerve wrecking?
MT: Am not sure I can talk about the art of coaching yet, though all that you mentioned is indeed an important part of the preparations. The most important lesson I learned now, and, fortunately, soon enough is not comparing those you coach to you. If you are a coach it matters no what kind of an athlete you used to be.
For example when Tanya Volosozhar and came to a competition we would not approach the coach before the skate. We realized: they already taught us all they could. There are no magic words that a skater can hear at the right moment, that would make them skate without mistakes. I'm so used thinking that way that it never even crossed my mind there might be other options. Think it was only during the Olympics in Korea that I first started thinking the athletes are all different.

EV: Who are you talking about?
MT: About Tarasova/Morozov. In Korean Olympics Nina Mikhailovna had to control two teams that were skating in different groups – it just happened. Evgenia came out to skate the LP mentally not ready. I remember how I was watching her skating and recalling what Evgeni Platov told: that in Nagano Olympics Tatiana Tarasova spilled a glass of cold water in his face when she saw he was off. I only learn now understanding the state of the skaters, it’s a new experience for me. I’ve known Tarasova and Morozov for a while as my friends, but I don’t really know them as the athletes.

EV: The time you were comparing your pupils to you, was it annoying they are not like you and Tatiana?
MT: No. More like I still don’t really understand just how much Tarasova/Morozov need me as a coach. When I was skating and I felt I needed Nina Mikhailovna I would approach her myself. If I wanted to whine – I whined. If I needed just to talk and set my mind off the competition – she would listen. We had a complete understanding before the competitions. `Your legs feel wooden? Well, bend your knees a couple of times and go on, all is good..’ I.e. there were just some small things and the coach was controlling that I would not keep things inside. I don’t yet have such an understanding with Tarsova/Morozov and it’s allright. We’ve only been together for two competitions.

EV: Did you have to shout at them in the time you have been working together?
MT: Sure. Mainly because of the lack of discipline and their behavior on the ice. If they started arguing on the ice without explaining me what was the cause of the argument. In such cases I remind them who is the coach. If they called me for help I demand they obey.

EV: I.e. you are a strict coach?
MT: No, quite the opposite, but if the situation goes out of hand the coach is there to prevent it. Sometimes the shake up helps the athlete to get back into the training cycle. The routine tires, hence people lose it. I learn to see such things not letting them escalate.
But it does not mean that I shout at them every practice. During our time together it happened just a couple of times. `Calm’ is my second name as a coach. Nothing like what I used to be as an athlete.

EV: Does it help you having Mozer next to you at the competitions, or does it add responsibility?
MT: Helps of course. Mentally and practically. I recall at the first competition I started explaining something in a high voice, like I do during the practices. Nina Mikhailovna stopped me and explained if I want to tell something my athletes I have to call them over and not shout over the rink. Because there are other coaches there and my shouting might bother their work. It was quite new for me – when Tanya and I were skating, frankly, I never payed attention to the others and it’s really just a good behaviour.

EV: Are you pulling my leg?
MT: Not at all. More than that, during the competitions I realized I don’t know how to call the athletes over. We don’t have any code signs. Should I clap? Whistle? I have to wave my hands and think on the way how to get them to see me and understand I mean `stop and come over’

EV: You started working on a new throw jump with Tarasova/Morozov -–the 3f
MT: You put it slightly wrong. We haven’t started working on it, we learned. The flip throw jump costs more than the jumps the guys were doing previously.

EV: Yet you were unable avoiding mistakes on the first GP event where they attempted it. Was it because of a technique change?
MT: I didn’t touch the technique and didn’t change a thing there. Yet I didn’t understand myself what was the mistake. I always thought Evgenia and Vladimir have a huge great throw, a huge great split twist, so why touch it and change if the judges always give a +3 for that element? Now I can say with the full confidence the problems were not because of the flip. When Nina Mikhailovna came to the rink she solved it all within one practice.

