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Thread: Low-Tech Compulsory Program?

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Low-Tech Compulsory Program?

    I would like to see the ISU discard the qualifying round from the World Championships. In my opinion, this phase of the competition could be discarded and replaced with a compulsory "low-technical" skate. I would love to see all of the skaters who qualify for Worlds perform a three-minute routine with single and double jumps. No triples, no quads. Just singles, doubles, a few required spins, and footwork. Let's see them show their mastery of the basic moves, jumps and spins.

    In my opinion, any singles skater who qualifies to compete at Worlds should automatically qualify to skate in the entire competition. Let them ALL skate the compulsory low-technical program, the short program, and the long program.

    Granted, this would entail preparing an additional program; however, given its less demanding nature, it could be done and performed with limited wear and tear on the skaters. At the very least, they would not be faced with the prospect of skating their long program twice, and perhaps blowing it the first time and not qualifying for the short program.

    If the field remains at 30 skaters or so, that's the way it is. The judges may feel bleary-eyed at judging yet another phase of the competition, so why not bring in a separate judging panel to score just the "low-technical" skate?

    I would absolutely LOVE to see the men and women perform routines reminiscent of the golden days of skating - with just singles and doubles.

    What do you think? This may not be feasible, but it's a enticing thought!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Granted, this would entail preparing an additional program; however, given its less demanding nature, it could be done and performed with limited wear and tear on the skaters.
    More wear and tear on their wallets, though, if they have to pay for choreography for three programs, and/or extra costumes. And more programs to practice, which would mean more total hours on the ice for training (which also requires more money).

    If what you're most concerned about is the stress of landing triples and quads in the qual round, a simpler solution would be to have them skate their long programs but not allow triples or quads, so they could do double jumps (or single axels for those who struggle with double axels), and get rewarded for the quality of the double jumps and the rest of the program, which they would probably be able to perform better in those circumstances.

    At the very least, they would not be faced with the prospect of skating their long program twice, and perhaps blowing it the first time and not qualifying for the short program.

    If the field remains at 30 skaters or so, that's the way it is.
    Wait, if you don't want to make cuts after the qualifying rounds, what is the point of having them in the first place? The whole point of qual rounds is to cut the field to a manageable size, which is exactly why competitions with fewer than 32 skaters entered never had them, and they've even been dropped from Europeans now although there might be about 35 skaters in the short program.

    30 or 35 is stretching manageable, at least for a short program -- 45 for a long program is not. And there are indeed 40-50 competitors at Worlds and Junior Worlds.

    The judges may feel bleary-eyed at judging yet another phase of the competition, so why not bring in a separate judging panel to score just the "low-technical" skate?
    It's not so much getting bleary-eyed having a long week as having a long day. Which is why the qual rounds are judged by two separate judging panels.

    Precisely to avoid any one individual having to sit and stay alert through six or seven hours worth of a single competition.

    Then some of the judges on those panels get drawn for later phases of the competition, and some don't.

    At least with the new system they don't have to make direct comparisons between skaters in the first and last groups and all those in between, but fatigue would still be a factor.

    If you didn't cut the field after each phase, then you would need to maintain two panels for the later phases as well. Since they would presumably be seeded on the basis of qual round or short program finish, essentially you'd have a final round for the top 24 and a consolation round with a different panel of judges for the skaters who didn't make that cut.

    I would absolutely LOVE to see the men and women perform routines reminiscent of the golden days of skating - with just singles and doubles.
    I think there are other possible ways to accomplish that.

    One would be to get rid of the short program and replace it with a elements competitions for jumps and spins (as at Bofrost the last couple years of its existence), and also a skating skills/musical interpretation program without jumps or spins.

    Another way would be to hold a completely separate event in a new discipline that would not allow triple or quad jumps, or maybe even doubles, but would emphasize non-jump skills to a higher level than is possible in a program full of triples. Although skaters would be allowed to enter that event as well as the standard freestyle event, just as one can enter a pair and/or dance event as well as singles, chances are that at the highest levels there would be different individuals excelling in the low-jump event and the standard event.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I would like a 3 minute program consisting of required elements (no options and no exceptions) including same MIFs and footwork. All contestants would skate to exactly the same music.

