We are not aware that bidding is not part of the "play" in spades. We consider "playing" to be bidding of the hand and then the playing out of it.
It was suggested that "Many of the top notch players can glance at their hand in one minute and place their bids....". I'd like to propose an experiment: anyone reading this, get a watch and when the second hand crosses 12, go "Start". Then watch the second hand go around to 12 again, a full minute. That's a LONG time. A VERY long time. Anyone who coinsistently takes a minute or more to bid is definitely playing slow. Sometimnes the math on the last hand gets complicated, and a minute might be needed, but not usually.
I mean, really.... if each player took a minute to bid each hand, then that would be 4 mins/hand, times 5 hands, 20 minutes of bidding alone? Without even playing the cards? That would be a 40 minute, 5-hand match.
The kind of reasoning that is being displayed here would "excuse" all manner of slow play in many of our leagues. In backgammon, for example, a "pro" can more or less instantly analyze the odds an pick the correct play for a given position and roll. A less-experienced player might take several minutes of hard thought to run the same analysis. Is it "fair" or "reasonable" to expect the whole tournament to wait while this player painstakingly analyzes every option on every roll, in the hopes of negating the "pro's" hard-won experience?
This is the essence of what it means to play and learn. Experience builds confidence and quick decisions. Experienced players have an advantage over the less-experienced ones. This is as it should be. Tournament play is not where one should be working to learn and internalize fundamentals. You can play games off the clock to do that.
If we allow Elite to slide even further in the direction of tolerating slow play, the end result will be to drive away the experienced players, who are bored to tears with having to wait on every hand or every roll while their opponents make up their mind what to do.
There has to be a happy medium, and this is what we are seeking. There is absolutely no reason why a hand of spades should take more than 4-5 minutes to bid and play.