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Thread: The High Kick Toe Takeoff and the Dangling Free Leg Lay Back

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    The High Kick Toe Takeoff and the Dangling Free Leg Lay Back

    I believe both these moves are not against the Rules and should receive full base values. Esthetically, I don't find them pleasing to the eye when some skaters can subtlely take off closer to the ice and others do a nice attitude pose with the free leg for a layback. While just writing this, I just thought of the wrap around leg while jumping which is another move that is legal, and not exactly pleasant to see.

    For those judges who would just give the base value can also give a plus GoE if the jump was quite high with good landing, and the layback was extraordinarily laid back with proper spin revolutions.

    How do you think the above mentioned moves should be handled by the judges?

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    A good attitude position in the layback should be rewarded with positive GOE.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Emily

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    Great thread!

    I think there are two separate questions. (1) What do the ISU rules say and (2) what would you do if you were a judge.

    For the first question, the criteria for negative GOEs are pretty specific. They cover mistakes like wrong edge take-off, two-footed landings, etc. For jumps there is not any penalty for ungainly-looking toe-offs (high kicks) or unattractive air positions (wrapped leg). For spins there is a GOE deduction for “weak or poor positions,” but I don’t think this automatically means that alternatives to the classic attitude position are "inferior."

    For positive GOEs, for spins there is a “bullet” for “superior position(s).” But I think again the intent is to reward any position done especially well.

    For jumps there is nothing in the guidelines about about the esthetics of the take-off or the air position.

    BTW, the ISU site has been reorganized to make all this information about the IJS available in one place. (Click on ISU judging system, then “Single and Pair Skating, current and up-to-date useful information.”

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html

    For question (2), I agree with Waxel on spins. There is nothing wrong with a variation of the classical position, but a beautifully held and well-centered attitude spin, +1 for sure.

    On jumps, I guess opinions differ. I find both the high-kick and the leg-wrap distracting. I suppose in an athletic contest you can’t penalize someone if it is not explicitly stated in the rules. But, to me, either of these faults might stop me from giving a positive GOE even if other features of the jump were superior.
    Last edited by Mathman; 11-17-2008 at 01:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    BTW, the ISU site has been reorganized to make all this information about the IJS available in one place. (Click on ISU judging system, then “Single and Pair Skating, current and up-to-date useful information.”

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html
    About time!

    For question (2), I agree with Waxel on spins. There is nothing wrong with a variation of the classical position, but a beautifully held and well-centered attitude spin, +1 for sure.
    I agree, a beautiful attitude position is going to be a plus. But then judges also have to consider other aspects of the spin (speed; centering; attractiveness of any other positions and the transitions between them; number of revolutions in the attitude position and total number of revolutions; transitions into and out of the spin; etc.)

    Look at Emily Hughes' vs. Caroline Zhang's laybacks in the LP in France this weekend. Both had beautiful attitude positions. Hughes got 0s and 1s for the spin as a whole; Zhang got 2s and 3s because she also did other things very well.

    On jumps, I guess opinions differ. I find both the high-kick and the leg-wrap distracting. I suppose in an athletic contest you can’t penalize someone if it is not explicitly stated in the rules. But, to me, either of these faults might stop me from giving a positive GOE even if other features of the jump were superior.
    I guess it would depend how superior the other aspects were to counteract minuses for these distracting positions. What if the skater goes into the jump with good speed and a difficult entry, gets good height in the air with a difficult arm position, and comes out on a clean edge with good flow? Those aspects alone might be enough for +2, so then if the only negative is a wrap or high kick, after taking off for that the final GOE might end up as +1.

    Sometimes wraps occur in conjunction with underrotation, so in those cases they'll be penalized anyway with lower base mark as well as negative GOE. Sometimes high kicks on lutz entries occur in conjunction with edge changes, so again those would generally be penalized with negative GOE. Even if there were several other positives to the element.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    I only skated as a low level skater when I was younger and no expert at all., So let me only talk about (2) What you want to see.

