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  1. #1

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    ISU Judging Seminar in Melbourne (Aust Nats)

    We had National Championships this week in Melbourne and an ISU judging seminar was held during the competition.

    The seminar looked at the latest rules, program components and pairs skating.

    As per usual the program components were focussed on and looking at mainly skating skills and transitions. There is a set of ISU DVDs that are designed to assist judges with providing examples of the components and illustrating the various points that each component should cover. It really did help when it came the actual judging.

    The most interesting thing is they used Surya Bonaly and Tonya Harding as examples of poor quality skating skills - toe pushing, lack of depth of edge and lack of flow. I always like Harding's power, but this make me realise that her basic skating skills were quite limited. Speed is not everything and that was probaby the one thing Harding had in her favour. Then there was a comparison to Mao Asada and you really did notice the difference. Asada was light, had beautiful flow and it looked effortless. Harding whilst powerful looked like hard work, which goes against the concept of effortlessness when it comes to skating skills.

    The interesting thing to look at with transitions was how parts of the body used, whether it be arms, doing movements with the leg, using the head or the whole body. And examples were showing with the commentator saying "arm arm body head arm arm, etc". But it really helped to count the transitions and also evaluate difficulty or simplicity of them. Chan and Buttle were obvious examples they showed. So if you want to practise identifying transitions that is a good way of doing it.

    Another interesting example for transitions was a comparison of Shen and Zhao from 2001 to 2004 and how they really developed their use of transitions. It also showed how they had developed their artistry.

    And a special mention goes to our pjskating for being "the voice in the head" of a judge. Just shows how quickly she thinks and what a great commentator she is.

    If you want to know any more about what went on please ask. After working so many hours at the event over the last week my head is a bit done in.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    As per usual the program components were focussed on and looking at mainly skating skills and transitions.
    "As per usual" probably explains why we have so many quadless boys and a I-fell-8-times winner.
    At that judging seminar what did they tell you about performance/composition/interpretation stuff and about technical elements? Is there any good news or this season the things will be the same as last season?
    I am listening...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    We had National Championships this week in Melbourne and an ISU judging seminar was held during the competition.
    I have some questions :
    1. Who held the seminar?
    2. Who are the teachers in these ISU seminaries? Coaches, ex-skaters, choreographeres? Who decided that they were qualified to held the seminaries?
    2. Who is actually making the videos that judges are using?
    3. Is it legal to use skaters who are still competing as examples?

    Thank you

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    The seminar was held by Susan Lynch and Rita Zonnekin (sp?) who are ISU officials. Both are international Technical Controllers and Susan is on the ISU Technical panel. It was actually scheduled in an ISU communication quite a while ago. It was initially intended to be held in Brisbane but was held in Melbourne during Nationals.

    The videos were from ISU competitions. You could find them anywhere on the internet (like Youtube). However they are presented in a format to explain components.

    I am actually not prepared to get into the cynical debate about falls vs program components (I thought someone would raise it). I will say that judges are advised to consider that components should be kept separate from how well the elements are performed. The component where you could consider errors in programs would be in the performance execution mark but you still need to consider the rest of the program separate from the elements.

    A fall in which a skater might go down for a second and pop straight back up and continue does not necessarily affect the performance/execution mark. But that is why you have GOEs on elements to show that there were problems with them. And they do get a 1 point deduction on the program as a whole.

    One thing I don't think most people don't consider is that a skater can win a program on components (it was something that I discussed with another judge which was a good point). When judging an Intermediate level event where most the skaters make errors, it is usually the components that decide the placements.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Thanks for sharing with us this information, this will help us to understand better how they judge the PCS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ciocio View Post
    3. Is it legal to use skaters who are still competing as examples?
    It may be legal, but it certainly doesn't seem ethical.

