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Thread: Is the Spiral Overrated?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Is the Spiral Overrated?

    While there are spirals on the edges, there are also spirals on the flat of the blade. The flat is the easiest way to hold your balance, yet it can be used for choreographic measues. correct?

    The scoring of a spiral will show, among other things, the balance of a skater. At the Senior Level, that should not be a problem for a skater. Yes?

    The skating foot: will show the edge(s) and how far the lean a skater will venture.

    The Free foot: will show how high it will be placed above the head of a skater. The knee and the toe of the free foot should be pointed outward, unless the skater is using it as a characteristic of the music.

    The various changes of eges to show a combo of two spirals without bobbles.

    The various catch foots to the free foot. Are they attractive or just difficult?

    Any other nitpicks of the spiral, please let me know.

    My questions are: Are Spirals difficult at the Senior Level? How much penalties for faults within the prescribed methods of doing a spiral? Are they just for female skaters? Should they be relegated to Moves-in-the-Field?

  2. #2
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Spirals on the flat do not count towards the spiral sequence but only the first 3 positions count in the spiral sequence. The rules for COE have been further clarified for 2008-09 that the actual flat ride of the COE can only encompass 1 meter or less (!!!) or else the feature is negated. The higher the free leg, the harder it is to balance. The shorter the change of edge, the harder it is to hold both spirals without skating foot wobble. The faster the skater is, the harder it is to keep the COE 1 meter or less if a skater chooses to use that feature. By having to have at least one position unassisted in a spiral, if the skater chooses to catch first then release after their COE, the harder it is because the leg can't drop below the hip once it's released. There is A LOT more to a spiral than you think as a non skater.

    Personally, I hate doing spiral and would prefer to have a MIF sequence allowed in it's place with the choices being spread eagles, spirals, bauers, and hydroblades that is judged based on specific criteria, but that's because I can't do a L4 spiral and currently have had my footwork called L2 at best in its place.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Spirals are not at all difficult to do for any good competitive skater at juvenile and above. You would never know that by watching them though.
    Spirals are not difficult to perform as jumps are, but to be able to achieve strong and aesthetically pleasing positions 99% of skater have to work hard for many years to get very good flexibility in the entire body. Doing the splits just wont do it. Getting that leg up over the head is MUCH harder when you are wearing 5 pound boots and balancing on a 1/4 inch blade versus in sneakers at the ballet bare.

    Flexibility not only takes a long to to achieve, but also stretching must be constantly kept up or years of work will vanish. The skater must also achieve a balance to where they to not overly disrupt and stretch out the leg, butt and back muscles that are required for thier jumps... interrupting muscle memory etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    Spirals are not at all difficult to do for any good competitive skater at juvenile and above. You would never know that by watching them though.
    Spirals are not difficult to perform as jumps are, but to be able to achieve strong and aesthetically pleasing positions 99% of skater have to work hard for many years to get very good flexibility in the entire body. Doing the splits just wont do it. Getting that leg up over the head is MUCH harder when you are wearing 5 pound boots and balancing on a 1/4 inch blade versus in sneakers at the ballet bare.

    Flexibility not only takes a long to to achieve, but also stretching must be constantly kept up or years of work will vanish. The skater must also achieve a balance to where they to not overly disrupt and stretch out the leg, butt and back muscles that are required for thier jumps... interrupting muscle memory etc.
    In terms of actually getting the leg high, I found that the strength to get the leg high is much more difficult than the actual flexibility. (As you said, "doing the splits just wont do it").

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    Custom Title NatachaHatawa's Avatar
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    Thanks for these explanations guys!
    Most of us non-skaters haven't got a clue about spiral difficulties, so it's nice to have it explained.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Which is why I wish juvenile boys were doing them

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    Spirals are not at all difficult to do for any good competitive skater at juvenile and above. You would never know that by watching them though.
    Spirals are not difficult to perform as jumps are, but to be able to achieve strong and aesthetically pleasing positions 99% of skater have to work hard for many years to get very good flexibility in the entire body. Doing the splits just wont do it. Getting that leg up over the head is MUCH harder when you are wearing 5 pound boots and balancing on a 1/4 inch blade versus in sneakers at the ballet bare.

    Flexibility not only takes a long to to achieve, but also stretching must be constantly kept up or years of work will vanish. The skater must also achieve a balance to where they to not overly disrupt and stretch out the leg, butt and back muscles that are required for thier jumps... interrupting muscle memory etc.
    In pairs, there is a required spiral sequence ...and what usually spoils the element is the relatively poor performance of the gentleman in the pair. Many can't even get the leg higher than the waist, and therefore the element should not even count as a result. If boys had a MTIF requirement for a spiral, it would improve the look of pair's performances.

    And there are some guys who have had great spirals of various sorts in the past--they just didn't get anything but transition credit for them. I'm thinking Rudy Galindo, Shawn Sawyer, and Toller Cranston.

    And amongst the youngsters, Novice Joshua Farris has a great Charlotte spiral! He won novices at Liberty.

