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  1. #1
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    Why are judges allowed to watch practices?

    This has been bugging me for awhile now. Why are judges allowed to watch the practices? Wouldn't it be better if they watched the performances during the competition without preconceived notions about the routines? Patrick Chan alluded to the fact the judges knew from practices what he was really capable of at SC. And today, Tessa Virtue said they got really good feedback from the judges in practice sessions.

    Does this bug anyone else or are there valid reasons for the judges being at practices?

  2. #2
    Lurrrrve Laura Lepistö
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    I'm not sure if it's valid or not, but I've been told that the judges would watch practice sessions to familiarize the order of elements in skaters' routines and I've seen them writing down elements and some numbers probably GOEs.. after all the judges need to practice dont they?lol

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    Under 6.0, judges needed to familiarize themselves with the order of elements. Under IJS, that's more important for the technical panel -- and the technical panel might be taking notes about what features the skater is attempting.

    Whether judges even get a chance to watch practices would depend on the schedule -- if they're busy judging other events on another ice surface, they wouldn't see the practice sessions. At international events, especially small ones like Grand Prixs, that wouldn't be an issue.

    Even for judges in IJS, it could useful to have an advance idea of what to expect if a skater is going to be attempting something unusual that would be easy to miss if you didn't know to look for it.

    That might be a jump that no one else is attempting (e.g., a man doing a quad loop or a lady doing a triple axel). It would be all to easy to see a triple loop or double axel if that's what you were expecting because that's what everyone else does.

    Or it might be an unexpected connection between elements -- e.g., the camel spin into triple salchow at about 2:10 here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfM2Yn7qY3w

    The skater goes to all the trouble of doing something difficult, and that would be wasted if a judge looks down at the wrong moment to write a note or input a mark for the spin.


    Another reason it can be useful for judges to watch practices would be fairness.
    Chances are the judges have seen some of the skaters before and know what they're capable of. E.g., at an international competition the judges are probably already familiar with the skaters from their own country and with most successful skaters who are often shown on TV, and also with any skaters they may have judged before at past competitions.

    It's impossible for them not to have some expectations about the skaters they already know.

    So for the skaters they don't already know, it's fairer if they get a chance to get to see some of what they're capable of in advance as well, so that there is less of discrepancy between the known and the unknown.

    That's also where "buzz" comes in, if a newcomer does so well in practice at the competition venue that everyone starts noticing them.

    Nevertheless, it's important for judges to judge what they see during the competition and not pre-judge based on the practices.
    Last edited by gkelly; 02-19-2011 at 03:06 AM.

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    I don't see the problem. The think the judges feedback given is valuable for the skaters too. Should the judges be banned from youtube too? Is there a difference?

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    All of the above and as well some skaters have unusual technique on certain elements. Then you have some skaters that do doubles that look like triples and vice versa. I know that's more for the tech panel but the officials do need to become accustomed to the skaters and their styles as well as content.

    Jean Senft did a fluff piece on exactly this for CBC during the 1991 Worlds. (and the fact that I remember this is beyond frightening).

    PS. That link to Klimkin. That quad was like 8 feet in the air, it felt like. I don't think anyone's quad is nearly that high (not even Li's)....except maybe Brezina's 4S from what I have seen. Mercy!

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    I have always been opposed to it and always will be.

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    I specifically saw the tech panel for the ladies event in Greensboro watching practices and writing down the order of elements. I think that is not only okay, but necessary to be honest.
    Logic is in the eye of the logician --Gloria Steinem

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    I think it's wonderful if the judges get to see the programs skated during practice. I've been at practices and sometimes you don't really see much of anything by some skaters - at least jump wise as they just mark it for placement and then continue on to something else. At the very least, though, I'm agreeing with those who say it helps the judges to know what they might expect to happen at certain parts of the music - especially if they are busy "marking" an element and then miss something else - like maybe the connecting steps or an entrance to something else. Kudos to them for putting in the time to get themselves acquainted with the programs of the skaters.
    Crazy about sports!

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    Lurrrrve Laura Lepistö
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    This is OT but the judges have the planned elements sheet before each competition don't they? I know and I've seen them watching practices and trying to familiarize themselves with new tricks and newcomers etc but I wasn't just not sure about the order of elements thing. Is it because the sheet isn't handed out to them too late or there are many errors in the sheet (I've noticed several of them but not sure if those are just honest mistakes and the judges just want to make sure).

