Community Commentary

Sorry for our absence over the last few weeks. We hope you understand that this is a very busy time of year. During our time away from the blog, we put together a difficulty matrix for single rope and double dutch freestyle. Next week, we will resume our regular weekly posts, beginning with difficulty.

This week on the blog, we are going to respond to a number of comments that we’ve received over the past few weeks.

Space violations should be simplified. Rather than creating exceptions by only awarding a space violation when a body part touches the ground outside of the competition area, make it any time a body part or rope breaks the plane of the competition boundary.

The reason we changed space violations to any time a body part touches the ground outside of the competition boundary, was because we believe it is too difficult for judges to determine if a rope or body part has broken the plane while in the air. The judges are often stationary and positioned at the front of the competition area. As a result, it is extremely difficult for them to tell if an athlete’s rope breaks the plane of the boundary at the back of the competition area. We think there is too much room for error and we don’t want athletes to receive deductions unnecessarily. By only giving space violations when a body part touches the ground outside of the competition area, this will actually simplify the judging and will hopefully lead to more consistency.

Do you think crosses should be a separate required element?

We asked this question a few weeks ago and received mixed results. Two thirds of the respondents believe that crosses should not be a separate required element. The most common reasons were that people feel we shouldn’t have too many required elements in order to allow athlete’s to be creative with their choreography. They also believe that most routines will incorporate crosses regardless and, therefore, it isn’t necessary to make this a required element. We tend to agree with this rationale and have decided not to include crosses as a required element.

Should we consider using the term “repetition” instead of “repeated skills” to avoid some of the problems associated with remembering every single skill that has been performed in a routine.

Quite a few members of the community are concerned with how the judges will account for repeated skills. There is a general feeling that this is too difficult because there can be slight variations in the entrance or exit from a skill that may cause it to look the same to a judge that has been watching 100s of routines. We are aware that this is not easy to do and we agree that judges should be watching for repetition in style (too many side-swing multiples in a row) as well as the repetition of an exact skill. This is something that judges are already watching for in both the FISAC and WRJF model. We are hoping the difficulty associated with this aspect of judging, can be addressed by dividing the responsibilities of the presentation judges so that they are watching for less.

There should be a minimum of 3 judges for each set of judges.

We agree with this comment. This will allow for the possibility to drop the score of an outlier or get an average of three scores. We don’t want to create a massive judges panel, but at the same time, we feel it is important to divide up some of the judging tasks in order to create a more consistent judging system. The size of the judging panel could vary at different levels of the sport.

We received only a few comments, often conflicting, in regards to the weight of the different presentation categories and components. Some people felt that form and execution should be weighted heavily, while others felt that musicality should be weighted the most.

We are interested in hearing more feedback on this specific topic. For those of you who feel that we should weigh certain aspects of presentation more than others, can you please explain why that is. Is it because we want to encourage athletes to spend more time choreographing to the music than working on their form and execution, for example? In your comments can you please explain your rationale to help us make a more informed decision. For example, one comment suggested that form should be weighted heavily in order to encourage athletes to work on their form, which could help reduce the number of injuries in our sport.

We also want to keep the scoring system as simple as possible. If we are going to weigh some components of presentation more than others, it will complicate the system and needs to be done for a justifiable reason.

There should be a deduction from the presentation score for a large mistake such as a collision, long rope tangle, or fall.

We have removed the concept of major and minor mistakes, but there will still be a deduction for a miss. This will be accounted for by the deduction judges. We have not yet determined how much will be deducted because we need to test out the system once it is fully developed. That being said, we do agree that a collision or rope tangle would detract from the overall entertainment value of a routine and also could result in a deduction from the presentation score. We are not sure if we should be deducting twice for a mistake. For example, the athlete will receive a miss deduction, they will not be awarded any difficulty points for the skill, and they will lose time from their routine. Should they also receive a deduction from the presentation score? We are open to additional feedback on this.

We should not include appearance in judging the athlete’s style. In many instances athletes do not get to choose their uniforms and shouldn’t be judged based on how they look. This could also lead to discrimination due to cultural differences in relation to eye contact, uniform styles, hair styles, etc.

We very much agree with this comment and want to do everything possible to avoid discrimination, or the potential for discrimination, in the judging system. We were hoping that these types of issues could be addressed through the judges training. However, if there is a general belief that we should avoid judging appearance all together, that is something we are open to considering.

For 4x30 speed relay, the time call outs should be at 10 and 20 seconds, instead of 15 seconds. This will create consistency with the 1x30 speed event.

Thank you for this suggestion. We will consider this for the final version of the time tracks.

We received a few different suggestions for 1x180 call outs. One suggestion was to have a call out every 15 seconds throughout the event. The rationale was to create consistency and allow athletes and coaches the ability to better track time and pacing during the event. Another suggestion was to have a call out every 15 seconds for the entire last minute. The rationale was to ramp up audience involvement, similar to a final lap in speed skating.

The reason we chose not to have call outs every 15 seconds was because this can be boring and distracting for the audience, however, we are open to the idea, if this is something that athletes and coaches would find useful. Does anyone have a preference between these two proposals? Or do you like the original proposal, which included call outs every 30 seconds except for the final 15 seconds at the end of the event?

I think it would be better to remove the “Judges Ready?”, “Athletes, ready?”, “Set” calls and replace them with 3 lower frequency beeps of equal length to the starting beeping, with the same amount of time in between. This would save time and almost certainly allow the athletes to better anticipate the start, because the words/phrases themselves are not the same lengths and the athletes could follow the rhythm of the beeps. Every second adds up to extra minutes and hours, especially at large tournaments where there are hundreds of heats of speed. If you could even cut 5 seconds off the beginning of the timing track, it would save a lot of time. If done well, using starting beeps could also create excitement, like what can happen in the sport of alpine skiing which is mentioned in the blog.

We understand the importance of saving time during a tournament but want to make sure that we are not losing the friendly tone. Is starting an event with beeps instead of the voice commands of “Judges ready?”, “Athletes ready?” less personal and inviting? What do you think about this suggestion? We welcome feedback on this topic.

 Until next week,
The IJRU Technical Congress

Survey not loading? Click here