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Thread: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral

  1. #1
    eltamina
    Guest

    ? #1 most important element of a good spiral

    This poll is about what is <span style="color:red;font-size:large;">the #1 most</span>important element in a spiral?
    There are 4 other polls about what is the 2, 3, 4 and 5th most important element. Please try to answer all 5 polls thanks.

    There have been a lot of discussions on spirals; I just want a survey of what is your idea of a good spiral. I am posting 5 different survey threads here. What do you think is the most, second most, 3rd, 4th, and 5th important element in a spiral? Most of us are not ISU judges, we haven’t been to judging school, and so I understand our preference maybe very different from the judges. Peggy and Dick have a lot of influence on viewers. Take the example of Irina; they think that her spiral is weak based on the extension, and amplitude. I have learnt that judges care more about the strength of edges speed and ice coverage.

    What is a spiral? According to Loosemore
    :” Spiral
    An edge skated with the free leg extended and held higher than hip level. A relatively easy move, but effective when done with good stretch and speed.
    spread eagle “

    The [url="http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/faq/technical.shtml#Q2"]www.frogsonice.com/skatew...l.shtml#Q2[/url]

    1.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp EDGE: by definition, spiral involves an edge, so skaters are likely to be rewarded by judges if they have good edges. (Speed, and ice coverage are just the other side of this coin IMHO) By this definition, the charlotte is not a spiral; Button calls it the charlotte stop.
    2.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Extension: or the “stretch” example of skaters with great extension: Elena, Katia,Yuka, Kristi, Michelle, Nicole, Sasha

    3.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Amplitude: Free leg is supposed to be held to higher hip level, so amplitude is a measure of how high is the free leg, examples of skaters with excellent amplitude, Nicole, Sarah and Sasha

    4.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Hip position:Nicole has the best hip position; she is able to hold her free leg high, with extension without twisting her hip 90 degree (or is it 180 degree, Mathaman I need some virtual protractor help here). Sasha tends to twist her hip all the way (IMHO she sacrifice her hip position for the amplitude), MK is somewhere between Nicole, and Sasha.

    5. Hands, fingers, and the smile: Before MM posts his observation about the hands and fingers, I have never noticed little details like this. Smiles, or the emotional projection during the spiral: Some skaters take advantage of this moment to do a dim sum (lightly touch your heart)

  2. #2
    eltamina
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    Off topic, talk about<span style="color:red;font-size:medium;">Dim Sum </span> makes me hungry, Fetal and Heyang if you are reading, what are your recommendations? :D

    Mathman, if you are reading, since there are 5 - 6 elements for a good spiral, how many different rank order outcome will that give. I know setting 5 different polls is a very indirect way, given the limitations of how polls are set up by ezboard. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. #3
    sk8ing lady2001
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    I say deep edges, good ice coverage and speed.

  4. #4
    mathman444
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    120 possible orderings among 5 choices. (720 with 6 choices.)

    Two interesting questions. First, about the spiral, I'll have to think about it a little before I vote. My first instinct is, edges for judges, heart-melting smile for me.

    Second, the question of how to get around the limitations of the ezboard format in asking questions about rankings -- that's a good one. I'll have to think about that, too. So far, I've drawn a blank. It's like trying to reconstruct some useful data after Speedy has deliberately obscured it.

    Later.

    Mathman

  5. #5
    eltamina
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    Mathman, keep thinking of fittring the
    5! = 120 and
    6! = 720

    possibilities into an ezboard format. BTW, at the conclusion of this poll, after one year, may I ask for a final analysis. I will try to keep these 5 threads together, and thanks for your effort. You can float the threads up by editing your post, I am sure you know that. You mean speedy designed the ezboard format?:rollin:

    IMO, vote with your heart, if you think it is smiles that DIM SUM, then it should be smiles.



  6. #6
    dlksk8fan
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    The first thing I notice when I see a spiral is body position. In my opinion a good spiral is one that has the body in a correct position, such as head and shoulders up, nice arch in the back, leg higher then hip level. So I would say the most important element in a spiral is the "Body Position". You shouldn't sacrifice leg extension for bad posture. What I mean is if a skater has to lower her back,shoulders and head in order to get the leg higher then that isn't a good spiral. A good example of this is Irina's spiral. She tends to lean over instead of arching the back when she does one. I would like to see her lift her head and shoulders up more. She however makes up for it with her speed and edges. Sasha Cohen has a very beautiful body position when she does her spiral. Shoulders up, head up, leg up. (If only we all could be so flexible).

    Once the "body position" is correct the second most important element of a good spiral is, deep edges, good ice coverage and speed.

    I think arm and hand position should reflect the choreography.

  7. #7
    mathman444
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    Well, I voted. But I don't think this poll format is working out. For one thing, all of these points work together to make the perfect spiral. If one is missing, then THAT'S the one that is most important.

    Choice number 5: Hands, fingers, smiles and general emoting. I have had fun talking about Michelle's hand positions. But to be serious about it, this exemplifies Michelle's attention to detail in her skating. Every move has a well defined beginning, evolving seamlessly from the conclusion of another element, a development, a climax, a denoument and fully realized ending, which, in turn, contains the seed of the next theme or element. I credit Lori Nichol for this.

