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Judging Criteria for MITF

Source USFS Rulebook 2010-11


    Judges take into consideration the general skating level of a test candidate. They base their marks on their notes while observing the actual test. Skaters would be better served if they performed the warm-up and introductions as if they were also being judged. This would help a skater start their test by establishing a favorable/positive mood of judges concerning the actual test.

    Experience has shown that a skater should perform their skating test as if they were a magician performing on stage - the key performing a trick is to distract the audience from what the magician does want the them to see. 

    Skaters who maintain self-confidence throughout a test present themselves as a candidate who judges will pass even if some minor problems occur. A negative response from judges will occur if the skater's body language invokes a mental image of a balloon that has sprung a major leak.

    Judges can not arbitrarily stop a MITF test because they feel the skater is unprepared. The skater may actually be in the mist of a very traumatic family crisis - death, accident, illness, or divorce - which is very stressful to the skater. Judges on a panel may attempt to assist the skater if the skater appears not to understand what element they should be skating. It is exceedingly difficult if the coach is not present and especially if a language/communication problem exists. Judges can not become involved in attempting to teach a skater the proper method of performing an element.

    Because of time constraints at test sessions, the judges may recommend that the coach and skater communicate and determine if the skater will withdraw without a decision being rendered or be given an opportunity to continue the test at the conclusion of the session is time permits.
 
   Assuming that all elements were performed. The most important evaluation a judge makes is if there were serious errors following the completion of the MITF test.  TR 23.01 defines MITF errors as:

A. Serious errors are -
1. A fall;
2. A touchdown of the hand or free foot needed to save the skater from falling;
3. Omission of an element.

B. Mandatory errors in moves in the field tests require a deduction of 0.1 and do not require a
     reskate of the element in question in order to pass the test.

     Mandatory errors are -
1. Exceeding the seven introductory steps;
2. Not starting from a standing, stationary position.

    Each judge at the end of a test will total their marks and determine if their mark meets or exceeds the minimum total mark for passing. There is no official rule that states a test can not be retried if it is one tenth (1/10) of a point below the total passing mark. However, judges generally reflect on their overall opinion of the test and adjust their mark up to pass the test, or down to retry the test by two tenths (2/10) of a point.

    Two judges can request any element or part of an element on the test to be reskated if the judges believe the skater can improve their performance sufficiently to pass the test.  A reskate is not an automatic consideration.

    Sometimes math errors occur, the test chair should review the judges papers and return a sheet with a problem for verification. If the paper is released before the error is detected and the judge has left the rink so they are not available, the circled "out come" is then considered the judge's decision.  If the judge is available, they should correct the problem to reflect their decision to pass or retry the test.


Responsibilities of the Judge-in-Charge -
     Usually the panel of three judges will take turns being the "Judge-in-Charge" for each test.

     The following is a list of possible duties a Judge in Charge may handle during a skater testing their MITF:

     Moves in the field tests require the entire ice surface be available. The ice surface shall not be less than 125 feet by 75 feet (9375 square feet) in size TR 21.02.

    The Judge-in-Charge will determine the area on the ice surface for skater to perform their moves in the field tests. TR 22.02 E.

    The Judge-in-Charge will remind skaters and coaches that while they are allowed to communicate between elements, there is no time for a lesson.

    The Judge-in-Charge will warn skaters if they are not following the requirement to commence an element from a standing, stationary position with a maximum of seven introductory steps unless specified otherwise in TR 25.00.

     If a skater begins to skate an element out of order, the Judge-in-Charge should stop the skater and communicate what element should be skated.  TR 21.04 Moves in the field tests shall be skated in the order set forth in the Schedule of Moves in the Field Tests (TR 25.00 C.).

     If a skater starts an element on the wrong foot or skates an element other than the order listed in the USFS Rulebbok, the Judge-in- Charge must draw attention to the mistake as soon as possible. The mistake must be treated as a false start.
    
     As such a fresh start must be allowed only once without penalty; for a second fresh start, if incorrectly executed, the judges must deduct 0.1 from the mark that they would have otherwise given.

