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Thread: Just for fun -- Design some programs

  1. #1
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    Just for fun -- Design some programs

    I hope this will be fun.

    Pretend you're a coach. You can be a coach-choreographer if you like.

    I'm going to describe a few imaginary skaters. They're all girls in their mid to late teens with one year of senior competition experience. None is a world medal contender or likely to become so, and they're realistic about their abilities. They have average to above-average senior skills in general, with different strengths and weaknesses. Expect Skating Skills scores in the 5s and 6s; other PCS will depend in part on how well their programs showcase their strengths and meet the criteria, and how well they perform each time. If they all competed against each other in the same competition, we couldn't predict in advance how they would place -- it would depend on who had a good day and who had a bad one, and what qualities that panel of judges tended to prefer..

    Their goals for the upcoming couple of seasons are to place in the top 10 at US or Japanese Nationals, to make the world team of countries with less deep fields, to make top 10 at Europeans or Four Continents or top 24 at Worlds, to medal at a senior B competition, to get at least one assignment to a Grand Prix competition. These are reasonable goals for these skaters, IF they skate well and IF their programs maximize their skills.

    Choose one or more of these girls to coach. How would you design a long program for the upcoming season under 2011 well-balanced program rules (scroll down for senior ladies)? How would you design it differently under Blades of Passion rules?

    Or GKelly rules?
    Maximum total elements: 13
    Jumps elements: minimum 5, maximum 8, can include Small-Jump Sequence with levels (keep current rules about required axel-type jump, repeats, number of combinations/sequences)
    Spin elements: minimum 2, maximum 5, must have different codes and include a combo spin, a spin in one position, and a flying entry (can double up)
    Step sequence: minimum 1, maximum 2, must have different shapes/codes
    Spiral sequence: min 0, max 1
    Field moves sequence: min 0, max 1
    School figures variation: min 0, max 1

    You can provide a list of elements only, with or without explanations. Or get creative and choreograph the programs in more detail, choosing the music and describing the transitions/in-betweens and specific variations in the elements. Have fun with it.


    Here are the skaters:

    Lila is short and muscular, and not very flexible. She jumps high and can do all the triple jumps up to lutz (although she usually gets an edge call on her flip) and is reasonably consistent with the individual jumps, but she doesn't get a lot of speed on the landings so the only combinations she can do are with double toes. She skates fast with solid edges but not much softness, and too much complexity, especially turns in her bad direction, slows her down and screws up her jump consistency. She can spin fast with fairly strong basic spin positions and impressive air positions on the flying spins, but she's not very flexible and is better off not attempting most difficult position variations. She's better at quick steps and turns than at deep curving edgework, with staccato or powerful movements than with lyricism. Her spirals can meet the minimum requirements but are not especially attractive. Her best highlight moves are a rink-length straight-line Ina Bauer, a back outside shoot-the-duck in a big circle, and a split-flip jump.

    Michaela is a medium-sized, well-proportioned young woman with a naturally curvy figure. Her skating skills are quite solid with deep soft edges and pretty good speed. She's capable of complex, precise edge work, and also quick turns and steps, but not going into her harder jumps. Her double axel, triple toe, and triple salchow get good height and distance and are fairly consistent for her, although the salchow gets a < call about half the time. She can also attempt triple loop, but it's much less consistent and never fully rotated, usually < but sometimes <<. Double lutz and double flip are solid, and she can perform double loop at the end of a combination following another 2-revolution jump. Her spins are medium speed with pleasant but not spectacular positions; she has a variety of difficult variations that she can do but nothing extreme (no Biellmanns). Her basic layback position is especially attractive. Her spirals are remarkable for the deep and secure edges, especially on the right foot, with generally pleasant positions. She also has a strong outside-edge spread eagle and a decent inside-edge one, and a very nice split falling leaf and delayed single axel.

    Noelle is tall and thin and very flexible with great stretch and toe point. Her skating is soft and fluid, medium speed . She can do triple toe, salchow, flip, and lutz but not as consistently as she would like and is incapable of rotating a triple loop or putting a double loop on the end of a combination. On a very good day she can do triple toe on the back of any triple toe jump; on a bad day she will pop or underrotate (and sometimes two-foot or fall on) the solo triples. Her spins (fast and centered), spirals, split jumps, and spread eagles are spectacular and make effective use of her long limbs. She's good at smooth, legato moves, not so good at quickness.

    Olivia is a former ice dancer who got too big for her junior partner and couldn't find another one. She had been training singles along with ice dance all along and is capable of doing all the triples up to lutz but she is inconsistent and doesn't really enjoy jumping -- she gets stiff and nervous anticipating the jumps, which detracts from her otherwise lovely skating. Her basic skating skills are very strong by freestyle standards -- she loves doing creative edge work or working with her toepicks, heels, etc., and experimenting with unusual body positions on long edges. She loves to fly across the ice with quick steps or long glides. She also loves to play with different kinds of musical expression. Her spins are pretty good, with some variety, but she has trouble getting into a low enough sitspin position or achieving adequate air position on flying spins.

