# Thread: Level of Difficulty in the CoP: Footwork

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## Level of Difficulty in the CoP: Footwork

Under the CoP footwork, spirals and spins have a "level of difficulty" which determines the base mark for the element, before the GOE is taken. The ISU seems to want to make sure that the criteria for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 are spelled out as precisely as possible, for skaters and coaches as well as for judges.

Here is the official distinction for singles and pairs (start with page 3 of this PDF document):

http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/...-0-file,00.pdf

For instance, the difference between level 2 and level 3 footwork goes like this:

Level 2: Mainly uses turns and steps of three different types (e.g., 3-turns, twizzles and brackets, and progressives, toe-steps and chasses).

Level 3: Must include more than three different turns (e.g., brackets, counters, rockers, twizzles, choctaws) and must include three different steps running in multiple directions.

Level 2: Three changes of direction.

Level 3: Four or more changes of direction.

Level 2: Change of speed during step sequence.

Level 3: Quick changes of speed during step sequence.

Level 2: Modest upper body movement during steps.

Level 3: Full use of upper body movement during steps.

Level 3: Quick changes from steps to turns.

Which skaters would you say have footwork sequences that qualify as level three? I would say Michelle excels at "full use of upper body," and "quick changes from steps to turns," but what about "four or more changes of direction" and "quick changes of speed?"

Mathman

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I will have to rewatch the tape, but I'm certain Evgeni's MJ SP would have level 3 footwork, and possibly his Tango SP, but not sure about the change of direction, but it definitely has the other criteria.

Laura

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I don't think anyone got level 3 in footwork the past season. Am I wrong? What level was given to Sandhu, Buttle and Lambiel, who were doing some difficult steps? Fumie Suguri usually has very good footwork in the ladies, I don't think even her got a high level of difficulty for her programs.

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Plushenko's turns are usually to the same side, so I don't think he'd garner to many points there. How did he score under COP? BTW, I believe he'd benifit if he did serpentine footwork as well, but alas, that's a fight I gave a few years ago already LOL

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I think Sandhu got level 2 for both his straightline and circular steps in the SP. However, had he added different direction of turns (he only had one in both sequences), both could definitely score level 3 easily.

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I was checking... no level3 for men's footwork, at least that I could see. Plushenko got mostly level2 for his SP footwork, for the LP he had mostly level1. Sandhu had mixed classifications, many level2, but quite a few level1 as well. It varied a lot from event to event.

As for the ladies, Sasha's footwork was level2 almost in all events. At Lalique she got a level3 for one of her footwork sequences in the SP, the other one was level1, though. Shizuka got mostly level1 for her footwork throughout the GP, but at GPF she got a level3 in the LP.

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I think many skaters footwork turns are in the same direction and the better skaters carefully do one turn in the other direction but hurry on back to their natural way of turning.

Joe

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Originally Posted by Joesitz
I think many skaters footwork turns are in the same direction and the better skaters carefully do one turn in the other direction but hurry on back to their natural way of turning.

Joe
Joe, I think you are correct. I"ve noticed that on several skaters, too.

It will be interesting to see how skaters begin to use the COP to their advantage. Everyone will be experimenting to see exactly what is necessary to earn a Level 3 difficulty with a +3 GOE. And some skaters will be criticized for maximizing points with minimal risk. Gymnasts do it all the time. For example, some men are criticized for doing fewer release skills on the high bar, but they still earn bonus points with other less risky skills.

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Originally Posted by Lynn226
It will be interesting to see how skaters begin to use the COP to their advantage. Everyone will be experimenting to see exactly what is necessary to earn a Level 3 difficulty with a +3 GOE. And some skaters will be criticized for maximizing points with minimal risk. Gymnasts do it all the time. For example, some men are criticized for doing fewer release skills on the high bar, but they still earn bonus points with other less risky skills.
That's an excellent point. How many extra points do you get for doing a level three rather than a level two footwork sequence? A level two with + GOE is probably better than trying to turn in the wrong direction four times and mess up.

Plus, doing all that extra work might sap the energy that you need for your jumping passes.

Mathman

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Originally Posted by Lynn226
Joe, I think you are correct. I"ve noticed that on several skaters, too.

It will be interesting to see how skaters begin to use the COP to their advantage. Everyone will be experimenting to see exactly what is necessary to earn a Level 3 difficulty with a +3 GOE. And some skaters will be criticized for maximizing points with minimal risk. Gymnasts do it all the time. For example, some men are criticized for doing fewer release skills on the high bar, but they still earn bonus points with other less risky skills.
ITA. Bonus skills have killed gymnastics in some respects, all those deadly choreographic jumps on beam and floor, the changes of direction on bar... I'm scared the same is going to happen to skating now. We'll see ridiculously complex but slow footwork, and laborious triple flip/triple toe/triple /triple toes or whatever (there great but only when performed well). And the most exciting skaters will need to skate absolutely clean and start to follow the bonus rules to keep in touch. If a slow/safe/booring Khorkina routine consistently beat a mind-blowing prodounova on floor in gymnastics, i dread to think what's awaiting us in skating.

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Originally Posted by millyskate
ITA. Bonus skills have killed gymnastics in some respects, all those deadly choreographic jumps on beam and floor, the changes of direction on bar... I'm scared the same is going to happen to skating now.
Performing jumps with turns on the balance beam or elaborate combinations without letting go of the high bar may not wow the crowd but they are not easy skills to perform either. The gymnasts who are more comfortable with those skills are just taking advantage of their strengths and incorporating those elements into their routines but it doesn't mean they are safe skills. I've seen more mistakes on jumps on balance beam because gymnasts are attempting more difficult jumps so it doesn't mean everyone will consistently be able to land them. Of course, there are skills that are eventually considered overvalued and many gymnasts will start to use them but the code of points are regularly updated so that overvalued or overused moves are downgraded. I'm not sure if that's the path skating will take but it's possible.

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Originally Posted by Lynn226
It will be interesting to see how skaters begin to use the COP to their advantage. Everyone will be experimenting to see exactly what is necessary to earn a Level 3 difficulty with a +3 GOE. And some skaters will be criticized for maximizing points with minimal risk.
Just to elaborate on my original statement . . .

I think that we will see judges showing their preferences for various elements in the GOE scores. For example, judges who prefer jumps may regular give +2 or +3 GOE for clean, but less than spectacular jumps (i.e., lack of speed and edge quality on the exit) and lower GOE scores for other elements of excellent quality.

I hope that we will see the judges encouraging well rounded programs by giving out scores appropriate to every element in the program. Few skaters perform all elements equally well and I would like to see that reflected in the scores.

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Originally Posted by Lynn226
I hope that we will see the judges encouraging well rounded programs by giving out scores appropriate to every element in the program. Few skaters perform all elements equally well and I would like to see that reflected in the scores.
Slim chance you'll see big changes in the judging but that's just my cynicism showing.

Joe

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Originally Posted by Joesitz
Slim chance you'll see big changes in the judging but that's just my cynicism showing.

Joe
I was having similar thoughts as I was typing my comments.

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