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Thread: Competitive strategy?

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    Competitive strategy?

    Could we ever allow for such a thing? I don't mean to promote baseless conspiracy theory here, but it seems that the general trend on figure skating message boards is that many posters assume that each and every skater without a doubt goes into competitions planning on having (near) perfect performances... but are things really so simple?

    Is there another way to get to the top prize without absolutely having to win all the time? Could feigning weakness for a spell or even not pushing oneself too far before the operative moment actually serve to affect other competitors stratagem (as in jump layout, presentation and the like)?

    For clarification: Let's say that skater A has for some time been capable of reaching the top of the podium in most of the competitions he/she has entered in the past few seasons, yet this is something the skater has rarely achieved. We'll say it's because they're choosing to improve on other elements of their skating, rather than specifically focusing on a successful jump layout. Skaters B,C, and D however, because skater A is considered out of contention, bicker amongst each other for the top spot, laying all they have onto the table for the previous two seasons. Is it not to skater A's advantage to keep what he/she has been working on for these seasons a bit of a mystery, such that when all the practice is finally presented with a successful jump layout, skaters B,C, and D are now trying to catch up to what skater A has achieved? Is this at all plausible?

    Competition experience is one thing. Everyone probably does want to put out a few perfect performances so they know what it feels like. But a win at TEB is a lot different from the OGM. And adversity over triumph will always sell just as well as the constant winning streak. Elite Figure Skaters are largely trying to build careers, aren't they?

    Please don't crucify me for this, but if you must, go ahead.

  2. #2
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    My gut instinct is that the answer to your question is no.

    Skaters by and large have short careers. Their marketability post elligible skating is based on career record, so hustling for two seasons is just not an option.

    But most importantly, figure skating is a judged a sport which means you have to make the judges love you, and be so consistent that they give you the benefit of the doubt if you need it and/or give you a few reputation points.

    Again, hustling for two seasons would mean the judges are more likely to have a negative impression of you than a positive one and reputation judging would mean the skater hustling would have to not just win at the event they decide to pull the stops out, but annihilate the rest of the field.

    Not a likely strategy in sport.

    Ant

  3. #3
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Not likely. As a competitive skater (adult) myself, I can tell you that skating a clean program in practice or lesson is very different from skating a clean program at a competition and that for the important competitions, only elements that are consistent are IN to ensure success in the program and to generate a good reputation and garner the benefit of the doubt. If you skate poorly for a season, it tends to weigh on your mind (in a sport that is 90% mental) and can cause you to focus on the wrong things.

  4. #4
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I think the exception to the rule is Jeff Buttle going for the quad in the LP at the Olympics knowing he was going to fall because he'd still get credit and that popped him over Evan Lysacek for a spot on the podium

    not that I'm still bitter or anything.

  5. #5
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    I think the exception to the rule is Jeff Buttle going for the quad in the LP at the Olympics knowing he was going to fall because he'd still get credit and that popped him over Evan Lysacek for a spot on the podium

    not that I'm still bitter or anything.


    That's something that I am just not going to forget - Buttle trying the Quad, fully aware of the fact that he is not going to land it - just in order to collect the points. Mr. COP, in every sense of the system.

    Still love his skating though.

    I don't think the original poster is completely wrong though. Just think of Joubert, who is often thinking of a way to save his energy, when he thinks he has a chance with a less difficult program (he always crashes and burns of course), or what Morosov said about Ando in an interview, that the LP at the GPF last year had intentionally very few transitions and choreography, because he wanted her to get comfortable with the jump layout and general structure of the program first. He was fully aware of the fact that she would sacrifice PCS - and probably a better placement - for that strategy.

  6. #6
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    I think it was more common for skaters to keep their jump content a secret in the days when there were fewer competitions -- maybe only one or two internationals a year -- and when there was less global communication. That way surprisingly high jump content could serve as a secret weapon.

    But adding a rotation that no one else was doing was only worth breaking out as a surprise if the judges would recognize it. So at the very least they had to get some buzz going about the new difficult jump during the practices for the big event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    I think the exception to the rule is Jeff Buttle going for the quad in the LP at the Olympics knowing he was going to fall because he'd still get credit and that popped him over Evan Lysacek for a spot on the podium

    not that I'm still bitter or anything.
    What should Buttle have done instead? Assuming he hadn't doubled the loop, he would have gotten the eight allowed triples into seven jump passes, so the best he could have done with the extra jumping pass without trying the quad would be a double axel. Assuming +1 GOE and no fall deduction, that would have approximately closed the difference between Buttle's and Lysacek's total long program scores Torino.

    But Lysacek was already ahead on jumps, and on total elements score. It was in program components that Buttle came out ahead. And without a fall, his PCS advantage might have been even higher.

    So either way, Buttle would likely have squeaked out that bronze. He needed to go for the quad and hope not to fall, though, to have a good chance at better than bronze.

  7. #7
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I think it was more common for skaters to keep their jump content a secret in the days when there were fewer competitions -- maybe only one or two internationals a year -- and when there was less global communication. That way surprisingly high jump content could serve as a secret weapon.

    But adding a rotation that no one else was doing was only worth breaking out as a surprise if the judges would recognize it. So at the very least they had to get some buzz going about the new difficult jump during the practices for the big event.



    What should Buttle have done instead? Assuming he hadn't doubled the loop, he would have gotten the eight allowed triples into seven jump passes, so the best he could have done with the extra jumping pass without trying the quad would be a double axel. Assuming +1 GOE and no fall deduction, that would have approximately closed the difference between Buttle's and Lysacek's total long program scores Torino.

    But Lysacek was already ahead on jumps, and on total elements score. It was in program components that Buttle came out ahead. And without a fall, his PCS advantage might have been even higher.

    So either way, Buttle would likely have squeaked out that bronze. He needed to go for the quad and hope not to fall, though, to have a good chance at better than bronze.

    Thanks for sharing your insights gkelly.
    I would add that Evan missed a medal based not so much on anything Buttle did but as a result of being sick and skating such a poor SP.

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