Demystifying the Judging System: Roles, Rules & Report Cards (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second instalment in a three-part series about Demystifying the Judging System. Read Part 1: Roles here.

Part 2: Rules


Like the other figure skating disciplines, synchronized skating is governed by rules and regulations created by the International Skating Union. The bad news is, there is no one single rule book that contains everything a coach or official needs to know. The good news is, all the documents that make up the rules are available online, for free. It just requires a little effort to find and organize them.

With so many different documents being published at different times during the year, it can be hard to know where to start when you need to look something up. I’m here to help point you in the right direction.  (more…)

Looking back to plan ahead: tips for effective reflection on your season

Though 20 or so of the globe’s best synchronized skating teams are still gearing up to peak at the World Championships in just a few weeks, the 2012-13 competitive season is winding down for most team skaters. Watching my Facebook and Twitter feeds become flooded with try-out notices, I’m prompted to encourage coaches and skaters not to forget to spend some time reflecting on the past season before being carried away by dreams of what lies ahead. Whether your season was successful, dismal, or something in between, taking a hard look at what did and didn’t work over the past several months can help you make smart decisions about how to approach the coming year. (more…)

Incorporate your competition report card into your strategy for success

You’ve practiced. You’ve competed. You’ve gotten a score, maybe a medal, and a report card.

Now what?

Teams often find themselves asking this question after the first competition. There are an infinite number of different strategies a team can use to prepare for the next competition, and a chosen strategy may or may not change after you have a score and report card from two competitions, or three. No official can tell you which approach will lead to guaranteed success, but I do have a few tips to share to help you make the best possible use of your report card. (more…)

It’s GOE time: a look at the new guidelines

Let’s talk quality.

It took a few years after the implementation of the new judging system for many coaches to really start to pay attention to Grade of Execution marks and begin to strategize with them in mind. GOE has always been part of the equation, but the learning curve that came with understanding the newly invented technical requirements was initially so large, and the rules seemed to change so drastically each season, that GOE (and PCS) often took a back seat. The past few seasons, however, judges have been extremely pleased to see a significant increase in the number of coaches who are placing a high value on quality, displaying a more wholistic approach to choreography–teams are seeing greater rewards when levels of difficulty are chosen according to the GOE that’s likely to be awarded based on the skaters’ actual abilities. From my perspective, this is leading to a more enjoyable experience for both skaters and officials, as well as the development of a stronger foundation in basic skills across the sport. (more…)