Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by essence_of_soy, Sep 17, 2012.
I hate both front and back loading. And I really hate it in the pairs programs.
Personally I wish they would now do away with an axel jump being a required solo jump in the short program, but just make an axel be one of the required jumps (solo or in combination).
I hate how if a skater presents a program that is front-loaded, he gets decried and denigrated and people start throwing the "well-balanced program" phrase around. And yet if a skater presents a program that is ridiculously back-loaded, he's praised to the eyeballs and the phrase "well-balanced program" suddenly disappears from the lexicon.
I feel like there's a specific skater in mind in the above post.
How many skaters have done "ridiculously" back-loaded programs? Other than Max Aaron's recent free program at US Classic, I can't think of any.
If most skaters were capable of back-loading jumps in their programs after spins and footwork sequences I think we'd see it more often. There is a very physically real reason we don't, however.
If it appears there will be a trend in that direction, I'm sure the ISU will yet again change the bonus rules.
Although the FS times are obviously different for juniors, Nathan Chen completed 7 triples and 3 doubles in the second half in his JGP debut last weekend.
My take on this issue is not that the short program has become redundant but that the free program has been suffocated .
I'll agree with that.
Has CoP been responsible for suffocating the free skate? Haven't the "well-balanced" rules been in place for a while? The Zayak rule?
The most three most recent rules I can think of are limiting the death spiral to the one that isn't required for the SP, restricting pairs from using the same jump solo and in sequence, and the three combo rules. Now that the half loop between jumps counts as a combo, not a sequence, the sequence penalty has been reduced at a critical point, because there weren't that many sequences in the 90's.
How many skaters before CoP didn't repeat the substance of the pairs spin, the lift, the SBS spins, and the solo jumps from the SP in the LP/FS?
The restrictions on content in the freeskate have been phased in gradually, starting with the Zayak rule in 1983.
In the mid-90s they introduced well-balanced program guidelines, but they weren't requirements.
Ca. 2000 they became requirements, with minimums of each general kind of element
I haven't followed the pairs' well-balanced requirements closely, but I know they have been more restrictive than for singles at least since the mid-90s, because there are more different kinds of elements to balance.
With IJS ca. 2003, now there are maximums on each type of element and more requirements that must be included in the freeskate (for singles, an axel-type jump, a combination spin, a flying spin, a spin in one position).
Because of the maximums and because the allowed element slots are the only places to earn technical points, in effect they're also minimums because any skater who wants to be competitive will plan to fill all the allowed slots.
So, e.g., every junior man will plan exactly eight jump passes, three spins (one for each required spin), and one step sequence. They don't have the option to say they can show all their advanced jumping skills in six or seven jump passes and use the extra time to do an extra spin or step sequence. And, e.g., because they can only get credit for three spins, they're going to aim for the highest level they can achieve in all three rather than spreading out the skills across four or five shorter spins.
So the basic template of all the programs is the same. And within the rules for spin levels and step sequence levels you see a lot of the same features and same strategies for maximizing levels.
So in 2002 there was a lot less variety in the way programs were laid out than in 1992 or 1982 (at which time the pre-Zayak rule jump content was often unbalanced). And in 2012 there's less variety than there was in 2002.
The new senior rule about choreo sequences coming after step sequences will also limit the variety of layout somewhat.
Sorry I can't offer similar analyses for pairs requirements.
My personal recommendation to introduce more variety and still keep the programs comparable is:
1) allow skaters more flexibility in the number of each type of element while still maintaining an overall maximum number of element slots and minimum number of elements in the most important categories,
2) introduce more different kinds of elements and more different features or ways to combine features to earn higher levels
Of course this would complicate the computer programming and the tasks of the technical panels.
I didn't realize an axel-type jump became a requirement with IJS, but the spin requirements were instituted to show a variety of spins, so that the skaters couldn't do almost the same spin three or four times in a program. I remember a lot of criticism of Arakawa for overuse of the camel/donut spin.
I guess this restricts their freedom to repeat themselves.
Wasn't that true under the last years of 6.0 as well, though, at least as far as jumps went? A skater who wanted to be competitive had been do the same number and variety of jumps that the top skaters did. (Same with jumps and throws in Pairs.) One of the criticisms against Weir at 2004 Worlds was that he left out his last jumping pass (a Sal, IIRC). Leaving out the loop or the second triple lutz back then was hard to overcome.
That's true, but the strategy in the last years of 6.0 was the same, and that was to maximize the jump content and ignore any element for which the judges accepted mediocre quality and gave little relative credit for excellence. (The same way skaters add features under IJS because the GOE scores tend to be given in a narrow range, at least outside dance.)
I still think this is a mistake
I think these are great ideas, but with a quantitative system, where the skaters know within reason what their expected base is, as opposed to letting each judge decide, that the programs will still skew where the points are, as much as they did under 6.0 triples era when they maximized jumps, difficulty+variety.
I don't think the effect of the 6.0 rules was as prescriptive though. Take the ladies - the top contenders towards the end of 6.0 where attempting the maximum number of triples (7) but over the course of more jumping passes which meant so long as you didn't fall foul of the Zayak rule you could attempt a jump that you failed to do earlier.
In fact the ladies is a good example of showing how restricting the number of jumping passes the ladies do has resulted in programmes with less triples per programme now, than the 6 or 7 you might routinely see from the medal winners towards the end of 6.0.
In the long program, yes.
Well, that's a spin position, but it could certainly be used in three or more different spins under IJS as well as under 6.0.
There are newer rules restricting the number of times a skater can get credit for the same feature in the same program. So there's no value to doing donut position in three different spins now. But it was allowed and rewarded ca. 2006.
What I'm talking about is requiring a combination spin, requiring a spin in one position, and requiring a flying spin, and limiting the total number of spins so that it is no longer possible to get credit for two different non-flying spins in one position or two different non-flying combination spins in the same long program. Bad news for a skater who might want to do, say, both a layback and a camel-change camel in her freeskate.
As antmanb points out, it was easier to overcome a missed jump under 6.0 because the skater could just try again without losing a "jump slot." Most often rearranging a program to add jumps didn't work if it meant leaving out other stuff (e.g., Plushenko at 2000 Worlds), although occasionally something like pop, turn around, try again would pay off.
However, my point is more that the current rules make it even harder for someone like Lucinda Ruh to take advantage of her strengths. She had enough different spin variations/featured that she spread out over 5 or 6 different spins (which would be level 1 or 2 under IJS rules) that she wasn't repeating features. By having to combine all those skills into three level 4 spins, even if she gets +3 on all three of them, the gap between the number of points she can earn for spins and the number of points a good but not exceptional spinner can earn for spins is smaller, so she has less scope to make up for her deficit in jump points.
Basically everyone takes the jumps they're capable of and fits them into the seven jump slots so as best to maximize their base values, and the same with the spins. There's no option to spread all your spin skills across four or five lower level spins, or all your jump skills across eight jump passes
Obviously the skater with fewer difficult jump skills is going to be at a disadvantage against those who can do more and harder jumps and combinations. But some of the possible strategies to overcome that disadvantage -- like spreading seven triples over seven jump passes with a double axel in an eighth, or doing fewer jump passes and making up points with more something that she might do better such as spins or extra sequences -- are not available as point-earning opportunities.
This is why I think that letting the skaters know what each kind of element is worth (in base mark, and in potential GOE) is better than leaving all vaguely up to individual judges under 6.0.
But I think it would be even better if skaters were given more scope for strategizing their own strengths and in some cases getting credit for unique skills, within a framework that still prevents them from overusing or underusing certain types of skills by allowing a variety of element templates that still meet the general understanding of a well-balanced program.
The other thing I'd like to see is more credit for top quality, so that it's always more valuable to earn one higher GOE than one higher level.
Exactly. Remember when this was possible?
Vanessa's spins- beautiful and unique. However, I wonder if skaters would even get credit for something like that under 6.0. At least with IJS, skaters are given proper credit for well-done spins, which is how Evan won the Olympics. I think with 6.0, the "tiebreaker" was the jumps. Everything else got brushed under the rug.
I think that some of the more restrictive rules, like a maximum number of jump attempts, a modified Zayak rule, and limits on the number of times a position counts as a feature, could work with an otherwise open program.
By modified Zayak rule, I mean a jump can't be repeated as a solo jump, but it can be repeated in combo or repeated as the second jump in combo, or repeated on one jump pass if there is a fall. That will allow the men in particular to have multiple 3/3's and not have to do a double to avoid having a 3T become one of the duplicated jumps. A man could do 3A, 3A/3T, 3Lz, 3Lz/3T, for example, or like Van der Perren, 3S/3T/3T, 3S, 3F, 3F/3T.
If there is a maximum number of jumps -- right now 11 for (sr) Ladies and 12 for (sr) Men, I don't see why a skater couldn't do as many combos as he/she saw fit, or why the number of jumps in a combo or sequence is limited.
If an outlier like a Ruh could score enough to be competitive by doing six spins, a footwork pass, and five jumps, good for her.
The limit to three combinations maximum was introduced in the mid-90s. My understanding is that officials didn't want to see a lot of bad combinations that had no flow out even when the last jump was landed on one foot, and never see a simple solid landing.
The limit on the number of jumps in a combination or (that count) in a sequence was new with IJS. I guess the reason is not to
And we don't really want skaters to just continue indefinitely tacking double and single toe loops on the ends of all their jumps just to ratchet up their scores 1.3 or 0.4 at a time.
But what if the rules were something like "maximum of 12 jumps that count for points, distributed across a maximum of 8 jump passes" in any permutation that the skater chooses?
I don't know how much thought went into the current jump rules or exactly what those thoughts were. It would be nice to know the reasoning. It would also be interesting to open a debate about other possible ways to structure the rules to allow more variety and still maintain a level playing field that doesn't overly reward just throwing in more and more jumps.
Then maybe they should be dinging the 80+% of the 3/2/2's and 2A/2/2's that have no flow at all, and skaters will stop trying them or learn to do them properly. For all of the incentives they try to build in, like 10% bonus in the second half, they've increased avoidance (made them not worth the attempt) of other flaws when they've penalized (and then there are complaints that no one takes a risk anymore.)
The maximum number of passes is the integer of the jump limit/2. (For Men, that would be six, and for Ladies five.) If they only have four triples, why should it matter if they put a 2T or 2Lo at the end of each? If they were scored properly, they'd lose enough in GOE in each pass to even out. If they have more triples, then by putting a 2T on everything, they'd be replacing a triple with a 2T.
I think one of the problems is that the difficulty of combinations isn't factored into equation, and that it's merely additive.
That still would allow for 2A/2T, 2A/2T, 3Lz/2T, 3Lz/2T, 3F/2T, 3F/2T. (Of course that makes little sense, because the skater, unless a phenomenal spinner, would be losing out on the 3Lo, 3T, and 3S by doing those extra 2T's.) Or a program of 3T/2T, 3T/2T, 3S/2T, 3S/2T, 2A/2T, 2A/2T, (and solo 2T or other double) which would maximum the minimum jump types a skater needs to fulfill the minimum senior SP requirements. I don't see why this should be a problem. A skater could also do no combinations and 11 or 12 jump passes, but at the senior level, with the Zayak rule in place, this would be deadly to the bottom line, and there wouldn't be time to do much else but 5-6 doubles. It could make for a lovely program though, by highlighting music.
Boy....I miss that. Gorgeous.
Kostner did three in a row in 2005, but that's the most I've seen in IJS
I miss the whole program ...
I didn't care for any of the spins but as a choreographic moment it was awesome... good example.
I agree that some of the positions were sub-par, but as you said, it was the way it reflected the music choreographically. You rarely see that kind of imagination these days because the element list is almost predetermined.
I think when I say CoP Free Programs are "suffocated" it's because as a whole they rarely seem to be "free." Skaters go into their elements with their brains turned on counting turns, brackets, changing edges in such a concentrated, obvious way that any feeling of freedom is lost.
I really wish that they could just do overall scores in the free program for jumps, spins, and footwork and lessen the restrictions. Let the short program be the highly scrutinized technical program it was meant to be and return the free program to be more up to the skater in terms of what they think is competitive and best showcases their skills.
The tie breaker in 6.0 was the artistic marks after 1988. In 1988 (and I assume before, but I don't know how far back that goes) the technical marks were the tie breaker. That's how Boitano won the OGM over orser- by having higher technical marks. Had the artistic marks been the tie breaker in 1988, Orser would have won the OGM.
I don't really know what to think - I don't think Gusmeroli's spins were that great (execution wise) in that long sequence, and there's nothing to stop a skater currently putting all their spins back to back in a programme if it fits with the music and the requirements for all spins are met.
I think it is a striking sequence because it hadn't been done before (or at least rarely). The opening spin combination where she does the back part first was also rarely done and noted by commentators for its difficulty, but under IJS it's more common to see back-forward spins than forward-back because the scoring system encourages it.
I would think that skaters that put all their spins back to back in a programme often would be criticised for not having a balanced programme and doing all their spins in one go.
The only reason it worked for Gusmeroli was because of the music, not so much because of how "free" 6.0 was. If someone skated to a piece of music that lent itself to this kind of long sequence of spins, it woul dbe possible to work something out under the current rules.
But that's the whole point. They were able to listen to the music first, and build a program around it, not the other way around. The way it is now, the skaters already have their level 4 elements set and you choose positions and combinations to gain points first, and for musicality second. Doing that many spins in a row took Vanessa at least 30 seconds, and with the required revolutions we have now it would take even longer which leaves less time to do valuable jump passes in the second half. Not to mention that choreographed sequences have to be done after leveled ones, which means they will invariably end up in the second half as well.
I don't remember anyone complaining that Vanessa did "too many spins" or that the program looked too "spin heavy" at the end. Why? It made sense musically and showed originality. People respond to that.
Another example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNcXM5s1NcQ
I loved it when Fumie did both a circular and straight-line step sequence in her 2003 long program. She worked with the music and highlighted her strength in speed and steps. It helped her to win the bronze at worlds that year even with some flubbed jumps. Again, I don't remember anyone complaining that there was "too much footwork" in the second half...
Watching that program of Fumie's, I really miss Peggy's commentary!
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