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    A lot of it might be for the skaters benefit. I know the judges can't talk to the skaters about the event until it's done, but if/when they do give feedback after the event is over, they can also make reference to things they know they're capable of. I know when I was a skater I would talk to at least one judge after the event was over and a few times they made reference to my practice sessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by professordeb View Post
    At the very least, though, I'm agreeing with those who say it helps the judges to know what they might expect to happen at certain parts of the music - especially if they are busy "marking" an element and then miss something else - like maybe the connecting steps or an entrance to something else. Kudos to them for putting in the time to get themselves acquainted with the programs of the skaters.
    I agree. I think overall, it's a positive thing. Obviously if the skaters aren't having good practices, there is concern that the judges' perceptions of the skaters are lower when they perform at the actual event, but I've heard of skaters having bad practices only to light it up during the competition and get scored well.

    The judges have a lot on their hands/eyes when they are scoring according to the COP. I get the feeling that being able to watch practices and prior performances of skaters on YouTube, etc. improves the judges' ability to score them, and overall more fairly. Familiarity can help them to focus their attention to certain aspects of a skater or program.

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    I think the judges watching practices dates back to the old 6.0 of overall program quality. The more familiar they were with a program the better they could assign the base value.

    Realistically, I would expect that if a skater has bad practices but hits the elements in competition the bad practice won't hurt them. But if they have great practices but don't deliver in the competition the good practices might help their score. If the skater has bad practices and fails to deliver in competition then they're out of luck.

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    The judges watching practices can also help the unknown skaters. I remember watching a video about Yu-na, when she made her debut at the Junior Grand Prix, not that many were expecting her to do well since well Korean skaters weren't that well known. But the international judges watched her practices and were like

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    From what I know, judges must attend official practices at competitions.

    I can see both good and bad sides of this. But I know some skaters who like the judges to watch and appreciate the feedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by semogal View Post
    Wouldn't it be better if they watched the performances during the competition without preconceived notions about the routines?
    I'm with you. I don't think the practices should have any bearing on the judging of the actual competition, and they do.

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    Judges should not be allowed to watch any practices, imo.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosjenka View Post
    From what I know, judges must attend official practices at competitions.

    I can see both good and bad sides of this. But I know some skaters who like the judges to watch and appreciate the feedback.
    The Technical panel must attend practices. Those "judges" people are seeing taking notes and such are likely technical specialists/controllers.

    I'm pretty sure judges aren't required to attend practices.
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  18. #18
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    I agree that judges should not be watching practices. What Patrick Chan alluded to was wrong. I remember when I was younger, my coach was actually a judge in a small local competition I did. I commented to another skater, "I'm glad my coach is up there, because he knows what I can really do if I mess up." And she looked at me with this robot look on her face and went, "But, that's not fair? " If it's not fair for local competitions, then it sure isn't fair for important senior level ones. Judges should not be forming any type of opinions before competitions.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by leafygreens View Post
    I agree that judges should not be watching practices. What Patrick Chan alluded to was wrong. I remember when I was younger, my coach was actually a judge in a small local competition I did. I commented to another skater, "I'm glad my coach is up there, because he knows what I can really do if I mess up." And she looked at me with this robot look on her face and went, "But, that's not fair? " If it's not fair for local competitions, then it sure isn't fair for important senior level ones. Judges should not be forming any type of opinions before competitions.
    There's a HUGE difference between a coach judging his/her skater, and a judge being familiar with a skater.

    Do you really think the judges don't already have an opinion on lets say Patrick Chan, or Daisuke Takahashi. They might not though have as much of an opinion on the skater from a small country who just made it on to the world scene. Or lets say a Dornbush who was in Juniors.

    Having the judges watch the practices gives the unknown skater an opportunity to show the judges what they can do.

    The problem obviously becomes when a skater skates really poorly but scores well do to practice which is wrong. But given this is a reputation sport/and the whole corridor issue as well if the judges aren't able to see the unknown skater, an unknown skater might not get the scores/he she deserves if the judges weren't watching the practices.

    Its not the Patrick Chans, Daisuke Takashashis, S/S's, Mao Asadas who will be hurt if the judges do away with practices, it will be the unknown skaters.

    And if anything too if the judges see that the well known skater is skating crappily in practice, they might be a whole lot less likely to give the benefit of the doubt. Then they will if they are just basing things on the skaters rep, when said skater was skating well.
    Last edited by bek; 02-19-2011 at 06:53 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    The problem obviously becomes when a skater skates really poorly but scores well do to practice which is wrong. But given this is a reputation sport/and the whole corridor issue as well if the judges aren't able to see the unknown skater, an unknown skater might not get the scores/he she deserves if the judges weren't watching the practices.
    This is precisely why it is wrong. It is obvious that judges have to fight against that "human factor" of preferring known skaters to unknown skaters; this is one of the downfalls of our sport. Just because this struggle is within them, does that mean they should give into it? No. The proper way to judge is to try as hard as you can to put reputation aside, and judge knowns vs. unknowns equally - meaning, on the day of the competition alone. If you can't do this, and you need outside influences like practices and reputations to make your decision, then you shouldn't be a judge.

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