Is it strange that I love the Moves in the Field as much as I do? Okay, don’t answer that.
I know that Moves are basically the piano scales of skating. I know that many skaters and some fellow coaches find these required, fundamental exercises boring beyond words. Yet for some reason, I enjoy teaching them, maybe because I like the challenge of trying to make them fun. I like showing my skaters how the Moves skills relate to other areas of their skating, such as their step sequences and transitions in the Freestyle, Synchro, and Dance programs. And it’s very gratifying to see them climb the Moves testing ladder.
Last year, we started to hear that United States Figure Skating was going to restructure the Moves. I think this news was received by most coaches with a mix of excitement (something new to teach!) and trepidation (uh oh, something new to teach…). I certainly felt both of these things, especially in light of all the new concepts we’ve had to digest due to IJS. Skaters and parents of skaters frantically wondered if they should try to test all the way from Pre-Juvenile level all the way through Senior within the next year in order to avoid the changes.
In fact, the new Moves were proposed at the 2008 Annual Governing Council Meeting last May. However, they did not pass. At the PSA Conference later that month, many coaches got a look at the proposed (yet unapproved) changes during presentations by coaches Damon Allen and Janet Champion, both of Colorado Springs.
Curious about the current status of these changes, I contacted Wayne Hundley, who is the chairperson for the new Moves Task Force. He is a Technical Specialist, a Controller, a National Judge and former competitor located in Riverside, California. The task force includes about 22 people, including USFS Committee chairs, USFS Board Members and PSA Representatives. Hundley was kind enough to update me with a lot of specific information and he encouraged me to pass it along here.
Turns out that since May, they have basically started over from scratch. They are taking into consideration lots of feedback they have received from members-at-large and have been working to address some of the most common concerns.
Among these concerns, is the length of the tests and the amount of ice time clubs need to purchase in order to host these test sessions. In response, Hundley’s committee is now proposing that approximately eight of the current Moves are simply condensed so that they take less time. For example, in the Preliminary Moves, instead of doing two figure eights of Forward and Backward Crossovers around the hockey circles, the skaters would do only one figure eight forward, then flow directly into a backwards figure eight without stopping. Another example of this is on the Juvenile Eight Step Mohawk Sequence: instead of stopping between directions, they are proposing that this is set up as a figure eight and one circle simply flows into the next, similar to how the Juvenile Backward Power Three Turns currently work.
In this new plan, some moves have been taken away all together, such as the Intermediate Back Perimeter Power Crossovers with Backward Power Three Turns, the Novice Bracket-Three-Brackets and the Junior Forward and Backward Power Circles. This is meant to make time for the addition of some entirely new moves, which feature Loops, Twizzles, and some Circle Eights reminiscent of School Figures. They believe that these will be helpful to competitive skaters using IJS for Freeskating, Pair, Dance and Synchro and that they will also impart important skills for skaters on the test track.
Along these same lines, there are also some revisions to the Novice and Senior Spiral Sequences to incorporate more kinds of spirals. Specifically, the Novice test would include all eight spirals (i.e. now there would be Forward Outside Spirals and Back Inside Spirals on both feet in that sequence). And the Senior test would change slightly at the end of the pattern to include a Forward Outside Spiral. At both of these levels, the skater would be required to hold each Spiral for a designated number of seconds, in some cases three seconds and in some cases six.
In all, there are approximately 16 changes, and this number includes those eight Moves that aren’t really changed, just condensed. From what I can tell thus far from Hundley’s extremely clear and organized proposal, the changes are not very drastic. And they make sense. I like the idea of incorporating twizzles, loops, and some old-school figure eights into the Moves and getting rid of a lot of the restarts.
I think what would take the most effort to learn would probably be the proposed Junior Straight Line Step and the new Senior Circular Step Sequence. This latter pattern does use some of the current version, but with the addition of a few new turns, like Twizzles and Counters. Hundley underscored the fact that the Senior test is the culmination of the whole process, so it’s important that this test incorporates as many of the Moves skills as possible. Truthfully, it doesn’t even seem like these two Moves are very complicated, nothing to get anxious about.
Hundley said, “Skating is constantly evolving and we want the Moves to reflect that progress.” He emphasized that the Moves are meant to improve basic skating skills, such as better turn quality et cetera, for all skaters, not just competitors.
Hundley assured me that none of this is a secret. They already have the diagrams finished and coach Gerry Lane is helping to get the video clips ready. They hope to have lots of the information for these newest proposals posted on the USFS website as early as mid-November. They will be presenting these New Moves yet again at the 2009 Governing Council Meeting next May, so they are hoping to have lots of input on the proposal before then. The Professional Skaters Association would, as always, put together the manual, which outlines the focus of each Move and the common errors.
If this newest version passes in May, these Moves will go into effect September 2009.
Thanks so much to Wayne Hundley for so generously sharing all of this info and providing lots of much-needed clarity. It will be interesting to see if this all goes through and fun to play with some new (and slightly tweaked) tricks.
So what do you think of all this? Please leave a comment below.
And, this weekend I went to Oktoberfest in Central Park. To read The Informer report, click here.