Just ask Australia’s top men’s figure skater and Sochi Olympian Brendan Kerry, who has managed a foot bone bruising for a year – an injury which seems to have been the making of the widely acknowledged talented skater who has gained confidence and maturity comp by comp, step by painful step.
Always the precocious talent, sometimes hot and cold with results to match, this season has seen a distinct change in approach, attitude and results for the 22-year-old who relocated to Los Angeles four years ago to chase down his talent into the elite of men’s figure skating.
“I’ve always been able to do big tricks but mentally didn’t deal with errors in competition. The things I am able to do now with the quality that I’m doing has changed. This year has been a big step forward because if I wanted to stay in the game I had to manage injuries,” Kerry said.
His path hasn’t been a walk in the park – financially, emotionally or mentally until recently.
“My approach to training is very different. For me before, it was enough to just do the program. Now I put a lot more into warm up and recovery than I used to.”
Coaching Kerry at Riverside in Los Angeles is his now long-time coach Tammy Gambill who has gone through the ups and downs with the talented young man.
“The before and now Brendan is like night and day. And it’s nice to have seen how he’s matured and grown up over the years here at Riverside,” coach Gambill said.
“Brendan is very endearing. A goof ball yes, but very sensitive at the same time. He’s a great team mate here and a very hard worker now. He is the early into the rink warming up and watching when and what he eats.”
“He is much more engaged and finally doing run throughs all the time. That was a hard process. I feel comfortable that he’s really well trained going into Worlds.”
The respect goes both ways.
“I trust Tammy and my choreographer Mark Pillay. We are leaving the short as it was in Four Continents and only made minor adjustments to the free. Tammy and Mark thought it best to leave it – so I’m pretty happy and just gonna trust that.”
The former junk food lover is consigned to memory.
“In general, my health and well-being is better. I do have the odd unhealthy meal and instead of going out after comps having a drink, these days it’s only one,” he said.
“So, yeah – compared to last season I do feel more accomplished and more confident. The better competitive vibe and performances goes hand-in-hand with doing better. No-one enjoys competing poorly.”
Gambill does have high expectations for Kerry, yet for this World Championships her hope is that the boy who became a man, “will go out and perform two great programs.”