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    MY TVC 1 5 SeaniBu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    In pairs, there is a required spiral sequence ...and what usually spoils the element is the relatively poor performance of the gentleman in the pair. Many can't even get the leg higher than the waist, and therefore the element should not even count as a result. If boys had a MTIF requirement for a spiral, it would improve the look of pair's performances.
    I agree, particularly the factor of the "boys" getting this experience early. It always seems to fall short when seeing new men in this portion of the routine.

    Is it over rated or over scored? Same thing I 'spose depending on who is doing the "rating."

    Happy Birthday Nicole B - speaking of good spirals (well .. really good sprails that is)

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    Go NJ Devils
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    Yes.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    It is bad how so many of the male skaters just stop doing spirals after they pass senior moves. Jeff Buttle and Emanuel Sandu both had very nice, classic spiral positions, showing that it can be done.

    I agree that the spiral sequence should just be removed from pair skating if the man cannot do a halfway decent position.

  10. #10
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    It can be and should be a beautiful move in figure skating. The ballet arabasque does not have the free leg in one position only, but can be at any level depending on the mood of the music. It definitely it making a statement whereas in figure skating the spiral is just saying, 'look how high my free leg is'.

    Personally, I would like to see spirals, footwork, moves in field, etc., scattered about in a routine. They would make figure skating more like dancing.

    Doris is correct about the boys, spirals and Pairs. ugh. If they work on their camel spins, they should be improving their spirals.

    Bottom Line for me: Spirals are not big tricks.

  11. #11
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    There's a huge difference between spirals and camel spins in the ability to keep the leg in a position and it's related to the fact one goes straight and one uses centripetal force. Once you can hook your camel entry consistently, it's pretty easy to keep your leg in the correct position as the rotational force keeps it there.

    Also, Joe, if you'd already come to the conclusion that spirals are "easy", why post a thread?

    I personally do not find spirals in a position much higher than the hip easy to complete, but I can do a change of edge spread eagle and a Bauer that covers the length of the ice. I struggle with flexibility and strength in that direction. It TOTALLY depends on the skater what he/she finds to be easy.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Well, I don't think that spirals are over scored in the CoP. Base value for a spiral ranges from 1.8 points to 3.4. In contrast, a change of edge layback spin goes from 2.0 to 3.3. This is much less than any triple jump.

    Whether they are overrated by the spectators, who go oh and aw when they see a particularly nice one -- I guess that's an eye of the beholder sort of thing.

    I like them because, when you do a spiral -- in contrast to a jump -- you are actually skating. Gliding along on an edge. That's pretty, to me. Rotating in the air? That's OK, too.

    I always liked Michelle Kwan's spiral, because she timed it dramatically to the music and made you think you were seeing something out-of-this-world. That's the job of any entertainer, IMHO.
    Last edited by Mathman; 08-23-2008 at 06:23 PM.

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    Banned AwesomeIce's Avatar
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    The only thing I find "overrated" about spirals Sasha Cohen. I hate the way the way Dick Button criticizes anyone who doesn't have the positions of Cohen, with no regard to the speed or depth of edge.

  14. #14
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Some have mentioned that the spiral is not very difficult however as with everything in figure skating the difficulty lies in how well executed the move is done by the skater.

    The spiral is one of the first basic moves a skater learns. It takes balance, poise and good edge control to execute a quality spiral. Of course, as mentioned flexibility does come in to play. Shawn Sawyers' flexibility is really shown off in a spiral.

    No, I don't think the spiral is over rated. It's a good measuring tool for the judges to see a skaters' edge control, flexibility and strength. A lot goes on with this simple move!! I think with the exception of a few skaters the spiral is often rushed and almost makes skaters look awkward. I think they need to take the time to do a spiral properly and make it look graceful. They may as well leave the move out if they don't want to take the time.

  15. #15
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    There's a huge difference between spirals and camel spins in the ability to keep the leg in a position and it's related to the fact one goes straight and one uses centripetal force. Once you can hook your camel entry consistently, it's pretty easy to keep your leg in the correct position as the rotational force keeps it there.

    Also, Joe, if you'd already come to the conclusion that spirals are "easy", why post a thread?

    I personally do not find spirals in a position much higher than the hip easy to complete, but I can do a change of edge spread eagle and a Bauer that covers the length of the ice. I struggle with flexibility and strength in that direction. It TOTALLY depends on the skater what he/she finds to be easy.
    I posted a thread about spirals looking for support that Spirals at the Senior Level are no big deal. Since as LadSkater has said, it is one of the first basic moves one learns (think juveniles) and as MM said it doesn't register that much on the scale of scores. By the senior level a female skater without a decent spiral is in trouble with the basics, imo.

    As I said, it is a beautiful move and should be seen as a mitf as is the Ina Bauer.
    By using it with the music throughout would improve the choreograpy of the routine, imo.

    As to the high extension, it is a matter of stretching the leg higher and higher. Juveniles have an advantage if they continue stretching. Acrobatic Dancers also have an edge. It's a question of practice which leads to ability.

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