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Men's Short Program Guide

The Men's Short Program consists of seven elements and can be a maximum of 2 minutes and 50 seconds in duration.  There is no penalty for a program that takes less than the maximum time, but there is a time deduction for programs that exceed the maximum.  The time deduction is 1.0 points for every 5 seconds or part thereof over the maximum.  There is also a 2.0 point deduction for any extra elements beyond the seven permitted.

The seven elements consist of the following:

Jump Combination (quad or triple with triple or double)

For the top men this will usually be a triple-triple combination such as 3F+3T or 3Lz+3T.  Men with a quad, might attempt one in the Short Program, though many choose to be conservative and reserve use of the quad for the Free Skate.  In the combination jump, the quad would have to be included with at least a double jump.  Due to the great value for the quad (usually quad toe loop) even when combined with a double toe loop a quad combination is worth more than any triple-triple combination other than 3A+3T or 3A+3Lo.

The jump combination is evaluated as a whole.  There are five sections of the jump combination to pay attention to; the preparation and takeoff of the first jump, the flight of the first jump, the landing of the first jump and takeoff for the second jump, the air of the second jump, and the landing and flow out of the second jump.

Give attention to the speed and cleanness of the takeoff, and the difficulty of the steps and movements that immediately precede the takeoff.  For the Axel and toe loop takeoffs pay attention to excessive skids or pre rotation.  For flip and Lutz takeoffs give attention to the correct edge for the takeoff.  In the air the jump should have good height and position, with the body remaining mainly vertical.  Between the two jumps, look for a clean, fully rotated, landing and clean takeoff edge for the second jump.  Turns and steps between the jumps are not permitted, and for extreme errors between the jumps may cause the second jump to be given no value.  In the air, the second jump should also have good height, position and orientation.  On the landing look for a fully rotated landing on a true edge with good flow and control out of the jump

Solo Jump out of Footwork (quad or triple)

If the man does not attempt a quad in the jump combination, he may attempt one for this element.  The Short Program can include only one quad, so it must be attempted in the one jump element or the other.  If the skater attempts the quad in the jump combination this element will often be a triple Lutz.

Give attention to the speed and cleanness of the takeoff, and the difficulty of the steps and movements that immediately precede the takeoff. This jump must have preceding steps and footwork, so a long edge into the jump is an error.  The longer the skater rides the edge the greater the error.  For the Axel and toe loop takeoffs pay attention to excessive skids or pre-rotation.  For flip and Lutz takeoffs give attention to the correct edge for the takeoff.  In the air the jump should have good height and position, with the body remaining mainly vertical.  Look for a clean, fully rotated, landing on a true edge with good flow and control out of the jump.  A skater could attempt a triple Axel in this element (or the jump combination) but this would then limit the skater to a double Axel in the Axel jump element.

Axel Jump (triple or double)

For the top men this will usually be a triple Axel.  A man without a quad must have strong command of the triple Axel to have any chance of beating a skater with command of quad toe loop or Salchow.

Give attention to the speed and cleanness of the takeoff, and the difficulty of the steps and movements that immediately precede the takeoff.  Pay attention to excessive skids or pre-rotation on the jump.  A small amount of skid on the takeoff is to be expected for triple Axel, but in the extreme it would be considered a weakness in the jump.  In the air the jump should have good height and position, with the body remaining mainly vertical.  Look for a clean, fully rotated, landing on a true edge with good flow and control out of the jump.

Flying Spin

This spin must begin with a flying entry.  The spin is executed on one foot and in one basic position (sit, camel or upright).  The spin must have a minimum of eight rotations in position.  Count them as the spin is performed, but do not begin counting until the skater is in position, and stop counting when they leave the position.  If the skater rotates too many times in the upright position, this would become a combination spin and the element would receive no value.  The position for this spin cannot be the same position used in the change foot spin.