    The features that make up PCS are not permanent conditions. A skater normally great at performance execution can have a bad day, and conversely, a skater usually not given to a good execution could have a "Paul Wylie moment," and turn in the skate of his or her life. Similarly, even a skater with normally rock solid skating skills can have a day when his / her feet just aren't under him or her, knees are stiffening (whether due to nerves, illness, or something else), etc. But if a judge has seen a skater used in an ISU seminar as an example of "this skater demonstrates this aspect of this program component criteria," I'd be concerned about the judge feeling locked into that view, regardless of the actual performance at the event the judge was working, because "the ISU said so."

    Of course, if the skaters used as examples are not current competitors, there is no concern. AW - I'd be nterested in your thoughts on this issue.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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    Thank you Aussie Willy for sharing with us.

    For transitions I understand that upper body movements help to get a higher transition mark. That is quite interesting indeed, and surprising since transitions are supposed to be the blades work on the ice, and the upper body moves are more considered in the choreo mark.
    So, being what you said it seems that even a simple blade move can be highlited by arms moves in order to increase the transition mark.

    Not what it's supposed to be IMO reading to the rules but very interesting.

    I'm all the more wondering now why were all the 5 components made separate if they are actually mixed in the heads of judges, and teached that way by ISU officials themselves !

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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    The features that make up PCS are not permanent conditions. A skater normally great at performance execution can have a bad day, and conversely, a skater usually not given to a good execution could have a "Paul Wylie moment," and turn in the skate of his or her life. Similarly, even a skater with normally rock solid skating skills can have a day when his / her feet just aren't under him or her, knees are stiffening (whether due to nerves, illness, or something else), etc.
    That's true. Certainly the same skater having a good performance and a bad performance of the same program should get better PCS for the good performance.

    "Good" doesn't necessarily refer only to success or failure of the jumps, of course.

    Here's an example of Paul Wylie missing a jump in a short program, which of course earned him a deduction on the required elements mark and likely cost him placements at this event compared to how he would have placed if he'd landed the jump.

    He even took a whole 5 seconds to get back to presenting the program after falling, not the best-case 2-second down-and-up scenario of a fall recovery.

    But really, is there anything else in this performance, including the Presentation of the program in 6.0 terms or all five components in IJS terms that wouldn't deserve just as high scores for this performance, maybe one increment lower (0.1 or 0.25) as if he'd landed the jump and gone on to skate the rest of the performance the same?

    On the other hand, for a skater with weaker choreography, weaker skater skills, weaker performance and execution skills, less attention to music, how much difference is landing all the jumps going to make between a typical performance from that skater and the skate of his/her life? Maybe an average of 1.0 per component, maybe as much as 2.0 for Performance/Execution? It's not like having a good day is going to turn someone into Paul Wylie if the skater doesn't already have those skills.

    But if a judge has seen a skater used in an ISU seminar as an example of "this skater demonstrates this aspect of this program component criteria," I'd be concerned about the judge feeling locked into that view, regardless of the actual performance at the event the judge was working, because "the ISU said so."
    Yeah, that would be a danger with judges who look at the name more than they look at the actual skating and think for themselves.

    Of course, if the skaters used as examples are not current competitors, there is no concern.
    True.
    But what if they come back, or try to, like Plushenko and Shen/Zhao and Cohen last year?

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    But how many of the judges at this seminar are likely to get to an international event where Asada or Chan or any of the videoed examples are likely to be - and be on the panel that judges them?

    If the seminar is mostly for Austrailian coaches and national judges (and below) to educate them on the fine points of the system, I don't have a problem with using foreign (to them) skaters as visual examples.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    "Good" doesn't necessarily refer only to success or failure of the jumps, of course.
    Of course not. We've all seen performances where the jumps were all landed and yet the performance was flat. (Abbott's most recent GP vaguely comes to mind.) The skater might be tentative, a little stiff in the knees, a little more inwardly focused, a little more labored in movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Yeah, that would be a danger with judges who look at the name more than they look at the actual skating and think for themselves.
    I think by now we should all agree that protocol / reputation judging is alive and well. Add to that the pressure to be "within the corridor," and think it's not hard to imagine how even a good judge with the best of intentions might be influenced by comments made about a skater at an official ISU seminar.


