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Thread: Educating the public

  1. #1
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    Educating the public

    http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/sho...l=1#post627045

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Browning, a four-time world champion, said it's difficult to describe what he admires most in Chan's skating — they're the subtle things more easily appreciated by his peers than the average fan.
    This is the problem. ISU has an urgent task on educating people.

    What kind of solutions might be worth trying?

    Keep in mind that there are several populations that the ISU might want to educate:

    *skaters, coaches, etc., who need the knowledge to participate in the sport effectively

    *die-hard fans who will go out of their way to travel to competitions and pay for video feeds to watch all the low-level skaters as well as the stars; read all the documentation that's available to the skaters, coaches, judges, and tech panels; and may start taking skating lessons themselves or volunteering at local rinks if they hadn't already been doing so

    *skating fans who will make some effort and spend some money to enjoy a sport they love to watch, who care that the results seem fair in general and may care passionately about the results of favorite skaters, but who want the process of enjoying skating to be fun and not feel like work

    *the general public who tune in maybe once a year or once every four years and don't want to make any effort at all but may enjoy having strong opinions about what they see on TV colored by what they hear from the commentators


    The first two groups are largely covered by all the written documentation now available online -- much easier to access than the less specific 6.0 documentation in the pre-Internet era. But there could be even more of an effort to share the same kind of training that the judges and tech panel have access to with interested stakeholders who are willing to invest effort and money to learn more.

    The last group is pretty much at the mercy of the media in their country -- whether that be general sports journalists who resent having to cover something that they don't even consider to be a real sport, or experienced former competitors who may now be active coaches and/or certified technical specialists and/or have judging training. And of course they all have their biases and editors/producers who encourage them to play to the audience's expected biases. So to reach general audiences, the ISU would have to find ways to encourage the media to educate about the important qualities that may not come across well on TV anyway.

    Here on Golden Skate, we probably have a lot of posters who fit into the third category -- who want easily accessible education on how to appreciate what judges are looking for (along with other ways of appreciating skating).

    What could the ISU do better to fill that need? Or who else could fill it if the ISU doesn't consider it their responsibility?
    National federations?
    What about fans who live in countries with small or nonexistent skating programs?

    If the most important determinant of skating results is the quality of the blade moving across the ice, and if that cannot be appreciated on video the same way it can be live and up close, how can skating fans without frequent access to live skating learn to appreciate it?

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    Thank you very much for starting this thread, gkelly!

    The people who could reach out to the most populations were the TV commentators. ISU should gather the commentators, educate them as they educate the coaches and the judges, make them a part of the system, and have them apply for the commentating license and have them take the responsibility and task in the commentating opportunities to educate public.
    Last edited by Bluebonnet; 03-26-2012 at 02:05 PM.

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    I remember when Jean Senft (Canadian judge) was doing short educational segments for I think it was CTV. To me, they were much more interesting than the typical fluff pieces. I'd like to see something like that again. Take a jump (say, the flip) or a dance step (like the choctaws in this year's SD), have skaters demonstrate the move both correctly and incorrectly done, have the commentator voice-over what the technical specialists are looking for and deducting for (incorrect edges, under-rotations, etc.), and the different grades of execution and/or the different levels, as applicable. In other words, teach the viewers what to watch for.

    Learning to skate is a great way to educate yourself, too!

    ETA: My bad, it was CBC, not CTV. dorispulaski posted one of Jean Senft's segments in the thread "Ice Dance Educational Videos" in the Lutz Corner sub-forum earlier today, if you want to see an example of what I'm talking about.
    Last edited by SubRosa; 03-26-2012 at 02:10 PM.

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    Jean Senft's segments were wonderful.

    ABC also used to do similar segments narrated and/or demonstrated by its commentators (Dick, Peggy, Suzy and Peter in particular). CBS even made some effort at creating this kind of content during it's Olympic coverage. Since NBC took over the sport, such segments have all but disappeared in favor of inane "Truth Booth" segments.

    If you are introducing a novice to skating and want to cover the very basics first, these vids are excellent. I hope one of the marvelous posters of these clips on youtube will consider making them into a playlist.