EV: What was the problem?
MT: In short – we were paying a lot of attention on Evgenia’s landing, while we should had payed attention to Vladimir’s actions. Just that Evgenia is the calmest and is not used to complain when something does not feel comfortable. She is more into thinking what had she done wrong, where had she not worked enough. Apparently Vladimir was making a slight mistake.
The ideal throw jump happens when the male partner does his part of job right. Once Nina Mikhailovna reminded Vladimir that all piece of the puzzle fell into the place. It’s not only about the throw jump, but the split twist, which I watch very closely now. If you noticed in the first practice Tarasova/Morozov did some great throws and split twists.

EV: Do I understand it right that ideally you would like them to have the same amplitude that differentiated you and Volosozhar and Savchenko/Massot from the others?
MT: I can’t really say Aljona had a huge throws. The flip was big, yes. The salchow was quite small. Tarasova/Morozov’s loop throw is huge, it’s no worse than Tanya and I or the Chinese Zhang/zhang were doing. As for the flip – it can’t be huge by definition – it’s a toe jump. It can be high, but not with a long flight, though Sui/Han manage to make it look big. Perhaps it’s simply because they are smaller, hence it looks like a `wow’ element, but if you measure the actual distance she covers in the air it will be nothing special.
With the new rules, I think, the high and the ice coverage of the jump are not important anymore. It’s important all will look nice and be clean. Recall the Duhamel/Radford or Kawaguti/Smirnov’s throws. I recall once Tanya and I were doing a sbs jump, while Yuko and Sasha, who were sharing the ice with us were doing a throw4salchow. Tanya’s jump was covering more ice than Yuko’s throw.
It's not something that started yesterday. Totmianina/Marinin’s throws had an great landing, on a highest speed, yet the jump itself was not very big. Yet it did not prevent Tanya and Maksim to become the Olympic champion. Now all the athletes who have the huge jumps are the old school, which I consider Tarasova/Morozov as well, because they grew up in front of us. I.e. the pairs skating is going to the direction of the singles. Which, of course, I dislike. But I have to play by these rules.

EV: You mean that in single skating the high jumps with a lot of ice coverage are not really counted and what you need is a well rotated jump?
MT: Right. I recall watching the 3A by Vyacheslav Zagorodnyuk or Kurt Browning and I was in awe: how do their knees remain healthy after such jumps? Take Yuzuru Hanuy – his 3A is not so big compared, but it’s so easily done, that it looks equally great.

EV: there is a point of view the judging system is focusing more on the beauty of the skating, compared to the old system. The lines, the quality of the elements. Do you reckon the pairs skating has those elements that would secretly influence the judges, that would allow to get enough points and get ahead, like Satoko Miyahara did compared to Liza Tuktamysheva in Hiroshima?
MT: Back at the time it was exactly those elements that Tanya and I beat Aljona Savchenko/Robin Szelkowy with. They could hardly ever do a parallel spin indeed in parallel - they would always get apart. Now a well performed lift costs less that a well performed jump. That’s what I meant saying the pairs skating is going to the direction of the single skating: the cooler your jump is the cooler your throw is – the better the odds you’ll win. But no one cares about your amazing interesting lifts.
Now it’s generally easier to get the levels in the lifts. Some say the complexity is higher, but it’s not true. One of the most popular lifts right now is the one we learn as the kids. It’s called `platter’ in English, we call it a `fishy’: two arms on the hips. If you remember the movie `Dirty dances’ it’s the lift Patrick Swayze does in the lake with the girl. Two actors who have nothing to do with the sports. I was doing that lift in `Skating with the stars’ with the star.

EV: Are there other silly pair skating rules?
MT: Not silly, more like things that are hard to understand. The new GOE system, for example. In the first GP event Tarasova/Morozov perform a lvl4 split twist, their trade mark element and get a +4 from the Russian judge. Another Russian team skates after, they do an ok split twist, but obviously not as good in high, execution etc as Tarasova/Morozov’s, and they get the same +4 from the same Russian judge. I start thinking: either our split twist is not good enough or there is an amazingly good split twist our rivals are performing and I’m missing it.