    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    But how many of the judges at this seminar are likely to get to an international event where Asada or Chan or any of the videoed examples are likely to be - and be on the panel that judges them?
    Australia does routinely have judges at international events, especially 4CC. Of course, I don't know whether any of these judges were at this particular seminar.

    If the seminar is mostly for Austrailian coaches and national judges (and below) to educate them on the fine points of the system, I don't have a problem with using foreign (to them) skaters as visual examples.
    If that's the case, I would agree, but then I'd wonder why it was the ISU leading the seminar and not the Australian federation.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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    You would be interested to note that Paul Wylie was used as an example on the DVD, I think for transitions. They used the start of his FS from 92 Olympics.

    I have no problem with current skaters being used as an examples, particularly as they are being used to highlight what we are meant to be looking for in programs.

    But how many of the judges at this seminar are likely to get to an international event where Asada or Chan or any of the videoed examples are likely to be - and be on the panel that judges them?

    If the seminar is mostly for Austrailian coaches and national judges (and below) to educate them on the fine points of the system, I don't have a problem with using foreign (to them) skaters as visual examples.
    Australia's international judges were most certainly there as they were judging at our Nationals. But the majority of skating fans seem to forget that this system is applied throughout most competitions throughout the world. International events are in the minority, the bulk of competitions are done at local level. We even use it for our regular fun skates, even if we have one or two competitors (then the GOEs and PCS are entered in manually). And most of us who judge are fully aware of who the top skaters in the world are because we do have access to Youtube and we do keep up to date with what goes on in international events.

    This seminar would be open to anyone, not just Australian judges. So if someone from overseas wanted to make the effort they certainly could have come along. But it is a very long way to travel and spend thousands of dollars on when you are a volunteer.

    Most of the judges attending at Nationals are working their way through the ranks. This year was my first one being an official judge at Nationals (my previous years were trialling). I also got to trial judge Senior and Junior Dance and judge Primary/Novice dance. To progress to Junior or Senior you have to trial in those events at Nationals.

    This seminar was not just about being for international judges. It is for judges at every level because the same principles of judging apply at all levels of skating.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    But the majority of skating fans seem to forget that this system is applied throughout most competitions throughout the world. International events are in the minority, the bulk of competitions are done at local level. We even use it for our regular fun skates, even if we have one or two competitors (then the GOEs and PCS are entered in manually).
    I'm not sure why you think this, as it seems to me that many skating fans (at least on this board) are from the skating community in one way or another, and are therefore well-aware of how widely IJS is used. At least in the U.S., you can't really have a competition anymore of any kind or level without using IJS. It does happen that some smaller, more remote competitions sometimes may use a paper based approach (because there is a cost to renting the system if your don't have your own), but they still use IJS.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    I'm not sure why you think this, as it seems to me that many skating fans (at least on this board) are from the skating community in one way or another, and are therefore well-aware of how widely IJS is used. At least in the U.S., you can't really have a competition anymore of any kind or level without using IJS. It does happen that some smaller, more remote competitions sometimes may use a paper based approach (because there is a cost to renting the system if your don't have your own), but they still use IJS.
    My response was directed to zaphyre14 who did say:

    But how many of the judges at this seminar are likely to get to an international event where Asada or Chan or any of the videoed examples are likely to be - and be on the panel that judges them?
    For me this comment comes across that it only matters for international events that these seminars are held.

    Sorry but after a week and a half of working 13-14 hour days it is easy to make generalisations.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    My response was directed to zaphyre14 who did say:

    But how many of the judges at this seminar are likely to get to an international event where Asada or Chan or any of the videoed examples are likely to be - and be on the panel that judges them?
    For me this comment comes across that it only matters for international events that these seminars are held.
    I thought zaphyre14's points was that it wouldn't be a conflict of interest for the majority of the judges attending the seminar, who will never have the opportunity to judge Asada or Chan.

