July 1, 2013

2012 Skill Frequency - Floor and Vault

I might as well finish off the bunch with floor and vault frequency.

As always, the tables below show the frequency with which gymnasts performed skills as 2012 Visa Championships, this time on floor and vault as measured by the % of total routines featuring the given skill.

We'll start with the various categories of floor skills, and the pathetically small vault table will follow at the end.

Clearly, the back 1.5 C skill connected into an E tumble dominates the composition. I'm of several minds about this. On the one hand, I don't think any skills besides handsprings and round offs should be appearing in 90% of routines. That's evidence of a code that is too limiting, ensuring there is but one realistic solution to receive the sought-after .2 CV. On the other hand, I love a combination pass. When done well, they are so much more interesting than straightforward tumbles, even difficult ones. So, if that's the kind of combo pass we get, I'm in favor.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the elimination of the combo pass requirement. The combo pass is so valuable for CV that this has little effect on composition. People will still perform as many misguided combinations to try to get a bigger D score as they did before, but my hope is that perhaps the lack of requirement will cause some to get rid of combinations they were barely getting through in the first place and doing only to fulfill the requirement. The most common combination performed, especially in the seniors, was the 1.5 through to double back, and very few of them were good ideas. Let's get rid of them, McKayla.

While there are some other problems with repetitive composition (every junior dismounted with a 2.5, people perform the double back and the double pike in the same routine) few of the skills appear in more than half of routines, and the problems with repetition seem overall less severe than on bars and beam.

P.S. Why does nobody perform the DLO in elite anymore?

These assessments are made with the most charitable eye possible, counting the intended skill. Otherwise, we would have far fewer split 1.5s and switch 1/1s. Basically, the attitude is to attempt as many D dance elements as possible and then hope to swindle the judges into crediting at least one of them.

Lots of seniors performing double Ls, once again trying to pull around a D skill somehow, while the juniors opted for double turns and single Ys and Ls. The juniors had no problem throwing in some B elements, usually as backups in case other dance elements got downgraded.

Interestingly, fewer people attempted dance elements out of their acro skills than I expected. The gymnasts on the Olympic track were all over it, but a number of the others did not bother with everyone's favorite combo of double arabian+pause+negative amplitude spasm in stag position. For that, we can be thankful.  

Pitiful, but we can expect nothing different in the future. It starts with JO for most. If they don't have any incentive to learn a different entry early on, they won't do so in elite. It's the same argument we have in NCAA. People always want to impose some requirement about variety in vault lineups, but the gymnasts don't have the skill sets to adapt to those potential requirements because they never learned anything different in JO. Imposing more variety on vault has to start at a younger age. It can't begin at 18.

In elite, the code is just as complicit in the lack of variety. The powers did well to lower the value of the Y2.5 to 6.3, but that was done in order to keep vault scoring more consistent with the other events and keep the bad Y2.5s from outscoring the good DTYs (as easily). They therefore also lowered the values of the rudi, Cheng, etc, which was a mistake. They should have kept those values the same while lowering Yurchenko vault values in order to encourage more variety. As it stands now, there is no incentive to learn a non-Yurchenko vault.

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