Class Excerpt: Flank or Pass Challenge with Marty & Apryl

Apryl & Marty take on the Flank or Pass Challenge for the first time during Tuesday Afternoon Disc Quan Do class. The Flank or Pass Challenge is a fun game that challenges the handler to be prepared and to execute thoughtful and competent disc dog flatwork and Team Movement on the fly.

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Rules of the Game

This is a two person game and the rules are simple. The player makes a throw to their dog and the observer calls out “Flank” or “Pass” when the dog catches. The player then executes either a Flank or a Pass to their dog.

Simple, right?

Why Play?

Playing Flank or Pass asks the handler to think on their feet and read the dog early to execute a flatwork maneuver on the fly.

This game randomizes the pattern of the handler and challenges the team to hook up and move as a team in ways that they may not be entirely comfortable with or that may not be “normal”.

Getting out of your comfort zone and executing simple maneuvers like a simple Flank or Pass is a great exercise to improve your handling skills and team movement and to gain understanding of how your dog moves.

Goals and Best Practices

Apryl did a fine job here, playing the game for the first time and not having the benefit of this lesson. That said, she played a bit simply and inserted some additional flatwork and team movement into the game, which is cool, but not the goal of the game. The goal is to be able to handle the dog on the release after catch and to execute the simple flatwork maneuver directly.

Apryl allowed Marty to move too long before starting to handle him. This put her in an awkward position and forced an additional flatwork move to execute the Flank or Pass.

In the initial round, having not played the game before, Apryl pulled Marty around on the Flank. Totally OK, but not challenging enough for a player of her caliber. She also used a Through behavior for the Pass which allows the dog to drive the Team Movement and doesn’t ask the handler to actually handle the dog.

The goal and a best practice performance on the Flank is to read the dog’s release and deliver the Flank toss on the dog’s line. So if the dog catches and turns to the right (clock) after the catch, the handler should step forward and deliver the throw to the dog on a line that pushes the dog away and does not allow the dog to come running in.

For the Pass, the goal and best practice, especially for Disc Quan Do class purposes, is to grab the dog on the dog’s line with Basic Flatwork Position BFP) and to Front Cross the dog into the Pass. This movement is the practical application of the Crossing Pass Form. I discuss this in the 2nd Flank or Pass session with Eppie.

Apryl’s 2nd Try

On the second rep Apryl hit the best practice criteria about 1/2 the time but didn’t seem to be entirely comfortable with it. She allowed Marty to change Flanks once or twice and wasn’t able to keep Marty out away from her on the Flank call.

It got much better, but was still a challenge. I also think that Apryl was trying to keep her throws small to keep things in front of the camera for class and production purposes: welcome to my world, baby. 😉 Nothing like running 3 cameras and a class for a weekly TV show…

Marty & I’s Round

This was the first time I tried this with Marty and he did a fine job. I think he had some issues with the spin I put on the disc, as it looked like they just spun right out of his mouth on those misses.

He was quite responsive to my flatwork cues and movements, especially for our first time working on this stuff. Apryl also did a great job calling the moves for me. I do wish she called more Flanks, though, as that is what I really wanted to demonstrate.

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