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Thread: Sine qua non: Elements and Quality

  1. #16
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    Oh, how could I have left Shizuka off my list? Thanks, Dragonlady.

  2. #17
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    Here is a question that came up on the Suzuki versus Mao NHK thread.

    There seems to be a consensus that the bottom line is basic edging and stroking skills. The jumps and other technical highlights serve as adornments to the complete program.

    So maybe its like a finely crafted necklace, say, where the beauty is in the workmanship of the chain, while the gems placed here and there serve as embellishments whose value is their contribution to the whole. Yet, if a diamond is missing, that throws the whole piece out of whack.

    Here is Michelle Kwan's exhibition number from 1998 worlds (Dante's Prayer). In this debut performance, she seems a little tentative, but still she manages to cast a spell up until her first jump, at about 1:27. She doubles it. Oh, bleep -- she was doing fine up until then. Sorry, 'Chelle, but this won't make your greatest hits vid.

    It took most of the rest of the performance for her to reel me back in.

    So my question is, in the case of something like a missed jump -- in CoP scoring how much should that lower the program component scores? I think it should be a lot. True, that's only two seconds out of a 4 minute program, but its like that missing diamond in the necklace. Its absence mars the whole thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU1TcbFIs-o

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    So my question is, in the case of something like a missed jump -- in CoP scoring how much should that lower the program component scores? I think it should be a lot. True, that's only two seconds out of a 4 minute program, but its like that missing diamond in the necklace. Its absence mars the whole thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU1TcbFIs-o
    I think it depends. There are times when a missed jump or two doesn't mar the whole program. In the case of Janet Lynn, her response to her mistake made the performance more memorable. Michelle's performance of Dreams of Desmodena at Worlds had errors but it's still more memorable than a lot of other clean programs.

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    I too would argue it varies. Take a look at Patrick Chan's 2012 CoR LP for an example. He pops three jumps. Do they all lower your perception of the program in the same way?

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    I think that how much certain errors "mar" the performance is largely in the eye of the beholder. If it's an error that bothers you, it will continue to bother you after the skater has moved on to the rest of the program without errors. If it's something that you don't consider very important, you'll move on as well.

    We won't all be equally bothered by the same errors. E.g., someone who's focusing on the artistic effect of a performance will probably be more bothered by a skater who lands a jump cleanly and then loses balance steps out of the landing, whereas someone who'd watching for technical mastery might be more bothered by a jump that land underrotated with the free toe on the ice.

    If the coach knows that the skater has been habitually popping or two-footing jumps and is trying to get the skater to break that habit, a fully rotated jump landed on one foot followed by a fall might be a cause for rejoicing as getting closer to landing the jump cleanly in competition, whereas if the spectator expects a clean program the fall may be more disruptive to the aesthetic experience -- or cause for (possibly premature) rejoicing when rooting for that skater's rival.

    Context matters. In a senior short program, turning a triple into a double or a double axel into a single is a costly mistake and will probably affect the skater's placement (depending on what the other skaters do). In a freeskate we won't always know whether the skater made an intentional choice to leave out a revolution on purpose, for strategic or aesthetic reasons. That's even more true in an exhibition context.

    Using the necklace analogy, an intact silver necklace set with garnets will be more attractive and appropriate to wear in public than a platinum necklace of the same design set with rubies of which one is missing, but the monetary value of the latter would be higher. Depends on the context which is "better."

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    I too would argue it varies. Take a look at Patrick Chan's 2012 CoR LP for an example. He pops three jumps. Do they all lower your perception of the program in the same way?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWr9-OdyX-4

    How is anyone ever going to beat this skater?

    First, after the first three jumping passes it didn't really matter what he did the rest of the way. This is in contrast to Mao Asada's performance in which she doubled her very first jump, started to get back on track, then missed another. The viewer never lost his anxiety. In Patrick's case, I got in the groove from the first jump and just let the program flow along.

    As for the three doubled jumps: (1) the double Axel was OK. He could always play it off as intended. However, as far as incorporating transitions into the entry, I didn't see any. (2) The 2Lo was very noticeable and gave the impression of a lapse in focus. This was compounded when he appeared to get his feet tangled up a little bit right after the landing. The element did not disrupt the flow of the program, but it was definitely a boo-boo.

    On the doubled Sal it wasn't the last jump that was the problem, it was the landing of the first jumps and a little balance problem on the 1/2 loop, to my untrained eye.

