Identifying Turns and MITF from the Sine Qua Non thread

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
dorispulaski said:
A discussion in the Sine Qua Non thread evelved into some interesting technical description and video clips that are helpful for learning how to identify the different turns and steps. The start point I picked is somewhat arbitrary, but don't be discouraged. I learned a lot from gkelly's posts!.


It might be better to show transitions that are not a lead-in to a jump. In this example the audience will be more interested in the jump than in the fine points of the entry.

Fair enough.

By the way, if you back up to the previous element, a triple Axel, Scott says about the rotations and the landing -- three and half rotations; he just barely made it." I thought it was perfect. Maybe the tiniest of a few degrees rotation on the ice, but basically right on the money. Am I wrong?

Looks rotated to me. At full speed in the program, it's clear that the axel loses speed, some of which he gets back with the double toe. That's not evident in the slow motion because you can't see how much more speed he had on the entrance compared to the landing. That's probably what Scott was referring to.
 
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rvi5

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
...I don't think anyone would want to buy a ticket to a gala held after a private competition.
Probably why they don't have their way ;)



I forgot to mention, other sports may also have "close calls" ie. the puck hitting the goal post, the basketball bouncing on the rim and falling off the wrong side. Close-calls illicit ooohs of excitement. Figure Skating does not have close-calls, but does have the opposite ie. falls and stumbles etc. Perhaps not as exciting, since I assume everyone feels bad for the skater (unless you are bias against, or indifferent).



All the ideas you have been discussing are good, but they appear to be aimed at casual fans with some basic knowledge. In some cases, I think it may be necessary to go even further back to raw basics.

When I was at a hockey game with my brother and his wife, the wife mentioned it was difficult for her to "get-into" hockey because she did not understand it. As an example, she commented how the whistle just blew and the game was stopped, yet she had no idea why. I responded by telling her it was an "off-side" call. Her response was, "yeah, what is that". I think it is the same with Figure Skating.

Before I became interested in Figure Skating, I had heard the terms "Lutz", "Axel", etc. and knew they were jumps. I knew a double was the number of rotations in the air, although it was not obvious from the name that a double axel was actually 2.5 rotations. I had no idea what the differences were between the jumps. To the new casual viewer, they all look alike (jump up, rotate, land). It was not until I made the effort to search the internet that I learned the differences. Even then, reading the descriptions wasn't clear (that site had too much technical details, and was difficult to follow). I had to read the descriptions several times in some cases. Most casual viewers would not make that type of effort, and would go through life blissfully ignorant and uninterested. The same sister-in-law also mentioned to me on a different occasion, that she wouldn't know the difference between a Lutz and a Flip (she chose those jump names randomly). What is a Mohawk? Is that a type of haircut or a native Indian tribe? Like my brother's wife with hockey, it would be difficult for people to become interested in Figure Skating if they do not have a clue.

Occasionally there are trade shows held for cars, home products, hunting & fishing, wine & cheese. I don't know if there are similar sport trade shows, where local skating clubs can put on exhibitions, and give a brief basic "skating-for-dummies" demonstration between the performances. Perhaps the indifferent can be turned into casual fans, and the casual fans may become avid fans.
 

BravesSkateFan

Medalist
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Aug 7, 2003
To reach general audiences who wouldn't even call themselves skating fans, short educational segments on TV broadcasts would probably read the most people at that level of interest.

When I attended the Summer Olympics in London, before each event they showed an event guide on the screens in the arena. It was fairly basic, but it described format, scoring etc. For example when we saw the Rhythmic Gymnastics they described the 4 apparatus and basic skills that would be performed, the area of the floor, how many judges there were, what the judges were looking for etc. It was particularly helpful in the sports that we knew little or nothing about. Perhaps if they aired something like this at the beginning of a broadcast it would be helpful to the casual fan...most especially at the big competitions like Olympics, Worlds and Nationals.
 

Dragonlady

Final Flight
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Aug 23, 2003
To reach general audiences who wouldn't even call themselves skating fans, short educational segments on TV broadcasts would probably read the most people at that level of interest.

CTV used to broadcast a segment at the beginning of discipline's SP setting out the 8 required elements and what the judges were looking for on each. They would also have fluff pieces showing how to identify jumps, and again what the judges are looking for. For a while they also had Jean Senft doing a judge's segment, but I don't remember much about them.

When CoP was introduced, they spent time at the beginning of each broadcast explaining how it worked. Tracy Wilson and Debbie Wilkes took the ISU technical specialist training to help with their commentary. Big difference from what happened in the US where the commentators still don't seem to have a clue about the scoring.
 

