Some of the biggest technical mistakes in synchro and how to avoid them
(Credits: Janne Koistinen - Archives 2018)
This is a new feature on Jura Synchro in 2022! Our new series "On a technicality..." looks at the technical panel and what's behind the points' protocols. Find out the first episode with a column by Tony Kraehenbuehl, Technical Controller.
Are these questions that you have asked yourself either as a coach, as a skater or as a lay spectator?
Well, you’re not the only one! As a technical controller, I get to answer those questions literally 5 seconds after every competition. People want to know why they didn’t get the Step Sequence level or the Free Skating Move level they planned for, to only name a few.
Knowing that the TP is evaluating what they see unfolding in front of their eyes, total scores are very event-dependent. Every performance has the potential to go from the best to worst case scenario in a matter of seconds and skaters know that well… However, the technical panel's job remains unchanged: evaluating what they see happening on the ice.
Independently of whether you're familiar with an ISU scoring protocol, they're not easy to understand even for the acquainted eye. Coaches and skaters are often left with this burning question: why didn't we get that level 4 Step Sequence?
Far from aiming at describing them in an exhaustive manner or providing miraculous solutions, every panel will tell you that there are things you should be EXTRA careful about. So if you want to have a slightly better idea of what you may have to pay a bit more attention to in the future, keep reading the mistakes I have compiled so far this season (PS: they’re not listed in any particular order).
In Pivoting Blocks and No Hold Elements, skaters are required to present series of steps and turns – and the more difficult the better. But please be reminded that it is not enough to simply “check the boxes” and sprinkle brackets and counters all over. They actually must be executed properly.
As a reminder, turns have an entry and an exit edge and must include curves at some point. Also, pro tip, those elements are God-given opportunities for the judges to get a sense of what a team can achieve in terms of skating abilities. So yes, we do see you, you in the middle of the block cheating that twizzle!
So, if you ever wonder why you didn’t get that step sequence, watch a replay and look at the feet. And please, enjoy that free list of errors I’m giving you:
- free foot touches down
- executed on the spot
- wrong edge
- and… not attempted at all.
Skaters on the back line of a Pivoting Block standing there stacked against the barrier waiting for the front line to catch up on their pivoting? Stopping.
Skaters losing speed at the end of a lift and winding up not moving at all to get that lifted skater down? Stationary.
A box Intersection with skaters exiting backwards with a swizzle to keep the box shape until the end but not breaking directly into another element? Stopping or stationary, I've seen both.
A Creative Element with a little choreography on the spot to make it cute? Cute indeed, but guess what… Stationary.
#3 – Choreographic sequences
So, if you really want to give back to the sport, make it so that we don’t have to hunt for movements because we can’t decide whether that was an intentional choreographed chassé or just you trying to avoid landing flat on your face, will be greatly appreciated.
I know it sounds basic, but don’t forget that we are sometimes far away from you; your movements should be as radiant as ever for us to be recognizable. And on a more personal level, I always thought that the element should be called "time-of-your-life choreographic sequence", so I would highly recommend you get that booty shakin’ and those feet kickin’ - don’t settle for the bare minimum.
As miracles sometimes happen, we are now discharged of the burden of timing the intersection (which is now a judge’s duty), but we are however still in charge of making sure that your half circle doesn’t unfold before it has pivoted 90°. And bam… just like that, you have the main reason for why you only got Intersection Level 2. No need to thank me, I’m here for that ;-)
Texts: Tony Kraehenbuehl - Technical Controller for Synchronized Skating