Alexei Urmanov about his first students

Alexei: There was no audition to get into my group. There are promicing kids in the city and they are already working with experienced specialists. I would not agree with those who already consider Alexei Urmanov one of them. Today,  I'm no great trainer because I’ve just started coaching. Some things are going pretty well, but it’s too early to make any prognosis on me as a coach. That’s why there was no audition. I wanted to train one girl because she was about to quit skating, another one was brought into my group by her coach. She asked me to work with her because the girl couldn’t get enough practice on ice at “Crystal”. My third student is Nelly Chervotkina’s daughter. Nelly used to skate in pairs with Victor Tesli.

-Alexei, you've been working with these children for six months, did it give you a new prespective on coaching and figure skating?

-Trying to teach children is completely  different comparing to skating for myself. Now I can see such details and nuances in figure skating that I have never noticed before. Sometimes it makes me eager to share them with others.
When I teach my students a new element or a new connective move, I have, of course, to put my skates on, but there is no need to come on ice every day. We, I mean the coaches, can speak in a language that easy to understand and we know how to explain everything in words to our kids but then comes their turn to think it over.
If you are overprotecting your students and do everything for them instead of letting them make their own efforts, it won’t do any good. I can go on ice and land a triple but would it help that much?

-The girls with whom you're working with are now at a "transitional" age, as some people call it...

-No problems so far. They are smart. I am pleased that they work really hard and listen carefully to everything I say. The most important thing in this age is determination. If they have it – the age doesn’t matter. If a child stopped working, lost  interest then the serious problems appear.

Marta Balashova, Sport 21 (2000)
Photo courtesy of I.I.