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Thread: What are good 'skating skills'? Who should get high SS scores?

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    What are good 'skating skills'? Who should get high SS scores?


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    What is good skating skill?

    We have the definition of skating skills within the PCS criteria, from the ISU handbook:

    Definition: Over all skating quality: edge control and flow over the ice surface demonstrated by a
    command of the skating vocabulary (edges, steps, turns, etc), the clarity of technique, and the use of
    effortless power to accelerate and vary speed.
    And

    Criteria:
    Balance, rhythmic knee action, and precision of foot placement
    Flow and effortless glide
    - Rhythm, strength, clean strokes, and an efficient use of lean create a steady run to the blade and an ease of transfer of weight resulting in seemingly effortless power and acceleration.
    Cleanness and sureness of deep edges, steps, and turns
    - The skater should demonstrate clean and controlled curves, deep edges, and steps.
    Varied use of power/energy, speed, and acceleration
    - Variety is the gradation – some of which may be subtle
    Multi directional skating
    - Includes all direction of skating: forward and backward, clockwise and counterclockwise including rotation in both directions.
    Mastery of one foot skating
    - No over use of skating on two feet.
    And:

    Pair Skating and Ice Dancing: Equal mastery of technique by both partners shown in unison.

    Ice Dancing: Compulsory Dance – Ice Coverage
    Personally I think good jumps affect PCS the most, but we are talking about SS only. Anyways, my questions are:

    - Someone said Ashley should use less crossovers so she would get higher score in SS, but this doesn't seem to apply for all skaters? I see no connection between too many crossovers with good/bad score for SS. Should skater limit the amount of crossovers in their programs?

    - If a skater uses too many crossovers in a program, even if she/he gets good speed, does that count as having good SS? For example, someone said Haruka Imai was underrated, as they said she was fast on the ice etc, but some people have pointed out her speed mostly come from excessive usage of crossovers. So which scores you would give out for her SS?

    - If a skater uses less crossovers than most skater and their crossovers are effective, (for example Patrick Chan can enter the quad toe with just 2 crossovers) should they get more credit for the difficult jumps they execute well (like more GOE) or they should only get credit in the SS score?

    - Ice Coverage doesn't mean much in singles? As I only see that "Ice Coverage" is mentioned only in criteria for ice dance.

    - How do you rate SS score of the top ladies, which ones in the above criteria they fulfill, which ones they don't?
    Last edited by Meoima; 07-28-2015 at 06:08 AM.

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    ISU judging is consistent to say the least. I often see the criteria (eg. varied use of power, speed & acceleration) being applied to some skaters but not to others. And if you're a younger/less well known skater, you're often held more accountable to fulfill these criteria than a more established skater. I guess this is part of the "PCS boost" that comes with reputation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    - Someone said Ashley should use less crossovers so she would get higher score in SS, but this doesn't seem to apply for all skaters? I see no connection between too many crossovers with good/bad score for SS. Should skater limit the amount of crossovers in their programs?

    - If a skater uses too many crossovers in a program, even if she/he gets good speed, does that count as having good SS? For example, someone said Haruka Imai was underrated, as they said she was fast on the ice etc, but some people have pointed out her speed mostly come from excessive usage of crossovers. So which scores you would give out for her SS?
    I'm just going by my understanding of how these criteria should be applied. Any given judge on any occasion might have different understandings, different pet peeves/points that they pay more attention to, or they may sometimes be influenced by other factors that aren't supposed to be part of the Skating Skills component.

    As I understand, crossovers aren't considered demonstration of mastery of one-foot skating, which is one of the criteria. Sure, they're better than actually standing/gliding on two feet much of the time or using beginner skills like swizzles and two-foot slaloms ("wiggles") to gain speed. (Elite skaters might use those occasionally for a choreographic effect, but we wouldn't expect many.) But skaters who can gain speed while performing turns, or one-foot edge changes, throughout the program should deserve higher SS scores than skaters who primarily use crossovers.

