Thursday, May 1, 2008

Which Coach Will It Be Kimmie

Meissner should continue her partnership with Callaghan and thank Pam Gregory for all of the help she has given her to get her to this point. “Though it was a difficult decision... , Meissner should say but she “felt it was necessary to gain fresh input and bring a new perspective to her skating. Never would she have achieved her current level of success without her, and for that she is very grateful. She’d appreciated her friendship and guidance over the past years and forever she will have a place in her heart. She is a remarkable coach, and she has a great admiration for her.” I am sure she does. I can see that they have a good rapport. It is now time to move on.

Kimmie. Meissner has dropped her longtime coach in favor of Callaghan whom she had hoped would provide a quick fix after a rough Grand prix which she had fell three times and ended last at that event in December. Then, trying to defend her national title, she fell three times and finished seventh. Since Richard Callaghan had apparently done some damage control, The obvious choice would have to be Richard Callaghan, the man who rebuilt Meissner's confidence and performance level to something resembling her former self at Worlds. However, to this day she has yet to make a decision. And her fans are waiting.

According to the Baltimore sun, Meissner had indicated that she would enjoy that relationship, with Callaghan. It will be interesting to see what happens. Pam Gregory, the Professional Skaters Association 2006 Coach of the Year, had been Meissner's coach since 2003.Apparently, Callaghan who has guided skaters to Olympic, world and national titles, appears as though he'd like to go to the Olympics again. His interviews imply his interests. As far as Kimmie goes I hope she goes down south and skates there. She needs the change. I definitely saw a difference in her skating at Worlds. Her confidence was back; she was definitely a new woman. The move seemed to have worked during the short program, Meissner appeared to enjoy herself and showed none of the timidity that marred earlier performances. I hope she continues to work with Callaghan and her new coaches. It seems to have helped her.

Meissner, too, was under pressure to prove that her disastrous season was behind her.
She has already gone to the self evaluation and has analyzed that her skating, based on the current scoring system needed some tweaking, she then found the person known for improving her technical skills. She found a “jump doctor.” The summers, the off, season in which the skaters train, may prove beneficial.

When someone starts skating at five or six years of age, the odds that the coach they choose will be able to see them through an entire career, let alone at the elite level, are slim to none. Undoubtedly this is a hard decision for Kimmie and the fact remains she has to leave the nest. One of the things that moving will help her do is to sell her maturity. Kimmie needs to show off her maturity, grace and professionalism. She is a great skater but she now needs to realize her skating has changed and she needs to market the change. She should not even make an attempt to compete with the kiddies. She should display her maturity, her flair, her experience. She is a seasoned skater. She is in a different class. Let the jumping bean aspire to her level. She is in a different realm.

As a figure skater myself, after years of observing what goes on in the rink, the jury is still out as to how much a coach can do for a skater. I find my own success or failure is mainly due to my own mind- set and how seriously I practice. I am not an elite skater. However a coach’s technique can either make you or break you. There is the notion of one outgrowing his/her coach. I had to part with my coach of two years. It may not seem long. However, a bond was created. In the end, the change was necessary. As for Kimmie - I don't think she has much to lose by trying a new coach. Things couldn't get much worse than they already are. While Kimmie is the one putting in the work, we can’t over look Callaghan recent handy work with Meissner however. In addition to Lipinski and Eldredge, Callaghan also guided Nicole Bobek to her 1995 U.S. title and for a time coached Shizuka Arakawa, who later earned the gold medal at the 2006 Olympics.

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