    Wrap. To me, Yukari's wrapped triples tend to look as if it were one revolution less. It's not like other skaters' jumps looking short of 1/4 or 1/2 less. I also know that Yukari DO often underrotate. But even when she fully rotates, it just gives me an impression as if it were one revolution less. Perhaps this is because I am no expert.
    Yet I still feel sure that all of my ex-coaches would say that it would be a wrong technique to do. Lots of commentators, ama skaters, and fans complain about the wrap. I do not quite understand why it is not considered "wrong" by definition.

    High kick. this is again perhaps because of me not being an expert, but Zhang's high kick and strongly twisted preparation give me an impression as if her jumps prerotated more than other skaters. Even if not, her high kick gives me an impression that that technique is bad because that is a very different technique from what my coaches would say. I understand that it may not necessarily "wrong" by definition. Yet, it gives me an impression that it is a "bad/weak" technique.

    Attitude. I think the attitude position beautiful and all of my coaches told me that it was the right position. Besides, it was not difficult for me to do at all. I just wonder, is it difficult if you are not flexible?

    In any case, so many top skaters do not do that position. I do not think that they cannot do. But perhaps their coaches did not tell them that they should. So I thought that some coaches might consider it fine not to have the attitude position and that it might be a matter of preference or something. Unlike the high kick and wrap, it does not necessarily give me an impression that it is a "wrong" technique. But it does look an inferior position to me because my coaches were against it.

    Let me add bad posture and a lack of stretch, leg turn-out, and toe point (esp. in spirals).

    I understand that by definition it is not "wrong" not to have them. Yet, it bothers me really a lot perhaps not only because my skating coaches were picky about these, but also because I practice ballet where these are considered to be very "wrong." When I go and see performing arts, any dancer has good postures. It feels to me kind of bizarre that skaters can pass as elite skaters without these.
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-17-2008 at 08:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Lots of commentators, ama skaters, and fans complain about the wrap. I do not quite understand why it is not considered "wrong" by definition.
    The definition of the jump only depends on the takeoff.

    Variations in air position are allowed. All sorts of variations are possible in single jumps.

    When it came to adding rotations, coaches and skaters found that it was generally more efficient to perform the rotations with the free leg crossed over the landing leg at the ankle, and so that's what coaches try to teach as the "correct" position.

    But if skaters can achieve the rotation with other positions, they're not incorrect by definition, because the air position is not part of the definition of the jump.

    Here are some great doubles and triples with both legs parallel (not crossed) and nearly straight:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alrsemq_mzQ

    Here's a double axel with legs parallel and bent:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbvdlMkJCMo
    Looks like it would be downgraded under today's rules for lack of rotation. But it was groundbreaking in its time.

    Judges would be free in either judging system to give less credit (i.e., lower grades of execution) for jumps that have unattractive air positions. Especially if they look uncontrolled.

    But if the skater can get full rotation and good control with an unorthodox air position, there's no requirement to penalize it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Wrap. To me, Yukari's wrapped triples tend to look as if it were one revolution less. It's not like other skaters' jumps looking short of 1/4 or 1/2 less. I also know that Yukari DO often underrotate. But even when she fully rotates, it just gives me an impression as if it were one revolution less. Perhaps this is because I am no expert.
    Yet I still feel sure that all of my ex-coaches would say that it would be a wrong technique to do. Lots of commentators, ama skaters, and fans complain about the wrap. I do not quite understand why it is not considered "wrong" by definition.
    Yukari sometimes underrotates maybe because her wrapped-leg postures lead to the decrease in speed while rotating in the air? It's like Phelps competing in a frilled swimsuit, in other words.

    So I would like to say her wrapped triples are not wrong but only hinder Yukari from completing fully-rotated jumps.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    High kick. Zhang's high kick and strongly twisted preparation give me an impression as if her jumps prerotated more than other skaters.
    I always thought that when I saw skaters with those questionable techniques.
    Last edited by CalebsMom; 11-18-2008 at 02:28 PM.

