A free program choreography from 5953 km distance


Team United Angels learning its new program with Marilyn Langlois

For their new free program, the German skaters from Team United Angels experienced a particular working method. Marilyn Langlois, the famous Canadian coach from Montreal, should have joined the team during their camp in Oberstdorf, but due to the COVID-19 and the travel restrictions, the synchro coach wasn't able to come to Germany. Therefore, the team coach Chrisi and Marilyn Langlois decided to maintain the camp... via video call.

"No other team has ever done something like this before," starts Team United Angels.

This Senior team from Stuttgart, Germany, had a pretty original experience recently. "After the sudden end of the season 2019/2020, which ended for us right after the return from Sheffield from the Steel City Trophy, we continued training by doing home workouts and having online team meetings during the shutdown period. However as after a couple of weeks, the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were eased, we were able to come back to regular training step by step," the team continues.

"For the new season kick-off, there was supposed to be a special highlight which we were really looking forward to Marilyn Langlois, head coach of our role models Team “Les Suprêmes Senior” from Canada, has already agreed in March to travel to Germany and choreograph our new free program."

"We were ready to take on this challenge"
However, the pandemic has scotched Team United Angels' plan.

"Day after day, we were hoping that the international travel restrictions will change in our favor; however, two days before our training camp, it was definite that Marilyn wouldn’t be able to travel to Germany. Our head coach Christina Calmbacher and Marilyn, with whom we, of course, still wanted to work with, had already worked out a Plan B: Marilyn Langlois would still choreograph the whole program, however via Zoom meeting, which means from 5.953 km distance!" the team says.

(Credits: Team United Angels - 2020)

Then, the Senior team had to face up with many new challenges.

First of all, the skaters didn't know Marilyn Langlois and her training style, and conversely, it would have been the first time for the Canadian coach to work with the German athletes. Secondly, the team had never worked with Zoom on the ice. "We were ready to take on this challenge," explains the team.

The first Zoom meeting, scheduled before the first training session on the ice, didn’t go smoothly and the way the team was hoping. "First the internet connection didn’t work, then the tablet was not loud enough, so the whole team was able to understand Marilyn, and in the end, the time was too short for Marilyn to explain the first ideas and positionings entirely before we had to go on the ice," remembers the Senior team.

However, on the ice, the skaters and coaches adjusted quickly to their new training circumstances and progressed better as time went on. "Marilyn calmly and patiently explained to us her ideas and positionings, which she had prepared on her sheets of paper," the skaters add.

"The training was in the middle of the night for her in Canada"
"Step by step, the individual lines formed an overall picture, and at the of the first 2-hour training session, we couldn’t believe what we have already achieved. The skepticism we had towards this kind of training approach was completely gone, and we really had the feeling, we can really make it!"

In the following two days, Team United Angels optimized the training approach. "Our coaches now knew exactly what Marilyn envisioned, so they were able to give us exact instructions on ice," explain the team. 

(Credits: Team United Angels - 2020)

Marilyn was always connected with the German through the tablet. "From her workroom, she showed us the steps she wanted us to do, and we transferred them onto the ice in Oberstdorf. Sometimes, due to the time difference, the training was in the middle of the night for her in Canada. Due to the live streaming, Marilyn was able to follow up on everything and was able to give corrections and make adjustments simultaneously," the team enthuses.

Element after element, the program was put together. "All steps, itineraries, and positionings were planned in every detail and were smoothly transferable from her workroom in Canada onto the ice in Oberstdorf. Due to her friendly and humorous character, we often forgot about the physical distance that separated us!" the team says.

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