# Thread: Quality vs. Quantity?

1. 0
Originally Posted by Krislite
In weighting which program deserves more points technically, the proper method is to consider the entire set of passes and then order them by difficulty. It doesn't make sense to consider the most difficult element in isolation.

Certainly, if two skaters had exactly the same layout except for the passes under consideration, this would be a fair complaint.
Yes that's what I'm saying. Here's another example - let's look at one of Michelle Kwan's standard 6-Triple jump layouts in 6.0 scoring:

3Loop
3Lutz-2Toe
3Flip
2Axel
3Sal
3Toe-2Toe
3Lutz

^ This program has two Triple Lutzes, including one that comes right near the end of the program. It also has all 5 different Triples. Now compare that to:

3Flip-2Toe
3Loop-2Toe
3Flip
3Loop
3Toe-2Toe-2Toe
3Sal
2Axel

This program has no Triple Lutzes, no difficult combinations, and doesn't put any difficult jumps near the end of the program...but it's worth more points under the current CoP rules.

2. 0
Originally Posted by Mathman
That is a great point (although transitions before a jump do increase the difficulty).

In the olden days the most important determinant of the quality of a jump was the flowing landing edge. This was a symptom that every else was pretty good, too, becuase you are not going to achieve a beautiful landing if the take-off is wonky, if you are tilted in the air, if you do not complete the rotations, etc. Top skaters used to do a little brief spiral at the end of their jumps (if they were able) just to say to the judges, "See that edge? What do you think of that!"
One of the best ever "what do you think of that?" moves after a jump:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk_IX...tailpage#t=57s
(stay with it till Dick says "Look at this"

3. 0
Originally Posted by Blades of Passion
3Loop
3Lutz-2Toe
3Flip
2Axel
3Sal
3Toe-2Toe
3Lutz

^ This program has two Triple Lutzes, including one that comes right near the end of the program. It also has all 5 different Triples. Now compare that to:

3Flip-2Toe
3Loop-2Toe
3Flip
3Loop
3Toe-2Toe-2Toe
3Sal
2Axel

This program has no Triple Lutzes, no difficult combinations, and doesn't put any difficult jumps near the end of the program...but it's worth more points under the current CoP rules.
Assuming both skaters put the last three jump elements in the second-half bonus period, then the difference in base value between the two programs is 38.16 for the former vs. 39.02 for the latter, or 0.86.

The latter skater, if incapable of a triple lutz (or loop combination, or putting the harder jumps later, or other jump skills that would be more difficult than those in this program), has chosen to maximize all opportunities to earn points given her skills and the rules.

The former skater has failed to take advantage of all opportunities available, both by not doing a three-jump combination and by not doing a third combination at all. Even one more double toe, as a third jump on one of the existing combinations or as a second jump on the end of one of the other solo jumps, would have given her the win.

Was that a deliberate choice -- she disdains combinations in general as well as three-jump combinations specifically on principle and would rather pass up easy points than compromise her principles? That's bad strategy, unless she can maximize her own points by make them up in GOEs or components or harder non-jump elements, in which case all else is not equal. If she's really a better skater or better jumper, any of those opportunities should be available to her. If she's not, if the only thing she can do that the other skater can't is a triple lutz with the same GOE as the easier jumps, then she hasn't shown winning superiority overall, just on that one skill which is not by definition decisive.

Or else she just was not able to add even one more double toe -- she knows that two combinations with double toe as the second jump is the limit of her jump combination ability in the course of the program and didn't plan any more, or she was unable on this particular occasion to skate her program as planned, but when she does she'll earn more points than the non-lutz girl.

Everyone needs to strategize how to maximize their own point-earning potential given their own skill set. Base marks of the jumps is not the only place to do it. But a skater who can do all triples including the lutz has the potential to earn more points on jump base mark than a skater who doesn't have that skill. If she fails to earn those points, that was her mistake -- either a mistake of strategy or a mistake of execution.

4. 0
Originally Posted by gkelly
Assuming both skaters put the last three jump elements in the second-half bonus period, then the difference in base value between the two programs is 38.16 for the former vs. 39.02 for the latter, or 0.86.

The latter skater, if incapable of a triple lutz (or loop combination, or putting the harder jumps later, or other jump skills that would be more difficult than those in this program), has chosen to maximize all opportunities to earn points given her skills and the rules.

The former skater has failed to take advantage of all opportunities available, both by not doing a three-jump combination and by not doing a third combination at all. Even one more double toe, as a third jump on one of the existing combinations or as a second jump on the end of one of the other solo jumps, would have given her the win.