    Comparisons will be inevitable but so what. That's the point. Boring it will be after the 12th skater but so what. Judges should be able to cope. No need to hire a choreographer. the program would be written out in advance for all skaters to learn it and practice it in June if not later.

    The contest would take place early in the week with the 4.5 minute free skate in the latter part of the week. There would be plenty of rest in between.

    The result, imo, a very decisive way to see who is the better skater.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I would like a 3 minute program consisting of required elements (no options and no exceptions) including same MIFs and footwork. All contestants would skate to exactly the same music.

    Comparisons will be inevitable but so what. That's the point. Boring it will be after the 12th skater but so what. Judges should be able to cope. No need to hire a choreographer. the program would be written out in advance for all skaters to learn it and practice it in June if not later.

    The contest would take place early in the week with the 4.5 minute free skate in the latter part of the week. There would be plenty of rest in between.

    The result, imo, a very decisive way to see who is the better skater.

    Joe
    I remember back in the 1996 Olympics, gymnastics had something similar in the team competition. They had compulsory routines (where everyone performed the same thing...same floor exercise, etc) and then the optional

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    We get this thread about every season or so. Yes, I think that would be a good idea. However, as some have pointed out in the past, perhaps it would just be easier to bring back the figures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisthingcalledlove
    I remember back in the 1996 Olympics, gymnastics had something similar in the team competition. They had compulsory routines (where everyone performed the same thing...same floor exercise, etc) and then the optional
    I remember watching the qualifying round in 96 and thinking how interesting it was to see the gymnasts perform identical routines because it revealed who was more skilled at the basic elements. It was most effective on the floor routines because it showed which gymnasts had the best interpretive abilities. I remember watching several gymnasts perform the compulsory floor routine and thinking that the music was just playing in the background while they did their tumbling, and then when Lilia Podkopayeva performed, the choreography suddenly made sense because she was actually listening to the music.

    I think the idea of a compulsory skating routine would be good if all the skaters had the same music and choreography to make it easier to compare musicality and interpretive ability.

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    I love Joe's idea, but I would miss short programs (as they are now, some of which are the best all around programs i've ever seen)...but it would be really great to compare the same set of elements to the same music with a standard costume (like a uniform if you will). I think figures coming back isn't awful (makes for better edge control), but even more unlikely than Joe's idea. Joe's idea let's skater's continue to train jumps, spins, mitf as they currently are doing (without the hours on ice a day tracing figures) with no substantial change to that routine; allows judges to continue judging as they do now (with the training and equipment they have now), and could even allow the networks to continue broadcasting as they do now, I mean they hardly show short programs anyway, now they would have an excuse to show only the top 3-5.

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    If you were going to have a compulsory program in which everybody does the same elements, then it really would have to be "low-tech" in the sense of very basic elements. No triple jumps (no double axels for novices, or other doubles below novice), and only basic spin (or spiral) positions.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisthingcalledlove
    I remember back in the 1996 Olympics, gymnastics had something similar in the team competition. They had compulsory routines (where everyone performed the same thing...same floor exercise, etc) and then the optional
    In International Ballet Competitions, too!! All contestants are lined up with a partner and all the couples have to do the well-known pas de deux. There are sevral weeks of practice sessions where the couples learn the dance and get used to each other.

    Those who are not eliminated get to dance a complete Classic pas de deux including solo variations and codas. Next day if they are not eliminated, they perform an original solo dance.

    The scores are tallied and voila gold, silve and bronze awarded but more important is can some company give them a job. BTW, the judges can withhold medals if in their opinion, the contestant did not come up to standard.
    _ _ _ _ _ _

    Bringing back figures is an excellent idea but if you read emma's post she will miss the short program as will many other fans. I just don't think the SP is cut out to do what the intent of the SP was to be all about. It doesn't judge skaters equally. JMO.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Bringing back figures is an excellent idea but if you read emma's post she will miss the short program as will many other fans. I just don't think the SP is cut out to do what the intent of the SP was to be all about. It doesn't judge skaters equally. JMO.

