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Japan Skates » Transcript of Japan Skates’ interview with Yuka Sato, Skate Canada, Kitchener, Ontario, November 21, 2009
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Transcript of Japan Skates’ interview with Yuka Sato, Skate Canada, Kitchener, Ontario, November 21, 2009

One of the nice things of having access to the media room at Grand Prix events is being able to conduct impromptu interviews with various skaters and coaches. At Skate Canada, I attended the Ladies free skate press conference at which Alissa Czisny was on the panel, having won the silver medal at the event. Yuka Sato is part of Alissa’s coaching team and was on hand for the conference. I hoped that she’d have some time for us afterwards.

Japan Skates had met Yuka personally for the first time back in July of 2006 when we interviewed Yukari at Skate Detroit. Yuka was acting as Yukari’s coach and chaperone at that competition. She was very kind to assist us then, and was again gracious to give us her time at this year’s Skate Canada.

Yuka is now a full-time coach and choreographer. Her students at Skate Canada had had a very successful competition, with her main skater Jeremy Abbott winning the men’s gold medal and her part-time protégée Alissa taking the silver. Japan Skates talked to Yuka about her experiences coaching Jeremy and Alissa, and if these experiences had changed her perspective on skating.

JS: Japan Skates

YS: Yuka Sato

JS: Congratulations, Yuka, on Jeremy’s performance. You’ve been coaching him since the spring. Is he the first high-profile student that you’ve had?

YS: Yes, as a head coach, Jeremy is my first major student who is at this level.

JS: How many students currently do you have?

YS: I can’t really count, but Jeremy is my main student right now, that I’m occupied full-time with. And Alissa Czisny I help part-time on a regular basis.

JS: Do you have any sort of agreement with Jeremy or with Alissa formally as to how long you’re going to be doing this?

YS: I think it’s wait and see at this time. We’re seeing one season at a time, one day at a time.

JS: They say to teach is to learn twice. Are you learning and growing as a result of your relationship with Jeremy and other students?

YS: I think no matter how experienced you are as a coach, you would always learn by taking on new students and start and to take a step together. With any student… it could be a six year-old to a 24 year-old.

JS: You were coached by your father. Do you inherit anything from him in terms of coaching style or ways that you deal with your own students?

YS: Absolutely! What I’ve learned over the course of the years with my parents, and also I’ve worked with Peter Dunfield who is a former coach of Liz Manley, and what I have learned over the years by them is just remarkable. I’ve always thought that I had good guidance around me, but now today I really realize how wonderful they were and what they’ve taught me today I’m able to use what I know, what I’ve experienced.

JS: I’ve met your father several times. Do you emote a little more when you’re out there or are you pretty much the same way?

YS: Ah… we have a very similar style. We’re not…we’re pretty quiet… we have a pretty quiet approach, but we have to be firm in what we want. When you’re in lead and trying to guide somebody through, you have to know what you want. And I’m learning!

(Listen to Yuka)

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