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View Full Version : How has IJS affected each discipline in skating for the good & the bad?



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gkelly
11-02-2011, 05:03 PM
Spins have become bigger and more difficult, but I don't think overall speed and quality has increased mostly because everyone is too focused on levels.

Actually, I think the overall speed and quality have increased, but not necessarily in ways that enhance the viewer's aesthetic enjoyment.

In order to include enough features for level 3 or 4, it's usually necessary to hold the spins for more revolutions than for a spin without features. To hold the spins longer, the skater usually needs to start the spin with more speed than would otherwise be necessary and/or to develop superior skills at maintaining spin speed.

Often, however, skaters will try to hold the spin past the point where they should exit it, in order to fit in one more position or in order to try to get the 8-revolution feature. And they will also often include positions that don't look great on their bodies just to earn another feature. So although the average level of spinning skill seems to be a lot higher now than 10+ years ago, the number of memorably awkward positions or noticeable losses of speed is also higher.

When those problems outweigh the strengths in the spin, the GOE should be negative. If there were so many strengths to the spin to begin with, and then one notable problem, that might reduce a +2 or +1 spin to +1 or 0 as the final GOE.

I think under 6.0 we saw the following general categories of spinners:

Weak: Poor positions, slow and/or uncentered rotation, minimal revolutions -- the spins might be ugly, but they were usually over quickly

Average: Acceptable to good positions, acceptable to good centering and speed, usually held 1-1 1/2 times the number of ISU-prescribed rotations -- generally pleasant to look at and often included simple variations that enhanced the connection to the music and program theme -- sometimes includes variations that would now count as features but not necessarily performed sufficiently well to be credited by today's tech panels

Strong: Good to excellent positions and/or good to excellent speed and centering, often at least twice the required revolutions, often with one or two variations that would now count as features, but not necessarily combined in the ways that would earn levels in later years

I'd guess that close to 90% of the spinners fell into the Average category, with a range from unremarkable to quite pleasant indeed. And then there were a few outliers on either end. We remember the strong ones more than the cringeworthy ones.

Maybe there should be a category between Average and Strong to include spinners like Kwan or Nikodinov who excelled in centering and/or positions but not speed, and others like Slutskaya and Stojko who excelled in speed and often number of revolutions but often lacked centering or position

With IJS, it's probably more like this:

Weak: Generally slow and/or weak positions or centering; attempts several features per spin but rarely achieves higher than level 1 or sometimes 2 because the features aren't performed well enough; usually just enough revolutions to meet the minimums for the spin as a whole but not to get credit for all features attempted

Average: Usually starts with pretty good speed and includes a few difficult variations successfully, but there's usually at least one attempted feature that negatively affects the execution and overall impression of the spin -- if it's the last feature (e.g., Biellmann position on a layback), I often find myself thinking to the skater "Quit while you're ahead" -- that one extra attempt can make the difference between +GOE and -GOE. Or often they will balance out and the skater will end up with a 0 for the spin.

Strong: Good speed, generally good centering, number of revolutions often 2-3 times the minimum, often positions are chosen to demonstrate flexibility and earn levels rather than for attractiveness

So there are more instances in all those skill levels where there's at least one cringeworthy moment in the spin, but there are also more moments of Wow, that was really good or really cool. At least for me, because I'm inclined to look for the positive aspects and not focus only on the negative.

I would also say that the percentage of skaters who fall into the Strong category might be higher than 10+ years ago. Certainly if we look at spins from skaters who generally get positive GOE for their spins but don't have reputations as outstanding spinners in today's context, I think they would stand out as strong by 6.0 standards.

Looked at another way -- Vanessa Gusmeroli stood out a decade ago for attempting combination spins with variations that were unusual for the time and demonstrated rare skills, but she didn't always hold positions long enough, etc., to earn all the features attempted. Today she would not stand out at all and might be considered a low-average rather than high-average spinner because so many other ladies are doing the same features and doing them better.


IMO GOE on spins still mean too little compared to jumps. HATE Biellmanns. HATE most sit spin variations.

I like them when they're well done, not when they're the same positions that many others are also doing for points and doing better.


I miss an effective simple layback or scratch spin.

Simple scratch spins were pretty much gone from elite skating well before IJS . . . except for back scratch positions as the upright variation in combination spins. You do have a point about the laybacks . . . but the weak laybacks then were slow, simple, and unattractively positioned, whereas the weak laybacks now are usually faster to start out with and might have one attractive position along with a couple of unattractive ones.


