Oleksiy Biletskyi – On components judging. Transitions

  • 30/11/2020
  • 7 min read
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Dear friends, I’m Alexey Beletskiy, figure skating official, ISU Judge in single & pair skating and ice dancing. I had officiated more than 50 events including World and European Championships. As a skater skated on 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Here I continue discussing how do we judge, see and mark skaters’ performances. Understanding what and how we do will help you to make your programs better, more interesting and we judges will mark them higher.

Want to make your results better – watch this video!

Today we will discuss Transitions.


They are connecting steps, positions, movements and holds between the elements.

There are four defining criteria:

  • Continuity of movements from one element to another;
  • Variety;
  • Difficulty;
  • Quality;

And we evaluate them on a scale from 0 to 10 points in increments of 0.25 points. 

In the web you can find the Chart created by the ISU with a colored evaluating manual:

  • Red – very poor
  • Orange – poor
  • Green – mediocre
  • Gold – good
  • Diamond – excellent
  • 10 – outstanding

And we put these marks counting the percentage of criteria completing according to the program timing. Later I will show that on the example. 

Now there is the first criterion.


How we recognize it? When the program looks like continuous spectacle. Integrating difficult elements like jumps, spins, step sequences to the program to create this spectacle, enhance the effect from it. Such program creates the feeling of continuity – spectacle from start to finish.

There are some moments that can break the performance:

  • Long elements preparation. Especially – jumps.
  • When the skater “turns off” and tries to rest during the skate.
  • Mistakes and interrupts when the skater “stops” the program after fall from jump or spin. Sometimes the skater just stands still instead of trying to improvise.
  • Too many crosses.

I need to say that transitions are not only steps but also arms, legs and body movements.


Variety of steps, turns, positions and holds (in pairs and ice dancing)

How can you make them various. The blade has not only two edges but also the heel and toe parts. You can do turns and leaps on them. Maybe there are not difficult movements but meet the variety requirement. Here also lunges, Spread Eagles, Ina Bauers, Spirals and their variations. 

Variety of holds and positions in pairs and ice dancing 

Variety of positions and short lifts. Create something unique, your own original element – but please, within the rules!


You can do difficult steps and turns holding the body straight and adding the leans using the legs, arms and head. So the movements become spacial and difficult.

You can do some simple step or turn but with leaning the body or straightening arm or leg sideways. Then this movement can become unique and difficult because you need to balance. And this will raise your Transition mark significantly. 

Variety of turns' directions. Especially – on contrast. 

Elegant and balanced execution of turns, steps, movements and their combinations.

Perfect execution of rockers, counters, three-turns, twizzles, S-steps (choctaws) and outside C-steps (mohawks).

What else can raise the mark for this component?

Movements, steps, execution quality – and all that has to be remembered. And even better – be unique. Then your mark will be high.


It is different like the skaters’ level. Different skaters do the steps and turns according to their level. And so we have different quality –  straightening, different level of skating skills and body control. 


As I have told – the program that looks like a spectacle from start to finish, continuous action with difficult and high-quality execution of various movements, steps and turns will receive higher Transitions mark.

You have to think on which movements fit the skater better, what can s/he do, how his/her skating skills are used. If the skater can do Spread Eagles great – they must be included in programs. If they can do the “shoot-the-duck” - they have to show that. If they can do a split jump – they have to do it. If they can do some unique element – they also must do it.

It will raise Transition mark and the originality of the program in general. And so will be the best way to show strengths and abilities of the skater.


What did Patrick demonstrate here?

Let’s look on our criteria:

  1. Here we have integral composition, mini-spectacle – no doubts with that. So we have continuity of movements from one element to another. Elements are integrated to the program. Entries and exits to and from elements are almost invisible. I can say that here we have Continuity on more than 90%.
  2. Variety of steps, turns, movements and positions. It was between elements – he demonstrated steps, toe usage, leaps, various turns, spread eagles. All of that – before and after elements – on more that 90%.
  3. Difficulty. Of course Patrick had executed even simple turns, which he played with body movements – his limbs were aside of the center of gravity. Also he had dynamics and contrast in his movements. The only minor problem here is too many crosses on element entries. Because of that here my mark for Patrick is 80-85%
  4. Quality. The quality of execution is very high – this skater has great technique and executet all movements with very high quality level. So – more than 90% here.

So, after adding all the criteria for Transitions Patrick will receive 9-9.25 points.

Tonya Harding – the skater who had one of the best jumps in 90-th.

  1. Continuity of movements from one element to another. In first part she made long entry – jump, then again entry – jump. Then in the middle there was a lyrical part where she executed spirals and Ina Bauer – quite great both. Not all elements were integrated into the program so for this criterium I can put 55-65% here.
  2. Variety of steps, turns, movements and positions. Not many. Mostly – backward crosses. So this criterion is met by only 40-50%.
  3. Difficulty. Also was not demonstrated – some turns, arcs, small body leanings, mostly crosses. Mostly no bodywork and arm movements are very limited. So – 40-50% here.
  4. Quality. The quality of execution of her simple movements and steps was above average. Also the high speed can be mentioned. So this criterion is met by 60-70%.

And the Transition mark for Tonya after adding the criteria will be 5.5-6.5 points. 

Good luck to you on your practices and competitions and remember – the best one wins! Practice good and the result will come! Watch the video, ask your questions – here will be more interesting and useful stuff. With the love of the sport, Beletskiy Alexey!

Post is written in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

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