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    The ISU does have some print and video materials available. I haven't ordered them because of the expense, so I don't know how much they're geared to interested members of the press or general public or how much to people within skating who need to know advanced details. Too bad they never made more of an effort of marketing them to fans.

    http://skatetape.com/isuseries.aspx

    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vcontent/pa...m-item,00.html

    Judges’ Manual Single Skating - 2001 Edition (incl. 1 CD)
    Judge's Manual Pair Skating 2000 Edition
    Single Figure Skating for beginners and Champions, by Prof. J. Dedic (1982 edition)
    Pair Skating as Sport and Art, by Tamara Moskvina and Igor Moskvin (revised 1992)
    For singles and pairs, these books would be of more historical interest than general use, although the judges' manuals would have been very interesting to interested outsiders at the time. (I happen to have a copy of the Dedic book)

    Elements of Basic Skating (the fundamentals of Figure Skating by analyzing basic skating techniques) (DVD)
    If this is done well, it could be very useful for getting press and fans to understand how the skating counts, even more than the jump content.
    Since I haven't seen it, I can't comment on whether it lives up to its potential.

    The recent judge-training videos on how to evaluate program components would also probably be very illuminating for interested fans -- and skaters.

    I don't see any value to be gained from keeping that knowledge secret. If they need to sell the videos rather than make them freely available in order to recoup the costs of producing them, they could also offer them for sale to skaters/coaches/fans and not just to judges and trial judges.

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    Custom Title mmcdermott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubRosa View Post
    I remember when Jean Senft (Canadian judge) was doing short educational segments for I think it was CTV. To me, they were much more interesting than the typical fluff pieces. I'd like to see something like that again. Take a jump (say, the flip) or a dance step (like the choctaws in this year's SD), have skaters demonstrate the move both correctly and incorrectly done, have the commentator voice-over what the technical specialists are looking for and deducting for (incorrect edges, under-rotations, etc.), and the different grades of execution and/or the different levels, as applicable. In other words, teach the viewers what to watch for.
    I was thinking the same thing. I can't remember the last time I saw a segment like this during a skating broadcast. They should always have at least one of these during each event. More if the coverage is extensive. Replay them if you have time to kill during ice resufacing. Post them on YouTube.

    There could be topics such as "Why (skater X) scores so well", or "Skating on TV vs. Live (what you're missing)", or "*** are Transitions?" Learn about writing good titles for these so they'll get attention online.

    The ISU could also provide a lot more educational information for fans on their site. And on their YouTube Channel (I think they do have one, right?).

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    I do not think it is possible to interest casual (non-participatory) fans in basic skating technique. Just like occasional fans of track and field do not care much about the details of running or jumping technique, or how to get the maximum lift from your shot-put. They just care about, gee that guy can run fast, jump high, throw that thing a long way.

    I think the figure skating equivalent would be, gee that couple looks smooth and elegant gliding effortlessly along like that.

    But passing from basic stroking and edge work to steps, turns and moves in the field, one thing that I think would be cool is to show the skater's entire step sequence in slow motion with commentary like, that turn is called a Chocktaw. It goes like this. If instead you go like that, it's called a Mohawk.

    When I first started watching skating on TV, most of the time they only showed the skaters from the knees up. I would see the skaters going down the ice occasionally twisting their bottoms back and forth for no apparent reason. Only later did I realize that what they were really doing was changing edges, turning their blades in different directions, etc.

    I never knew that blades had edges until they started showing Michelle Kwan's change of edge spiral in slow motion, with commentary. Then I was like, oh yeah, I get it now!

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I put one of the Jean Senft vids in the References section (Lutz forum).

    If there are any documents, vids or anything else you think are educational, I hope you will post them there too

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Is it an ISU issue, though? Should it be the ISU's responsibility? I'm thinking it should be the individual federations/associations that promote the sport within their country.

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    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Thanks for mentioning those Jean Senft segments . They were really good , and very helpful at that stage of my career as a fan. ... They helped spark further research in my family. They were good enough that we wanted more. We wanted to know if one person's preference really was preferable , and if not , why. My sister took some instructional videos out from the Library , and we pored over those.. then we started paying closer attention to rule changes.. and the education continues.

