THE IJS and spiral sequences

written by Tim Grafton January 2008, updated August 2010

Important Information

This information does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of this information in relation to your own situation before acting on it. 


The information displayed here is for the purpose of sharing coaching knowledge,  I do not promote myself as a  'coach's coach' in fact I'm just an average coach.


2010 - the ISU changed the rules so that spiral sequences no longer have levels,  they will all be awarded a fixed mark and be evaluated on GOE only,  provided of course they meet minimum requirements.  See ISU comm 1619 for details.

Hint for spiral sequences (pre June 2010) : 

There are few variations, almost every sequence is the same,  the fan spiral that we saw in 2007/2008 season so often is now rare as the ISU decided in communication 1445 in May 2007 not to award a level feature to this position any more unless there was significant twisting or change on body weight,  for example the skater leans back quite a lot,   have a look at Mao Asada's fan spiral from the link below for a good example and yes she received a level feature for it.


From 2009/2010 communication 1557 came into effect,  a new clarification included says that a second difficult variation must be significantly different from the first,  so for example doing a Beilman spiral forward is a level feature, followed by a change of foot and a backward Beilman,  this second Beilman spiral would no longer be considered a level feature because it is not significantly different.

Other high level spirals from the 20097/2008 season,  ISU events

Skater Event Level Points Link (uses Notes
Yu-Na-Kim ISU Grand Prix final SP 4 4.40 click here Forward Classic spiral,  change of edge,  Bielman then turn backwards and do a mount spiral
Caroline Zhang ISU Grand Prix final SP 2007 4 4.80 Click here The split position can only be used once in a sequence and Carolines first (classic spiral) had a split,  so the safest option for her was to make the final (3rd) position a Beilman. all 3 positions would be considered level features and if there were a level 5 then this spiral sequence might qualify.
Kimmie Meissner ISU Grand Prix final SP 4 4.00   Forward Classic spiral,  change of edge,  Bielman then turn backwards and do another Beilman,  after comm 1557 this would be a level 3 as the second Beilman would not have counted.
Mao Asada ISU Grand Prix final SP 4 4.80 click here Backward fan spiral with a lean back,  this may have been considered a difficult variation because of the lean back of the body or it could have been the split position which is also a level feature,  then a forward Beilman with a change of edge and then a Kerrigan position,  the Beilman and the change of edge were awarded level features and that is why this is a level 4
Alissa Czisny 2008 SP 4 4.40 click here Backward outside classic spiral with a full split (level feature) then a then a change of edge and drops the torso into a Charlotte spiral,  then a backward Beilman.
Fumie Suguri ISU Cup of China SP 4 4.00 click here Forward Classic spiral,  change of edge,  Biellman then turn backwards and do a mount spiral

The judges scores can be found on the isu web site,, then select single and pair skating / ice dance,  then click the Search The Single & Pair Skating/Ice Dance Calendar  then you have to search for the results of the ISU events.   Once you have the judges scores and levels for all performances,  then just go on and search for the skater and event,  many of them are on there.  You can then see the levels given by the technical specialist (type of judge) for all spirals and spins.

May 2008 - ISU Communication 1494
A new level feature has been added - hold a spiral for 6 seconds or more without any changes and that is now a level feature.

Other hints :

bulletEach spiral position must be held for a minimum of 3 seconds,  so in training it is best for the skater to count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 to ensure that there is a good chance the spiral position is held for the minimum of 3 seconds in competition.
bulletThe spirals must be on an edge,  spirals in a straight line are not counted,  to ensure that there is no doubt in the judges mind, make the edges fairly deep,  this will also avoid going onto short straight lines (often called "Flats") if you have a wobble of the edge.
bulletThe change of edge and/or change of position must be un-assisted,  in other words you cannot move your arm to help with the change,  during the change the free leg must not drop below the hip.   The change of edge must be completed in 1 metre or less,  this is new in communication 1494 released May 2008.   In communication 1557 if there are any wobbles or flats after the change of edge then a level feature may not be awarded for it and if the following spiral (after the edge is re-established) is less than 3 seconds then the entire spiral sequence may be called level 1 or worse still no level.
bulletIf a change of edge spiral is attempted,  after the change of edge the spiral is in a different position so this counts as the second position assuming the spiral before the change of edge was the first spiral in the sequence.   If there is also a change of position in the spiral this must occur after the change of edge.   Pulling your leg up into a catch hold or Beilman from the classic (leg behind),  position is not a change of position.
bulletThere are heaps of other spiral rules in communication 1445, 1459, 1494 and 1557,  read them.


Home Up Spiral sequences Spins and the IJS Spins versus jumps Comm 1494