ISU 1856: 2014-15 Well Balanced Program

The ISU released Communication 1856 a few weeks ago, but I admit I found it difficult to pay it much attention until after the medals were awarded at Worlds this past weekend. With the 2013-14 season now in the books, let’s have a look at what’s in store for next year.

Communication 1856 presents the Well Balanced Program requirements for Adult, Basic and Advanced Novice, Junior, and Senior categories for 2014-15. I’ll stick to discussing Junior and Senior here, since countries often have their own requirements for domestic Adult and Novice categories. 1856 is not overly detailed, and we’ll unfortunately have to wait until at least June, when ISU Congress wraps up, for any new definitions of Elements, Features, and Additional Features, and probably later for a Communication on Difficulty Groups. Based on trends over the past few seasons, some educated guesses can probably be made as to requirements and specifications, but until the proposals are debated and new documents published, we won’t know anything for certain.


ISU 1798 Overview, Part IV: Wrap-Up

There’s clearly a lot to digest in ISU Communication 1798, and I hope these overviews will help you sort through all of it. We know that at least three more Appendices are to come, in addition to the Summary of Calls and any clarification documents prompted by questions people will have after reading through this first major communication of the season. So if you aren’t quite grasping something just yet, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty in 1798 I’m still wrapping my brain around!

All of the links to Parts I through III are above, in one convenient place. I’ve also included a PDF cheat sheet that briefly lists the new Variations. You might want to print this and use it as a kind of map as you work your way through the new criteria for each Element and Feature.

Happy reading!

ISU 1798 Overview, Part III: Moves, Moves in the Field, Spin, Group Lift, Creative

In case you missed them:

We’re in the homestretch, friends. Just a few more elements to cover…and then obsess over for several months.


  • Basic requirements and Base — For Base to be awarded, it appears all skaters simply have to attempt a Spread Eagle and/or Ina Bauer. To achieve Levels 1-3, basic requirements that need to be fulfilled are as follows: all skaters must execute a Spread Eagle and/or Ina Bauer; changes of edge (if included) must occur at the same time (no change); an fm must be held in the correct position, on the correct edge for three seconds (no change); and fm’s with a change of edge must be in the correct position for two seconds on each edge (no change).
  • Feature — None (no change).
  • Difficulty Groups — Levels 1-3 are essentially the same as last year. One notable difference is that 1798 does not specify whether or not steps are permitted between the two fm’s when a Spread Eagle or Ina Bauer is executed in both rotational directions. I expect this will be clarified in future documents.
  • Variation(s) — None (no change). (more…)

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. (more…)

ISU 1798 Overview, Part I: Block, Circle, Line, Wheel, Intersection

Remember that time I said this?…

I suspect we’ll see more clarifications, rather than changes, given [ISU Communication 1786] is described as replacing Appendix A in Communication 1759. Logic leads me to believe the intention is for 1759 to remain the core reference document, but perhaps simply with minor updates to come.


ISU Communication 1798 outlines several rather major changes to the Difficulty Groups for 2013-14, which is why I’m going to break my overview up into a few separate entries. I’m still working my way through many of the details, and already have a list of questions I expect will be clarified in additional Communications, Q and As, and/or the Summary of Calls in the coming months. For instance, 1798 does not confirm in which cases turns must be correctly executed, versus when they only need to be attempted, for a variation to count. (more…)