disc placement shapes and team movement

Disc Placement, Shapes, and Team Movement | Flamingo & Flamingitis

Creative releases are often quite difficult to drop into your Team Movement flow, especially counter clock releases. The Flamingo and Flamingitis throws both spin counter clock and both happen while the handler is upside down and all crooked and backwards. Usually these throws are just chucked out there somewhere after the dog goes around or is making a Pass. Eppie and I are working on making these throws with Intent and flowing Team Movement for the leap – on the flank and with shapes.

Get Function Then Get Fancy

I am completely capable of making crazytown throws. Back in the day, starting in the late 90s, that’s all I did was dream up and perform crazytown throws. In late 2009, I came up with the idea of disc dog flatwork, and since that time I’ve been far more interested in throwing well and throwing with intent than I have been in throwing the kitchen sink at my dog.

Where and when you throw and how well you throw it has great bearing on your dog’s performance. It also changes how the Team plays and interacts. In this show and in my training, you may notice that I really only make 4 or 5 different releases. There is a reason for that. I want to make sure the my dog and the Team function well. I want to make leaping and Team Movement a habit – a function.

Throwing With Intent

I still break out crazytown in contests, but my training consists of rather conservative throwing. I throw conservatively in training because I want to make sure I place the disc in a place that makes my dog look good and that highlights our Team Movement. I want to make looking good and moving as a team a habit. Creating habits is hard if you can’t hit the target. Creating habitual team movement and looking good is impossible if you do not define a target.

By throwing conservatively in training, I create a Team Movement and leaping habit. My dog and the Team expects to move with purpose and leap for the disc. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it should always look that way.

Just chucking discs out there to some place, expecting my dog to adjust, track it down, and save my bacon isn’t appealing to me. Not that there is anything wrong with that, a few of my outthrows work that way, but Throwing with Intent is, and should be considered, more mature and more difficult a skill.

This !@#$ Ain’t Easy…

Outside of UpDog and the Zig Zag element in the USDDN, this type of throwing has little respect and is poorly understood. It’s a shame too. The people who are doing it are doing something special, and rarely do we get the credit for it. Throwing With Intent should see a boost in the Throwing score, the Dog score and the Team score, and it needs to because the Execution score is likely to suffer.

Last year at the USDDN, I was watching an elite player work on a fancy Sidearm toss. He was smashing it. It looked amazing. The night before we had a conversation about throwing skills. He wanted “better throwing skills”. I was trying to get across this idea that Throwing With Intent, and throwing to your dog is the hard part. The fanciness is cool and all, but making a play with your dog – delivering to a time and place is high level throwing – and he did that stuff well.

So I watched him making these sweet tosses over and over, and it looked good. I stepped out into the line of flight and gave him a target, holding my hands at my chest, “Bring it!” He then proceeded to shank 3 or 4 in a row.

Throwing crazytown is easy if you don’t have to hit a target.

I don’t know whether or not he recalls the situation, but I do. I think about it a lot. I see lots of players chucking crazytown and letting their dogs chase it down and save their bacon. It’s cool, but it isn’t all that impressive. It’s about as impressive as a fairly standard creative release being made to a leaping dog in stride, you know, like it’s a play to a teammate.

Team Movement, Shapes, Time and Interceptions

The video above seems to be about the Flamingo and Flamingitis throws, and it is. But if you’re just looking at that, the session doesn’t look very impressive. I mean the dog isn’t really leaping that well, and many people can make those throws… right?

Take another look with Team Movement, Shapes and angles in mind and this session looks quite a bit different. This session is about more than just making these throws out there somewhere so my dog can catch them. It’s about setting up the situation, reading the dog, and delivering the throw to within 3 feet of the place where the dog needs to meet the disc. Check it out from a bird’s eye view:

Looks a little bit different, doesn’t it? This type of placement and timing is not necessary in your disc dog game, but it is an interesting and challenging aspect of the game that can be endlessly explored. And hooking up with your dog like this sure is exhilarating.

Give It a Try, Give It Some Attention, and Give It Credit When You See It

There is more to the game of disc than a crazy new throw or super flashy interior trick. While those things are cool they are not the only place you have to go to improve your game and showcase your skills.

There is more to disc dog freestyle than just chucking funky stuff out there for your dog to run down. This type of play and attention to detail can make your dog and your team look amazing. Not all judges are going to see it, and only astute judges are going to score it outright, but the skills required to do it are going to improve your core competence and boost scores across the board.

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The Purpose and Value of Recognizing Shapes in Disc Dog Freestyle

Shapes are created by the position and movement of dog, handler, and disc. And shapes can be created by the dog, the handler, and the placement of the disc. Shapes are a fact of disc dog freestyle.

When the dog leaves the handler for a catch, that tends to create a line. When the dog is away from the handler and moves across the field to make a catch, as in a Zig Zag or Around the World, that tends to create a Shape.

Patron’s Choice: Shaping the Leaping Catch | Freestyle and the Leaping Catch

Shaping a Leaping Catch can, and should be a full time job. Always throw with the intent to deliver the leaping catch unless working something specific that requires a specific approach, speed or distance that is incompatible with a leaping catch. Out throws are glory, not afterthoughts.

Within a game of disc dog freestyle there are many opportunities to reinforce and shape the leaping catch and to turn the speed regulation required for the leaping catch into a habit that is ever present in your freestyle game.