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With the lack of variety in the Ladies SP right now, I was tossing about ideas in my head (obviously the adding of points could be done with the SP of any field).

1. In the Senior Level SP, a minimum level (probably L2 for single position spins and footwork, L3 for everything else) should be required for non-jump elements.
2. If a required/mandatory element is completed, an extra point is added to the total score. If it is not completed, the element is not scored at all and -1 replaces it.
3. Extension/flexibility/look of the spiral sequence should be counted to the level of the spiral sequence (IE. Carolina's Spiral shouldn't be able to get the same level as Caroline's.)
4. Allow either two footwork sequences (maybe adding more value to footwork sequences? Maybe letting a L3 footwork equal a L4 Spiral).
5. Allow either a 2A or 3A

--That way the +1 for completing and element would encourage skaters who, say, have a GREAT solo 3Lo but iffy solo 3Lz go for the solo 3Lo because they can get the +GOEs plus +1 for completing the element as opposed to simply a -1 to their score if they popped or UR the 3Lz and got a -1.
-- Allowing the step sequence L3 to equal a spiral L4 (and also counting flexiblity etc. into the spiral level score) would add more variety, because there are plenty of skaters who do not have the flexibility for a nice spiral and simply do a wonky split to a catch foot than backwards not-very-extended biellmann for their L4 when (say in the case of Carolina Kostner) two footwork sequences would look much better.
-- Allowing a 3A in the SP instead of 2A would also work well with +1 or just -1, because it would be a very big risk to try doing the 3A, and skaters would only attempt it if they have a very secure 3A.
-- I believe that a mandatory element that isn't completed shouldn't be scored at all and just receive a deduction (so no base value or GOEs added to the score). After all, it IS a mandatory element. If it's not completed, why should it be scored at all? It was technically missed. I think this would encourage skaters to stop doing a 3Lz or 3F combo plus a solo 3Lz or 3F (depending on what they did on the combo) and instead do jumps they are more comfortable with and wait to do the difficult jumps until they have learned them well.

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Originally Posted by bethissoawesome
1. In the Senior Level SP, a minimum level (probably L2 for single position spins and footwork, L3 for everything else) should be required for non-jump elements.
I don't really like this because it discourages skaters from choosing to do simple things extremely well instead of trying to do complicated things adequately, which is what most skaters seem to be aiming for now.

It also puts skaters without extreme flexibility at a disadvantage for spins and spiral sequences, irrespective of the quality of their skating (and spinning) skills.

How would it be enforced? If a skater does a level 1 element (or level 2 if level 3 is requried) and does it well, would they get no credit for it? Mandatory negative GOE? Positive GOE as appropriate but also some kind of deduction?

Would this only affect elements that don't make the attempt to include enough features to qualify for the minimum level? What if the skater does include three or four features but doesn't execute them quite well enough to satisfy a stickler technical specialist? Would this be penalized more or less than not attempting that many features at all?

2. If a required/mandatory element is completed, an extra point is added to the total score. If it is not completed, the element is not scored at all and -1 replaces it.
How do define "completed"? And if you add points to the score, apart from the base mark and GOE, for completed elements and not only give no points but also subtract a point for incomplete elements, would there be any level of performance for which the element does receive a score for its base mark and (negative) GOE but gets neither a bonus nor an additional deduction?

As it is, right now elements that receive no score would be axel jumps with less than 1 1/4 revolutions in the air, or other jumps with less than 3/4; spins with less than 3 revolutions; spiral sequences in which no position is held for 3 seconds; step sequences that cover less than half the required pattern. And, of course, required elements that are not even attempted or that fail at the outset, such as a fall on a jump takeoff or spin entry.

It might make sense to subtract an additional penalty for some or all of those failures/omissions if the goal is to make the short program more do-or-die.

What about doubled or singled/popped jumps? Jumps that have enough revolutions to meet the required definition even if they're then downgraded but that also end in falls, step outs, etc., especially on the first jump of the planned combination?
How about a fall near the end of a step sequence or on the third spiral position or near the end of a spin?

Those are not omitted elements, but neither are they completed elements. Are you considering them as elements not completed?

They do need to be penalized with negative GOEs and get no credit for parts of the element that weren't actually performed. But is it really necessary to give 0 credit for the element AND a non-completion deduction AND also a fall deduction where applicable, so that an almost-completed element that might have been high quality in its earlier phases might net -2 (no points in TES, omission deduction and fall deduction from total score), whereas an element that was not even attempted would net -1?