Mathman

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Jun 21, 2003
About educating viewers, it's a tough sell any way you look at it. As much skating as I have watched live and on TV, I still generally can't tell one jump from another. Unless the announcer says, here comes a triple flip. Then I nod sagely and say, yup, that was a triple flip -- note the three turns entrance and the inside edge take-off. (Everybody say, ooo, an expert in the house! :laugh: )

Is it possible to teach such a numbskull the difference between a counter and a Chocktaw?

In this video (its creator is in the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of fame, in the same class as Paul Wylie), is it possible to identify the particular turns and movements in the first 20 seconds? (Serious question.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBrALhb8uiQ#t=0m21s
 

gkelly

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Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Is it possible to teach such a numbskull the difference between a counter and a Chocktaw?

Yes, because a counter is a one-foot turn and a choctaw changes feet at the same time it changes direction.

Being able to distinguish between counters vs. rockers or brackets, or choctaws vs. mohawks, would be trickier.

But none of these turns should be introduced in a first lesson on element recognition. Should I suggest a possible format for teaching turn recognition?

In this video (its creator is in the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of fame, in the same class as Paul Wylie), is it possible to identify the particular turns and movements in the first 20 seconds? (Serious question.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBrALhb8uiQ#t=0m21s

There are some recognizable three turns there, but some of the other steps are just simple strokes or two-foot nothings, at least nothing that real skaters on blades would be likely to do or give names to.
 

gkelly

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Jul 26, 2003
Here's a good place to start online for recognizing steps and elements: http://www.sk8stuff.com/m_recognize.htm

What I'd like to do is put together some scripts for potential video segments explaining the basic skills to nonskaters.

The time-consuming part would be finding clips to illustrate each point. If we were really a network producing these segments for broadcast, we'd just take a camera down to a rink and get some skaters to demonstrate each one.
 

mskater93

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Joined
Oct 22, 2005
MM, pick a program, post the youtube and what section you want identified, and one of the skaters here can identify the steps and turns for you....I typically catalog them as I watch.
 

Mathman

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Jun 21, 2003
MM, pick a program, post the youtube and what section you want identified, and one of the skaters here can identify the steps and turns for you....I typically catalog them as I watch.

I will take you up on that! :clap:

Here is Mao Asada, Grand Prix Final short program just skated. Staring at about 2:12 she does ??? then a short bacjward spiral (?) then a couple of ???, then a triple loop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZnHBWYwSfg#t=2m12s

Gkelly beat me up :) about saying that skaters twitch back and forth. The last moves just before the jump are what I was referring to. The average viewer who is not watching her feet just sees a saucy swish of the backside.
 

gkelly

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Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Here is Mao Asada, Grand Prix Final short program just skated. Staring at about 2:12 she does ??? then a short bacjward spiral (?) then a couple of ???, then a triple loop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZnHBWYwSfg#t=2m12s

Starting at about 2:12 she does a brief Ina Bauer on inside edges, then I wouldn't even call it a spiral because of the upper body position -- I'd just say a backward free leg extension -- and then three choctaws and a mohawk, change feet, into the triple loop.

Gkelly beat me up :) about saying that skaters twitch back and forth. The last moves just before the jump are what I was referring to. The average viewer who is not watching her feet just sees a saucy swish of the backside.

The reversing choctaws are not especially deep here, the way ice dancers do them in the rhumba, but nice and light and fairly quick. This move, reversing back and forth between forward and backward, is on the junior Moves in the Field test in the US test system -- compare to the "choctaw" link I gave in post #54. So it's a fairly advanced sequence of steps to do on clearly recognizable edges, but since that's the only really difficult step in this series leading into the loop, and it's not particularly closely connected to other steps or turns or to the jump itself, I wouldn't say the preceding steps part of this element is especially impressive by world-class senior standards. It is certainly much more nicely performed than would be typical on the junior moves test, or by mid-level skaters who frequently stick one set of small, usually shallow or flat, reversing choctaws before their double lutzes as nominal transitions.

How about this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hXcbgqsq8Q#t=2m0s

To me this looks like a series of one-foot turns into the jump. Mao's transitions are more varied, but are they harder than Ashley's?

This is a series of traveling three turns. Essentially two double threes -- which is an intermediate-level move. I would say that that particular variety (back outside and forward inside in the skater's preferred direction) is the easiest -- i.e., I can do them, with much weaker quality, in my direction into a single loop. What's difficult is getting enough power for a triple without an extra push from the other foot onto the takeoff edge as is typical of most loop entrances.

Does Ashley get any credit for the stag jump right after the triple loop?

