ISU 1798 Overview, Part II: No Hold Element and Step Sequences

If you missed it, here’s Part I: Block, Circle, Line, Wheel, Intersection.


  • Basic requirements — No change. For Level Base, the team must cover at least half the length of the ice (or comparable) in four lines of four (or as equal as possible if skating with fewer than 16).
  • Feature — Step Sequence (no change). A Step Sequence is required in the Short, meaning there will be a penalty for omitting or executing it incorrectly, which is not usually the case in the Free.
  • Variation(s) — Some changes, but not as major as some other Elements. The one-foot series that covers 20m or 30m is no longer, but the (1) change of axis, (2) body movements, (3) skaters/lines changing places, and (4) extra features remain. Note that the full length of the ice must be covered for Levels 2-4, while only half the length of the ice must be covered for Level Base and Level 1. All variations apply to all levels (except Base), so pay attention to the “or” and “and” requirements to ensure you include the correct number of variations for the level you are attempting. Variations may still be executed at the same time, but as was the case last season, if a body movement and extra feature are executed simultaneously, the Technical Panel will count only one, in the team’s favor for the higher level.
  • Change of axis: No change. The use of two different axes (short, long, diagonal) must be easily identified by the Technical Panel.
  • Body movements: Changes: there are no longer requirements distinguishing one-foot from two-foot body movements, and none of the body movements need to be executed during a difficult turn. Also, body movements can now be executed anywhere in the NHE and/or ss, including during a stop. No change: the body’s core must move away from the center position, and the movement must affect the body’s weight over the blade.
  • Skaters/lines change places with another skater/line: No change. There are no restrictions on how and when this is executed.
  • Extra features: Change: the two categories are the same — (i) free moves, and (ii) hops/jumps/toe steps — but more extra features are required for some levels. 1798 is specific about which groups the extra features must be chosen from for each level, so read carefully. The extra features are now permitted to be executed anywhere during the NHE, including as the starting or ending movement.

Step Sequence Feature (NHE)

  • Basic requirements — All that’s required for Level Base is two turns (presumably correctly executed) and linking steps. In other words, the old ss1. As usual, any turns executed in a mirror image pattern do not count towards the level being attempted.
  • Difficulty Groups — There are some BIG changes…not just to this Feature, but also in that there are very different requirements for the NHE ss than there are for the BSS and CSS Elements. For the NHE ss, there are five levels in total (Level Base to Level 4), and up to eights turns (six different types) are required for Level 4. (The BSS and CSS also have five levels, but with fewer turns and different variations required.)
  • Variation(s) — Change: there are two variations that are similar to what we’ve become used to, but with important changes. (1) The 360 degree change of rotation has been replaced by simpler 360 degree rotations, and (2) the series of three or four turns on one foot has been replaced by a series/combo of two or three turns on one or each foot. 360 degree rotations are required for Levels 1-4, and one-foot series/combos are also required for Levels 2-4.
  • 360 degree rotations — Rather than doing a 360 degree change of rotation to increase difficulty, teams simply have to do one or more 360 degree rotations, in one or more directions (depending on the level). So, the 360’s do NOT have to be done consecutively, showing a quick change in rotational direction, like they used to. The rotations can be done on one or two feet, with turns or linking steps, and the Tech Panel will watch to make sure the body rotates a full 360 degrees. A Loop IS permitted.
  • Series/combination of different difficult turns  The series/combo requirements are slightly different for each level. Level 2 offers the choice between doing a series/combo of THREE different types of difficult turns on one foot, OR a series/combo of TWO different types of difficult turns on EACH foot. For Level 3, teams must do a series/combo of THREE different types of difficult turns on one foot, AND a series/combo of TWO different types of difficult turns on the other. For Level 4, teams must do TWO different series/combos of THREE different types of difficult turns, one on each foot. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that changes of edge may NOT be executed between turns for any series/combo.
  • Turn definitions — Page 2 offers some slightly over-complicated explanations of terms related to turns. The important take-away is this: a Rocker is a type of turn, and a Forward Inside Rocker is a different turn from a Forward Outside Rocker. Page 15 offers some clear examples of the kinds of series/combos that qualify as “different” from each other. The examples presented show the same type of turn on each foot (eg., Rocker-Bracket-Twizzle), though if my reading of the rules is correct, this is not required. That is, by my interpretation, you are permitted to do Rocker-Bracket-Twizzle on one foot and Bracket-Counter-Rocker on the other foot, as long as each series contains three different types of turns, and the turns on one foot are different from the turns on the other foot by virtue of their entry edge(s) and/or skating direction(s) (forwards or backwards). 1798 specifies that “the same series are not permitted to be repeated on the opposite foot,” and two series/combos are “considered to be the same if they consist of the same turns done in the same order, on the same edge and in the same skating direction.” So don’t do that. I anticipate the ISU will be publishing several more examples of permitted and non-permitted series/combos in the coming months.

Wasn’t that fun? If you feel like crying, bear with me. The BSS and CSS are like a nice home-cooked meal.

BLOCK STEP SEQUENCE — Though the BSS isn’t part of the Junior or Senior WBP for this season, I’ll go over this element (and the CSS) anyway for the benefit of other categories that may include it.

  • Basic requirements and Base — Teams just need to correctly execute ONE turn to get Base called. It doesn’t get simpler than that, folks. Basic requirements that have not changed for the BSS: it may not be attached to the Block; turns done in a mirror do not count towards the level; the team must be in a hold whenever possible; and there must be a minimum of three lines, with a minimum of three skaters per line.
  • Difficulty Groups — These are essentially the same as last year. BSS1: two turns (and linking steps). BSS2: four turns (three different types) plus a 360 degree change of rotation OR series (three turns). BSS3: Five turns (four different types) AND a 360 change of rotation AND a series (three turns). BSS4: Six turns (five different types) AND a 360 change of rotation AND a series (four turns). What’s new: “All levels may choose from all listed turns.” That is, three-turns and Mohawks can now be used for credit towards all levels.
  • Variation(s) — The 360’s and series that we know and love are back. For Level 2, the 360 change of rotation can be executed using any turns, but for Level 3 and 4, the 360 change of rotation must use difficult turns (Rocker, Counter, Bracket, 1.5 or more Twizzle, Loop). Yes, a Loop IS permitted, but note that Choctaws are NOT included in that list. Similarly, for Level 2 the series must only include three different types of turns on one foot, while for Level 3 and 4, the series must include three or four (respectively) different types of difficult turns on one foot. As in the past, the 360 and series may be executed simultaneously. However, a Loop may NOT be included in the series (no change). Also, note that unlike in the NHE ss, changes of edge are permitted between each turn in the series, for all levels.
  • I won’t go into further detail about the 360 change of rotation and series, because the requirements are so similar to what they were last season. Still, I encourage you to read and re-read the requirements, as it’s easy for the mind to become lazy after some time off and miss important subtleties.

CIRCLE STEP SEQUENCE — The CSS also does not appear in the WBP for Junior or Senior teams, but as with the BSS, I’ll review it (very briefly) for the benefit of other categories.

  • Basic requirements and Base — As in the BSS, you only have to execute one turn correctly for Base. Easy peasy. The basic requirements for the CSS are unchanged: must be in one Circle formation; must not be attached to the Circle Element; may change rotational direction; turns executed in mirror pattern do not count towards the level.
  • Difficulty Groups — Exactly the same as the BSS. See above.
  • Variation(s) — Same as BSS. See above.

If all of that didn’t break your brain and you’re still with me, stay tuned for Part III, coming soon.


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