    Joe
    I agree completely that it (the SP) doesn't really judge skaters equally as it is currently designed. I don't think it would have to be 'really low tech' as one poster said...a triple-double, solo triple, and double axel could be required...it would just be that all skaters would do the same triple-double in the same spot...etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    I don't think it would have to be 'really low tech' as one poster said...a triple-double, solo triple, and double axel could be required...it would just be that all skaters would do the same triple-double in the same spot...etc.
    So let's say you're a senior lady who has three strong, consistent triples, and on the other three jumps (including axel of course) your doubles are not nearly strong enough to allow you to rotate triples from those takeoffs.

    If the triples chosen for the combination and the jump out of steps happen to be the ones that you're good at, you're in luck. A clean program is well within your grasp. If the triples chosen are the ones that you can't do at all, too bad, you're destined to take big deductions on those two elements, so you won't have a prayer against another skater who also only has three triples but hers happened to be the ones chosen.

    If you're going to require the same jumps from everyone, I would say, either make the requirements really difficult so that almost no one will skate a clean program, or else make them really easy so that everyone has a chance to skate clean.

    Really difficult would be triple lutz out of steps (and make them fairly difficult steps that will force the skater to demonstrate counterrotation) and double loop-triple loop for the combination -- that way, most of the skaters are going to make mistakes, leveling the playing field in some sense, and allowing anyone who actually can pull it off cleanly, or at least whoever makes the smallest mistakes, to be rewarded commensurately.

    Really easy . . . well, if you insist on triples, then triple toe-double toe and triple salchow out of steps. Except there are some skaters who for whatever reason don't find those to be the easiest triples and actually master the so-called harder ones first.

    Which is why I say that if you want a program that everyone should be capable of skating cleanly, then stick to double jumps for seniors, juniors, and novices, and then judge the quality of those jumps and of the rest of the elements.

    (Yes, the jump out of steps is currently specified for juniors. But they also have the option of doing either triple or double, and often a clean program with a double jump will prevail over a failed attempt at the triple.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    So let's say you're a senior lady who has three strong, consistent triples, and on the other three jumps (including axel of course) your doubles are not nearly strong enough to allow you to rotate triples from those takeoffs.

    If the triples chosen for the combination and the jump out of steps happen to be the ones that you're good at, you're in luck. A clean program is well within your grasp. If the triples chosen are the ones that you can't do at all, too bad, you're destined to take big deductions on those two elements, so you won't have a prayer against another skater who also only has three triples but hers happened to be the ones chosen.

    If you're going to require the same jumps from everyone, I would say, either make the requirements really difficult so that almost no one will skate a clean program, or else make them really easy so that everyone has a chance to skate clean.

    Really difficult would be triple lutz out of steps (and make them fairly difficult steps that will force the skater to demonstrate counterrotation) and double loop-triple loop for the combination -- that way, most of the skaters are going to make mistakes, leveling the playing field in some sense, and allowing anyone who actually can pull it off cleanly, or at least whoever makes the smallest mistakes, to be rewarded commensurately.

    Really easy . . . well, if you insist on triples, then triple toe-double toe and triple salchow out of steps. Except there are some skaters who for whatever reason don't find those to be the easiest triples and actually master the so-called harder ones first.

    Which is why I say that if you want a program that everyone should be capable of skating cleanly, then stick to double jumps for seniors, juniors, and novices, and then judge the quality of those jumps and of the rest of the elements.