Sure, for the transitions component. Nice seamless connection between the solo triple jump and the step sequence. Not really close enough to the jump to count as part of that element.

I wouldn't say that either skater's steps-before-solo jump is especially impressive for difficulty at world-class level. The quality is appropriate for that level.
 

Mathman

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Jun 21, 2003
Thank you, gkelly. I think this is something I could get into, as a spectator.

According to the CoP guidelines, the four bullets for transitions are variety, difficulty, intricacy, and quality. So, what I am hearing is that as far as variety and difficulty are concerned, an intermediate skater can do pretty much the same as what the world champion can do, and a novice can do it pretty well. (I am not entirely sure what "intricacy" comprises apart from variety and difficulty.)

So the big difference between a novice getting a 3.5 in Transitions and a world champion getting 8.5, is in the quality. By this I suppose we mean things like security and pureness of edges, speed, integrity of whole body movement, seamless transitions between transitions :), matching of movement to choreography and music -- that sort of thing?

(Mohawks and Choctaws -- change feet. Counters and rockers -- same foot. Right? :) )
 

gkelly

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Jul 26, 2003
Thank you, gkelly. I think this is something I could get into, as a spectator.

I hope so. :)

According to the CoP guidelines, the four bullets for transitions are variety, difficulty, intricacy, and quality. So, what I am hearing is that as far as variety and difficulty are concerned, an intermediate skater can do pretty much the same as what the world champion can do, and a novice can do it pretty well.

Well, not necessarily. Some transitions that some top senior skaters could not be done by someone who is not a top senior skater, but the examples you happened to choose are not especially difficult for skaters at that level.

Yes, the quality matters a lot.

Also, senior skaters will be doing those transitions in and out of triple jumps, whereas intermediates and novices will mostly be doing doubles.

(I am not entirely sure what "intricacy" comprises apart from variety and difficulty.)

As I understand that criterion, it's how closely the transitional moves are connected to each other or to elements, or how closely the elements are connected to each other.

E.g., Ina Bauer, bend the forward knee further and lift the back foot off the ice, swing it through to jump (see the first transition in the link below) would be a more intricate entry into a double axel than Ina Bauer, crossover, hold back outside edge, and step forward to jump (usual axel setup). The Ina Bauer itself might be just as good or better quality in the second example, but the connection would not being very intricate.

official ISU explanation

So the big difference between a novice getting a 3.5 in Transitions and a world champion getting 8.5, is in the quality. By this I suppose we mean things like security and pureness of edges, speed, integrity of whole body movement, seamless transitions between transitions :), matching of movement to choreography and music -- that sort of thing?

Yes, quality will be a big part. But 8.5 is a very good transitions score -- even a world champion is not likely to deserve that unless he or she is using more difficult connections (i.e., more difficult, and more of them) than an average novice. But the difference between a world champion earning 8.5 and a novice doing similar numbers and types of steps similarly connected to the elements will most likely be quality. Still, if a novice is doing that much, her Transitions score could well be higher than 3.5.

(Mohawks and Choctaws -- change feet. Counters and rockers -- same foot. Right? :) )

You got it!
 

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003

!!!

Why don't they show videos like that on TV at the start of competition broadcasts?

Second, why isn't there a Shen and Zhou channel -- all Shen and Zhou, all the time?

Thank you so much. What about this one? :)

Patrick Chan 2012 Grand Prix Final SP. Before his solo quad, he does a few turns and things, but to me they are too far away from the jump to count as transitions into the jump. It looks like he just does one simple turn to get into position to the jump. Does this satisfy the short program requirement?

On the other hand, starting about 2:20 he does quite a lot leading up to his triple Lutz/triple toe attempt. Do you think that he planned a 4T+3T at the beginning and transitions into a solo triple Lutz, but he couldn't pull off the second jump of the quad combo and had to improvise?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePHUy8yU-gU#t=1m7s
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
!!!

Why don't they show videos like that on TV at the start of competition broadcasts?

Well, if TV networks are going to show official ISU training materials, they'd need to make some kind of deal about the rights.

The segments are mostly too long to fit into broadcasts aimed at general audiences. But 1-minute excerpts would be useful. I think the ISU should make the videos for sale (on disks or as online content) for reasonable prices to interested fans and give them to the media for educational purposes.

Patrick Chan 2012 Grand Prix Final SP. Before his solo quad, he does a few turns and things, but to me they are too far away from the jump to count as transitions into the jump. It looks like he just does one simple turn to get into position to the jump. Does this satisfy the short program requirement?

Barely.