    But she can correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I will say that judges are advised to consider that components should be kept separate from how well the elements are performed. The component where you could consider errors in programs would be in the performance execution mark but you still need to consider the rest of the program separate from the elements.

    A fall in which a skater might go down for a second and pop straight back up and continue does not necessarily affect the performance/execution mark. But that is why you have GOEs on elements to show that there were problems with them. And they do get a 1 point deduction on the program as a whole.
    Thanks. Yeah... something tells me that this season will be the same as last season. Maybe Morozov was not so much in the wrong when he said that presentation score should go under the old 6.0 system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ciocio View Post
    Is it legal to use skaters who are still competing as examples?
    That is surely not right. It gives some favors to certain sportsmen and put all others in the unfair positions.
    The "legal" or "not legal" means some values and rules are protected by law and when they are broken, the victims can got to a court to protect their rights. Amature sportsmen cannot protect their rights directly and depend 100% on their federations. The rights of federations are limited too. As the result we have what we have: FS bosses do what they want to do. That's not right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I thought zaphyre14's points was that it wouldn't be a conflict of interest for the majority of the judges attending the seminar, who will never have the opportunity to judge Asada or Chan.

    But she can correct me if I'm wrong.
    No, you're not wrong. That's what I meant. Iwas directing my point at the poster (Bittybug) who said
    But if a judge has seen a skater used in an ISU seminar as an example of "this skater demonstrates this aspect of this program component criteria," I'd be concerned about the judge feeling locked into that view, regardless of the actual performance at the event the judge was working, because "the ISU said so."
    Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    But I'd like to contradict the person who said that almost all the competitions in the US use IJS. That's not true. There are still a lot of events (among them the State Games of America and it's qualifying competitions, most of the Basic Skills competitions- which include events up through Pre-Juvenile and the Adult Sectional Championships) that still use the 6.0 system, mainly for cost-effectiveness. IJS is hardly universal, even if that's what USFS Headquarters seems to be conveying to the public.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artifice View Post
    ...
    For transitions I understand that upper body movements help to get a higher transition mark. That is quite interesting indeed, and surprising since transitions are supposed to be the blades work on the ice, and the upper body moves are more considered in the choreo mark.
    So, being what you said it seems that even a simple blade move can be highlited by arms moves in order to increase the transition mark.

    Not what it's supposed to be IMO reading to the rules but very interesting.

    I'm all the more wondering now why were all the 5 components made separate if they are actually mixed in the heads of judges, and teached that way by ISU officials themselves !
    Second to this. Very confusing because at summer competitions we were told too that transitions are difficult "work of blade" or difficult moves going into/out elements (spins and jumps) like split jump, ina bauer etc. Now they mix it all with upper body. Who is going to decide that some upper body move is difficult in relation to the turn and the another one is not? Judges mostly are not skaters and they don't know that doing tree turn with certain upper body position is more difficult then doing rocker with another that seems difficult but it is not.

    Maybe they should just have "Skating Skills" and "Presentation" for the rest of the components and this is enough? Or like Morozov suggested go back to 6.0 to artistic mark. Transitions became such a gray area. Same goes with Interpretation as I noticed at lower level competitions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfahrut View Post
    Maybe they should just have "Skating Skills" and "Presentation" for the rest of the components and this is enough? Or like Morozov suggested go back to 6.0 to artistic mark. Transitions became such a gray area. Same goes with Interpretation as I noticed at lower level competitions.
    I wouldn't use the old 6.0 notation to judge the second mark but for sure I would simplify the components marks that are becoming a real fool game ! I'm sure judges don't even understand what they actually judge. It's also too hard to give 5 separate marks after having given GOEs during the program.
    So 2 or 3 components marks would be enough.
    There's a thread on this issue in the trash can area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfahrut View Post
    Judges mostly are not skaters and they don't know that doing tree turn with certain upper body position is more difficult then doing rocker with another that seems difficult but it is not.
    Sorry but how do you know that judges are mostly not skaters? That is a bit of an assumption.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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