Was that a deliberate choice -- she disdains combinations in general as well as three-jump combinations specifically on principle and would rather pass up easy points than compromise her principles? That's bad strategy, unless she can maximize her own points by make them up in GOEs or components or harder non-jump elements, in which case all else is not equal. If she's really a better skater or better jumper, any of those opportunities should be available to her. If she's not, if the only thing she can do that the other skater can't is a triple lutz with the same GOE as the easier jumps, then she hasn't shown winning superiority overall, just on that one skill which is not by definition decisive.

Or else she just was not able to add even one more double toe -- she knows that two combinations with double toe as the second jump is the limit of her jump combination ability in the course of the program and didn't plan any more, or she was unable on this particular occasion to skate her program as planned, but when she does she'll earn more points than the non-lutz girl.

Everyone needs to strategize how to maximize their own point-earning potential given their own skill set. Base marks of the jumps is not the only place to do it. But a skater who can do all triples including the lutz has the potential to earn more points on jump base mark than a skater who doesn't have that skill. If she fails to earn those points, that was her mistake -- either a mistake of strategy or a mistake of execution.
In fact, Michelle was an excellent skater, so she was actually able to land a 3-jumps combo with the loop as the third jump and 3 combos in the FS (look at her 2005 Worlds FS layout) after so many years of FSs with just one or two combos and no 3-jumps combo, so you're completely right: the changes in the rules that CoP introduced didn't affect the best skaters: performing a 3Lo, 3Lz+2T, 3F, 2A, 3S+2T, 3T+2T+2Lo, 3Lz program is not significantly more difficult than a 3Lo, 3Lz+2T, 3F, 2A, 3S, 3T+2T, 3Lz program, since the triples are the same, it's just the strategy that changes but the BV is higher; and adjusting a FS to these rules for a top-level skater is something that he/she can do even in a very short time...

5. 0
Under 6.0 rules, originally it was allowable to do as many jumps of whatever kinds as wanted as many times as one wanted -- the only limits were the skater's own skills and stamina.

Then we got the Zayak rule, then well-balanced program rules requiring at least one combination or sequence, limiting the total number of sequences or combinations to 3 per freeskate. But it would be up to each judge to decide for him- or herself whether to give more credit for "difficulty" to doing the hardest jumps or the most total jumps, how much more credit for combinations of which jump with which other jump, how to factor in temporal layout over the course of the program, etc.

And then the scoring system changed to a system of adding up base marks for points.

Well, then it was no longer feasible to allow skaters to just do as many of whatever jumps they wanted and easily rack up points on quantity regardless of difficulty or quality. So limits were introduced on the number of jump passes allowed and on the number of jumps allowed within a combination -- the limit on three combinations/sequences total was retained.

That means that there's an upper limit to the number of jumps a skater can do.

It's not necessary to max out the number of jumps -- some skaters may choose to give up some points in jump content if that helps them earn more points elsewhere. The jump limits actually help these skaters because they prevent other skaters from throwing in an unlimited number of easy jumps to rack up points.

But a skater who chooses not to use all the jumps allowed up to the limit is making a strategic choice. Just leaving out allowed content without making up the omission elsewhere is poor strategy.

Now, a skater might decide "After filling 6 of my allowed 7 jump slots with a double axel and all the other triples I can do, I have room for a triple toe loop or second triple lutz, with or without combination. I, personally, can do a 3T+2T+2T combination, but when I do it I usually lose a lot of speed, sometimes underrotate one or both of the double toes, and/or wobble onto the wrong edge. I'm likely to end up with -1 or at best 0 GOE and I might even credit in the base mark for a 2T<. Plus a sloppy-looking combination won't have a good effect on the PCS and might have a bad one. It's not a good choice for my skill set. If I do a solo 3T instead, I can hold out the landing with a beautiful position and time the whole element more precisely to the music and expect to earn +1 and maybe even +2 GOE. If I do 3Lz late in the program, I can probably expect 0 or maybe +1 GOE. I'm better off not doing the combination." That's wise strategy.

If she thinks "I could do 3T+2T+2T toward the end of the program and probably earn around 0 GOE. I could also do a solo 3T or 3Lz toward the end of the program and earn around 0 GOE. I don't like combos, so I don't wanna do another one. I'll just do the harder solo jump and count on the fact that the jump is more difficult to give me the win." That's poor strategy.

Meanwhile, if another skater is more skilled at maintaining flow through a combination and can earn +1 for the combination, then that skater deserves to earn more points for the combination. It shows another kind of skill that the former skater has declined to exhibit, perhaps because she is incapable of it.