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    Bennett - Your adding Spirals to this thread is great YuNa's spiral is poorly presented. One doesn't need ballet classes to correct this. Just do the barre exercises in the quiet of your own home, but on a daily basis.

    Zhang does have a high toe-off kick but then so did Sarah Hughese and she won the Olympics,

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    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    While a classic attitude position of the leg in a layback looks nice, it wouldn't be fair to penilize skaters for not being able to do it. A proper attitude position requires open hips and turnout which is impossible for some people because of their genes. I have almost zero turnout after five years of daily ballet classes, there is a point where your flexibility and turnout cannot be improved. Skaters shouldn't be penilized for no being physically capable of hitting one specific position if the one they can obtain in its place is still solid. Skaters don't lose marks for not being able to do ina bours and spread egales, so they should lose marks for not attaining a perfect attitude in a layback.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    I don't understand the argument that skaters should not be penalized for lack of natural gifts. All elite athletes have exceptional natural gifts. (Not to say that accounts for all their success but it's critical.) If they can't do the required elements, too bad! That's how competitive sports work.

    The scoring system does allow skaters to compensate for weaknesses by scoring high points in other areas. That seems just.

    Without trying to get specific about which positions and what penalties, in general I'm for being hard-nosed about layback positions. We're seeing a lot of ugly laybacks these days.

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    Some skaters, notably Plushenko and Ando have natural spring in their legs. They jump higher than most as opposed to those like Tara Lipinski who hardly got off the ice. Yet Tara could make the air rotations.

    How does one judge differently on jumps between Ando and Lipinsky?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    I don't understand the argument that skaters should not be penalized for lack of natural gifts. All elite athletes have exceptional natural gifts. (Not to say that accounts for all their success but it's critical.) If they can't do the required elements, too bad!
    But not all skaters who do laybacks are elite athletes. It's one of my best elements and one of my strengths when competing at adult bronze level, but my spin wouldn't compare well to that of an average intermediate lady.

    And the definition of the move is based on back position (which might range from adequate to exceptional), not a specific leg position.

    Is this layback (second element in the program) not worthy of high marks despite the dropped leg position?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Ikxi6Zx4A

    Here's an elite skater who achieved a stronger leg position than back position and who has stated that the position caused her back pain:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjtwgN_DwjU
    Layback (only 6 revolutions at the time) was a required element in the short program, and she met the requirement, so there's no need to penalize, but she didn't do anything beyond the minimum and she chose not to do that spin in most of her long programs.

    The required element is actually "layback or sideways leaning spin"; here's a skater who met the requirement with the latter variation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6zKfZVurJY
    Last edited by gkelly; 11-18-2008 at 07:10 PM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The definition of the jump only depends on the takeoff.

    Variations in air position are allowed. All sorts of variations are possible in single jumps.

    When it came to adding rotations, coaches and skaters found that it was generally more efficient to perform the rotations with the free leg crossed over the landing leg at the ankle, and so that's what coaches try to teach as the "correct" position.

    But if skaters can achieve the rotation with other positions, they're not incorrect by definition, because the air position is not part of the definition of the jump.

    Here are some great doubles and triples with both legs parallel (not crossed) and nearly straight:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alrsemq_mzQ

    Here's a double axel with legs parallel and bent:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbvdlMkJCMo
    Looks like it would be downgraded under today's rules for lack of rotation. But it was groundbreaking in its time.

    Judges would be free in either judging system to give less credit (i.e., lower grades of execution) for jumps that have unattractive air positions. Especially if they look uncontrolled.

    But if the skater can get full rotation and good control with an unorthodox air position, there's no requirement to penalize it.
    Thanks for your detailed explanations. I recall two skaters from local rinks who had very unorthdox air positions.