And, if there are only 3 spins compared to 7/8 jumping passes, each spin should be worth more.

Well, I'd like to see the good spinners have the opportunity to trade a jump pass or two for an extra spin.

Beyond that . . . what could be the solution? Make the +GOEs worth more for spins, including level 1 spins, so that there is incentive to train spins for quality and not just focus on spin features and jumps?

antmanb
11-03-2011, 02:36 PM
Well, I'd like to see the good spinners have the opportunity to trade a jump pass or two for an extra spin.

Beyond that . . . what could be the solution? Make the +GOEs worth more for spins, including level 1 spins, so that there is incentive to train spins for quality and not just focus on spin features and jumps?

I like the idea of swapping jumping passes for spins.

I'm not sure that making spins count for more would really work. I think if the powers that be wanted spind to be worth more, they'd officially reduce the number of jumps and increase the number of spins.

Looking at the values of spins now - even a level 1 upright spin has a higher base value than a single axel. Looking at adult competition you could argue that spins seem to be disproportionately higher in value than jumps as they are. A level 1 camel spin gets you more points than a double flip. If you can change feet and position, or if you can start to put in features for levels, then you are well on your way to earning more points than you ever could with jumps.

aliceanne
11-04-2011, 09:26 PM
Good spins can present a choreographic challenge. A long fast spin takes up time but doesn't cover any ice. A fast spin will also leave even the most experienced skater momentarily disoriented. I think that is why all the shifting of positions is favored as opposed to developing skills like a Lucinda Ruh. It is hard to make a spin a principle element in a program, except at the end when the skater is exhausted.

Marco
11-05-2011, 04:35 AM
I'm not sure that making spins count for more would really work. I think if the powers that be wanted spind to be worth more, they'd officially reduce the number of jumps and increase the number of spins.

Actually they are doing the exact opposite by requiring one less spin in the free skate and increasing the base values of jumps.

The difference in points between each of Czisny's and Kostner's spins at Skate America is barely over 1 point. Why bother?

gkelly
11-05-2011, 02:03 PM
Ostensibly the reason for removing the fourth spin a few years ago (and the spiral sequence/second step sequence in juniors) was to give more time for interesting skating between the elements. I don't know whether it has had that effect.

I still think that skaters should have some flexibility in exactly how many jump vs. spin elements they include to reach their maximum number of elements, and that the positive GOEs should be higher to reward quality better even on lower level spins.

giselle23
11-05-2011, 09:28 PM
This is a thought I had that I think would bring back some of the artistry and freedom that is missing from the "free" skate under COP: eliminate levels on spins and footwork in the long program. Just score based on the base score of the element and grade of execution. Really fast and well centered spins like Alissa's would get the highest GOE. Others would get lower marks accordingly. Same for footwork. This would free skaters from having to make themselves into pretzels, ruin good laybacks with foot-grabbing or doing footwork that is slowed by trying to cram in twizzles and other elements that have no purpose other than to up the level. Spirals, Biellmans, split jumps etc could be considered in the second mark. Jumps would be graded as they are now.

burntBREAD
11-05-2011, 10:45 PM
This is a thought I had that I think would bring back some of the artistry and freedom that is missing from the "free" skate under COP: eliminate levels on spins and footwork in the long program. Just score based on the base score of the element and grade of execution. Really fast and well centered spins like Alissa's would get the highest GOE. Others would get lower marks accordingly. Same for footwork. This would free skaters from having to make themselves into pretzels, ruin good laybacks with foot-grabbing or doing footwork that is slowed by trying to cram in twizzles and other elements that have no purpose other than to up the level. Spirals, Biellmans, split jumps etc could be considered in the second mark. Jumps would be graded as they are now.

When you say "base score" for spins and steps, do you mean a level 4 base value? Because otherwise spins/steps would be worth even less than they are now...:shuffle:

giselle23
11-05-2011, 11:13 PM
When you say "base score" for spins and steps, do you mean a level 4 base value? Because otherwise spins/steps would be worth even less than they are now...:shuffle:

Just assign x base points (maybe based on level 2?) and let the judges add or deduct based on GOE. The scoring wouldn't correspond to the current system, so it wouldn't matter if the the scores are lower than they are now.

gkelly
11-06-2011, 01:44 AM
The potential range for +GOE would need to be larger than it is now.

