What are the pros and cons of the 6.0 system? Does it help or hinder developmental teams? Does is help or hinder the development as synchro on the whole? What ideas do you have to improve open divisions in the future? Read the article below to generate some ideas.
By Tracey Plotkin
White Ice Open Collegiate
The 6.0 system is unpredictable. I have skated under the 6.0 system for years and I still find it impossible to predict how the judges will place a flight of performances. It is typical for a teams to receive ordinals ranging from 1st place thru 8th place for a single performance. Teams are subject to judgment based on how the judge perceives the program and it’s elements as a whole. Judging under this system is very subjective which makes predicting the standings in these divisions very difficult. Teams are encouraged to “sell it” and have fun to make their performances memorable for the judges. Anything and everything from music and dress choice to falls and crooked lines can influence the scoring of a program performed under the 6.0 judging system.
While looking at the program as a whole instead of piece by piece may seem like a better system for synchro teams, I think the new judging system is a better judgment of performance and skill than the 6.0 system. Under the 6.0 system, teams are seldom rewarded for doing difficult formations or footwork. Judges reward clean programs, not necessarily the more skilled or more difficult ones. If teams aren’t rewarded for trying difficult elements and footwork, why would a coach choreograph such elements for their skaters? Rewarding a clean program full of crossovers and easy transitions doesn’t not help to push our sport forward or is it challenge our skaters.
Although I have painted a picture of mostly negative aspects of the 6.0 system, there are some redeeming qualities of the system. One is creativity. Teams are encouraged to be creative and show the judges that they are having fun during their performance. The music choices are usually more lighthearted and engaging for the skaters and judges. The programs tend to adapt to a theme or mood and have big arms and heads choreographed to show creativity. Judges critique teams in how engaged the skaters are in their program. Judges score teams better when the skaters show their commitment to their program and choreography. This is good for synchro because it pushes skaters to really perform. Skill trumps creativity in most places under the new judging system. While musicality and presentation are taken into account in the overall scores of teams, creativity is much more of a factor in judging the 6.0 system.
An holistic view of a performance isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. In the new judging system the programs are broken down into individual elements and from there are broken down further to look at difficulty levels and edge quality. While judging this way takes the guessing and subjectivity out of the standings, it also takes out some of the performance. Synchro has become more of a strategy game. Coaches choreograph programs in a way to gain the most points. Sometimes this makes programs in some IJS divisions seem redundant with everyone performing the same high scoring elements.
There is no perfect judging system and for sure the 6.0 system is not it. This is the first major change in synchro judging. Although I pointed out a few specific flaws in each system, I think this is a change for the better. Synchro doesn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago and it is not going to look the same 10 years from now. As synchro grows in popularity and continues to evolve as a sport, there have to be changes and new challenges to push the next generation of skaters.