Christy Krall and Patrick Chan

Christy Krall and Patrick Chan (Photo by Justine Chiu)

At the September High Performance Training Camp, I watched as Christy Krall headed out the door for a bit of fresh air and decided to follow her. I had met her a couple of times through Lori Nichol and asked if we could chat for a minute. What transpired was a portrait of the secret weapon that Patrick Chan has in his arsenal with Christy as his base coach.

Christy was raised and skated in Colorado and says that she trained with the best namely Carlo Fassi and Eddie Shulder and credits her training with getting her to the World Championships 3 times between 1963 and 1965. After attending college, she retired from skating and started coaching. She was a big part of the USFSA, where she did 6.5 years in athlete programming and then became intrigued with Dartfish, the technology that she credits with revolutionizing her coaching. “The product was just coming out in 2002 and I glommed on to it.” she says. Being able to show the skaters what happens every 100th of a second has been an invaluable tool. “It tells the kids where they have to be in the air in the first 2/100ths of a second.” If they aren’t then the jumps isn’t going to happen. The technology has allowed the skaters to have their image overlaid on top of or beside the “ideal” in 1/100 of a second increments if desired. Take the legendary Evgeni Pluchenko for example, his quad toe took .667 seconds in the air and reached a height of 21″ in the flight path. Christy is able to show the skaters if they are getting sufficient height while helping them to see that height isn’t the only key. Christy Krall and Patrick Chan’s former coach, Don Laws have shared a long and supportive friendship over the years and it was Don who first brought Chan to Colorado.

Christy says that the technology revolutionized Patrick’s thinking and she was able to help him transform his kinesthetic awareness in the air by using sight – he could watch what he was doing in the air. She says candidly that the biggest part of her lessons are spent on the first 3/100ths of a secondof a jump – “If that’s right then you have a good shot at landing the jump.” She never imagined that she would end up coaching again on a full-time basis as she really liked consulting – but when the opportunity came up, she took it. She says that she has a very specific way of coaching Patrick and says modestly that she is only one of the people who make up Team Chan: Dr Peter Davis – sports performance; Andy O’Brien – strength training (also works with Sidney Crosby); Christy – what she calls “the inside edge” ; Lori Nichol – “the outside edge” and Dad; Lewis Chan who along with wife Karen is there every step of the way. She says that she has pulled back Patrick’s skating to 3 sessions a day and that they have entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with respect to his training. Patrick has agreed to certain stipulations like taking 2 days off a week to relax and play and to observing the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly training schedules and goals that have been created for him.

For this season, the Team is committed to the P.Ization Plan – it took me a second – and when I asked her she smiled: The Patrick-Ization Plan. Simply put, no longer a child, Chan gets to drive the bus and be the master of his destiny greatly supported by those around him who care about him most. With so much at stake, helping Chan to see that his results are no accident could define his coming season.

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