If there's a will there's a way to make it work.

But we might discover unintended consequences.

Mafke
11-06-2011, 09:13 AM
The biggest problems with CoP (IMNVHAAO) are...

1. The conscious decision to reward 'level' over execution with no overlap so a perfect level 2 gets less points than an awful level 3. This meant skaters were/are emulating Plushenkos awful higher level spins rather than Lambiel's wonderful but lower level spins.

2. The decision to start with several levels at all. They should have had point values based on kinds of spins (single position, combination, flying entry, whatever) and footwork (straight line, circular, serpentine).

3. The decision to reward different jumps (same number of rotations) by 'difficulty' rather than by variety. So there's no penalty for leaving out problem jumps and fewer different jumps get done.

4. The decision to score footwork, spins and jumps by the same point criteria. This is just insane. Footwork and spins could theoretically be scored with the same GOE spread but jumps are a different matter. Basically a lot more can go wrong with a jump than can go right. You need a big negative spread and a very small positive spread so that full credit for the jump is the reward. Spins and footwok (as theoretically open ended elements) can/should have a bigger positive point spread.

All in all I think CoP is fatally flawed (adopted too quickly with no beta testing) and efforts at fixing one bad part just means some other part gets worse.

Any system will have unintended consequences, but I reall think those behind CoP were so stupid they didn't realize that.

antmanb
11-07-2011, 04:06 PM
The biggest problems with CoP (IMNVHAAO) are...

1. The conscious decision to reward 'level' over execution with no overlap so a perfect level 2 gets less points than an awful level 3. This meant skaters were/are emulating Plushenkos awful higher level spins rather than Lambiel's wonderful but lower level spins.


Strictly speaking this is not actually true, depending on what you mean by "perfect" and "awful", but if you take a level 2 upright spin that nets +1GOE after tossing high and low and averaging you end up with 1.5 base value with +0.5 GOE for a total of 2 points. A level 3 upright spin that nets -1 GOE from the judges after tossing high and low and averaging would get you base value of 1.9 with -0.3 for GOE for a point total of 1.6. And that is just compaing +1 and -1, obviously the differences become greater the better or worse it becomes. I think the question becomes whether the judges actually use the -GOE effectively when harder spins are attempted, but then that becomes an issue of training judges rather than the code of points actually being fundamentally flawed.

Even a level 4 upright spin with -1s across the board would net a skater 2.1 points, where a level 2 upright with +1s across the board would net the skater 2 points.

gkelly
11-07-2011, 07:37 PM
Thanks for breaking down the math, antmanb.


I think the question becomes whether the judges actually use the -GOE effectively when harder spins are attempted, but then that becomes an issue of training judges rather than the code of points actually being fundamentally flawed.

How should -GOE be used effectively when harder spins are attempted?

I think what often happens is that there's a good spin with well-performed features, decent speed and centering, and extra revolutions, so the judge is starting to think about +GOE, and then the skater tries to fit in one more feature and doesn't quite succeed, so the spin slows down and/or travels, the position is weak, etc. Then the judge reduces the GOE from the + number in mind earlier, but even after reduction that might still end up being 0 or even +1.

Something similar can happen with spins in which the skater bobbles on the entry (usually in a forward camel or flying spin) and then recovers within a revolution or two to center the spin and execute the rest of it well.

Also sometimes there are spins that are technically strong all the way through but the positions are not very attractive.

So observers who focus on the bad entry or bad ending or bad positions think the whole spin should get negative GOE, and judges (or observers) who focus on the other aspects of the spin as well think it should get base value or slightly positive GOE.

Think about a spin that's medium speed, neither perfectly centered nor egregiously traveling, adequate positions, and about 8 revolutions total (one foot) or about 6 on each foot with a change of foot. That's what I expect to earn 0 GOE. On balance, was any given spin better than that? Then maybe +GOE is justified, or 0 if it wasn't much better or if there were some better aspects and some worse aspects. If it was worse than that, in how many areas was it inadequate, and by how much, to deserve -1 or -2 or -3?

Mafke
11-07-2011, 07:59 PM
Who got higher spin scores in Turin in 2006? Plushenko or Lambiel? I seem to recall it was Plushenko which was not well accepted by many. Am I remembering wrong?

gkelly
11-07-2011, 08:31 PM
Yes, Plushenko did get somewhat higher overall spin scores than Lambiel in Turin.