    None of these was a big deal. Still, in aggregate the small errors robbed the program of a big triumphant crescendo and left the impression that he was running out of steam after a strong start. That is the part that maybe should have lowered, say, his P&E mark. Like from 9.5 to 9.0. And he did get a couple of 8.75s.

    As for transitions, well, he already got positive GOE on all three of his mistakes, so I con't see any need for him to double dip on the Transitions score.

  7. #22
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I think that how much certain errors "mar" the performance is largely in the eye of the beholder. If it's an error that bothers you, it will continue to bother you after the skater has moved on to the rest of the program without errors. If it's something that you don't consider very important, you'll move on as well.
    That is certainly true. I think that is the core of the argument on this thread about whether Suzuki was robbed or not.

    Watching Mao's performance, although one can find much to admire, the mistakes came so fast one upon the other that we started to feel, poor thing, when will this mercifully be over?

    Akiko, on the other hand -- actually, the quality of her jumps were not outstanding (she got some negative GOEs and not much in the way of positive) -- still, with every success the feeling grew of, She's doing it! She's doing it! She's doing it! SHE DID IT!!!

    If the coach knows that the skater has been habitually popping or two-footing jumps and is trying to get the skater to break that habit, a fully rotated jump landed on one foot followed by a fall might be a cause for rejoicing as getting closer to landing the jump cleanly in competition, whereas if the spectator expects a clean program the fall may be more disruptive to the aesthetic experience -- or cause for (possibly premature) rejoicing when rooting for that skater's rival.
    The coach may be happy. But the customer who paid $100 to see the show may feel like, get those kinks worked out in practice before you take the stage.

  8. #23
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    I'll agree with Mathman's sentiment re: Suzuki. During the choreo step sequence, where she was just flying over the ice, radiating joy, I was applauding

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    That is certainly true. I think that is the core of the argument on this thread about whether Suzuki was robbed or not.
    This thread? Maybe we should take that discussion to the actual Suzuki thread(s).

    Watching Mao's performance, although one can find much to admire, the mistakes came so fast one upon the other that we started to feel, poor thing, when will this mercifully be over?
    Who is "we"? Evidently not most of the judges. They can only judge on what they see, and when it comes to the intangible qualities, on what they personally feel. They can't try to guess what each and every paying member of the audience, and everyone watching for free on TV, might be feeling and assign scores based on their best guess about the average fan opinion.

    But the customer who paid $100 to see the show may feel like, get those kinks worked out in practice before you take the stage.
    But a competition is not a show.

    In a show, satisfying the paying customers is the primary goal, and that often means lower technical content (jumps and/or in-betweens) in order to concentrate on emotional connection and quality of execution.

    In a competition, the primary goal is demonstrating to the judges a superior overall "package" of technical and presentation skills according to the rules. That usually means including the hardest technical content throughout the program (jump content being only one part of that) that the skater believes she can pull off successfully. In competition, skaters are usually attempting to operate near the upper limits of their technical ability, which is always a risk, and perfect programs are few and far between. Spectators who go to competitions expecting surface perfection are usually going to be disappointed.

    When I buy a ticket to a competition, I expect to see skaters challenge themselves and try to execute to the best of their ability in that moment. I personally am more interested in programs that are challenging on the ice as well as in the air. And I don't feel that a skater has let me down as a paying customer if she doesn't succeed at all she tries, especially in an early-season event. I don't know exactly how this performance fits into what else is going on in her life or her plan for the season. And she's not doing it for me, she's doing it for herself. I pay for the privilege to watch the process because I find the sport interesting, on many levels.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    This thread? Maybe we should take that discussion to the actual Suzuki thread(s).
    Sorry. I meant "the" thread.(Typo.)

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    Who is "we"? Evidently not most of the judges. They can only judge on what they see, and when it comes to the intangible qualities, on what they personally feel.
    The judges don't have to try to guess what what the audience sees, feels, or experiences.

    But as for what the judges themselves see, feel, and experience -- this is a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist from only two seasons ago. She manages 3 triple jumps amid a smattering of not-too-difficult transitional moves between elements. If I were a judge I would be feeling a little bit down on Mao's behalf, never mind the audience.

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    And if that is how judges feel, how should they respond? Lower the scores to penalize the skater for making them feel down? Try to make her or themselves feel better by rewarding her with pity points/reputation points? Or just judge the performance they see today according to the same standards they apply to all performances by all skaters?

    We're not actually in the judges' heads, so we don't know what they were feeling or thinking. We can guess, or extrapolate how we would feel watching the same performance from a judge's perspective. But we can't expect the judges to judge based on how the skater makes us feel or even on how she makes them themselves feel, even on the subjective aspects of the P/E and IN components, to the exclusion of how she actually meets all the criteria for all the components.