    (Yes, the jump out of steps is currently specified for juniors. But they also have the option of doing either triple or double, and often a clean program with a double jump will prevail over a failed attempt at the triple.)
    I hear what you are saying, but it is no different than figures...not everyone did them well, period, but they were designed to test where each skater was in basic skill (at an elite level, of course). Some great skaters bombed figures, so great figure skaters had lousy long programs....ultimately, I guess we can debate forever what constitutes a consensus on minimal basic skills (at the elite level), and it will never map perfectly onto the athletes of that moment....(gosh, I just had a flash to Midori Ito and how she was fairly lously at figures but took your breath away jumping...and the irony that when figures were done, she was unable to take real advantage of that).

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    I hear what you are saying, but it is no different than figures...not everyone did them well, period, but they were designed to test where each skater was in basic skill (at an elite level, of course). Some great skaters bombed figures, so great figure skaters had lousy long programs....ultimately, I guess we can debate forever what constitutes a consensus on minimal basic skills (at the elite level), and it will never map perfectly onto the athletes of that moment....(gosh, I just had a flash to Midori Ito and how she was fairly lously at figures but took your breath away jumping...and the irony that when figures were done, she was unable to take real advantage of that).
    Great figure skaters who did not do well in the Free Skate did have great edges and flow. Great Free Skaters who did not do well in the school figures had great jumps and spins but many lacked basics. Skaters who had both good figures and good free skates were very special GREAT skaters.

    Back to this second topic. My proposed compulsory free skate together with gkelly's suggestion of limiting the contents of progam to double jumps and maybe simple spins would take away from you seeing a mini LP, which obviously, you don't want. That's ok a compulsory free skate is just a proposal by someone who has absolutely no power to make it happen. We will continue the SP with choices of Quints or quads for the men and quads or 3.5s for the Ladies and pay little attention as to how they connect these jumps and have no importance to the flow and edging of the skaters.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Great figure skaters who did not do well in the Free Skate did have great edges and flow. Great Free Skaters who did not do well in the school figures had great jumps and spins but many lacked basics. Skaters who had both good figures and good free skates were very special GREAT skaters.

    Back to this second topic. My proposed compulsory free skate together with gkelly's suggestion of limiting the contents of progam to double jumps and maybe simple spins would take away from you seeing a mini LP, which obviously, you don't want. That's ok a compulsory free skate is just a proposal by someone who has absolutely no power to make it happen. We will continue the SP with choices of Quints or quads for the men and quads or 3.5s for the Ladies and pay little attention as to how they connect these jumps and have no importance to the flow and edging of the skaters.

    Joe

    How about an improvisational short program? Two hours before they are to skate, each skater is given a piece of music. They can then choreograph it themselves (no help from coaches/choreographers) and are given a list of elements they must use. The music will be the same for each skater, so that things like the proscribed spiral sequence can be the same. To prevent skaters from knowing what piece of music is being used, they will be sequestered in a locker room somewhere before they are to skate. After they finish, they must rejoin their coach either to watch the rest of the event or to go to another part of the arena, or back to their hotels. A lot of work for officials and the host, but I'd like to also see not just a skater's ability to perform basic moves, but their basic choreographing abilities.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    My proposed compulsory free skate together with gkelly's suggestion of limiting the contents of progam to double jumps and maybe simple spins would take away from you seeing a mini LP, which obviously, you don't want.
    Joe
    You know Joe, all I said is that I would miss the SP as it is now because I have seen some truly beautiful ones. I didn't say: and have a temper tantrum and demand that it stay. Actually, what I did was say I agree (more or less) with your idea because today's short program does not 'measure' the basic skill level across a field. Additionally, all i said was that you could have triples...it is standard at the elite level to have them after all. I just think you would also have to do MITF or connecting steps, you would have to do spins, and other elements too (like spirals). But yes, that it would be predefined for everyone (clothing, music, placement of elements etc would all be the same)...I don't see how this contradicts your first paragraph with 'todays basics' in mind (which include jumps)....unless you want basics to mean only edge work.

    ETA: i didn't say anything, by the way, about quints...and I dislike that insinuation that I did. I didn't even mention quads. But for men and women, today, triples are standard fair, and some kind of triple combination (I didn't say triple triple) is too.

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