But,


The conscious decision to reward 'level' over execution with no overlap so a perfect level 2 gets less points than an awful level 3.

This is not an accurate characterization of the math, as antmanb has pointed out.


This meant skaters were/are emulating Plushenkos awful higher level spins rather than Lambiel's wonderful but lower level spins.

If you think Plushenko's spins were awful, you haven't seen enough lower level spins.

That said, I think that there was a hesitance among judges to award +3s for exceptional spins as of 2006, and that since 2010 we would have seen Lambiel pick up more points for quality on his best spins. I'd also like to see the values of the +GOEs increased relative to the differences in base values between levels.

(I haven't checked the protocols for 2010 Olympics, but both those skaters were past their peaks by that time.)

I also think it's a problem in the scale of values that +1 on a level 4 step sequence is worth twice as much as +1 on a level 3 sequence, but this is not the case for spins or for other adjacent levels.

antmanb
11-08-2011, 10:32 AM
Thanks for breaking down the math, antmanb.



How should -GOE be used effectively when harder spins are attempted?

I think what often happens is that there's a good spin with well-performed features, decent speed and centering, and extra revolutions, so the judge is starting to think about +GOE, and then the skater tries to fit in one more feature and doesn't quite succeed, so the spin slows down and/or travels, the position is weak, etc. Then the judge reduces the GOE from the + number in mind earlier, but even after reduction that might still end up being 0 or even +1.

Something similar can happen with spins in which the skater bobbles on the entry (usually in a forward camel or flying spin) and then recovers within a revolution or two to center the spin and execute the rest of it well.

Also sometimes there are spins that are technically strong all the way through but the positions are not very attractive.

So observers who focus on the bad entry or bad ending or bad positions think the whole spin should get negative GOE, and judges (or observers) who focus on the other aspects of the spin as well think it should get base value or slightly positive GOE.

Think about a spin that's medium speed, neither perfectly centered nor egregiously traveling, adequate positions, and about 8 revolutions total (one foot) or about 6 on each foot with a change of foot. That's what I expect to earn 0 GOE. On balance, was any given spin better than that? Then maybe +GOE is justified, or 0 if it wasn't much better or if there were some better aspects and some worse aspects. If it was worse than that, in how many areas was it inadequate, and by how much, to deserve -1 or -2 or -3?

Actually you've got me there completely, i think I tend to focus on the negative. I think I've just seen too many layback spins that end with a struggling bielmann that just about eeks out three slow and painful revolutions. Worse is, that it's the last thing you see so that's the impression that is left. Same with the forward sit spin where the skater pulls the free leg in behind the spinning foot, skaters often struggle slowly with that position too. I guess the spin Nazi in me wants to say that an attempt to get the higher level and executing it badly should either cost more in GOE, or should not count for the level. Perhaps it would be too harsh a penalty, but maybe if the attempt at the higher level ends up compromising that section of the spin enough (like the really slow Bielmann) then the spin has to have a mandatory -GOE.

Ok I have now gone and read the GOE guidelines for spins and I think they are just quite difficult to interpret, a lot of the + guidelines are subjective:
acceleration,
balanced rotations in all positions (does that mean equal number of rotations or actually well balanced as in not wobbling?)
clearly more than required rotations (does that mean doing not just two for levels and doing say four or five, or does that mean doing 15 rotations on each foot?)
Good positions (really subjective - does the butt spin ever make a good position, or in fact any of the difficult variations)
Element matched to the musical structure

Actually looking at that it shows that its really difficult to try to justify getting up to +3 for a simple spin.

The mandatory negative GOE is basically a fall or both hand down on the ice. The rest of the negative GOE is also things like hand or foot touch down, poor/awkward positions.

I'm not sure there is an easy fix.

Unrelated to spins I thought this was a ridiculous statement in step sequnces


STEP SEQUENCES
Types of turns (executed on one foot) : three turns, twizzles, brackets, loops, counters, rockers.
Types of steps (executed on one foot whenever possible) : toe steps, chasses, mohawks, choctaws,
curves with change of edge, cross-rolls, running steps.

:rofl:Whenever possible? That would be never then! By the very definition of those steps they can't be done on one foot, saying that I'd love to see someone at the ISU (preferably the person who wrote that part of the rules) try to execute chasses, mohawks, choctaws or running steps (actually anything that is in the list under steps) on one foot to demonstrate what they mean :rofl: