Archive for the ‘Frank Carroll’ Category


Frank Carroll Interview Followup

September 19, 2007

Thank you to all the coaches who submitted questions for Frank Carroll at the Skating Coach Quiz.  The interview on Saturday was really fun.  Frank and I chatted for well over an hour.  Frank is a real pleasure to speak with because he is exceptionally articulate and is very comfortable sharing what he knows.

Before the interview, we talked about what we’d do if I asked a question he didn’t want to answer.  We agreed he’d just tell me he would rather not answer.  But even though I asked a lot of questions including some about personal events in his life and some for his thoughts on controversial issues within figure skating, he answered everything.

I learned a lot from our talk.  And it was recorded so I’ll be sharing some of the best parts of the recording at the Skating Coach Quiz.  Of course I may also share some of the interview here on my blog so check back regularly.

I was surprised at how many coaches wanted in-depth technical discussions about jumps and spins.  I wasn’t sure how well that would work in an audio interview so I will save those questions until I meet Frank again.  But in the meantime, I may touch on many of those topics in this blog and at Skating Coach Quiz.



Interview With Frank Carroll

September 12, 2007

I’m very excited.  As you probably know, I’m the creator of the Skating Coach Quiz.  And I’m always looking for great content from elite skating coaches.

I feel very lucky that Frank Carroll has agreed to let me interview him.  In order to make sure I conduct a well-rounded interview, I have asked a large number of other skating coaches for questions.

I’m looking forward to this.  As I explained in a previous post, I recently attended a Frank Carroll workshop.  And it was really interesting hearing him talk about everything from technique to his expectations for the upcoming season.

In an upcoming post, I may share some of the questions that coaches submitted for Mr. Carroll as well as some of the things we talked about in the interview.



Why Computer Analysis And Not Just Slo-Motion?

August 27, 2007

One 0f the main uses of video analysis software with figure skaters is determining flight times.  Why?  Because flight time or jump height largely determines jump success.  For example, based on all the video that I have analyzed, I have never seen a double axel that had less than 0.467 seconds of flight time.  And other video analysis experts have confirmed this value.

Dartfish experts Chris Conte and Audrey Weisiger use a value of 0.500 seconds for double axel.  But I have personally measured a handful of double axels at 0.467 and in fact, one of the skaters I work with regularly in Madison lands it consistently with that flight time.  But she is very slender and has an awesome rotation rate.  So most skaters that are not as slender will probably have to meet Chris and Audrey’s 0.500 second minimum.

If a skater is ready to work on double axel but cannot perform a single axel with at least 0.467 seconds of flight time, she should spend nearly 100% of her effort making her jump bigger.  The chances are simply not good that she will be the first skater ever to land a double axel with less than 0.467 seconds of flight time.

This feature of video analysis software truly sets computer jump analysis apart from basic slow-motion video analysis.  Of course, basic slo-motion has been used by coaches for years and is very common in figure skating.  But computer analysis provides flight time and takes coaching to another level.  Knowing the flight time of the jump is critical for understanding what is possible.

All the time, I see skaters that are attempting double axels and triples that simply do not have the height necessary to land those jumps.  And unfortunately, they continue to practice them over and over, teaching themselves to fall or teaching themselves to land cheated jumps.  Since their coaches don’t realize they will never land it without more height, they keep doing it, and ingraining an incorrect movement that can be nearly impossible to change.

And that largely explains why double axel separates the really good skaters from the rest.  At the recent Frank Carroll  workshop in Milwaukee, Mr. Carroll described skaters having jumps and jump combinations through double lutz as being very good… but skaters with a double axel are in another class.

And that’s also evident in some surveys I’ve done.  Many coaches rarely get the chance to work on double axel.  And when they do, they are almost never successful.  The percentage of ladies that actually learn to do it consistently is very small indeed.  And no wonder… just getting any female athlete to jump 10.5 inches off one leg is quite a feat! (10.5 inches represents 0.467 seconds of flight time based on projectile motion calculations… more about that in a future post!)

And here’s some more astonishing but useful numbers.  Minimum flight time for double lutz is about 0.366 seconds.  That makes the difference in flight time between double axel and double lutz just 0.1 seconds.  But guess what?  Those 0.1 seconds represents a whole 4 inches!!!  So you can do a double lutz with just 6.5 inches of height but you have to jump over 60% higher to land a double axel!  No wonder so many skaters never get one…

If you have skaters working on double axel, do yourself and them a favor by getting a computer analysis done.  Find someone to help you if you don’t have the tools yourself.  The bottom line is – computer video analysis is truly a major leap forward in figure skating coaching for advanced skaters. 



Frank Carroll Workshop In Milwaukee, WI

August 16, 2007

Today I attended my first Frank Carroll workshop.  It was very interesting to hear Frank’s views on technique, performance and the new judging system.

As with nearly every elite coach I’ve met, Frank emphasized lifting up into a jump before rotating.  He also emphasized the basics of checking turns, strong landing positions, and a neutral head position.  When I have more time, I’ll comment further on much of this including specific recommendations for each of the jumps.

I thought one part of our conversation was worth further discussion now.  Frank says he regularly uses video in his coaching.  He doesn’t use Dartfish or any similar software but uses regular old slow motion video playback.  He said that focusing too much on static positions within Dartfish can confuse a skater.  He thinks it is important to observe the positions dynamically so that skaters don’t try to replicate positions they see in freeze frame in Dartfish.

I thought his comments were very interesting and I’d like to know what you think.  Please leave a comment below.