    A skater who uses a lot of crossovers is also probably not maximizing the use of multidirectional skating. They might use backward crossovers in both directions (their "bad" direction maybe only to set up lutzes, maybe some spins), and maybe forward crossovers only in the good direction, but it's rare to see them use forward crossovers in the other direction. And if they're not using many turns either, then chances are there's very little clockwise skating in the program of a counterclockwise jumper, or vice versa for clockwise jumpers. (The latter are more likely to be comfortable with more opposite-direction skating just for the sake of going with the traffic on a typical practice session.) And often the turns to change from forward to backward (or back to forward) are simple threes and mohawks in the good direction, with change of curve happening while maintaining backward or forward skating. The backward changes often happen on two feet, as well.

    So a skater who uses turns in both directions throughout the program, or at least who uses choctaws or bad-direction threes or mohawks to turn backward, should deserve more credit for multidirectional skating than one who uses crossovers linked by the simplest turns.

    Forward crossovers in the bad direction should probably be worth something but I can't honestly remember seeing any in elite programs.

    - If a skater uses less crossovers than most skater and their crossovers are effective, (for example Patrick Chan can enter the quad toe with just 2 crossovers) should they get more credit for the difficult jumps they execute well (like more GOE) or they should only get credit in the SS score?
    If the skater is using crossovers, plural, to gain speed for the jump, I wouldn't think the number of crossovers would make much difference in the GOE. I'd expect the actual speed gained and maintained into and out of the jump, whether there were any more difficult skills than crossovers closely preceding the jump, and how much of a break (telegraphing) there was between the crossovers/other skills and the takeoff would be more relevant to the GOE.

    - Ice Coverage doesn't mean much in singles? As I only see that "Ice Coverage" is mentioned only in criteria for ice dance.
    Under Skating Skills, it's only mentioned as a criterion for Compulsory Dance. Where everyone is doing the exact same steps, bigger patterns and deeper curves (i.e., covering more ice) are rewarded.

    For all disciplines, Pattern and Ice Coverage is a criterion in the Choreography component.

    So a skater who has the skating skills (power, edge depth, multidirectional skating skills to skate in all directions and change directions unexpectedly) to fill the whole ice surface in interesting patterns can be rewarded in the Choreography component as well -- but only if they actually demonstrate those skills in those ways throughout the program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    Personally I think good jumps affect PCS the most, but we are talking about SS only. Anyways, my questions are:

    - Someone said Ashley should use less crossovers so she would get higher score in SS, but this doesn't seem to apply for all skaters? I see no connection between too many crossovers with good/bad score for SS. Should skater limit the amount of crossovers in their programs?
    The thing is I've seen Ashley live and she uses a lot of crossovers and while she is fast there's not a lot of other transitions going on (but I think she's been adding more and more to her Moulin Rouge program though). I think it was Bryce Davision who developed technology to look at jumps at Skate Canada last year and Ashley goes into her 3-3s slower than all of the younger girls while someone like Yuna who was also known to have a lot of crossovers gets a lot of bang for her buck (as TSL puts it) and is much more assured on ice.

    If a skater uses too many crossovers in a program, even if she/he gets good speed, does that count as having good SS? For example, someone said Haruka Imai was underrated, as they said she was fast on the ice etc, but some people have pointed out her speed mostly come from excessive usage of crossovers. So which scores you would give out for her SS?
    I think gkelly covered this point well, no not really, it's not really varied skating, it matters more what you can do with that speed. Haruka is like a 7 to me.

    - If a skater uses less crossovers than most skater and their crossovers are effective, (for example Patrick Chan can enter the quad toe with just 2 crossovers) should they get more credit for the difficult jumps they execute well (like more GOE) or they should only get credit in the SS score?
    I guess it would leave a favourable impression on the judges when it comes to being assigned a score in the PCS criteria but when it comes to GOE they assigned by the bullet points and I don't think crossovers going into it is one.