I'd rather just say give a -1 omission deduction for elements that aren't even attempted, and leave the rest of the penalties as is.

3. Extension/flexibility/look of the spiral sequence should be counted to the level of the spiral sequence (IE. Carolina's Spiral shouldn't be able to get the same level as Caroline's.)
Extension/flexibility/look of the spiral sequence are supposed to be counted into the GOE. But then, so are ice coverage and edge quality. Caroline Z. excels at the the former but is not so good at the latter; Carolina K. excels at the latter but is not so good at the former; so they can both end up with positive GOE. They could each stand to improve the areas where they're not as strong, but meanwhile they should be able to play to their own strengths and be rewarded appropriately. A skater who has both the edge quality and the extension can earn +3s.

Full split (>170 degrees) is one feature that only skaters with good flexibility can take advantage of.

If what's wanted is more variety in spiral sequences, then I don't think the answer is requiring everyone to have the same skill set. Let skaters who are less flexible but better at edge work pursue their points with those skills and vice versa.

It's a contradiction to ask that all senior ladies do at least level 3 spiral sequence (your point no. 1) and also to ask that senior ladies who are not very flexible should be given lower levels even when they meet the requirements for level 3 (point no. 3).

Right now almost everyone does a change of edge in the spiral sequence, very few do the change of position feature (change of free leg position between back, side, or forward), and no one does change of direction feature because it's too hard to do a one-foot turn with the free leg above hip level and hold the edges for 3 seconds.

Given that it's required to change feet in the SP spiral sequence and to use both inside and outside, both forward and backward edges to get higher than level 1, and only 3 spiral positions count, skaters can only do the change of edge feature OR the change of position OR the change of direction. Change of edge is easiest of the three (although some variations, like backward change of edge in Y position, are very difficult), so that's why almost everyone does a change of edge.

If we want more variety in spiral sequences, the rules should encourage other features by specifically giving skaters ways to earn level 4 without doing a change of edge or without doing the catch-foot arabesque/Biellmann positions that most do to meet the "difficult position" feature.

I would suggest one or more of the following:

Take certain possible features that are already covered by the feature definitions but that have never or almost never been seen in spiral sequences under this judging system (I'm thinking of change of direction, i.e., a one-foot turn, in spiral position and layout spiral with the head arched backward over the heel of the skate) and either announce that they will explicitly count as two features because of the extreme difficulty or at least explicitly give them as examples of change of direction and difficult position features, and give video examples on the ISU website, so that skaters/coaches/choreographers who never thought of those possibilities before would have their imaginations stimulated in those directions.

Allow the change of position or the change of direction INTO a fourth spiral position to count as a feature even though the fourth position itself wouldn't count
toward the forward-backward, inside-outside edge variety and couldn't as a difficult position even if it would otherwise qualify as difficult.

Possibly allow the change of direction feature to count even if the edge following the turn is held for only 2 seconds.

OR, make one-foot turn (or possibly one-foot turn not including three turns) between spiral positions count as a feature even if the free leg is dropped below the skating hip for the turn, as long as the spiral positions before and after are each held for at least 3 seconds.

4. Allow either two footwork sequences (maybe adding more value to footwork sequences? Maybe letting a L3 footwork equal a L4 Spiral).
I fully support this proposal for the long program. It doesn't make sense for the short program, where the point is supposed to be performing required elements.

One step sequence is already required. If we don't think spiral sequences should be required elements, then go back to the 7-element short program as was the case in the 1970s and 80s. If we do think they should be required, then they should be required.

5. Allow either a 2A or 3A
3A is allowed in the jump combination but not as the solo axel, as was the case for senior men until 1998 and for junior men until last year.

It would also be allowed as the solo jump preceded by steps (for seniors -- juniors have a specified jump out of steps), although it was almost never used in that slot.
For examples, see Petrenko's, Browning's, and Eldredge's SPs at 1990 Worlds, but they also did triple axels in their combinations and after that year the rules were changed to disallow repeating the same jump in two different SP jump elements.

I think it will take 8 or 10 different ladies consistently landing triple axels in their long programs before solo triple axels are allowed as the axel element in the SP.

Meanwhile, any lady who can do a consistent triple axel in combination or with preceding steps is free to include it in her SP in one of those slots instead of a lesser triple.

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