In the negative GOE guidelines, there's supposed to be a reduction of -1 for -2 for "Break between required steps/movements & jump/only one step/movement preceding jump" but the final GOE does not need to be negative. Still, +2 does seem too high.

(If there are no preceding steps, the GOE reduction is -3 and the final GOE must be negative.)

On the other hand, starting about 2:20 he does quite a lot leading up to his triple Lutz/triple toe attempt. Do you think that he planned a 4T+3T at the beginning and transitions into a solo triple Lutz, but he couldn't pull off the second jump of the quad combo and had to improvise?

Seems likely . . . and based on what he did at his previous GP events this fall, that does seem to be the case.
 

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
The trick would be convincing them that it's better to invite audiences in to understand what skaters and judges understand, rather than just tell them to enjoy the pretty skating and the exciting jumps and not worry their pretty little heads about the technical details that decide the results.

Michael Weiss just made me mad on the NBC coverage of the Grand Prix final. When Hanyu popped his 4S into a 2S Weiss said, he will only get about a point for that instead of about 10 points. Is the audience so dumb that they would not understand if he said that Hanyu will get only 1.3 points instead of 10.5?

Also, these guys are commenting to tape after already having seen the competition, right? So Michael should have been prepared to discuss why Chan didn't get credit for the 2A+2T, without fumbling around with an explanation which, if you didn't already know the answer, was not of much use to the viewer.

Likewise Scott Hamilton could serve the viewers better if he would not simply exclaim, "oh that's so hard" every few seconds. Why can't he explain, at least in the replays, exactly what the skater is doing that makes it hard, naming and describing the moves? It is not much help when he continually says, "in this new judging system every little thing the skater does counts!" Why not show us some of those things that count for so much in the IJS. Why not say, "This turn with change of direction leading into this jump is called a Mohawk. This ups the difficulty of the jump and will be reflected by an extra point in the grade of execution."

As for those viewers who don't want their pretty little heads worried, such expert commentary would do no harm. They would just go on enjoying the jumps and the pretty skating as before.

OK, one more question, if I may. :)

In the instructional tape for Transitions, in the program of the skater who didn't have many, at one point the narrator says, "crossunder, followed by crossover, followed by cross-cut." I always thought that "cross-cut" was just the Canadian way of saying crossover. (It's cool when the British commentators call a triple Rittberger/triple cherry flip combo.)
 

gkelly

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Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Michael Weiss just made me mad on the NBC coverage of the Grand Prix final. When Hanyu popped his 4S into a 2S Weiss said, he will only get about a point for that instead of about 10 points. Is the audience so dumb that they would not understand if he said that Hanyu will get only 1.3 points instead of 10.5?

Probably not. Maybe they were also figuring in that the GOE would be affected as well so the actual amount lost was only approximate.

Why not show us some of those things that count for so much in the IJS. Why not say, "This turn with change of direction leading into this jump is called a Mohawk. This ups the difficulty of the jump and will be reflected by an extra point in the grade of execution."

I agree in principle, but that's a bad example. :) (See below)

In the instructional tape for Transitions, in the program of the skater who didn't have many, at one point the narrator says, "crossunder, followed by crossover, followed by cross-cut." I always thought that "cross-cut" was just the Canadian way of saying crossover. (It's cool when the British commentators call a triple Rittberger/triple cherry flip combo.)

I've usually heard "cross cut" as an alternate term for back crossover. The "crossunder" term would mean that it was the back foot doing all the work, and by "crossover" he may have meant that only the front foot was working on that specific stroke. Usually there are at least two parts of the whole crossover/cross cut where the skater is pushing to gain power.

Rough relative difficulty of turns and other transitions:

According to when various turns are introduced in the US Moves in the Field tests, and before that on the figure tests, and my own experience, I would roughly classify the difficulty of the turns as follows:

Easy: forward three turns, forward inside mohawks, back outside mohawks (usually just called "step forward")

Advanced beginner: backward three turns, forward outside and back inside mohawks, backward choctaws in isolation, edge changes, cross rolls

Medium: double threes/traveling threes; single twizzles, brackets, loops, forward choctaws

Difficult: counters, rockers, multi-revolution twizzles

Advanced: combinations of turns and/or steps with quick changes of rotational direction, changes of rhythm, multiple turns on the same foot; especially any sequence of moves that incorporates all of the above

Along the way, the average skater, or actual individual skaters, will find some turns significantly easier clockwise vs. counterclockwise, or forward vs. backward, or inside vs. outside edges. So a lower-level skater might be able to one or more of a certain kind of turn, but not from all 8 different starting edges. Also they might be able to do the turn recognizably but not hold the exit edge. At an advanced level, you would expect the edges to be clear even when the skater quickly moves on to the next step.