    Nowadays , I learn the most here on GS , thanks to the efforts of people like doris, gkelly , KKonas, etc. and just the exchange of thoughts and ideas with other posters ..not to mention those stalwarts who translate articles and press releases from other languages.

    I think the TV networks are really missing a bet by not running features like the Senft ones , drowning us in fluff pieces that are predictable, formulaic , and often repeated 2 or 3 times over the course of a competition.
    Boo , Hiss I say !

    As an example , early on , having come from a dance background , I was most impressed by a high extension and beautiful , balletic leg position in a spiral. I still like to see that (who doesn't ) , but without good ice coverage , deep edges and a smooth , sure transition from one edge to the other ...it doesn't mean much.

    Hey, I'm also a hockey fan , though I've never played ( I even avoided field hockey like the plague in school ). However , the slow-mo replays of key plays (with expert analysis) that you invariably see at each interval, educates the viewer ... and soon you're recognizing more on your own , which adds to your appreciation and excitement as subsequent games are being played.

    TV truly seemed to go astray after the Harding / Kerrigan fiasco. While that kind of scandal can attract new viewers..it won't hold them ( thankfully , that kind of mayhem hasn't been repeated ). No amount of gossipy , tabloidesque coverage will compensate to attract the accident chasers , and it won't help to showcase the sport.
    Last edited by colleen o'neill; 03-26-2012 at 05:22 PM.

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    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmcdermott View Post

    The ISU could also provide a lot more educational information for fans on their site. And on their YouTube Channel (I think they do have one, right?).
    As far as I know, the official ISU YouTube channel was devoted specifically to the 2011 Junior Grand Prix. Would be great if they expanded it to other videos also of interest to fans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen o'neill View Post
    I think the TV networks are really missing a bet by not running features like the Senft ones , drowning us in fluff pieces that are predictable, formulaic , and often repeated 2 or 3 times over the course of a competition.
    Boo , Hiss I say !

    As an example , early on , having come from a dance background , I was most impressed by a high extension and beautiful , balletic leg position in a spiral. I still like to see that (who doesn't ) , but without good ice coverage , deep edges and a smooth , sure transition from one edge to the other ...it doesn't mean much.

    Hey, I'm also a hockey fan , though I've never played ( I even avoided field hockey like the plague in school ). However , the slow-mo replays of key plays (with expert analysis) that you invariably see at each interval, educates the viewer ... and soon you're recognizing more on your own , which adds to your appreciation and excitement as subsequent games are being played.
    Sadly, that's because, IMO, TV coverage of skating in the US treats it more like a beauty pageant or reality show than an actual sport. Heck Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman put more effort into educating DWTS viewers about the rules of ballroom and latin than NBC does for its skating viewers. Note: I think NBC would easily be able to put more detail out there if they stopped relegating Tracy behind the tired combination of Scott and Sandra.

    Does skating depend in part on the superficial beauty it projects to attract fans? Yes, but those fans should not be taken for granted as being one dimensional in their ability to absorb detail and complexity. In addition, any argument that such detail is less necessary in skating because it mostly attracts women is a fallacy. Women watch plenty of other sports in droves: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis hockey, etc. They can quote rulebooks and spot technical flaws alongside any man. So why are female skating fans treated with kid gloves? Clearly the women who frequent this forum are detail oriented and quite knowledgeable about the intricacies of skating even if they don't skate themselves. The interest is there. I say bring on the detail. If it works in other countries who've fully embraced the sport's current direction (chiefly Japan) it can work here.
    Last edited by jcoates; 03-26-2012 at 06:42 PM.

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    I remember long time ago, Debbie Wilkes did some education on the jumps, such as axels, lutz etc. I wish TV stations will do the same, esp before the competition, they should educate the audience what to look for, such as in Dance, the footwork, the lifts etc.

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    Thanks gkelly for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. Much appreciated.
    Last edited by spikydurian; 03-27-2012 at 04:01 AM.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden411 View Post
    As far as I know, the official ISU YouTube channel was devoted specifically to the 2011 Junior Grand Prix. Would be great if they expanded it to other videos also of interest to fans.
    That's a great idea! But they likely won't do it.

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