Mikhail Kolyada: “What is the point of changing something if you do everything the same way?”
Interview with Mikhail Kolyada. About returning to the ice, working in Alexei Mishin’s group and components of success.
source: Olga Ermolina, Tatjana Flade for fsrussia.ru dd. 3d January 2021
Misha, after your performance at the Grand Prix in Moscow, you said that standing on the podium you were thinking about exhibition program. And now?
Mikhail Kolyada: And now I wasn’t thinking about the exhibition program.
Then what about?
Mikhail Kolyada: What to work on next. I was standing there and thinking where to move.
Mikhail Kolyada: Forward.
What does this season mean to you? After all, you missed a year, you were sick, the previous seasons were like a swing. How hard was it to return to the ice when there was such attention from all sides, and you had to abstract from it?
Mikhail Kolyada: In general, it’s hard to start each season. Especially after a break. It so happened that I ended up in the group of Alexei Nikolaevich (Mishin – ed.), this also added specificity. Because everything is different. Another place of work, another training system, and everything else. And somehow I got drawn so much that at times I simply could not feel the passage of time. The weeks passed quickly.
Was it difficult to adapt to the new training system?
Mikhail Kolyada: I tried very hard, because I understood perfectly well that if I do everything the old way after switching to a new coach, the sense of the transition is lost. I just trusted, and Alexei Nikolaevich led me very competently to each of the stages this year. Because every competition is a stage of preparation for something bigger.
This is the mastery of a coach, to lead the athlete to the competition competently.
Mikhail Kolyada: I agree. Moreover, Alexei Nikolaevich had much more experience in returning athletes than I have myself. How to put it more correctly: that is, he restored people much more often than I did it for myself. Kostner, Liza, Zhenya Plushenko … Each time he “revived” the athletes and raised them.
Having started working with Mishin, how often did you have to hold your nose, since you are already an established athlete? Or have you decided by default to do everything they say for the sake of the result?
Mikhail Kolyada: Yes, by default. Before joining Alexei Nikolaevich’s group, we had a conversation with him, and before this conversation I gave myself an answer to all the questions, why am I doing this, why and how. And when Alexei Nikolaevich asked, I made sure once again and voiced everything. I have a clear understanding in my head that there is no turning back. What is the point of changing something if you do everything the same way as I did for 20 years?
Probably, your joining the group also became a kind of challenge for Alexei Nikolaevich?
Mikhail Kolyada: I cannot answer for him. I see that he somehow cheered up, although AlexeI Nikolaevich is a very energetic person. It’s very fun for me to go to training. I understand that even when it is hard and I return home tired, I still find the strength to continue working.
One of the technical specialists noticed that you and Aleksei Nikolayevich have changed your jumping technique, the jumps patterns have become shorter, which has stabilized the performance. Is this true?
Mikhail Kolyada: We did not change the patterns. But there is a little more control now. Sometimes from the outside some things are seen differently than you feel them from the inside, so different opinions arise.
At the Russian Nationals, you performed programs with quadruple jumps. You have removed the salchow, but added a triple flip. But in the future, you will complicate the jumping content for sure.
Mikhail Kolyada: There are plans.
Four years ago, here in Chelyabinsk, you won the title of national champion for the first time. Memories probably warmed the soul?
Mikhail Kolyada: Why think about it? I don’t know if this can be compared or not, but there is a cartoon “Kung Fu Panda”, where the wise teacher turtle says: the past is forgotten, the future is closed, the present is granted, that’t why it is called the present. You only need to think about what is happening here and now. Yes, of course, four years ago I was in Chelyabinsk. Everything is great. I know the ice, I know the hotel, I know the city. But that was and passed. This is already history. We must move on.
On the eve of this championship, you got sick.
Mikhail Kolyada: I had a temperature for a couple of days.
Before that, at the Russian Nationals in Saransk you competed right after an illness. Is it physically or mentally harder to compete in this state?
Mikhail Kolyada: Every competition is hard. Especially, such as the Russian Nationals. It was harder for me physically. But I didn’t think about how I felt, how I ate, how I slept … I just go and work. That’s all.
Can you analyze your performance at this Nationals?
Mikhail Kolyada: The coach and I have not analyzed it yet. Alexei Nikolaevich needs time to think and analyze. I also need to understand and analyze everything. We will come home and share our thoughts.
Your wife Dasha also was at the Russian Nationals in Chelyabinsk, she’s also a figure skater. Did it help you?
Mikhail Kolyada: On 99 percent. One percent I tried to do myself. In general, when she is around, I feel in special way. Wherever we are, I feel that I am at home and everything is going well.
Do you discuss any aspects of your performances?
Mikhail Kolyada: There is no topic that we could not discuss.
And “production” ones when you come back from training?
Mikhail Kolyada: I share with her training moments, my thoughts on this matter.
Do you listen to Dasha’s opinion?
Mikhail Kolyada: In life – always. As for training, she never advises me anything.
When there is a person nearby who understands your work and understands what you are doing, it’s great. In an interview after the performance, you said that every time it’s become more and more interesting for you. What exactly?
Mikhail Kolyada: It’s more interesting to test your strength. Because at each competitions there are certain difficulties and it is interesting for me to overcome them. Sochi had its own nuances, here they are a little different. Maybe the content of the programs is not very different, but internally, the approach, preparation are different. I was asked at a press conference, in what aspects have I changed? Yes, I have changed. But again, this is all so deep inside that I cannot voice it. And this process, so to speak, of catching yourself, controlling yourself, every time it is special. There is no such thing that at the test skates, at the third stage in Sochi, everything was the same, there are no identical skates. Although every time I try to set myself up according to a certain system.
Perhaps this cannot be the same, because the skater is like an actor who plays each performance in a different way.
Mikhail Kolyada: Of course, sensations change with every competition, and it’s interesting.