Free Skating Test Requirements

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Focus of Free Skating Tests    
  
Application of Focus Points used in MITF to Free Skating Tests.
  • Accuracy of turns - Subject to a general conformity with the basic requirements, the skater is permitted complete freedom with respect to arm and free leg positions.
  • Edge quality - proper body alignment over the skating foot, creating a stable arc that travels uninterrupted until a required transition takes place. Depth of edge refers to the acuteness of the arc and is created by the lean of the body and the angle of the blade when it takes the ice. Good edge quality results in a confident, sure and controlled movement. Must be skated with good edges, control, flow, extension, carriage and to the rhythm of the music.
A. An even speed and flow should be maintained throughout.
B. Maximum utilization of the ice surface is desirable. Ice coverage must not be obtained by
     the use of flat or shallow edges.

  • Turn quality/Execution – the proper skill and technique of how the turn should be performed. The correct entry and exit edges are to be adequate and maintained throughout the turn for its identification.
  • Extension - the general carriage should be erect, characterized by an extended body line. The angle of the head follows naturally from the line of the back; the arms should be naturally extended with the shoulders down and back. The skater's hands should follow the line of the movement being executed. The final extended position should be executed in a controlled manner and should achieve the maximum length of all body lines.
  • Quickness - quickness refers to foot speed. It is a rhythmic expression of the music as precise, rapid and crisp execution of turns, changes of edge and transitions. Quickness does not refer to the speed over the ice. The choreographic movements should be quiet, fluid and continuous without disturbing the carriage of the upper body to express the interpretation of the music.
  • Power - the creation and maintenance of speed and flow without visible effort. It is developed by a continuous rise and fall of the skating knee together with the pressure of the edge of the blade against the ice. The skater should demonstrate bilateral ability to exert equal pressure against the surface of the ice on both right and left foot, forward and backward, and in the clockwise and counterclockwise direction. End products of power are:

(1) velocity, speed or pace (Continuous Flow),
(2) flow across the ice,
(3) acceleration.
  • Continuous Flow – Part of the Power Focus refers to the skater's ability to maintain a consistent and undisturbed running edge across the ice. Flow does not necessarily relate to the speed at which the skater is traveling as it is sometimes best recognized as the skater starts to slow.
  • Posture/Carriage  – also referred to as Core Body - the proper alignment of the hips, back, arms and shoulders and head over the skate. Unless the move requires a variation, typically, the skater's back should be straight, with the spine and head perpendicular to the surface of the ice. The arms should be extended out from the shoulders and level and relaxed. The free leg should be in a straight line and slightly turned out from the free hip to the free toe. Within the limits of the following rules, complete freedom is permitted to the skater.
  • Core Body An effortless, flowing and graceful execution should be achieved.
      A. The head should be carried in an upright position, relaxed and held naturally;
      B. The upper body should be upright, but not stiff;
      C. The arms should be held gracefully;
      D. The free leg should be extended, with the toe pointed.
  • Bilateral Movement - the ability to execute movements on both sides of the body, clockwise and counterclockwise, forward and backward.
      The focus points apply to the general skating, connecting steps and entries and exits from jumps and spins. In addition there are specific criteria that concern performing the complete rotations in jumps, entry and exit of jumps with speed and maintaining continuous flow on the exit. The body, arms, and free leg position in the air impacts the axis of rotation. A tilt or wobble is easily observable.

       A similar axis of rotation existing in spinning. Any tilt of the body can cause easily observable traveling of the center.  The ability to spin in one spot without any loss of speed is rewarded. Attempt to increase the difficult of the spin generally produces contorted positions that slow the speed of the spin and reduce the total duration of the time spinning in one of the three basic spin positions - Camel, Upright (Layback), and sit spin.

Required Elements - jumps, spins, and footwork sequences

     The required free skating elements are listed on the test sheets. These required elements are linked together in choreographed transitions that connect the jumps, spins, and footwork sequences to the musical score.

    The standard free skate test structure is divided into eight levels to be taken in order from Pre-Pre to Senior:


  • Pre-Preliminary
  • Preliminary
  • Pre-Juvenile
  • Juvenile
  • Intermediate
  • Novice
  • Junior
  • Senior

   
Pre-Preliminary through Senior Free Skating Test Elements

     Prior to taking a standard free skate test, the test candidate must have taken and passed the same level of the standard Moves in the Field test.  Skaters may pass as many levels of the standard Moves in the Field test (up through and including Senior) without taking any Free Skating Test. The Free Skating test level will be used to determine the competitive free skating event the skater may enter.

     Skaters need to be aware that required test elements differ from the minimum requirements for competition events.

    Skaters must know and understand the nuances of the required elements when a decision is made to incorporate competitive elements into the choreography of their free skating test program.

    There are strategies that involve what optional jump and spin elements will pass in a test. When attempting to exceed the requirements, a skater risks a fall that is difficult to recover from and the skater fails to satisfactorily accomplish the mandatory test elements.

    The program requirements specify what type of jumps and spins are are required to pass a test. A double Lutz is more difficult than a double flip, but skaters are not allowed to substitute one for the other when a specific jump is required.

    Individual jumps must be performed as individual jumps and will not receive credit because they were performed as a part of a combination or sequence.

    Many skaters wait until later in the season to test and then they risk confusion when they test because the free skating program they have been practicing the most has been choreographed with much more demanding elements for competition. Only 2 elements that have been poorly performed or not attempted may be reskated.

    The problem with Flip and Lutz jumps is that they have a greater chance of being downgraded because of the wrong edge and/or under rotation.

    There is no automatic penalty in free skating tests for falling except when it prevents a required element from being completed. Judges will factor into their final mark if a skater puts a hand or foot down and fails to complete the full number of revolutions of a jump or spin. Consistent minor errors throughout a program can cause a test to be retried.

References:

Training Principles for Athletes

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

  
USFS Test Judging Topics
PDF  IJS Handbook
PDF  Judges Singles & Pairs Training Manual New  Evaluation of Jumps
PDF  Chart of Changes to MITF  9/2/2010 PDF  2011 USFS Tests Book 8/27/10
PDF  A need for Test Program Element Sheet
PDF  USFS Compulsory Figures Rules
PDF  Focus Points: Evaluate Tests
Roles of Skating Judges and Coaches
Discussion of MITF Topics
New & Revised MITF Elements
Critiquing Skating Performances
Requirements to Pass MITF
MITF Judging Criteria
Critique Sheets
Basic Skating Judging Protocols
Basic Skills Judging Competitions
Worksheets & References for Judges
Test and Elite Standards
A Positive Environment for Adult Skaters
Focus of Free Skating Test Judging
Interpreting 6.0 Score Sheets
School Figures

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