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Thread: Transitions and jump landings

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    Transitions and jump landings

    So many women have problems rotating jumps these days, and it was not nearly as big a problem in the 1990's when the ladies were doing the same jumps. It seems a lot of the women skate slower because they have to do transitions and can't simply stroke into jumps to gain speed. With these slow entrances into jumps they can rotate them 1/4 to 1/2 turn short and can stay on their feet, whereas if they skated fast into jumps they would probably fall because they couldn't get their blade backwards fast enough. Maybe I'm wrong, but are there other explanations as to how ladies can severely UR their jumps and still remain upright?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I agree with this point. "Transitions" into jumps just make you mess up the jump. One of the flaws of the CoP, in my opinion.

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    I miss the "long" diagonal glide setup for a lutz, often to mark a very dramatic, tense moment in the music. Of course I'm not nostalgic for Elena Liashenko-esque telegraphing (after all, she was heavily criticized even before CoP), but there was something beautiful about the contrast between the simplicity of the glide followed by the powerful torque of the jump that the more complex lutz setups today can't show. And some of these lutz setups are just plain ugly (especially the crossfoot glide some of the Russian girls do). Sometimes it's as if skaters and coaches treat "transitions" as mutually exclusive from a sustained entry edge for the lutz...but it doesn't have to be. Gracie Gold's ina bauer entry and Elene Gedevanishvili's brackets are both variations on the traditional diagonal glide that include a transition but still maintain the drama and tension of the lutz--no surprise that they have two of the best (and biggest) lutzes today.

    Jumps can have different characters (beyond the technical distinctions of entry edge/toepick). But often, doing different transitions into jumps can take away this character: the drama of a lutz, the tension of the three-turns into a loop, the loftiness of a free-foot-unassisted salchow, the carefree ease of a delayed axel, etc. and I've always thought that how different jumps are employed in a program should be reflected in PCS (choreography), even if, at times, this means one fewer transition in your program. But this can't entirely be blamed on CoP; as people have been doing hardest->easiest jump order for many years. Back when figure still counted for a bigger part of the score than freeskating, programs had much greater variation in jump order (and jumps themselves) that better reflected the music.

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    I also liked it when the edge was held before the lutz. It's not easy to do; Irina and Michelle both changed their lutzes to the abbreviated entrance. Michelle may or may not have done it to improve her consistency, but Irina was definitely more successful with the shortened entry. The axel is another jump where I find that the girls enter it very slowly, and I miss the days when they soared on this jump to where their take-off spot would not even be on the TV screen when they landed the jump.

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    I don't think transitions made the jumps worse.. Of course, is more difficult for a skater to do difficult steps immediatly before a jump than a cross-over, but most of the 3-3s we saw in those years (Lipinski, Hughes, Slutskaya, Arakawa...) were < or <<, and I remember that, when I watch Chen Lu's performances, I always see that most of her 3Lz were <, including the first one in her 1998 Olympic FS, or the 3-3 at the end of that program: today, it would have been 3T+3T<<.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    So many women have problems rotating jumps these days, and it was not nearly as big a problem in the 1990's when the ladies were doing the same jumps. It seems a lot of the women skate slower because they have to do transitions and can't simply stroke into jumps to gain speed. With these slow entrances into jumps they can rotate them 1/4 to 1/2 turn short and can stay on their feet, whereas if they skated fast into jumps they would probably fall because they couldn't get their blade backwards fast enough. Maybe I'm wrong, but are there other explanations as to how ladies can severely UR their jumps and still remain upright?
    I agree.

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    A few thoughts:

    Yes, doing a lot of "in-betweens" throughout a program usually slows down the average ice speed of the program as a whole (as I understand it the main reason Michelle Kwan tended to simplify her programs starting ca. 2000 was to give more impression of speed throughout)

    And yes, some kinds of transitions into jumps tend to slow down the jump itself. And skaters are more likely to do those things under IJS in the belief that it will help their transitions scores, and yes, sometimes it has a negative effect on the quality of the jump to the point that they'd have earned more points by doing a simpler approach and a cleaner jump. It's hard to know in all cases whether those particular skaters are more likely to have rotated the jump with a simpler approach unless we have seen them try it both ways several times.

    In the 1990s, there were probably a lot more moderately underrotated jumps than we remember, because commentators didn't point them out as often and we don't know how much the judges were penalizing for them, if at all.

    Triple loop combinations, which helped Lipinski, Slutskaya, and Hughes to win titles, were almost always suspect in rotation by their nature. A lot were questioned at the time by fans of other skaters, and some that were exciting at the time would no doubt get < calls from a tech panel today.

    Bonaly was known for her ability to stand up on underrotated jumps.

    If we look carefully, I'm sure we can find < or << jumps from pretty much all the Olympic and World medalists 1994-2003 in some of their medal programs. Some associated with transitions or otherwise with lack of speed, some not. Some habitual, others abberations.

    (E.g., Kwan won a lot of medals during that period, with a lot of clean jumps. Offhand I would only question her loops in the 98 Olympics and 99 Worlds LPs and the flip in the SLC SP.)

    Definitely I prefer transitions that make choreographic sense and aren't just stuck in in hopes of gaining technical points. But that's a separate issue from how much difficult jump entries cause underrotations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I agree with this point. "Transitions" into jumps just make you mess up the jump. One of the flaws of the CoP, in my opinion.
    Why the quote around transitions? Do you think they're a myth or something?