    Pam is a small, fast skater with a light touch over the ice and small, quick jumps that often flirt with underrotation. She especially prefers edge jumps and can attempt triple loop or half loop-triple salchow at the end of combinations and can sometimes land but is still very inconsistent at one-foot axel-triple salchow combination and quad salchow. These most difficult elements are likely to get < calls, or occasionally << or to end in falls. Her double axel, triple toe, and triple flip are small but reliable. She has a wicked flutz -- reliable, but always gets an edge call and averages -2 GOE no matter how much speed she carries in and out or how many enhancements she adds to the approach, air position, or landing. Spins are fast with adequate positions and variety. Spirals are also adequate -- good speed, OK edges, can achieve various catchfoot positions with ease but no special beauty. Good at quick steps and quick ice coverage; good flow; OK edge quality. Good at low, skimming single jump variants like walley, inside axel, back inside edge landings. Can do all single jumps up to flutz in both directions and forward basic upright, sit, and camel spins in both directions as well.

    Choose at least one of the above to coach. Or make up your own. How would you design a program to showcase her strengths and help her meet her goals?

  2. #2
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    OK, I'm going to take a crack at this for two of the skaters.

    Olivia is a former ice dancer who got too big for her junior partner and couldn't find another one. She had been training singles along with ice dance all along and is capable of doing all the triples up to lutz but she is inconsistent and doesn't really enjoy jumping -- she gets stiff and nervous anticipating the jumps, which detracts from her otherwise lovely skating. Her basic skating skills are very strong by freestyle standards -- she loves doing creative edge work or working with her toepicks, heels, etc., and experimenting with unusual body positions on long edges. She loves to fly across the ice with quick steps or long glides. She also loves to play with different kinds of musical expression. Her spins are pretty good, with some variety, but she has trouble getting into a low enough sitspin position or achieving adequate air position on flying spins.
    This skater is capable of all the triples plus double axel, so it makes sense for her to use 6 jumping passes for, in some order, one of each triple and double axel with or without double toe on the end of some of them. Or she might be able to put the 3T and 2A together in a jump sequence, take the 80% base value, and fit one of each jump into 5 jumping passes.

    Under the current rules her scoring potential would be maximized by program content such as:

    CiSt
    3Lz+2T
    3F+2T
    Stars into FCSp
    3Lz
    ChSp
    3Lo
    Edge work into LSp
    steps, pause, 3F
    3T+2A+Seq
    3S
    Brief hydroblade into CCoSp

    The step sequence and spiral sequence would probably get her best GOEs.

    Because she takes a long time to set up each jump, if she uses the full 7 jumping passes she won't have a lot of time left for extra stuff besides the standard nonjump elements. There won't be a lot of time for There's also a good chance that she will get underrotation or downgrade calls or have other errors requiring -GOE and possible fall deductions on some of those jumps, but which ones would vary from one performance to the next.

    Now let's suppose we're using my rules. Repeating the 3Lz and 3F, with the risk of downgrades and/or falls that would cancel out the higher starting values, is riskier for her than including other elements with lower base values for which she could earn higher GOEs.

    As a coach or as a spectator I'd rather see her do a program with fewer jumps and more uses of her strong skating skills that would make a more interesting program worthy of higher PCS, and that she would have more fun skating.

    Something like

    SFV (school figures variation)
    3Lz
    Steps, pause, 3F
    Stars into FCSp3
    FMSq (field moves sequence, spirals included)
    3Lo
    Edge work into LSp
    3T+2A+Seq
    CUSp
    3S+2T
    SeSt
    Hydroblade into CCoSp

    Probably a lower base value than the previous layout, but if the more advantageous choreography helps to raise each of her PCS by up to a full point before factoring, that would more than make up for the missing jumps. And even if, say, she pops or doubles her 3F one day and therefore doesn't show the full range of triples, she's no worse off than if she popped one 3F and fell on the other in the previous layout.

    Plus we'd get to see some interesting skating skills from Olivia that most of the other girls don't have or don't bother with.


    Pam is a small, fast skater with a light touch over the ice and small, quick jumps that often flirt with underrotation. She especially prefers edge jumps and can attempt triple loop or half loop-triple salchow at the end of combinations and can sometimes land but is still very inconsistent at one-foot axel-triple salchow combination and quad salchow. These most difficult elements are likely to get < calls, or occasionally << or to end in falls. Her double axel, triple toe, and triple flip are small but reliable. She has a wicked flutz -- reliable, but always gets an edge call and averages -2 GOE no matter how much speed she carries in and out or how many enhancements she adds to the approach, air position, or landing. Spins are fast with adequate positions and variety. Spirals are also adequate -- good speed, OK edges, can achieve various catchfoot positions with ease but no special beauty. Good at quick steps and quick ice coverage; good flow; OK edge quality. Good at low, skimming single jump variants like walley, inside axel, back inside edge landings. Can do all single jumps up to flutz in both directions and forward basic upright, sit, and camel spins in both directions as well.
    Between 4S or 3S+3Lo, both inconsistent and with equal risk of training injuries that would be multiplied if she continued seriously training both, she'd have a better chance of salvaging a few points as opposed to just tenths of a point with the combo. Someday in the future it might be worth including both, but with her current skills the combo is a better bet.

    Maximizing points under the current rules would go something like this:

    3S+3Lo
    Walley, reverse walley, and clockwise steps into 3Lz with arm variation
    3T+1Lo+3S
    FCCoSp
    Split jump into 3F
    CiSt2
    3Lo
    FCSSp
    ChSp into
    2A+2T
    Inside axel, hop, 2A
    steps
    CCoSp

    Now suppose we give the option to replace some of those jump passes with other kinds of elements. I'm going to take out the lutz with its guaranteed -GOE and also the second 2A. In their place, I'm going to give her another spin, since she still has variations available to her she hasn't used yet, and a small jumps sequence (SJSq) that she has the skills to earn the highest level on, which I would make worth more than a 2A.

    3S+3Lo
    SJSq
    3T+1Lo+3S
    FCCoSp
    Inside axel, hops, split jump into 3F
    CiSt2
    CCSp
    3Lo
    FCSSp
    ChSp into
    2A+2T
    steps
    CCoSp

    Again, the start value for the program will be a little lower, but the potential for higher GOEs and higher PCS (because of showing some unique skills that other skaters don't have) should offset the difference in base mark.

    I think both these skaters would only benefit by emphasizing their unique skills and deemphasizing their jump weaknesses, while still including enough jumps and enough different jumps to show well-roundedness.

    And spectators would benefit from seeing more variety from one skater to the next.

  3. #3
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    This is a great thread! I don't have the knowledge or expertise to contribute -- but i am going to try anyway. I will do my favorite skater, Lila.

    But first I need some help. What is a "split flip" jump. Is this a split jump entrance into a triple flip (hoping not get her usual edge call)? Or is it a flip-like take-off for a non-rotational split jump?

    Second, how can her rink-length Ina Bauer be her best move if she lacks flexibility? (I am assuming Lila is not Shizuka Arakawa here.)

    More generally, is Lila as good as Beatrisa Liang? Surya Bonaly? Or are we talking about a lower level of competition?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Second, how can her rink-length Ina Bauer be her best move if she lacks flexibility? (I am assuming Lila is not Shizuka Arakawa here.)
    I assume that part of gkelly's writeup means just an Ina Bauer, not a layback Ina Bauer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    This is a great thread! I don't have the knowledge or expertise to contribute -- but i am going to try anyway. I will do my favorite skater, Lila.
    Cool.

    But first I need some help. What is a "split flip" jump. Is this a split jump entrance into a triple flip (hoping not get her usual edge call)? Or is it a flip-like take-off for a non-rotational split jump?
    It's a one-rotation jump from a flip takeoff with a split in the air. So under IJS it would count as a 1F, fill a jump box, and earn 0.5 points base mark plus up to a maximum of an additional 0.6 in +GOE.
    (The typical split jump is a half-revolution jump from a flip takeoff and therefore is considered a nonlisted jump.)
    For an example, see the sequence of Russian split, Russian split, split-flip starting at 4:55 in this clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzxrQSbaCRU

    We never see them under the current judging system because they would waste jump slots. Or the skater could do one at the end of a program after the jump slots had all been filled (which is where most skaters put them under the old system anyway), where they would count as transitions and not earn points.

    My proposal for the small jump sequence would be to have the split parallel to the ice fulfill a feature and a 90+-degree split with a full revolution count as another feature, so a good split flip in a sequence would bring it to level 2 by itself, and if we allow the same feature to count three times Wylie's sequence in the above clip could be level 4. And I would put the value of a level 4 small-jump sequence as 3.5 to 4.0 points.

    Second, how can her rink-length Ina Bauer be her best move if she lacks flexibility? (I am assuming Lila is not Shizuka Arakawa here.)
    No back arch, just the ballet fourth-position leg position.
    While we're in Albertville, here's Tonya Harding holding one for about a third of the rink at 3:00:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9YVYNmVES4

    More generally, is Lila as good as Beatrisa Liang? Surya Bonaly? Or are we talking about a lower level of competition?
    I was thinking in terms of a cross between Harding, Ito, Yulia Lavrenchuk, but not quite as fast as any of them, or as agile on the steps as the former two.

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