     At the completion of any test and before any other test is conducted, the Judge-in-Charge
shall ask the other two judges individually if they wish any element reskated before the judges turn in their judging sheets. Should the judges wish a reskate, they shall indicate to the Judge-in-Charge what they wish to be reskated. This shall be done privately without conference.  TR 23.01.

     If a majority of the panel requests a reskate, the Judge-in-Charge will direct the skater to reskate the agreed upon element. If the judges do not agree on which element to reskate, the Judge-in-Charge shall decide. A brief rest and warm-up is permitted before the reskate is performed.

A. After a Moves-in-the-Field test, only one element may be reskated. The reskate may consist of the entire element or a portion of the element.


Focus Points:

   The classification of some focus points as primary and secondary has been changed - all focus points are equal. However, there is a major problem in that the diagrams of the USFS Rulebook and PSA MITF patterns contain a focus point. This too often is used exclusively instead of observing and rating the entire list of judging points provided in the text of both the USFS Rulebook and PSA MITF Manual.

  The focus points are no longer considered as having a primary or secondary importance. The PSA MITF booklet and the USFS Rulebook (TR 22.08) requires judges to consider all of the following focus points in assigning marks for MITF tests:
  • Accuracy - the correct start, steps and adherence to the general pattern.   TR 22.08 A. - The steps must be skated in general accordance with the diagrams and descriptions. 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 - initiated through 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.  TR 22.08 B. - Moves-in- the-Field must be skated with good edges, control, flow, extension, carriage and rhythm.
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.  TR 22.08 C.
  • 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. TR 22.08 D.
  • Quickness - quickness refers to foot speed. It is precise, rapid and crisp execution of turns, changes of edge and transitions. Quickness does not refer to the overall pace at which the move is skated, although in some moves the foot speed will result in a brisk and continuous cadence. Refinements to acknowledge include quick movement that is quiet, fluid and continuous without disturbing the proper and erect carriage of the upper body or interrupting the established rhythm. TR 22.08 E.
  • 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. TR 22.08 F - 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; and
(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.
  • TR 22.08 G.
  • 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. TR 22.08 H. Within the limits of the following rules, complete freedom is permitted to the skater.
  • Core Body TR 22.03 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. TR 22.08 I.
   
    As the IJS is now widely used in open and qualifying competitions, more coaches and skaters are familiar with how to read a summary sheet and the GOE marks. Many judges have started to use the IJS GOE numerical scale of -3 to +3 to indicate the quality of specific focus points. Rather than write a "0", a check mark is usually used to indicate acceptable or meets minimum standards.

Grade of Execution
  
Description
+ 3
Outstanding, Excellent
+ 2
          Very Good
+ 1
    Good
  
 0
Fair, Meets Minimum
Level of Acceptability
- 1
       Minor problems
- 2
       Major Problems
- 3
         Back to Basics

    In taking notes and communicating positive and negative qualities of an element on a test sheet, time between elements is a real factor as test chairs attempt to avoid ending with extra unused time. Increasingly judges use abbreviations rather than detailed sentences.

Abbreviation
Description
P, Pow
Power/Continuous Flow
CB
Core Body - Posture/Carriage
  
Side 1, Side 2,  and/or
CCW & CW Direction
  
Evaluate each side and/or direction separately
Q, Rhy
Quickness, Tempo, Rhythm
Ext
Extension
Turns
Turn Quality/Execution

 Abbreviation*
Turn
3
Three Turn
Bk
Bracket
Rk
Rocker
Co
Counter
Lo
Loop
Mo
Mohawk
Cho
Choctaw
Tw
Twizzle

*The description can include foot, edge, and direction in front of the Abbreviation.
  
E, Edges
Edge Quality - solid curve, secure body, no wobbles or subcurves
  
Pat
Accuracy of pattern performed to diagram and element description

Bilat

Bilaterial or Balanced Performance left & right foot going forward & backward in CW & CCW directions

    Adding the scores and dividing by the number of sides and/or directions provides a negative, neutral, or positive total that a judge can convert into a numerical mark appropriate for the level of test.

References:

Test Judging Topics

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:

Seminars of Off-Ice Topics
PDF  IJS Presentation Guidelines   
PDF  What Is A "Well Balanced Program"?
PDF  6.0 Judging System
Judging Criteria for MITF
PDF  Appropriate Costuming

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