    Funny that you mention Patrick and Ashley because I saw them live at SOI and while they're both fun to watch when they skated side by side I could really see the difference. The depth of edge between them stood out to me at some points too, Patrick's blades were so deep!

    - Ice Coverage doesn't mean much in singles? As I only see that "Ice Coverage" is mentioned only in criteria for ice dance.
    Ice coverage is one of the criteria for choreography I believe so I don't know how it affects judges and SS scores. I think a lot of skaters use jumps to tick off that point though. Example: Yuna starts off by doing crossovers from one side of the rink to the other, 3Lz-3T, 3F on the opposite side of the rink and then 3S in the middle and *insert rest of the LP here.* Mao does the same, 3A one side, 3F-3Lo other side and then 3Lz in the middle and *insert rest of LP*.

    Ice coverage is important in singles and can make a huge difference for me, someone like Mao really covers every inch of the ice to my eyes (I may be wrong but I don't want to be) and to pick an extreme example, Misha Ge in his Uptown Funk exhibitions basically only skates on one half of the rink and stays in the middle and it left a lot for me to desire in that component.

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    I think spotting SS on a video is really hard. It's a lot easier live.

    Here is a video of Artur Gashinksi:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wgf-gA7QX4I

    He doesn't have deep edges and SS are not his strong point. You can see that when he changes directions, he slows down. Also the trace his skates leaves on the ice are neither perfectly straight, nor like an S. It's more this: ~ - the circles of the S are not finished, and he doesn't stand on one leg very long, except on the footwork sequence.

    in contrast we have Patrick Chan here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDLTI7X4ycM

    He generates speed a lot easier (he needs less crossovers), his body has a deeper lean towards the ice and is not standing straight all the time and looks 'smoother' on the ice.

    As far as I understand a skater with good skating skills can do as many crossover as he/her pleases, it's more about overall blade control and whether the skaters needs the crossovers to gain speed.
    From what I have observed, if a skater has superior speed like Patrick, Hanyu, Dennis, Caro, Yuna, Gracie, then his/her SS is usually good, because skaters with less good SS don't have the blade control to skate as fast. There are exceptions though.

    Also, if patrick were to generate speed with 2 crossovers before a jumps, then his SS should go up. If someone with bad SS used 2 crossover to created medium speed before a jump, he's not going to get points for SS.
    If Patrick or someone with bad SS used 10 crossovers to create superior speed before a jump, then the GOE criteria: great speed would be fulfilled and they'd both get GOE's for the jump, but only Patrick would get high SS, because he doesn't need the 10 cross-overs to generate the speed,while skater no.2 does.

    But I'm no judges, so this is all how I understand SS ^^

    EDIT: I think SS is not so much about how many time one skates from one side of the rink to the other or how many cross-overs a skater does. It's more about what the skater is able to do. Is he able to just do one crossover and skate with it across the whole rink? Or can he only skate to half of the rink and then he has to stroll again?
    That doesn't mean that all skater 1 does is only doing 1 cross-over per rink for the whole programm. But he could if he wanted to, while skater 2 couldn't do it.
    Last edited by Eclair; 07-28-2015 at 08:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclair View Post
    As far as I understand a skater with good skating skills can do as many crossover as he/her pleases, it's more about overall blade control and whether the skaters needs the crossovers to gain speed.
    I disagree. Crossover is a way to gain speed, a skater who uses too many crossovers before big jumps doesn't seem to have good ability to maintain speed like other skaters who use less crossovers before big jumps.

    For example I'd tend to think that a skater who only has 2-3 crossovers before the quad (with good speed, like Patrick and Yuzuru) as having much better SS than skaters who use 4-5 crossovers before the quad.
    Last edited by Meoima; 07-28-2015 at 09:32 AM.

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    ^Crossovers are more about transitions than skating skills. There's more to basics than speed.

