CoP Experts: Question on "Slow Connections" Deductions

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I’m not a CoP expert, but I’ve been seeing some very impressive analyses on this forum, so I’m sure someone can answer this connections quandary.

I’ve was recently watching some of the GymAnalysis Youtube channel, when an issue came to mind for the slow connection deduction that’s sometimes identified. Given that this deduction is taken by the E-panel, shouldn’t it be mutually exclusive with a non-credited combination series that causes a reduced D-score?

This seems to present a problem, because aren’t E and D-score panels not meant to communicate with each other? It seems unfair that a gymnast might receive a slow connection deduction on a series that wasn’t even recognized as such, whether that happened during the original evaluation, or during a petition during which only D-score was reevaluated. I feel like several of the best recent Chinese gymnasts would have created a hot mess for the judges with their many 3 or 4 skill beam series which they would complete with varying degrees of connectedness depending on the day. Thoughts?

(Sorry if this has been discussed before, I couldn’t find any hits when I searched “slow connection”).
It’s a great question! Most gymnasts receive the 1, 2 punch of a lower D score and -0.1 E panel. The E panel judges don’t need to identify whether it’s a connection; their job is simply to take .1 if elements are done in succession without “immediacy” in movement. If there’s really any hesitation, arm swing, plié, or adjustment they are to deduct 0.1. This is my definition, not CoP lingo–someone correct me if I’m wrong pls. So I personally disagree with it too, but then on the other hand it rewards performances with aplomb.

And yes, the Chinese gymnasts and many other gymnasts with top D scores run the risk of having connections devalued and receiving the slow connection deduction, but they have so much buffer room that it’s worth it. It’s especially worth it when the skills are done with great form.
Thank you for confirming! And also, thanks for agreeing that it’s OUTRAGEOUS 😛

I watched this FIG Video (I guess it refers to “poor rhythm” rather than “slow connection” deductions), but, conspicuously, it seemed like the video was never simultaneously identifying out poor rhythm and breaks in connection - it was always one of the other. So I wasn’t sure.

I would say the Chinese beam stars were mostly smart enough to abort the next skill in their intended series if they knew it wasn’t gonna happen, so we didn’t see too many stray arm swings or preparatory lunges.
I was thinking about the doubling up of deductions, and while to some degree I agree that the double whammy isn’t necessarily fair, it bothers me less upon reflection. The reason is this- often slow connections look labored and disrupt the flow of the routine. I am not broken up about that causing a .1 deduction.
Yeah, it just feels conceptually wrong, but I agree with the impact on flow – this kind of judging discourages a Courtney McCool-type beam routine, which had gorgeous individual elements that she should absolutely not have been pretending to connect.
@YurchenkoLoop I have another question that creates some E vs. D. panel dissonance related to downgrades. Sorry in advance that it’s so long-winded. 😬

I’ve always thought that it was a somewhat nefarious technicality to ding a gymnast who insufficiently rotates, say, a triple twist, which could in some cases result in no difficulty credit whatsoever (only a slew of deductions) if that gymnast happens to have already performed a 2.5. I think it defies the common sense logic of: was it obvious what the gymnast was attempting? If yes, judge it as such, including harsh execution deductions that would still disincentivize just chucking something.

But this issue gets more complex than twists… I’ve been reading recent analysis of how Konnor McClain’s switch ring leaps on beam are being discredited, which, fair enough ( 👎 to the new rules), but it does boggle the mind that a switch ring can be downgraded into something else: namely, a switch leap, as if that skill is somehow the natural predecessor? Despite the similarities, these are distinct skills – one is not the upgrade/downgrade of the other. But even if you aren’t convinced in this scenario, are we meant to believe then that every failed skill downgrades into some other skill? (What do we suppose that a failed sheep jump with insufficient head release is? Just nothing at all, right? Can I just purport it was a piece of creative choreography and therefore unworthy of E-panel markdowns?)

And finally, it’s then unclear to me which E-panel deductions are being applied now to Konnor’s mystery leap: is it actually a switch ring leap with body shape deductions? Or is it judged as a “switch leap” with a bent back leg and some eccentric upper body posture? The former certainly seems more reasonable, but at the same time it still feels wrong that we are now deducting the very leap that we have claimed is unrecognizable as such by the new lofty standards of the code. At this point it seems like the superior action would be to strike the skill from the routine entirely, meaning no D credit and no E deductions, if not to have E and D panels reconcile for routines with an obvious skill attempt that lead to a downgrade.

OK I’m spiraling 🤯
On these counts, I do agree that there is more of an issue. I can see downgrading an attempt at a triple twist if it’s not, like, within a quarter turn of rotation. And I understand it’s dangerous to under-rotate twisting skills. But I do wish that if the skill is within about 45 degrees of completion that it would be called what was obviously being attempted. That said, though, I would be totally okay if a skill that is not within 10 degrees of completion was called for the skill attempted but given a full letter value downgrade in credited value. That way a gymnast could have both a 2.5 and triple in the same routine but still take a hit for a heavily under-rotated skill. Similarly, with the switch leap situation, I think it could be possible to recognize an attempt at an insufficiently extended switch ring without also making it too risky to do a switch leap in the same routine by downgrading the value of the skill by one letter. I will say that the switch ring actually is a natural progression from a switch leap, but that everyone knows that it’s not a switch leap with a lot of leg bend.
Don’t you dare attack the “downgrade to switch leap”. Doug will have nothing left!