Difficulty of the types of steps and turns aside, I would say that the factors that make an entry into a jump difficult would be quick rhythm of steps without a break, multiple one-foot turns, quick change of rotational direction right before takeoff, quick change from a body position in which the center of balance was in a very different position from where it needs to be for the actual takeoff
 

mskater93

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
gkelly, you are doing a great job explaining this so far. I would put loops in the difficult column because skaters typically get 1 or 2 in their natural rotational direction somewhat easily (usually forward outside, back inside), can learn a couple of the others with a fair amount of work (forward inside in normal rotational direction, back inside in non rotational direction, forward outside in non-rotational direction, back outside in normal rotational direction) and struggle with the non-rotational back outsides and forward insides, especially (this comes from experience working on the current Novice test and watching others learning the new Junior move and having been introduced to the back loops at the same time as learning the Novice forward loops).

MM: the things that make some turns more difficult than others are the precise placement of body position that's required to make the turn happen cleanly along with quickness.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
I would put loops in the difficult column because skaters typically get 1 or 2 in their natural rotational direction somewhat easily (usually forward outside, back inside), can learn a couple of the others with a fair amount of work (forward inside in normal rotational direction, back inside in non rotational direction, forward outside in non-rotational direction, back outside in normal rotational direction) and struggle with the non-rotational back outsides and forward insides, especially (this comes from experience working on the current Novice test and watching others learning the new Junior move and having been introduced to the back loops at the same time as learning the Novice forward loops).

Fair enough.

I'm still working on trying to get backward threes up to test standard for prejuvenile or adult silver. But I try to learn whatever harder turns I can, for fun and possible use in programs, not that I expect ever to pass tests on them.

I can do back inside loops in both directions pretty consistently, forward outside in the good direction getting to be better than 50-50, forward inside in the good direction maybe 25% of my attempts, back outside good direction usually makes the loops but completely loses speed. I don't think I'll ever get the other three (bad direction) at all.

And I like forward rockers better than brackets or counters. The backward ones are all pretty much stops, no flow on the exit edge.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Suppose a TV network is going to make a series of educational segments to introduce viewers to the basic techniques that underlie the sport and the technical values that are being judged.

For every concept that is introduced in these introductory overviews, there would probably be a brief video clip a couple seconds long illustrating exactly what the narration describes. I can't edit that finely using type and youtube links, so I'm going to post the first segment with only a link to a still picture. Let me know if you want links for specific concepts, cued up to what would be the few seconds used in a TV segment.

For later segments that focus on specific moves or groups of moves, I'll give links that you might want to watch at more length.

Other skaters: Please suggest edits if you think I got something wrong or didn't explain clearly.

* * * * *
First segment: Blades are the basis

The sport of figure skating is based on all the different ways that the human body can manipulate a pair of narrow blades fastened lengthwise along the bottom of the foot.

Figure skating blades are sharpened with two edges, one toward the inside side of the foot and one toward the outside with a narrow hollow running between them. Most of the skills that make up the vocabulary of skating moves are based on gliding forward or backward on one edge at a time, which produces a curved movement over the ice. These curves, and the curved tracings that the blades carve into the ice itself, are also referred to as “edges.”

Gliding on two feet at the same time in most cases removes most of the challenge of maintaining balance that the sport is based on. Gliding forward or backward on both edges of the blade at the same time results in straight-line motion. Blades moving sideways across the ice act as brakes, slowing or stopping the gliding motion. Stepping or hopping on the serrated teeth (toepicks) at the front of the blade allows for staccato motions in contrast to the basic gliding motion. Such moves can all be used in skating programs for choreographic effect. But the fundamental techniques of figure skating consist of gliding on one edge at a time and transitioning from one edge to another.

Harnessing speed and centripetal and centrifugal forces allows skaters to control their balance on the thin blades in positions that often cannot be sustained while standing still, on or off the ice.

Two edges on each foot (inside and outside) times two feet (right and left) times two directions of travel (forward and backward) yields a total of eight different edges: right forward inside, right forward outside, left forward inside, left forward outside, right backward inside, right backward outside, left backward inside, left backward outside.

Each curve travels in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Just as most people are right handed and a minority left handed, most skaters have a clear preference for rotating counterclockwise and a minority prefer clockwise. This preference is trivial in simple glides but becomes more significant when quick rotation (as in spins and jumps) or turns requiring tricky shifts of balance are involved.

Balance Glide Flow Edges Curves are all words that describe the fundamentals of good skating that the sport has always held among its highest values.
 
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