Update: New Moves in the Field

September 23, 2008

My, what a nice loop she just completed, and in turquoise skates.

My, what a nice loop...and in turquoise skates.

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.

If you subscribe to Professional Skater Magazine, check out page 8 for a humorous essay I wrote about the PSA Ratings process…

And, this weekend I went to Oktoberfest in Central Park. To read The Informer report, click here.

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16 Responses to “Update: New Moves in the Field”

  1. Heartig Says:

    Hey, some of this does sound good. Getting rid of all that stopping and starting is a good way to trim the fat and save time.

  2. Jenn Says:

    Ha ha! I know, suddenly everybody wanted to take their tests right away, even if they were nowhere near ready. But I guess we learned our lesson last time – no need to get all worked up about anything until they actually get approved.

  3. Timbo Says:

    I think Turquoise Lady should obviously do the demonstrations on the next Moves videos.

  4. spicedaddy Says:

    More troubling than the moves themselves is the lack of objective, consistent judging standards for the moves, standards which hold true across clubs and rinks around the country.

    Let us hope they implement time limits to assure that tiny, slow, powerless 11 year olds no longer are taking and passing their senior test. The number of turtle-speed higher-level moves tests I have watched in the last year or two is amazing, especially when “power” is a focus element on many of these moves.

  5. Mrs Redboots Says:

    We already have twizzles in the Skating Moves in the UK – I was watching a skater rehearse her Level 9 Moves test this morning. One of the moves is a double-3 followed by a twizzle, on the same foot, and you have to come out of the twizzle on a steep inside edge before changing feet to repeat the move on the other foot. All round the rink. Sooner her than me, is all I can say – my twizzles and double 3s are indistinguishable from one another as yet!

  6. DVJ Says:

    Thanks so much for all this info,now I am in the loop…speaking of loops,how exciting they are making a comeback.It will be fun explaining to students that not only did we have to do loops back in the day but we had to trace them(while nervous in front of judges!) ,they will have a whole new respect for us old timers…

  7. Meadow Says:

    So we got rid of the figures and, oh my gosh, we found that the kids can no longer actually skate, hmmm….

  8. JoAnn Says:

    Oh, Meadow, you took the words right out of my mouth!!! The way to keep these tiny, powerless little ones from taking their Senior test was ….. figures. So they either learned how to do them or they quit.

    I heard a million reasons for dropping figures…too many lessons needed, too much ice time for rinks, yadda yadda. Now look what we have. Rink time for moves, lessons for moves…..yadda yadda

    Is it a coincidence that figures were dropped just at the time when Tara L. reached the highest level of figures she was able to achieve? And it was not Senior level! After all, she needed more time to practice her triple jumps, right? And thanks to overpracticing her triples, at 18 she needed surgery that was practically hip replacement.

  9. Yankee Polka Says:

    I wish I had done school figures. When I started testing moves was when they started to phase them out of the skating world. Now in synchro, twizzles and LOOPS are huge points in step sequences and putting them in the moves in the field is great! It will def help a lot of synchro skaters and ice dancers. Too bad I passed my senior moves 5 years ago. I wish I could test these, loops and twizzles were my specialty :p

  10. Maureen Says:

    I can’t believe if they are approved in May they would go into effect that fall. The original plan (that got kaboshed) would have gone into effect next fall as well if they had been approved at GC(2009), so why wouldn’t we get to 2010? (Just grumbling for myself since I am on the last three tests and am taking my Novice in a couple weeks and know I could no where come close to finishing both tests by next fall – I am an adult skater with limited time who also competes FS.)

    In general, if the new moves are well thought out, I am all for it. If judges apply consistent standards from skater to skater, I am all for it!

  11. rochelleonice Says:

    I personally don’t mind the plans that I saw for the new Senior MIF footwork circle to replace pattern 5… but I’m still hoping to pass my Senior MIF before the changes get approved and go into effect. :). It’s much more difficult for those who are in the highest level to get new patterns thrown at them that include loops/etc., if they didn’t have the exposure to the lower-level patterns that would also be added and would help them to properly master those skills.

    -Rochelle

  12. Lisa Says:

    Can anyone tell me where these proposed changes can be seen, either in pattern or in video clip? They used to be on the USFSA site, and sk8stuff also offered the video + discussion, but clicking on them no longer leads anywhere. I would just like to see them!

  13. Wayne Says:

    The new moves will be posted on the U.S. Figure Skating website soon. The diagrams are finished and as soon as the video examples are ready, they’ll be up on the site.

  14. Sharon Says:

    Having done figures, I can definitely see the value of some of the items proposed. I was not impressed with the previous changes suggested because everything added a twizzle. From the videos for Novice, for example, it looked like the skater would not learn how to master the turns (such as rockers) without being distracted by the twizzle. This approach seems to deviate from how figures were taught.

    I agree that the standards need to be more uniformly enforced, which means that more time needs to be given from when the changes are passed to when the changes are implemented so that coaches, judges, and skaters can all get on the same page.

    One point of practicality, since many rinks have limited (or no) moves ice…careful consideration needs to be given to how these moves can effectively be practiced. At many rinks, I see high test skaters not able to complete patterns due to freestyle or low test moves on the same ice.

  15. Ann Says:

    First off I have not seen the new mifs…however I do not see the need for a change.
    Why don’t we set the passing standard at a higher level. A weak skater at any age should never pass the test in the first place…if it is anyone’s fault it is the judges. If the judges are all set to the same passing standard…no one would wonder why one skater passed or didn’t.
    Some of us coaches never had to do loops…How are we suppose to teach them. I believe that if you haven’t done them how can you teach them? I only passed my 1st figure test…however I took and passed my Senior fs, mifs, pair…junior fd and pre gold cds. I took my dance tests and pair tests in less than 3 months. Should we add a couple of triples to the seinor fs test? As we all knnow the senior fs test is nothing like what a competitive senior lady has to do in competition.
    Maybe we need to add a presentation test…to help the skaters with the IJS.
    To me skating is expensive enough…under the 6.0 system and the new IJS we still expect the same things…at least in the events I did…if you did not do your job…jumps and all…you had no one to blame but yourself. Yes, some of the politics are cut out but there will always be some. Tests did not make me the skater I am just like a college degree doesn’t me a genius…they just broad your horizons…and challenge you.

    What made me the skater I am is the music, the ice, and the feeling of flight!

  16. vicwood Says:

    Sadly, 3 years of working on the Novice moves, and $30000. I am ready to quit skating, That could have paid for college.

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