    But if the judges' scores don't match how we felt about the performance, we can only guess and can't be sure we're right as to whether the judges felt it differently than we did or were better able to put emotion in its proper relation to all the judging criteria or were too swayed by emotion in a different direction than we were.
    Last edited by gkelly; 12-03-2012 at 01:14 PM.

  12. #27
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I guess i don't know what I think.

    Let me try again to see if I can bring into focus what is bugging me. There is a difference between "better" and "more difficult." The Grade of Execution is supposed to reward the quality of an element, not its difficulty.

    A triple Lutz is more difficult than a triple toe-loop. In honor of this extra difficulty a triple Lutz has the higher base value. Similarly, a triple jump is more difficult than a double jump. This is reflected in the base value.

    Now comes the GOE. What about the quality of the element? Making the jump harder does not by itself increase the quality. A Tano position may increase the difficulty, but it does not increase the quality. Same with doing transitions before the take-off. In fact, most of the time doing transitions before the take-off decreases the quality of the jump by making it harder to achieve a proper take-off edge, harder to achieve proper air position and rotations, harder to get good height and distance, harder to achieve a proper landing edge and good ride out.

    In short, the jump is not better because of the transitions, and it is likely to be worse. It is harder, but that is not the business of the GOE.

    Rewarding transitions in program components, on the other hand -- that does make sense. For starters, it adds to the Transitions score (duh). Transitions may also enhance choreography, interpretation, and performance, and they give evidence of strong skating skills. In short, they do everything except enhance the quality of the jump.

    Jump difficulty -- base value. Jump quality -- GOE. Transitions -- Transitions.

  13. #28
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    Valid points.

    However, I still think there's a place for rewarding added difficulty in a jump -- just that that reward should be subordinate to the evaluation of quality.

    An excellent jump with from a long simple setup, with good speed in and out, height, distance covered, control throughout, quality of the takeoff and landing edges, etc., is still going to get higher GOE (probably +2) than a smaller, weakly landed jump from a difficult entry (maximum of +1 if it's clean but mediocre aside from the enhancements, negative or at most 0 if there are deductible errors).

    But why shouldn't a jump that is excellent technically and enhanced with added difficulty, performed excellently, receive even higher GOE (potentially +3)?

    BTW, "element matched to the musical structure" is another bullet point that can add to the GOE of jumps performed with either simple or complex entries and that would also be rewarded in Choreography and maybe other components. How do you feel about "double dipping" on that bullet point?

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    In short, the jump is not better because of the transitions, and it is likely to be worse. It is harder, but that is not the business of the GOE.
    The problem with any cumulative points scoring system in an artistic sport from a performance standpoint, is sometimes the whole is worth less than the sum of the parts. A jump is broken down into so many parts, each worth part of the score, that when skaters add the difficult entry and a difficult exit to a jump, if they have good speed on the entry and good air position, even if the landing is shaky, they're going to get +GoE for what, to anyone looking at it from a performance standpoint, is going to be a wonky element. Those are jump landings I would call technically clean but not pretty.

    Using your necklace analogy, I don't think of mistakes as missing stones, but rather as flawed stone. I would consider an intentionally doubled jump a stone of a smaller size. Even a flawed diamond sparkles, but it's just not worth as much. If the skaters doesn't fall and the performance flows in an uninterupted manner, I don't find interntionally doubled at all distruptive, and even popped jumps aren't really disruptive beyond that second of noting the miss, then the small disruptions like noticeably 2-footing the landing, or a small step out. Where skaters should take a big hit in the performance/execution mark is a big fall where the skater slides across the ice and has to get up and race to catch up to the music. Of course that usually means a missed element so they take a big hit on that as well as the fall in terms of the mark.
    Last edited by Dragonlady; 12-03-2012 at 10:14 PM.

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    When I think of essential elements of skating I think of moves like Michelle's spirals, Angela Nikodenov's layback, Shizuka's Ina Bauer, Brian Boitano's spread eagles. They are unique to skating, they can't really translate to other sports/arts. Sadly they aren't worth a lot of points, but can create a spell. They speak to an edge cutting a curve into the ice and the curve being felt through out the body.

    Over all I like CoP, but this increasing fracturing of elements in things that add or subtract points is not the right direction in my opinion. It's loosing the forest for the trees. I'd like GoE to be more holistic - - failed, poor, below average, average, above average, good, excellent. That may seem more subjective, but feels right to me

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