EV: Perhaps the judge was simply trying to pull both Russian pairs as high as possible?
MT: Golden words: the judge is trying. He should judge, not try to pull or throw a team.

EV: Did you mind even a little that when skating in GP in Japan Zabijako/Morozov got 10 points more than Tarasova/Morozov in the USA?
MT: Not at all. Even if Zabijako/Morozov will get to the GPF with the highest marks it will be for our favour: we will not have to skate the last. Second, it’s a matter of comparing, but comparing different competition is not quite right: there are different judges and technical specialists. And, Zabijako/Enbert skated much better in Japan than Tarasova/Morozov did in their GP event.
A different matter is whether it’s a good idea to be in a top shape in October. My answer is no. I went through that at the Olympic season and learned that great skates at the beginning of the season are useless. I need my team to skate well at the Worlds, not now.

EV: What do you need them to do now?
MT: To win both of their GP events and be in the last group in the GPF. You mustn’t fall out of the last group. You mustn’t be out of the elite. The GPF itself – what does it give you? Tanya and I always came first to the event and always lost the GPF to Savchenko/Szelkowy. We never beat them in the GPF.

EV: Do you have a competition when working with Tarasova/Morozov? A pair who pushes you?
MT: In our case the competition is in Zhenya and Vova to at least be as successful as their coach and, at most, overtake him. I think it’s the right approach. You have to look at yourself and not around. As long as Tanya and I were looking at Aljona and Robin we were not beating them. Once we stopped chasing them we started winning.

EV: You mean you were seriously chasing them?
MT: OF course. The first year we lost 7 points at the Worlds. We practically broke our brains thinking how do we get those 7 points, how do we move the elements in the programme, what new element do we learn. And then the injuries and the troubles began. It was going on for as long as I was watching Savchenko/Szelkowy’s results. I really stopped watching their skates. I would turn the TV off.

EV: Now you have to watch the other teams skates as a commentator. Does it bother your job?
MT: More like helps to stay tuned, understand the rules. I see the marks, see what gets a positive GOE, which team is the judges favourite and which is not.

EV: Who is a favourite?
MT: There is a team, where a guy quite often lands the jumps on two feet. And he always gets +2. It’s a mystery for me: how can you double foot a jump and get a positive GOE? And quite a well positive.
Frankly, I don’t completely understand the new system, I haven’t yet learned it well, I need time. Perhaps the judges give a +2 because they are doing that toeloop at the 2nd part of the programme? Perhaps the judge is sitting there and thinking `Damn, it’s the 10th element the toe, ok, so it’s double footed, a small mistake…’. On the other hand why is not written in the rules book then?

EV: After learning the throw 3flip with Tarasova/Morozov are you done making the programmes more complicated?
MT: For now yes. We just don’t have anywhere else to progress, except for the split4twist, which is our jocker.

EV: I.e. you mean that element is real?
MT: Completely. Just that we know we’ll get less points for it than the throw3twist. Right now the mistake on the catch gets penalized a lot. I.e. if there is a mistake the minus is huge. In other words the price of a mistake is too higher. We consulted with the specialists, judges and they said if the execution is not great, like we have in the split3twist, it’s not worth the risk. But we keep the element in mind.

