Coaches Descend Upon Nashville for PSA Conference and Trade Show

By Liz Leamy

More than 450 coaches from the United States, Canada and various other countries have convened in the famous country music destination of Nashville, Tennessee, for the 2017 Professional Skaters Association Annual Conference and Trade Show.

This celebrated educational coaches forum, held at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee, a leafy suburb based 20 miles south of Nashville and the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee, is perhaps more than anything, an environment of high energy and visibly good spirits.

Over the past few days, coaches have attended seminars on a range of different skating topics including jump, spin and edge technique, test and competition rules, business practices, synchronized skating, hockey and periodization.

“There’s a lot of energy here and you can feel a really good vibe,” PSA Executive Director Jimmie Santee said. “Everyone’s working together and when you’re all rowing in the same direction, you’ll get to the finish line quicker.”

Krall’s jump landing seminar a big draw
IMG_6690On Thursday, Christy Krall, the 2013 PSA coach of the year and World and Olympic coach, conducted a standing room-only seminar titled the “Language of Landing.”

Krall addressed some the key components of exiting a jump, from the last quarter [rotation] through the landing zone.

She showed video clips of some of the sport’s most accomplished jumping dynamos, including U.S. champion Nathan Chen, 2014 Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, among others, to provide coaches with a visual example of effective landings.

“They are all making a universal statement here,” Krall said. “They’re strong, they’re quick and they’re over the [landing] side completely.”

According to Krall, skaters, upon landing, should keep their head over their skating side, activate their glut muscles, have their free side arm across the core, land on a straight leg and toe pick, have their shoulders face into the landing curve and then lock their free leg behind their landing leg.

Once the skater lands the jump, Krall likes for them to do a back power pull, cross under and step into a forward edge, a move she describes as a “great transition.”

Krall also said the four basic components of effective athlete development include explaining, demonstrating, having an imitation to learn from and repetition.

“Resolve to [have your skaters] evolve,” said Krall, who is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to Santee, Krall’s presentation offered great information and insight.

“Christy dissected so much about the landing,” Santee said. “I learned a great deal. She’s so knowledgeable.”

Lauzon shares some of his secrets
IMG_6663Prominent ice dance coach Patrice Lauzon gave an illuminating presentation on dance technique basics.

Lauzon, who, with his wife, Marie-France Dubreuil, coach Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the Canadian 2010 Olympic gold medalists, 2014 Olympic silver medalists and 2017 World champions; Gabrielle Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, the 2015 and 2016 French World champions and 2017 World silver medalists; and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the three-time U.S. bronze medalists.

Dressed in monochromatic black, Lauzon explained the importance of tracking and how it represents one of the most important techniques he uses for coaching his teams.

“I find it changes the moves in skating,” he said.

According to Lauzon, the basis for tracking include methods such as soft holding, a wheelbarrow technique and various exercises in which the skaters follow and then are followed by one another.

“A great skater learns to be followed and can also be a follower,” Lauzon said. “They need to know and also feel each other on the pattern.”

The key, Lauzon said, is for the skaters to guide and follow one another rather than pull one another around the ice. It is also important that skaters manage the restraint of pushing so they can maintain flow and avoid losing any pressure.

Lauzon also explained how it is vital for skaters to always think of one another and be mindful as to why they do what they do.

“There’s a feeling and energy with each step and what it creates afterward,” Lauzon said. “Don’t just hit a position and extend a movement, [but] glide through it.”