Ilia Averbukh: “Сoaching is the only thing I haven’t tried on the ice yet. Our goal is to be able to compete with the Montreal school.”
Ilia Averbukh announced the start if his coaching career.
source: gazeta.ru dd.8th April by Elvira Ondar
Ilia Averbukh: I want to note that I myself started a quite active coaching work together with Elena Maslennikova. Of course, this should not affect my projects and production in any way. I emphasize once again that I am not working alone in this school – there is also Elena Maslennikova. But yes, it really will no longer be supervision on my part, but a full-fledged coaching job.
How do you think, in how many years you will be able to compete with the Montreal school, which is in the lead now?
Ilia Averbukh: You are asking the right question, and that is our goal. Of course, we also have the strongest schools in Russia – Sasha Zhulin (coach of Beijing silver medalists in the individual competitions Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov), Svinin and Zhuk (coaches of Russian champions Stepanova and Bukina), Alexei Gorshkov (coaced Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin; now works with Nikolai Morozov, Svinin and Zhuk, coaces Annabelle Morozov and David Narizhny, Elizaveta Pasechnik and Maxim Nekrasov, Irina Khavronina and Dario Chirizano).
Now we need just to create a school. I think that this is not a question of a year or two. The real formation of the school can take place in the next five years – when those guys aged 14-16 who have come to work with us now will enter the senior level.
Of course, I would like to do everything faster (laughs). But I think that in five years we will be able to show work that will gradually create competition for well-known schools. Competition is always good.
Don’t you plan to take adult athletes?
Ilia Averbukh: Yes, at the moment we are taking young skaters. I think that we need to learn and go along the road with such athletes, and not take ready-made pairs and just stand next to them.
Are you considering single skaters who can switch to ice dance?
Ilia Averbukh: This is not out of the question. So far, we have quite a lot of interest in our group. A lot of people are asking, we are selecting.
There is already one pair with whom we will be able to show something next season at a very junior level. I think that first you need to show a result, and then there will be a lot of people interested.
How did you come to the point that you want to seriously try coaching and take on this new challenge?
Ilia Averbukh: You are right about the new challenge. Indeed, a lot has already been done, and coaching is the only thing I have not tried on the ice yet (laughs).
I organized many public events, was the director of the opening ceremony of the Universiade and football World Cup, the cultural forum in St. Petersburg, I made many ice performances for an adult audience and New Year’s shows. There were tours, gala shows and television projects. The only thing I did not undertake was coaching and the creation of a school.
However, I want to note that I have created three large regional schools where 1.5 thousand children skate – in Simferopol, Essentuki and Stavropol. These schools are constantly supervised by me, the coaches that I recruited work there, and I hope that together they will give results in the future. These are both figure skating and hockey schools, and I constantly shuttle between them.
Ice centers have been built there – and again, they were built by me. With the huge support of the state, they are developing, and children get the opportunity to train for free.
This is a unique program that I develop and promote. There are plans to build a number of skating rinks. Work is underway almost everywhere.
Fortunately, coaching allows me to devote time to all this. Training starts early – at 8.00 in the morning. For every morning session from 8.00 to 10.00 I go to work as a coach, and then I plunge into another, regular job (laughs).
Of course, coaching requires not only two hours a day, but now I work in such a mode.
So far, there is no exact information whether Russian athletes will take part in international competitions next season. In case of a suspension what should we do in order to continue to develop skaters?
Ilia Averbukh: First of all, there should be a large number of competitions. You have to train and compete all the time. During the coronavirus, we already coped with this, and a large number of different competitions helped our team a lot then. It is important to motivate yourself that we will definitely return the possibility to participate in international competitions and hope that this will happen as soon as possible.
Sports.ru journalist Polina Krutikhina proposed a revolutionary option for the development of figure skating in Russia – for the duration of the suspension, create a series of competitions with their own rules and allow skaters to experiment. For example, allow quadruple jumps in women’s short programs and equalize the coefficients in their programs with men’s; arrange competitions in artistic and technical programs. How do you feel about such an idea?
Ilia Averbukh: We have the rules of the International Skating Union (ISU), and I think they should be the same for everyone. And let’s have our own rules for show competitions that push the boundaries, such as the Channel One Cup, which is a good help for the guys, as well as emotional and financial support for them.
And the competitions should still be held according to the international rules and there is no need to invent something.
You noted that many skaters can change their sports citizenship if we are not allowed to participate in international competitions for a long time. Can it really happen that strong skaters like Sasha Trusova and coaches like Eteri Tutberidze leave us?
Ilia Averbukh: I think that here, first of all, we are not talking about accomplished top athletes and coaches. It is very difficult for them to change sports citizenship according to ISU rules – they will have to miss several seasons. In addition, they have already tasted what it means to represent Russia, and I think that they will not go anywhere.
Rather, it concerns young athletes – our future support, whom we may not even know yet. For example, we see that America is represented by a certain Ilia Malinin. True, his family left a long time ago, so this is not a completely correct example, but still.
In general, those guys who want to perform here and now and have not competed for Russian team yet, they can leave. They may be tempted to leave so not to lose practice. Thus, our nearest reserve may begin smaller.
Therefore, it is very important to support the skaters and motivate them with a large number of internal competitions.
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