    One was an old man who self-taught FS. He had most unorthodox positions in everything, but he somehow did fully rotate his jumps and rotated his spins (neither fast nor centered though). But these elements gave me rather a bizarre impression that he was doing something else than FS.

    Another was a young woman without a coach. She had a very unorthodox axel. When she took a grade test, everyone was like "???? What was that????" But because she fully rotated, she passed the test. But it looked to me like a cheated jump, not cheated in the number of rotations, but cheated in the form. It just looked something else than the axel jump. There was another girl who had a most beautiful air position, but she failed because she did not fully rotate. I think that it would have made sense if both had failed.

    I find these bizarre perhaps because I tend to believe that there should be some "correct" forms defined by the discipline, which would be called "the basics." For example, classical ballet tends to be very strict about the forms. But some casual ballet instructors with lots of students barely teach correct positions. Then the students keep doing the barre in their own ways. Even though they may excute complicated steps very quickly, I do not think that they would ever be able to learn anything about ballet. I feel that learning the simplest plie in a correct form slowly without music would help them more than they do difficult tricks quicky without the basics.

    Back to the topic, I would not compare the wrapped leg with any of the more extreme examples that I listed here because it would be perhaps orthodox in other aspects of the jump. Yet, the kind of bizarre feeling that I get from the wrapped leg is similar to what I feel with these. It looks as if the skater lacked the basics of the jump.

    ETA
    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    I don't understand the argument that skaters should not be penalized for lack of natural gifts. All elite athletes have exceptional natural gifts. (Not to say that accounts for all their success but it's critical.) If they can't do the required elements, too bad! That's how competitive sports work.

    The scoring system does allow skaters to compensate for weaknesses by scoring high points in other areas. That seems just.
    When I watched the Summer Olympics, I was really impressed to see how marathon runners had runners' bodies; basketball players had basketball players' bodies; and gymnasts had gymnasts' bodies.
    A person with natural turn-in would be as less likely to become a ballerina as a person with natural turn-out to become a Japanese dancer.
    Jeff would never be able to become a successful football player.
    I do not think these unfair.

    Is this layback (second element in the program) not worthy of high marks despite the dropped leg position?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Ikxi6Zx4A

    Here's an elite skater who achieved a stronger leg position than back position and who has stated that the position caused her back pain:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjtwgN_DwjU
    Layback (only 6 revolutions at the time) was a required element in the short program, and she met the requirement, so there's no need to penalize, but she didn't do anything beyond the minimum and she chose not to do that spin in most of her long programs.
    A skater with all of these strengths would score the highest.
    Last edited by Bennett; 11-18-2008 at 08:55 PM. Reason: ETA

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Is this layback (second element in the program) not worthy of high marks despite the dropped leg position?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Ikxi6Zx4A
    Plus two for Lucinda Rue!
    If it's up to me, make that a plus three!

    Do the best have "good technique," or is "good technique," by definition, what the best do? Who would dare to tell Lucinda Rue that they don't like her spin position?

    Here's an elite skater who achieved a stronger leg position than back position and who has stated that the position caused her back pain:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjtwgN_DwjU
    Minimal is right. The first time I watched it, looking for her layback, I got to the end of the performance and said, wait a minute, did she do one? She did a couple of great camels, though.

    The CoP can "punish" that by levels, so, as you say, no need to put on a GOE penalty.

    "This video (Oksana) is no longer available."

    Michelle Kwan was not an oustanding spinner, although she was outstanding at selling her performance to the audience. For instance, she often ended with a Y-spin that was only just OK, but somehow because it was Michelle's OK Y-spin, it was great. (Maybe not everyone felt that way. )

    She did not have a flexible back and her layback in attitude in the early part of her career was only just adequate. She experimented with various positions until she came up with her famous "heart" spin with lowered leg and hands clasped behind her back. This was very pretty and perhaps allowed her to get better speed.

    When the CoP came along she hurt her back trying to do the difficult variations required for high levels, and had to drop out of her Grand Prix assignments that year.

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