Look for a clean takeoff with good height and control, and strong positions in the air.  Pay attention to the quality of the landing and how easily the skater gets into their spin position.  The center of the spin should not "travel" at the skater rotates.  In a close-up view of the spin, traveling can be seen by examining the trace being created on the ice.  A spin that does not travel should have a trace consisting of concentric or overlapping circles.  With a distant view, watch how the skater lines up with a spot, pole, etc. in the background, and see if they stay lined up with that spot.  The exit from the spin should be clean and controlled.

During the spin top skaters will be varying position and/or changing edge, etc. to obtain credit for features.  All of these should be executed cleanly and in control.  A skater must rotate at least two times in position for the position to count.  In a change of edge the skater must first establish rotation on one edge and then hold the rotation following the change of edge. 

Camel or Sit Spin With Change of Foot

This spin is a spin in one basic position executed on each foot.  There must be a minimum of six rotations on each foot.  The skater cannot begin this element with a flying entry.  The position for this spin cannot be the same positionused for the flying spin.

Look for a clean controlled entry into the spin.  The center of the spin should not "travel" at the skater rotates.  Since this spin rotates on each foot be alter to traveling on each foot.  When changing feet, the spin should be centered in the same place on the ice for both feet.  A wide step from one foot to the other, or a push to regain rotation speed are errors to be alert to.  The exit from the spin should be clean and controlled.

During the spin top skaters will be varying position and/or changing edge, etc. to obtain credit for features.  All of these should be executed cleanly and in control.  A skater must rotate at least two times in position for the position to count.  In a change of edge the skater must first establish rotation on one edge and then hold the rotation following the change of edge.

Combination Spin With Change of Foot

This spin must change feet, and must include at least two different basic positions.  There must be a minimum of six rotations on each foot.  The skater cannot begin this element with a flying entry.  More often that not this will begin with a camel position and then change to a sit position.  To reach the higher levels, all three basic positions must be included in the spin.  Often this element will be of the form, camel to sit to upright to change of foot to camel to sit.  It might also include a concluding upright position.

Look for a clean controlled entry into the spin.  The center of the spin should not "travel" at the skater rotates.  Since this spin rotates on each foot be alter to traveling on each foot.  When changing feet, the spin should be centered in the same place on the ice for both feet.  A wide step from one foot to the other, or a push to regain rotation speed are errors to be alert to.  The exit from the spin should be clean and controlled.

During the spin top skaters will be varying position and/or changing edge, etc. to obtain credit for features.  All of these should be executed cleanly and in control.  A skater must rotate at least two times in position for the position to count.  In a change of edge the skater must first establish rotation on one edge and then hold the rotation following the change of edge.

Step Sequences (any pattern)

Typically this element consist of a straight line step sequence and a circular step sequence.  Occasionally a serpentine step sequence will be seen, but since that pattern takes so much time it is not often used.  Identifying the start of the straight line step sequence is fairly easy.  The skater will move to one end or corner of the ice, perhaps pause for a moment, and then charge off down the ice.  The start of the circular sequence is sometimes a little less obvious.  It is important to identify this point, as the skater must close the circle, and to know if they closed the circle you have to know where it started.  Failing to complete a full pattern of any type is an error.

Look for clean steps and edge, good positions under control, and a smooth flow through the element.  One feature for this element is use of the whole body during the sequence.  Many skaters attempt to achieve this feature by throwing their body all over the place with frantic movements.    Another feature calls for turning in both direction.  The results is what some refer to as a "footwork tornado" skated to very fast, energetic music.  Frantic fast movement is not required to achieve these features, so pay attention to full body movement and rotation in both directions for slower music.

This is a good element for evaluating the skating skills of the skaters, so pay attention to the difficulty of the steps and edges, the ability of the skaters to skate on all edges, and to turn clockwise or counter clockwise as they move across the ice.  There are requirements for the number and type of steps and turns needed to achieve higher levels, so pay attention to the different types of steps and turns included in the sequence.

This element is also a good element to develop the Interpretation component of the program, so pay attention to how the step sequence actually relates to the music and how it fits into the overall choreography of the program.

Copyright 2014 by George S. Rossano