Elena Vaitsekhovskaya’s interview with Polina Tsurskaya. Translation. About change of coach, health and work on new programs.
In one of your comments after moving to Buyanova, you noted that faced a completely new approach to the training process. What was it, if it’s not a secret?
– The work has become much more individual. In the former group everything was based on constant competition, rivalry. You look at what someone is doing on the ice and you also try to reach that. In CSKA, coaches try to divide all athletes to be able to work with everyone individually. To work separately on jumps, skating, choreography. To be honest, I didn’t like work based on rivalry. It doesn’t suit me very much.
It’s logical: it’s one thing when little girls do the same job, and quite another when the athlete stands out among the others with both height and body constitution, as you stand out. This is more than enough to create problems for you.
– And it created. I also had injuries. Coaches tried to give my state some attention, to reduce the load, somewhere they allowed me to work at my discretion, but when you are constantly in the group, you unwittingly want to keep up with the others. You understand that it’s better to stop, but not always it turns out. So sometimes it was my fault that the injuries continued to worsen. You come to the ice after an injury and see that everyone is working, everything is in good shape, everyone is jumping and you start hurrying yourself up. As a result, I never managed to recover fully and all this accumulated like a snowball.
How did the injury happen, because of which you couldn’t perform at the Junior World Championships in 2016?
– I approached that competition in good shape, I won both Grand Prix and Grand Prix Final, the Russian Junior championships, was fourth at the senior Nationals, but just five days before the trip to the World Championships, I twisted an ankle in the warming-up room badly – I torn the ligaments. My leg was so swollen that I couldn’t skate at all. Coaches then very much doubted whether I should even go to Debrecen, and together with the management of the rink posed this question to me. Like, if I’m ready to skate, then we go to perform. If not, we’re withdrawing. But, when you were preparing for the competitions, was in good shape and the whole season stayed in the first-second places, it’s very difficult to refuse to perform. So I said that I will endure. During the practice before the short program, I jumped everything as usual, but there were two not very good landings, after which I realized that I could hardly walk. So we had to withdraw.
Was it your decision to leave the coach at the end of spring or your parents’?
– Mine. I realized that I urgently needed to change something. Perhaps, not only to change the coach, but myself, my attitude to training, the approach to work in general. And it turned out, that I need to leave the group at any rate. My parents have been hesitating for a long time, they tried to keep me from this step, tried to change my mind. I continued to go to trainings, but one evening I returned home and said firmly: “That’s all.”
You didn’t mind that you have to go to trainings across Moscow?
– It doesn’t really matter if you have a result. Many athletes don’t live near the ice rink, don’t have ideal conditions. But for the sake of the result, everyone has to sacrifice in one way or another.
Does injured back still cause problems for you?
– Back is such a thing that if it starts to hurt, it’s forever and you just have to monitor. This isn’t a fracture that healed and doesn’t bother anymore. It’s necessary to choose exercises, build muscles, do massage regularly. When I had an exacerbation, the doctors made a list of exercises for me that I need to do every day. I’ve been following these instructions for a long time. I’ve already used to come to practice 20-30 minutes earlier, to have enough time to do a warm-up, stretching. Before the second ice I also do special work for about 10 minutes. After training, I try to stretch my back well, so the muscles return to their previous state. In breaks I can go to massage, sometimes to the manual therapist. In addition, my mother is a doctor, she also keeps an eye to prevent exacerbations.
How smooth was the process of choreographing new programs?
– Rather, everything was vice versa, very difficult. I went to the new coach at the very end of the season, when it was already planned, when the programs will me made for each skater, and there was not a single free space in this schedule. Elena Germanovna (Buyanova) also thought for some time whether to take me to the group or not. She knew that I had an injury and she was very afraid that I simply wouldn’t be able to work at full strength, to cope with the loads. So at the beginning there was no talk about the programs at all. Then we decided that we would do them at training camp in Courmayeur, but it turned out that Tatiana Anatolievna Tarasova and Nikita Mikhailov, with whom I planned to work, couldn’t come to Italy for some personal reasons. Therefore, there we worked out a functional side: I skated the layouts of old programs, collected jumps, practiced the technique, to physically enter the season somehow.
Not an easy situation.
– Well, yes, sometimes I was worried that everyone is preparing new programs, but I haven’t even started. I was also very worried to work with Tatiana Anatolyevna. After all, it’s Tarasova! Before that, I have never worked with her, I didn’t know how it would be. But it turned out that everything is very simple. Nikita was showing. Tatiana Anatolievna correcting, saying what she wanted to see.
It was hard to get used to another. In the former group, we were put the entries together with jumps from the beginning. This process took an hour and a half in the morning, the same in the evening, we spent a few days for that. Here, the choreography was on a separate ice, without jumps and took 4-5 hours a day. The first three days all the muscles hurt so much. I consoled myself “let it hurt, but all muscles will be prepared.”
I know that in Buyanova’s group skaters always work very hard on skating skills.
– Yes, it’s true. But I actually always liked to glide. I really like skating. It seems to me that now I have progress in skating skills, in the presentation of programs. Let’s see how it all works out at the test skates.
What do you think about when you see how little girls jump quadruple jumps? Here my sporting death comes?
– Why? You can always compete with everyone. The key thing in your phrase is not that the jumps are quadruples, but that the girls are little. Who will grow up very quickly. Then we will look at the results.
And for you the period of growth was difficult?
– I have always been tall for my age. When I first came to Eteri Georgievna with my parents, she looked at me, at my mother, at my dad and even asked: are you sure you will cope? So we have been coping all this time. But I didn’t have such situation that in one season I grew by 15 centimeters. I grew up quickly, but gradually. Therefore, there were no fears that I would suddenly stop coping with my own body. Now my growth hasn’t been changing. I also don’t have to starve to keep myself in shape.
Mom also takes care of your nutrition?
– She used to. Now she entrusted this process to me.
Mom comes to your practices?
– In CSKA this is not too common. She used to come, especially since we live very close to my former skating rink. But, since she works, it’s not very convenient for her to go to CSKA with me. If only to competitions.
I know that there are figure skaters who don’t like when their relatives come to watch their performances. They experience additional stress.
– I’ve already used to it, although sometimes I try to grumble about it. But not seriously. I know that my mother loves to watch figure skating, even when I’m not on the ice. And this shouldn’t distract me. My job is to go on the ice and do my job. It doesn’t matter who is sitting at the stands.
by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for rsport.ria.ru