Or look at it another way, under a 6.0 mindset.

Lesley can do all the triple jumps, including triple axel, but she needs a lot of time to set them up and she also has a lot of non-jump skills she wants to demonstrate during the program. She decides to do one 3A, one 3Lz, and one 3F, and then several double jumps, including 2A, 2T, 2S, and 2Lo, in combinations or sequences with each other or with intricate steps, and a delayed 1A.

Susie can do triple toe with ease, triple salchow fairly consistently, and can usually squeak out a triple loop. She chooses to do a 2Lz+3T, 3T, 3S, 3S+2Lo, 3Lo, 2A+2T+2Lo, and 2F. If there are no limits on the number of jump passes she might throw in another double or two.

Is the jump content going to be the determining factor here?
Some judges might say Lesley should have the edge on jumps because the three triples she did are the hardest ones available and most skaters can't do them at all. Other judges might say Lesley did three triples, Susie did five. Even if we count the triple axel as worth more than just another triple, Susie still did more triples, more jump passes that required high energy expenditure. So then the jump content might end up being a wash and other aspects of the programs would determine the results.

If Lesley ends up losing to Susie, it's easy to see what her strategy should be: add another easy triple or two.

6. 0
You're missing the point. And you really must learn to condense your posts. The whole reason for a precisely mathematical scoring system, like CoP, is to measure exactly what a skater did on the ice.

It doesn't matter WHY the skater left out the 3-jump combination. The fact is that their program was considerably more difficult than the program with no Triple Lutz, but the scoring system instead says the opposite. That is wrong. The system is flawed.

7. 0
Originally Posted by Blades of Passion
And you really must learn to condense your posts.
Post often, post long!

8. 0
Originally Posted by Mathman
Post often, post long!
Amen! Preach it!

9. 0
Originally Posted by Blades of Passion
You're missing the point. And you really must learn to condense your posts. The whole reason for a precisely mathematical scoring system, like CoP, is to measure exactly what a skater did on the ice.

It doesn't matter WHY the skater left out the 3-jump combination. The fact is that their program was considerably more difficult than the program with no Triple Lutz, but the scoring system instead says the opposite. That is wrong. The system is flawed.
I'm extremely enjoying gkelly's posts but I was lost with this. Are you talking now about gkelly's example (Lesley and Susie)?

Some will argue that 5 Triples > 3 Triples. I thoroughly enjoyed gkelly's thoughtful explanations on why that may be so.

>> back to lurking

10. 0
Originally Posted by Blades of Passion
The whole reason for a precisely mathematical scoring system, like CoP, is to measure exactly what a skater did on the ice.
No, the purpose is to measure exactly what the skater did on the ice within the parameters allowed. A program with three triple lutzes would be more difficult than a program with two triple lutzes. A program with seven triple jumps and seven double jumps would be more difficult than a program with seven triple jumps and four double jumps. But the system is designed not to allow the former layouts. The more difficult program will not always deserve more points according to the rules.

Similarly, there are features that can make elements more difficult -- including, for example, jumping in both directions -- that are not captured by the current rules. So a skater could do something that's more difficult and get no extra credit for it -- or no credit at all.

A senior lady in 2013 could do the equivalent of a level 4 spiral sequence and later a level 4 step sequence and get no credit for either under the 2013 rules, whereas a skater who does a simple choreo sequence after a level B step sequence will at least get some points. Still, everyone knows the former skater did more difficult sequences. Doing the sequences in the wrong order than the rules require is bad strategy.

Yes, it's true that the program you described with the two triple lutzes does not exceed what's allowed. But it doesn't fill what's allowed either. It left out some allowed parts of elements.

Now, the rules can be changed to capture areas of difficulty that are not currently covered and to give more flexibility in the kinds of elements and features and the kinds of temporal sequences with full credit for what was attempted, and the scale of values can be adjusted to give so much credit for difficult jump Q that doing it solo would always be worth more than doing easier jump P in combination with an even easier jump.

You and I agree that the current well-balanced program rules, level rules, and values in the scale of values are not the best possible examples of what they could be. We disagree on many aspects of what alternatives we think would be better.

But even the best possible rules will still need to have caps on certain kinds of skills, with limited opportunities to earn points for each type of skill. If the goal is earning points for elements, skaters need to choose their elements from each category to make the most of their skills within the element slots allowed.

There's no way to have a level playing field without some limits on number of elements, even if we disagree on exactly what those limits should be.