    But the first thing that struck me about Michelle's spiral was simply how LONG she could hold it. The best extended spiral sequence I ever saw was in East of Eden (the 1998 pro-am version), where she did a forward spiral, backward spiral, and some other little curlicues with changes of edges, all on one foot and sustained for I don't know how many seconds. Irina also has some done some nice extended sequences like that, but her extension and amplitude are not as good as Michelle's. So I guess if I HAVE to rank these elements, I have to put choice #1, edging and ice coverage, first.
    Second, lots of skaters have good spirals. I didn't fall in love with them. So I will put #5, not meaning fingers, but in the sense of relating to the audience, at number 2. Michelle has a way of making each member of the audience think, "She's skating just for me." As Dick Button said at Nationals when Michelle went into her spiral, others may have better technique but no one puts her heart and soul into it like Michelle. (This IS a Michelle gushing thread, right?)

    In third place I voted for extension. I will cheat a little bit and include back position here. Like your back has to stretch along with your legs in order to achieve a pretty position(?) I agree with dlksk8fan: If you haven't got your back right, everything else falls apart, plus you might end up hurting yourself.

    In fourth place, amplitude. I hate to put this so low. When I saw how high Michelle got her free leg in the Rachmainov short program in 1997-98 I was hooked. Then I found out, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Michelle is much improved in this area, right up there with Bobek. And Sasha may be the best yet.

    Fifth, hip position. Again, everything works together, so if your hip isn't turned properly then you can't get the amplitude in your free leg OR proper back position. To tell the truth I never really thought about this until Dick Button criticized Ann Patrice about it.

    So anyway, with these caveats, that's how I voted. I wonder if coaches have to single out these areas and work on them one by one?

    Mathman

  8. #8
    Joesitz
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    A strong defined edge that is held at least 12 seconds; speed accordingly.

    A well defined line of the body

    Arms, hands, fingers to move with the tempo of the music.

    (I'm not crazy about holding the spiral with the hand on the side or in the back with the blade. I also think boys should limit their free leg to a line parallel to the ice.)

    Joe

  9. #9
    lubb anqel xD
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    definitely deep edgez, good speed, n ice coverage. thaz wat i look 4 wen i do a spiral.

  10. #10
    LADSKATER
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    The hip position is probably the most important part of a well executed spiral; then comes a well arched back and good leg extension. Ice coverage is also important, but if a spiral looks "lack luster" then the whole purpose is lost. Getting the leg up high with a nice line is most important. I think today, Sasha Cohen does about the best spiral around. Sean Sawyer (of Canada) does the best spiral in the men's discipline.

    Karen Magnussen and Toller Cranston both had the best spirals in years gone by.

    Ladskater


  11. #11
    rgirl181
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    I tried to answer this poll but I keep coming back to Mathman's assertion that it's more about what's not in the spiral. When I picked "Deep edges, ice coverage, and speed" I'd imagine a turned in leg, lower than the hip, with no extension and think, "Bluck!" When I picked "Extension" I'd imagine a skater scooching along with no edge and no speed. And so on. Maybe if different elements were grouped together. Besides, I like different spirals for different reasons.

    Two years ago I would have said Nicole Bobek had the best hip position, amplitude, and extension, but over the last two years, Nicole has lost some of that, IMO. She could skate a crummy program and still end it with a jaw-dropping spiral, but over the last two years, Nicole seems to have lost her edge (pun unavoidable) in a lot of her best areas: her spins, her line, even her flow. I've always been very impressed with Sasha's hip position. Sasha and Nicole both have 180-degree hip external rotation (turn-out), so anatomically they have an advantage in getting a good hip position, that is, not twisting the hips open too much. With Sasha, the amplitude makes deep edges more difficult (you can try it yourself just lifting your leg a few degrees higher and trying to keep a deep inside or outside edge). But if she could increase her speed and edges and maintain that amplitude, that spiral would be an absolute knockout. Hip position is the one area where I think Michelle's spiral is weak, but I think she does the best of all the skaters given her anatomical limitations (she doesn't have good natural turn-out in her hips but she still makes the position look good) and besides, she keeps her leg behind her and has such deep edges that to me her hip position is a nonissue. This is another reason why picking the number one most important element in a spiral is hard. Some skaters compensate for their limitations better than others. If they compensate well, who cares? If they compensate poorly or not at all, you see yucky spiral. I think Irina has the best speed, bar none, and her edges are on par with Michelle's. Her amplitude is never going to be good, but she does have good extension sometimes. When she really stretches out and holds the position I want to yell at the TV, "Now Irina, do THAT all the time!" It's so annoying when she rushes through them, because she doesn't need to. So that's an example of a skater who sometimes compensates well and sometimes doesn't.

    And although I LOVE Elena Berezhnaya's spiral position and line in general, her one flaw is that for some reason Elena doesn't or can't point her feet. Not in anything. When she first came on the scene, I found it very distracting, because everything else about her body line was so stretched. But I soon realized it was just her and now it doesn't bother me. I can't imagine Moskvina would just not say anything about it so I suspect Elena has a ridge in her calcaneus (the heel bone) that prevents her from pointing her feet. With Sarah, it was her knee; with Fumie, it's her knee and the turned-in leg. Anyway, that's my long answer as to why I can't pick an answer. Sorry. But just imagine, someday soon some skater is going to be great at everything on the list and wowee, what a spiral that will be!
    Rgirl

  12. #12
    Joesitz
    Guest

    Re: ? #1 most important element of a good spiral


    My problem with Irina has always been the 'club' foot effect at the end of the free leg. She never pointed the toe portion of her skating boot. It has for the past couple of years made some improvement. Also she has big calves and that takes away from the line - not her fault - it's the way she is built. Esthetically, she leaves a lot to be desired, imo, of her spiral.

    To all skaters, I hate a 'catch foot spiral'.

    Joe

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