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    Thank God for Stephane Lambiel and Matt Savoie! shine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I agree with this point. "Transitions" into jumps just make you mess up the jump. One of the flaws of the CoP, in my opinion.
    But transitions don't, right?
    Last edited by shine; 11-04-2012 at 11:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    Why the quote around transitions? Do you think they're a myth or something?
    This made me spit out my coffee. Thanks for the laugh (even if you didn't intend it!).

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I guess I was thinking sort of like this.

    Transitions as a program component category (short for "Transitions/Linking Footwork & Movement," if I may quote the ISU rule book ) is, in my view, the modern version of what skaters used to call "in-betweens." It was what you did when you weren't jumping or spinning to make your program more interesting and to display "command of the skating vocabulary" (to quote from the rule book description of Skating Skills).

    I would hope that varied and well-executed transitions throughout the program would give a boost to the choreography component score as well.

    In contrast, on the element side of the equation, the first two bullets for positive GOE on a jumps are:

    1) unexpected / creative / difficult entry

    
2) clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element
    These two bullets alone are enough to get +1 GOE for a jump that is otherwise without special merit.

    Also (speaking of myths) steps immediately preceding the solo jump is a requirement, on the technical side, in the short program.

    Granted, the Transitions program component break-down specifically directs the judges to take into account the entrances and exits to technical elements. But I think the question is whether fancy entrances lead to faulty landings.

    Brenda also makes a great point: what is better than

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenda
    ...the "long" diagonal glide setup for a lutz, often to mark a very dramatic, tense moment in the music.
    Last edited by Mathman; 11-04-2012 at 01:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Transitions as a program component category (short for "Transitions/Linking Footwork & Movement," if I may quote the ISU rule book ) is, in my view, the modern version of what skaters used to call "in-betweens." It was what you did when you weren't jumping or spinning to make your program more interesting and to display "command of the skating vocabulary" (to quote from the rule book description of Skating Skills).
    Yes, it's a broader concept than just difficult entries into jumps or other elements. But those entries do count as part of the Transitions component. Especially for the Intricacy criterion. A skater who does beautiful spread eagles, split jumps, etc., in isolation but telegraphs all the elements is probably going to score lower on that component than someone who does comparably beautiful "in-between" moves directly into (or out of) jumps or spins.

    I would hope that varied and well-executed transitions throughout the program would give a boost to the choreography component score as well.
    I would too.

    In contrast, on the element side of the equation, the first two bullets for positive GOE on a jumps are:

    1) unexpected / creative / difficult entry
    
2) clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element

    These two bullets alone are enough to get +1 GOE for a jump that is otherwise without special merit.
    How often will the same element get credit for both those bullet points, though? They're kind of two different ways of saying the same thing.

    Plus, if the jump is actually weak or flawed, not just unremarkable, then at best the difficult entry might cancel out a -1 weakness to result in a 0, or mitigate a -2 into a final GOE of -1.

    Also (speaking of myths) steps immediately preceding the solo jump is a requirement, on the technical side, in the short program.
    Yes, for that one element in the short program. Not sure what it has to do with myths.

    Granted, the Transitions program component break-down specifically directs the judges to take into account the entrances and exits to technical elements. But I think the question is whether fancy entrances lead to faulty landings.
    The question in this thread, you mean?

    Should we look for examples of the same skater doing the same jump from both simple and difficult/intricate entrances and see how the landings tend to compare?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    These two bullets alone are enough to get +1 GOE for a jump that is otherwise without special merit.
    Maybe this explains why you see -2 on a failed jump? I'd prefer the bonus to be given only if the jump is completed successfully. The scoring system really give skaters a lot of opportunities to accrue points on failed elements.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    Not sure what it has to do with myths.
    My post was in response to Imaginary Pogue asking whether I think transitions are a myth or something. No, but in this one case I do think that skaters are often given the benefit of the doubt as to whether they satisfied the minimum requirement for steps and skating moves leading up to the solo jump in the short program. Sometimes a skater will miss his combo, redeem himself by tacking a second jump onto the intended solo, but not get dinged on the preceding steps requirement.

    How often will the same element get credit for both those bullet points, though? They're kind of two different ways of saying the same thing.
    I can imagine some cases where one bullet applies but not the other. Steps into a jump could satisfy criterion 2 without necessarily being original or creative, and perhaps not necessarily increasing the difficulty of the entry to any marked degree.

    The question in this thread, you mean?
    Yes, I meant the question of this thread. But I deleted those words when I re-read the original post. The actual question was more specific -- if you go for more complication in the entry to a jump, does that cause you to slow down, thus increasing the probability of under-rotation because of lack of speed?

    Should we look for examples of the same skater doing the same jump from both simple and difficult/intricate entrances and see how the landings tend to compare?
    That would be cool. I will try to find some examples. I think it would take a very large sample before any conclusions could be drawn, though.

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    I can think of so many more examples from men. I think the jumps just come easier to them, so they can better afford to play around with the entrances.

    Should we focus on ladies for this thread, though?


    BTW, one of the things that I love best about figure skating, as a practitioner even more than as a spectator, is the infinite variety in how the elements can be linked together. At a certain point you max out on learning new jumps. And if have good athleticism and good technique you may get to the point where you can execute them with high quality all the time.

    So then, how do you keep things interesting in training? How do you set yourself apart from competitors who are also doing the same jumps with similar quality? At the very highest levels, how do you push the envelope technically when you've reached the limits of human rotation in the air (which for all but a handful of women over several decades seems to be 3 revolutions)?

    Adding more challenges and creativity through combinations, connections, and variations means there's always something new to work on.

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