    That said, SS are hard to explain. I recommend watching ice dance and comparing the skating to that of the other disciplines. If you stare only at the skaters' blades (maybe even mute the programs), you'll notice the difference in skating quality. Personally, I focus mostly on the edges and how they "carve" the ice:
    How fluid is the skating when switching between edges?
    Are deep edges in general being used to generate speed?
    Is their speed held throughout or do they look stalled when going into elements?
    Are the curves and glide of their skating smooth or jerky?
    Is the skater moving through the ice effortlessly or do they muscle their body to move their blade?

    A shortcut indication of solid edge control is how steady a skater is during their step sequences. Skaters skate in curves and you can look at is as trains (the blade) on a track (the curves in the ice). Unsteady looks like the blade jerks when switching from the inner and outer edges. They'll deviate from the curve they're "drawing" and it'll look very scratchy. Such a skater wouldn't be able to hold each edge well enough to draw the curves on the ice, so they're basically doing all their stsq turns in one area (instead of moving through the ice).
    Last edited by begin; 07-28-2015 at 09:25 AM.

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    ^ I do watch ice dance, and the difference in SS between ice dancers and singles are very obvious. But singles are harder to tell. My issue is that the scores don't always reflect that.

    Anyway, other questions of mine.

    - Why are transitions scored differently from SS? Why don't just count TR as one category in SS?

    - Transitions do matter, thus many skaters now are jam packing their transitions in the programs to get points, but does that mean transitions with low quality count? As long as there's quantity, quality is overlooked?

    I can name here many top and young skaters with quite a number of transitions in their programs, but the quality isn't that great, but most of the time, these skaters still get all the benefits for transitions despite their lack of quality?
    Last edited by Meoima; 07-28-2015 at 09:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    I disagree. Crossover is a way to gain speed, a skater who uses too many crossovers before bug jumps doesn't seem to have good ability to maintain speed like other skaters who use less crossovers before big jumps.

    For example I'd tend to think that a skater who only has 2-3 crossovers before the quad (with good speed, like Patrick and Yuzuru) as having much better SS than skaters who use 4-5 crossovers before the quad.
    I agree on that. What I meant was, if you see patricks marvelous SS and he does 10 crossovers before a jump it wouldn't lessen his SS, because you know he can generate the speed with 2.

    The number of crossovers can be an indication of SS, but people with good SS may also do a lot of cross-overs and vice versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    ^ I do watch ice dance, and the difference between ice dancers and singles are very obvious. My issue is that the scores don't always reflect that.

    Anyway, other questions of mine.

    - Why are transitions scored differently from SS? Why don't just count TR as one category in SS?

    - Transitions do matter, thus many skaters now are jam packing their transitions in the programs to get points, but does that mean transitions with low quality count? As long as there's quantity, quality is overlooked?

    I can name here many top and young skaters with quite a number of transitions in their programs, but the quality isn't that great, but most of the time, these skaters still get all the benefits for transitions despite their lack of quality?
    Maybe transitions are a different category, because then people with good SS wouldn't be doing many transitions. Also I'd rather watch skaters with bad SS doing many transistions, than those skaters with bad SS doing nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    What is good skating skill?

    We have the definition of skating skills within the PCS criteria, from the ISU handbook:



    And



    And:



    Personally I think good jumps affect PCS the most, but we are talking about SS only. Anyways, my questions are:

    - Someone said Ashley should use less crossovers so she would get higher score in SS, but this doesn't seem to apply for all skaters? I see no connection between too many crossovers with good/bad score for SS. Should skater limit the amount of crossovers in their programs?

    - If a skater uses too many crossovers in a program, even if she/he gets good speed, does that count as having good SS? For example, someone said Haruka Imai was underrated, as they said she was fast on the ice etc, but some people have pointed out her speed mostly come from excessive usage of crossovers. So which scores you would give out for her SS?

    - If a skater uses less crossovers than most skater and their crossovers are effective, (for example Patrick Chan can enter the quad toe with just 2 crossovers) should they get more credit for the difficult jumps they execute well (like more GOE) or they should only get credit in the SS score?