11. 0
Originally Posted by gkelly
No, the purpose is to measure exactly what the skater did on the ice within the parameters allowed.
Yes, and the program with no 3-jump combination was in the parameters allowed.

Almost nobody ever skates a program perfectly. Competitors need to be rewarded for what they in fact did on the ice, not what they COULD do or what they sometimes have done in the past.

Which brings us right back to the point - CoP does NOT currently reward difficulty as it should (nor quality, in terms of mistakes on elements). It rewards quantity moreso. How much "busy work" can you cram into your program without losing focus? While that is certainly something which is measurable, for the most part, it's not always a valid assessment of which skater actually gave a better performance, athletically or otherwise. It's also not a good basis for a sport or art that many people really care about.

12. 0
Originally Posted by Blades of Passion
Yes, and the program with no 3-jump combination was in the parameters allowed.
The program with no 3-jump combo did not optimize all the parameters allowed. Just like a given test with 5 questions, one student answered 4, went over all the answers again and again, rewrite all the answers again and again until it was perfect. The other student was a bit sloppier but finished all 5 questions. Should one student with better writing on the first 4 questions get more points than the one who answered all 5 questions. Let say the first 4 questions are harder than the last questions, and the student perfected all 4 questions. The other did all 5, got partial credit for one of the first 4, but did question #5 perfectly. So, student A arguably did harder test? No, no right minded school/teacher/professor would give student A more points.

Doing 4 problems is certainly was in the parameters allowed.

Again, your logic is not sound. You continue to conflate two very different issues.

13. 0
I think Blades of Passion's point is this. If you look at the two jump layouts in post 31, the set if jumps actually completed by the first skater is harder than the set of jumps actually completed by the second skater. Therefore the first set of jumps should receive a higher base value than the second. But it doesn't.

Now here is a separate question. Could the first skater have scored even higher by doing another combination or something? Is the first skater adopting a smart CoP strategy or a dumb one? Should the first skater put in more transitions before her triple loop in order to get more points? Those are all interesting questions, but different from the issue that BoP is raising.

14. 0
Originally Posted by FlattFan
The program with no 3-jump combo did not optimize all the parameters allowed.

Again, your logic is not sound. You continue to conflate two very different issues.
You're still not seeing it.

When it comes to jumps, the "parameters allowed" are far higher than anyone can ever achieve. The potential is out there for someone to do 7 Quads in their program and, as of right now, every skater in our known existence if falling woefully short of that level. Shame on them!

No, skaters need to be rewarded for what they actually do. It doesn't necessarily matter if they leave out combinations, or downgrade jumps, or fall. How often does anyone ever skate absolutely "perfect" anyway? Pretty much never. Competitors are almost always losing points on one thing or another. Everything is relative and it's all about getting the most points in a competition.

The problem arises when the points awarded are incorrect. Which is the case with CoP right now, especially in the women's competition. Lower level of difficulty is actually REWARDED, such as 2Axel+3Toe combinations being better for gaining points than a Triple-Triple, since putting a 3Toe with 2Axel gives that easier jump a higher +GOE potential, whereas putting a 3Toe on the end of another triple, which is HARDER, doesn't given you any extra benefit.

15. 0
Originally Posted by gkelly
Or look at it another way, under a 6.0 mindset.

Lesley can do all the triple jumps, including triple axel, but she needs a lot of time to set them up and she also has a lot of non-jump skills she wants to demonstrate during the program. She decides to do one 3A, one 3Lz, and one 3F, and then several double jumps, including 2A, 2T, 2S, and 2Lo, in combinations or sequences with each other or with intricate steps, and a delayed 1A.

Susie can do triple toe with ease, triple salchow fairly consistently, and can usually squeak out a triple loop. She chooses to do a 2Lz+3T, 3T, 3S, 3S+2Lo, 3Lo, 2A+2T+2Lo, and 2F. If there are no limits on the number of jump passes she might throw in another double or two...

If Lesley ends up losing to Susie, it's easy to see what her strategy should be: add another easy triple or two.
What an interesting example! To me, Leslie clobbered Suzie under any judging system. Let's say Leslie does 3A, 3Lz, 3F, 2A+2T+2Lo, 2S+2T, 2Lo+2Lo, 1A (delayed). She deserves bonus points for thumbing her nose at the judges. "Of course I could do a triple toe and grab a few more points, but that's not me. I showed you what I can do when I did a triple Axel, triple Lutz, and triple flip. Then I expressed my artistic soul by doing a delayed single Axel with my last pass.

"Suzie? Pul-lease!"

Suzie won, 33.9 to 33.5.

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