Build and Scale Interior Sequencing Skills with the Balanced Position Form
In a recent piece, I asked a question about how we go about increasing our ability to jam on the inside with our dogs. It was meant to be a rhetorical question that asked y’all to think about how you are going to get better at jamming inside with your dog. I think it worked. I don’t think many people have any clue how they’re going to get better other than doing interior stuff.
I laid out 3 Disc Quan Do Forms that work in concert to create competent interior play. Let’s focus in on one of them, the Balanced PositionIn the Play+ philosophy, "Position" is the final stage within the "Next" phase of a Cycle of Play. It acts as a pivotal link between the "Next" phase and a new "Now" phase. More Form, and explore how and why it works and how it scales up.
Form Based Progression
Disc Quan Do uses forms rather than drills and fits them within a belt progression: White>Yellow>Green>Blue>Red>Purple>Brown>Black. The higher the belt, the more complex or difficult the form is.
This does not mean that we can’t, as a Yellow Belt, do a Blue Belt form, or that we should not be doing them. Doing them is cool, give them all a shot…
But, as a Yellow Belt, you must be competent and experienced with a form before earning the right to move on. And as a Purple Belt, you will probably find greater benefit from revisiting a Yellow or Blue Belt Form rather than trying to top out and maximize your abilities at all times. Sometimes a simpler skill provides a greater challenge, such is the way of forms rather than drills.
Purpose of the Balanced Position Form
The purpose of this form is manyfold. The value rankings of the purposes will change on a team by team, handler by handler, and dog by dog basis.
Exercising and developing throwing skills is an important one. Odds are you’ll find out your Low High throw is weaker than you thought with this form, especially as you bump up belt levels and start to multitask. So you can work your Low High TossA Low High Toss is a special delivery used to hover discs and create a reliable trigger for the dog. More within a framework and purpose that work: increase your general ability, work on angles, work on sharpening the trigger, testing your dog, etc.
Creating the trigger in the dog is another important purpose. Your dog should not act until that disc turns horizontal at the bottom of the toss. Teaching this to your dog within a flexible and developmental framework is awesome. Increasing catching ability is another important purpose. All of these are intimately tied to the Trigger aspect of the Low High toss.
Creating and exercising the WaitWaiting on cue and situationally is extremely important for disc dog freestyle training. The competition field might not see too much waiting going on as everything is supposed to be happening in flow, More in a dog, changing and altering set up distance and position as I’m doing with Eppie…
Exploring the starting and stopping movement with the dog and the flatwork and Team Movement available to you; the pressure applications of movement…
All of these things can and should be the purpose for doing this form. It is highly flexible. TakeA Take is a cued Bite that replicates the placement and timing of a throw. Usually used with overs, vaults, and flips, the Take is a powerful teaching tool for creating habitual leaping More advantage of that and explore as much as you can through the progression of the form.
Yellow Balanced Position Form
This is the essence of the form. Just a simple Low High toss followed by a working flank in one direction. Stopping together as a team and prepping for another toss and movement in the other direction. It sounds too simple. It probably is for practical purposes, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy and doesn’t mean that being able to do it won’t make a better dog, handler, and team. It will.
Exploring this form and coming back to it is something should be done frequently. It’s a wonderful warmup.
Blue Balanced Position Form
Adding the StanceThe handler's stance is important. There are many ways to stand and each way you stand can say a different thing. Stances communicate pressure and direction. Switching stances sends information to the dog. More Shift to the form delivers next level Team Movement. Moving while the dog is busy catching the disc allows you to be in position as the dog is finishing their job. This preemptive movement creates a situation where you are always in front of the dog.
Without this preemptive movement, if you wait until the dog is done before moving, then when you move, the dog will move with you or may be moving in a direction that is not where you want to go. With this preemptive movement, the dog is late to the party and has to follow the handler.
Working all the modes of pressure: neutral, pulling, and pushing, gives you, the dog and the team experience and practice with each, delivering competent team movement while other things are happening and before other things will happen.
The Stance Shift creates and develop default movements for the handler. Odds are you don’t move well in one direction or are not as adept in one of the pressure modes. Exercising and exploring all of this will increase your ability to sequence, and prepare you for dynamic and complex interior Team Movement.
Red Balanced Position Form
NowThe Now Phase is an integral part of the Play Cycle in the Play+ training philosophy. It embodies the current, immediate interaction between the handler and the dog, anchoring them in the present More we’re really getting nutty. Not because this is hard stuff, but because the requirements are rigid and it is complex. Some of this movement will not be how you, your dog, or the team likes to move. There are lots of moving parts. You have to keep your wits about you.
Good thing you spent lots of time exploring the Yellow & Blue forms, right?
Working both directions of the ThroughA Through is a set up move where the dog runs between the handler’s legs. The dog can move from front to back or side to side and can even weave. A Through More set up moveSet Up Moves are tricks that are used to establish timing and position in disc dog freestyle. Traditional tricks include: Around, Through, Backwards Through, and Scoot, but any or all of your tricks, More might be interesting for you as well.
After the Progression
After making it through this progression, say 10 fairly perfect reps of each form on this list, you should be pretty amazing at interior sequencing. If you have explored the other forms of the early Belt levels, you really should be cooking with gas by this time.
Don’t stop. Feel free to create and do more with your understanding and skills. But don’t forget to revisit these forms every once in a while… Putting together these videos and writing these pieces as I’m revisiting the Disc Quan Do program has really clued me in to that.
I need to do a better job practicing what I preach and working what I teach.