Anna Shcherbakova: “I don’t have any tradition or ritual before going on the ice. I always believe in my strength, I don’t rely on signs.”
Interview with Anna Shcherbakova. About training process, choosing a theme for program and preparation for competitions.
source: sochisirius.ru dd. 13th August 2022
Anna, what does a skater’s day consist of during the training process?
Anna Shcherbakova: While preparing for competitions, all our thoughts are occupied with figure skating. Usually, training starts at 10:00 am with choreography classes. Then morning ice training, which lasts an hour and a half. We work on a short program. Then we have stretches to relax the muscles a little after the workout. After a break for lunch, we go to the gym for a general physical training session. In conclusion, we have one more ice training and a cool down for 45 minutes. We finish at about 20:00.
What part of training in the gym is the most important and what do you like the most?
Anna Shcherbakova: Absolutely all training are important, because only the symbiosis of these trainings gives the desired result. Figure skating is not a power sport where you need to do everything faster, higher and stronger. This is a combination of sports and art, so we have classes in choreography, classical ballet, modern dance in order to have more control over your body, experiment and be organic in different programs on ice. Also, general and strength physical training in the gym is very important. This includes pumping muscles, and performing all the jumps, on the floor you can work on bending, correct some mistakes, learn something new. Therefore, all trainings in the gym are very important.
How is your on-ice training built?
Anna Shcherbakova: Our morning workout always starts with a warm up, gliding, where we work on different steps and transitions for about half an hour. Then we warm up jumps and work on them, work on the short program. We usually finish by working on spins. Evening training we hold in the format of competitions. Same as at competitions, there are six minutes warm-up, during which we run our program. Then the drawing, just like in competitions, we draw numbers, worry and skate a free program, again like in competitions: one by one we go on the ice and skate a free program. The coach writes a listing for all the elements, puts a mark for each element, we analyze everything and then work on the mistakes. And so every day, one day off a week.
How do you choose an artistic image?
Anna Shcherbakova: The team of our coaches plays a very important role here – these are Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze, Daniil Markovich Gleikhengauz and Sergei Viktorovich Dudakov. Basically, they are engaged in the selection of artistic images and music: they know each athlete so well, which image he can show the best on the ice, which choreography suits best, what temperament and character athletes has in life. I think it helps the coaches to perfectly match the artistic images for us. They offer us options for the short and free programs, give us to listen so that we can feel this music and image. Because you will skate this program throughout the whole year and it is very important to feel with every cell of your body what you skate in order to reach out to the audience who are watching, to the judges, so that it touches them and evokes a response.
Often beginner skaters choose fast music. Does it really catch the judges or not?
Anna Shcherbakova: It is very important to choose what suits an athlete. No need to take fast or slow and think that the judges will like it. They like it when the music fits perfectly with the athlete, and he conveys it well. In childhood, you can experiment, try something different, take both fast and slow music, look for what is more to your liking. As a child I had more theatrical programs, I skated vivid images from The Pink Panther, from The Addams Family, in which I portrayed specific characters. But in general I try to combine different compositions, especially in the free program: there is both a fast part and a slow one, so that there is no monotony in the program, so that the rhythm of your skating changes, so that it does not get bored and it is more interesting to watch.
What is your favorite jump?
Anna Shcherbakova: Toe-picks jumps have always been my favorite. As a child, it was toe loop – the first triple jump that I jumped. Then I performed flip and lutz at once in one workout, which are considered the most difficult. So the first three jumps were toe-pick jumps, and so far they are easier for me.
How does an athlete control rotations: when to do a triple jump, and when to do a quadruple?
Anna Shcherbakova: In the air, we do not count the rotations, because everything happens very quickly. First, we work on double jumps and memorize the sensations during their execution. Then we work on triple jumps. Initially, you start to rotate with all your might, and you get a triple jump. Then you gradually get used to it, and the same movements become easier. Everything here is based on feelings. It happens that after you get used to triple jumps, double jumps stop working, you overrotate them, because out of habit you rotate more and get a little lost in sensations, but this is usually the first time. For example, even now I won’t jump all doubles, because we don’t train them: I forgot those very sensations, I over rotate jumps, jump triples and quadruples. So, probably, it is primarily from the sensations and from the fact that we constantly train them, there is a constant experience of performing these elements.
Do you have any tradition or ritual that you always follow before going on the ice?
Anna Shcherbakova: I always believe in my strength, I don’t rely on signs. If we talk about rituals, I would rather call it preparation. Everyone prepares for the competitions in approximately the same way, but over the years, with experience, their own habits are developed. And you already know exactly every minute, how to properly warm up, prepare, set yourself up to competitions. For the past few years, I already had my own tactics, which I adhered to. I came to the event, we have about three days before the start, and I knew my tasks for each day. Outside of what we have at the rink, I worked out at the hotel, went to the gym, I knew at what moment I needed to train, at what time to rest. You just develop your own rhythm, you know how to set up both the body and the head separately. It’s just training and the right mental readiness.
What would you wish young athletes?
Anna Shcherbakova: Patience, hard work, faith in yourself and love what you do.
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