This past weekend at the 18th annual Old Dominion Sport Kite Championships (ODSKC), we tried out a new precision style that borrowed elements from the old League-style format as well as taking some tips from the Tricks Party USA compulsory discipline.
Basic format: During the registration period for the event, 3 figures (rather than 6) were posted on the ODSKC web site. Competitors in Experienced and Masters individual dual- and multi-line disciplines were expected to create a choreographed technical routine that incorporated these three figures into the routine in the order that they were posted. Scores were awarded for each of the three compulsory figures as well as for the routine overall.
Timing: Fliers had up to 3 minutes setup time as they entered the field. For the dual-line competition, time limits for the technical routine were set at 1-3 minutes. We found rather quickly that 3 minutes was not a lot of time to squeeze in the three figures and have any sort of routine, so we extended the maximum to 4 minutes when we got to the multiline disciplines. Going forward, it seems that 1-4 minutes would be the appropriate time constraints for both dual-line and multi-line disciplines.
Judging: Judges were encouraged to simply give each figure within the routine a score between 1 and 10, based on their quick assessment of the flierís ability to meet the criteria for the figure. Then, an overall Execution and Choreography score between 1 and 100 was given. To comply with the AKA scoring parameters, we just added a 0 on to the single-digit figure scored for figures, which allowed us to use the normal AKA score cards to score the event.
Impressions: If you saw my original posts on the subject of changing the precision format at http://www.aka.kite.org/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?,v=display,b=csf,m=1272986449
, you know my main reason for doing so was to reduce the amount of time precision takes, which would in turn (in theory) 1) reduce the workload on competitors so they can better enjoy the event and 2) provide a more entertaining format for judges, fliers, and spectators. Unfortunately, I didnít get an opportunity to judge the new format, but I did get to compete in it twice, in dual- and multi-line. As a competitor, I LOVED the new format. It was challenging and fun to figure out transitions between the figures and to get everything done within the time limit. I could see a world where I didnít have to ever think up a technical routine ever again, all I would really need to do is come up with 4 or 5 set transitions that get me from point a to point b to get to the next figure. By using these transitions consistently, I could put together a routine that would be both consistent and different every time because of the insertion of the various figures. I think that this format could be used for pairs and team to reduce the amount of practice time needed. Again, all youíd have to do is practice your transitions and figures and youíre ready for any precision event.
From a time perspective, the new format easily achieved the goal of cutting precision times in half, which was my main goal. By reducing the time per competitor by half, the door is opened to run more combined panels, which means that while judges will be on the field longer for an individual discipline, the overall number of judging panels is reduced. By reducing the number of judging panels, you not only give everyone less work to do, but itís easier to keep the event running on schedule because youíre not spending as much time assembling panels between disciplines, so itís a huge win-win. If everyone spends less time working on a panel, everyoneís got more time to hang out, have fun, and create a more festival-like atmosphere.
Again, I didnít judge the event, but we were lucky enough to have David Hansen helping us out, and he judged both dual-line precision panels run under the new format. Here are Davidís observations:
1. It worked pretty well for the two dual-line events I judged.
2. I had an excellent and experienced panel for both disciplines, but even a novice competitor who was assigned to one panel, who didn't seem to have much judging experience, did reasonably well with the format.
3. Judging is a little more difficult.
- Constant attention is required and you just don't have time to make useful notes about each figure, as it's flown.
- The appreciation/evaluation of the non-figure part of the discipline also suffers a little as you're not able to maintain focus on it as a separate entity and make good notes about what skills are or are not demonstrated.
4. It went noticeably faster than traditional precision.
5. The wind conditions were not the best and I think that had an additional deleterious effect on the Precision figures due to the League Style format. The continuity required by League Style makes the flier's setup harder in poor wind when compared to the complete reset provided between figures by traditional precision.
6. I didn't see much that looked like a choreographed routine, but the lack of wind may have had something to do with that.
The feedback I got from other competitors and judges was mostly positive, and Iím hoping that other folks will add to the comments here to provide a fuller picture as to how the format worked or didnít work. Also, if folks who werenít at the event (or were, but didnít compete in the new format) have questions, comments, concerns, then this is a great place to get those answered before moving forward. What do you think?