    - Ice Coverage doesn't mean much in singles? As I only see that "Ice Coverage" is mentioned only in criteria for ice dance.

    - How do you rate SS score of the top ladies, which ones in the above criteria they fulfill, which ones they don't?
    I think it's a joke to think that the judges weigh all of these criteria when scoring skating skills. There is so much overlap in the various scores. Too many crossovers can affect the transitions score, too. It's all just an "I know it when I see it" standard.

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    For skating skills, the criteria about "balance, rhythmic knee action, and precision of foot placement" is the most important one. If a skater doesn't have good quality in these three aspects, then everything else will not look as effortless. These are more or less the foundations of all the other criteria in the skating skills component. A very good example of this criteria for me is Chock/Bates Short Dance from Worlds 2015.

    Here is a good explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzcS...3B645BA5A421EF
    Last edited by ILoveFigures; 07-28-2015 at 09:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    I think it's a joke to think that the judges weigh all of these criteria when scoring skating skills. There is so much overlap in the various scores. Too many crossovers can affect the transitions score, too. It's all just an "I know it when I see it" standard.
    This thread is more like what do you actually see and feel and judge by your understanding of the criteria, not about the actual scores judges are giving to skaters. We all know reputation affects the real score the most, aside from the actual performance's quality.
    Last edited by Meoima; 07-28-2015 at 10:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    ^ I do watch ice dance, and the difference between ice dancers and singles are very obvious. My issue is that the scores don't always reflect that.

    Anyway, other questions of mine.

    - Why are scored differently from SS? Why don't just count TR as one category in SS?

    - Transitions do matter, thus many skaters now are jam packing their transitions in the programs to get points, but does that mean transitions with low quality count? As long as there's quantity, quality is overlooked?

    I can name here many top and young skaters with quite a number of transitions in their programs, but the quality isn't that great, but most of the time, these skaters still get all the benefits for transitions despite their lack of quality?
    Based off my own experiences and observations rather than what's listed in the handbook (really, do the judges even follow the handbook?):

    1. Skating skills show regardless of the transitions executed. The only connection transitions have to skating skills is that they provide more opportunities to showcase a skater's SS. The judges should be able to discern the strength of a skater's basics through the required elements alone.
    2. There's no true way the judges "ratify" transitions but looking at the scores, I'd say that transitions are counted as long as they're executed, quality be damned.

    It's interesting that you're relating SS and TR but SS are probably the most independent and objective variable in program component scores. If anything, I think transitions have a strong connection with choreography. As it is, a ton of programs ruined by badly crammed transitions get high CH scores. If I had it my way, that mark would be the one taking hits to counteract all the cramming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by begin View Post
    1. Skating skills show regardless of the transitions executed. The only connection transitions have to skating skills is that they provide more opportunities to showcase a skater's SS. The judges should be able to discern the strength of a skater's basics through the required elements alone.
    Yes but fans are often complaining that some skaters' programs have no transitions, just a few transitions whatsoever and they seem to think jam-packed transitions mean good SS and good scores.
    Quote Originally Posted by begin View Post
    2. There's no true way the judges "ratify" transitions but looking at the scores, I'd say that transitions are counted as long as they're executed, quality be damned.
    I feel the same, many skaters get slower a lot during transitions, but judges don't seem to mind that.

    It's interesting that you're relating SS and TR but SS are probably the most independent and objective variable in program component scores. If anything, I think transitions have a strong connection with choreography. As it is, a ton of programs ruined by badly crammed transitions get high CH scores. If I had it my way, that mark would be the one taking hits to counteract all the cramming.
    My issue with PCS is that TR can either be included in either SS or CH. These components are so much overlapped. At the same time, IN can be included in PE. Personally I think there are too many categories in PCS. IMO, 3 categories are enough. Why not just SS, CH and PE?
    Last edited by Meoima; 07-28-2015 at 10:20 AM.

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