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As The Blade Turns and the IJS Rules Change

After the ISU Congress we all find ourselves in a frenzy about the newest updates and changes to take affect for the new competitive season.  Sometimes these changes are minor and other times, like now, they are substantial. The Europeans have a bit of an edge over the Americans and Canadians as they start their seasons later than we do. This enables them to construct and choreograph their programs to the most current rules and regulations.  Over the years, I have come to accept this as commonplace for me and my work. Actually, I find that the changes can add a whole new dimension to an existing program I have choreographed. I decided years ago that I would view the ISU Congress notifications as an opportunity rather than an annoyance.

Summer and fall competitions are in full swing, per usual, at this time of the year.  Although the new IJS rules went into effect July 1, 2018, some clubs are choosing to use September 1, to incorporate the new changes in non-qualifying competitions, particularly when it comes to the increased range of GOE’s (Grades of Execution).  We have been accustomed to the range of GOE’s from +3 to -3; now the range has increased to +5 to -5.

Another change skaters will notice on their protocol sheets is the new 1Eu (Euler) which has a base value factor of .50.  This is the half loop that we have seen as single loop in past years.

In the revised 2018 Scale of Values of the GOEs, skaters will now receive percentages that match the GOE range. This can increase their component mark plus or minus 10% to 50%.  For example, a +1 adds a 10% increase in the value of the GOE score.

The complete range of values looks like this:

+1 = + 10%      -1 = -10%

+2 = +20%       -2 = -20%

+3 = +30%       -3 = -30%

+4 = +40%       -4 = -40%

+5 = +50%       -5 =-50%

As you can see this new value system can greatly affect a skater’s score in a hopefully positive way but sometimes in a negative way.  This provides judges with a platform to say this skill was outstanding or that it needs work and it provides athletes and their coaches more detailed feedback.

In a recent video interview on the Skating Lesson with Rafael Arutunian, Dave Lease asked him what he thought of the new wider spread of GOEs for the coming season. Rafael commented, “I wonder if the ISU understands just how long it can take to make these changes?” This coming season will be one of changes and modifications as we all adjust to these new rules.

But just how can skaters maximize their element and component scores to get into the upper range of positive GOE’s?  As a choreographer, I am always trying to capitalize on the skater’s natural talents and abilities when crafting their programs.  By doing this it pushes the skaters to increase not only their PCS  (Program Component Score) but also the level and complexity of their elements to raise their TES (Total Element Score).  I have a three-crossover rule that I try to abide by before a transitional move or step to enable the skater to have optimal speed into a jump with increased interest and difficulty prior to the element to increase their transition scores. It will be interesting to see how this increased range of GOEs will play out in these areas.

Choreographing the elements and transitions to maximize PCS (Program Component Scores) has also opened up new opportunities this season for all choreographers and coaches.  When creating a program one can explore new possibilities enabling the maximum positive GOE’s in all the areas of the component score including skating skills, performance, and interpretation of the music.

The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.

Auf Wiedersehen


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