Very good points tho. Yay for spiraling!
as far as 2.5 and triple, I do like the rule because it keeps people who consistently underrotate from giving us a routine with two 2.5s, one of them slightly overrotated. That is kind of an unfair advantage. So I’m a bit torn on that, cause I see your point.
That way a gymnast could have both a 2.5 and triple in the same routine but still take a hit for a heavily under-rotated skill.
but that would effectively just knock them down a tenth, no? at least in the triple-2.5 conversation
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Re: the downgrade “progression”, while a Switch Ring and a Switch Leap are of course different elements, a Switch Ring is actually just a Switch Leap to Ring position. So, if the gymnast doesn’t hit the requirements of the Ring position, then Switch Leap is the natural alternative way to evaluate the skill.

What I do not like are the “repetition” rules. It is absolutely fucking stupid. If the gymnast would be penalized less for completely striking out the botched skill, instead of recognizing a different skill (and it having a later impact on CV and/or CR) then of course, the evaluation should be the former. Just strike the skill. For example, if the gymnast does:

Switch Ring
Switch to Switch Half
No other dance elements.

And the Switch Ring doesn’t hit ring - then it is absurd that the gymnast loses both the 0.1 CV and the 0.5 CR, in addition to the Switch Ring downgrade. The judges should, instead, downgrade the Switch Ring attempt from E down to 0, and let her carry on with the rest of the routine (unless, of course, she doesn’t do a Switch Leap later in her routine - in which case, award her the C for Switch Leap).

I know that much of this can be addressed through smart routine composition, and order of skills, but still. I hate it. The 0.5CR is there to reward a gymnast who can successfully connect two different dance elements, one in cross or straddle split. The fact that her back foot didn’t reach head height on a completely separate skill, should have nothing to do with whether or not the 0.5 CR is awarded.
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Yeah I guess I’m bringing up two related but unique issues.

In the case of a downgrade that causes a duplicative skill – it feels like an unintended consequence, but one that of course gymnasts ought to be mindful of when constructing routines. Take for instance, a gymnast who performs a double full twist as a quasi-choreographical side pass, and finishes with an under-rotated triple twist that gets downgraded. Then compare a gymnast who throws an under-rotated triple twist, as well as a 2.5 twist. The second gymnast has inarguably performed the harder routine, and the under-rotation error is equivalent for both gymnasts, but the first gymnast actually comes out with +0.3 difficulty advantage, by sheer luck, essentially.

I guess the second point is just a critique of the concept of judging/deducting against a skill that wasn’t credited, like deducting (E score) Konnor’s switch ring as a switch ring, but then crediting (D score) it as a switch leap, (which, oops, means +0.0).
I will say that the switch ring actually is a natural progression from a switch leap
That makes sense!.. And yet we could just as soon say that a switch leap half is the natural progression from a switch leap. I guess what I’m getting at is, there is only a special subset of skills that are deemed “downgrade-able”, others can only be deducted.
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Ah, yes I didn’t even think of that scenario where you unintentionally nullify not just the skill but the CR. Absurd. And, for as much as we like to armchair coach when we see “bad routine construction”, coaches really do have more straightforward things to focus on, like actual gymnastics skills…

I do want to tell people to chill who think it’s ‘outrageous’ when a gymnast hasn’t constructed an entirely new routine to meet the strategic imperatives of a brand new CoP… Sometimes it’s more important for a gymnast’s self-confidence to get out there and hit the routine they know, even if the score isn’t optimized – at least for a low-stakes meet like DTB.
Why downgrade? Just deduct. It’s an execution error. That way you don’t call it a triple twist but then credit it a D. So busybody.
These are several examples of how utterly absurd the Women’s Technical Committee has been.

It’s like they intentionally made gymnastics scoring an absurdist puzzle that intentionally causes all the athletes and coaches to be confused.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are MANY ways to make the rules far more intuitive and easy-to-apply.
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Exactly. The E-panel has already proven itself heavy-handed enough to discourage imprecision anyway. They don’t need help from the D-panel. (And it’s actually kinda funny that in the case of twisting, a downgrade usually just amounts to a single tenth in DV reduction). Glad to find fellow humans to vent about this with. Ha!
Was trying to balance the downgrade mentality with deductions (though yes please take the deduction), and admittedly borrowing from how skating does it where if you’re 1/2 rotation or less between skills you get the lower one.
The way MAG does it works really well:

You pick the skill with the closest half twist. So if it’s 2 and 7/8, it’s a triple. If it’s 2 and 3/4, they usually would give a triple also.

You deduct — if it’s 0° to 30° off, it’s –0.1. If it’s 30° – 60°, it’s 0.3. If it’s basically sideways, it’s 0.5, though I think that deduction is usually gentler than most other deductions.
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That would certainly be the easiest.

My suggestion was more in the case that they couldn’t let the downgrading go. Like, if you MUST downgrade…
I like how that rule handles an exercise like this one:

Jump to the “triple twist” around 1:00. In women’s gymnastics, it would get a downgrade and –0.1. That’s generous for such a major mistake, in my opinion. Men’s gymnastics would downgrade to a 2.5 and take –0.3 also. That seems fairer.
Oh, absolutely agree that .1 is silly for such a mistake. In the current code I could even see the case for creating a .5 category for it.
Of course, the .1 is on top of calling it a 2.5 in the women’s rules, which it clearly was never meant to be, so… That’s where I get into talking about downgrading a letter value instead of calling it a 2.5, so as to avoid the unintentional overlap issue.
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