EV: Not long before talking to you I was talking to one of the coaches and he thinks the singles skating becoming so complicated makes it impossible working on the ice for a long time – it’s too hard mentally. Do you agree?
MT: Is it too hard for Yuzury Hanyu? Can he do it? It’s hard for me to judge. And to understand. I know how Hanyu trains. I know how Voronov was training at the time. He never had troubles with the discipline – i.e. he never went out too late and was too tired. But he, let’s put it that way, didn’t like training too much. When he first started competing as a junior he was the future star. Future, future, future… And then it blew up. Now he works really hard. He flew back from Japan and went straight to Novogorsk for a recovery run. Hence his results now are higher then the others’

EV: You must agree the complexity demands a change in practices?
MT: It does, but in a different way. If, say, the spins become more complicated you must spend more time on them. Just that the Russian athletes are doing it a different way. We think the skating and the spins are not an element .And then we leave the points on the table with those spins, like Tuktamysheva did when lost 4 points to Miyahara in Japan. It’s clear she lost it – left the points where she shouldn’t had. Miyahara, on the other hand, doesn’t have a single fragile point: an amazing music, great programmes, lovely dress, even white boots. It all sounds like little things, but that’s where we leave the points.

EV: Perhaps you should think about the best choreographer for your skaters for the next season? Or it’s not the problem?
MT: First of all the team. At the beginning of the season I was alone. And then all of the sudden it was `Do it! Now!’. So we were trying to pull things in Sochi: first the elements, then the music. The SP Tarasova/Morozov choreographed without me. I wanted one thing, what they choreographed was another, they ended up skating a 3rd thing. The LP, choosing which I had a say, is more or less ok. Of course I want them to progress in choreography. But there aren’t many great pairs choreographer. Take Petr Tchernyshev - he is mainly doing the programmes. His programmes are great, but you have to give him the goal and the direction. In that case I don’t think there is anyone who can do a better programme than him. Though I have always dreamed of a programme done in Canada by Lory Nicole.

EV: What prevents you from working with her?
MT: Lory doesn’t work with the Russians. She works a lot with the Chinese and does gorgeous routines for them, but through her whole career, as far as I know, she never choreographed for any of our team. Why? I could never find an answer for that.


Well-Known Member
<<MT: There is a team, where a guy quite often lands the jumps on two feet. And he always gets +2. It’s a mystery for me: how can you double foot a jump and get a positive GOE? And quite a well positive. >>

I have often thought this about Marinaro. I wonder if that's who he means.....?


Well-Known Member
It's interesting that Trankov dreamed of having a program choreographed by Lori.


Well-Known Member
Honestly, he hasn't read the new GOE rules, he apparently doesn't understand some of the rules and thinks Tuk lost to Miyahra because she wasn't wearing white skates :eek:

I think i'd be finding a new coach rather than work with Trankov :shuffle:


Let the skating begin
Honestly, he hasn't read the new GOE rules, he apparently doesn't understand some of the rules and thinks Tuk lost to Miyahra because she wasn't wearing white skates :eek:

I think i'd be finding a new coach rather than work with Trankov :shuffle:
They went to him. He was the reluctant coach and in fact has stated often, he only did this to help out and isn't sure if this is the career he wants. I doubt he's read the rules. That being said, if (depending on what happens at Worlds) he decides to continue coaching, I'm sure he will.


Well-Known Member
<<MT: There is a team, where a guy quite often lands the jumps on two feet. And he always gets +2. It’s a mystery for me: how can you double foot a jump and get a positive GOE? And quite a well positive. >>

I have often thought this about Marinaro. I wonder if that's who he means.....?
I think it probably is them. They had their 3T as the 6th element at SC in the FS and got a bunch of +2/+3, one +4 and a -2. It was all -2/-3 at NHK. They had mainly +1/+2 at Finlandia, with 2 -1.

They're the only team with a 3T jump that late in the program that I saw with a quick look through the GP free skate protocols. And they competed against T/M at Finlandia.

T/M have gotten away with +GOE on two-footed throws plenty of times, as far as I recall.


Well-Known Member
Honestly, he hasn't read the new GOE rules, he apparently doesn't understand some of the rules and thinks Tuk lost to Miyahra because she wasn't wearing white skates :eek:

I think i'd be finding a new coach rather than work with Trankov :shuffle:

He’s saying that even things like white boots have change the perception and can influence how the judges are responding, which is absolutely true.

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