Dear Coaches: Judging

Dear Coaches,

Before complaining about the results of a competition, please figure out if your complaint comes from the design of the scoring system, the implementation of the scoring system, or a lack of knowledge of the scoring system. If the complaint starts with the system itself, you need to let the event producer know. The scoring systems are young and event producers want feedback to make them better. If the complaint is due to the implementation of the scoring system, aka judges’ error, you should ask the event producer about it. Some mistakes are as simple as an incorrect number being written (or typed) and are easy to correct. Event producers need to know so they can determine if they need to give the judges more information about the scoring system or remove anyone from their pool of judges. If the problem stems from a lack of knowledge about the scoring system, you need to do your homework and get to know the scoring system.

Judges are hired to implement an event producer’s scoring system. Some event producers, Jammy & Varsity Brands included, have fairly detailed, publicly available, guidance on what needs to be done in order to score in each range. Other event producer give guidance to the judges during the judges’ meeting, and we hope these event producers are giving the same information to coaches and choreographers prior to their competitions. Some event producers have little or no guidance. We suggest encouraging this group to make information available so you know how your teams will be judged. As a coach, you need to familiarize yourself with the scoring system of the events you are attending and put your teams in a position to score well.

The unfortunate side of Cheer and Dance is judges make mistakes. No matter how hard we try or how much experience we have, we are going to mess something up. Sometimes our mistakes are material and change the order of finish. Other mistakes are minor, only causing a missed opportunity for a coach or team to learn. Either way, mistakes will continue to happen and all we can do it work harder at preventing them and apologize when they occur.



P.S. We’ll have more “Dear Coaches” letters coming in the near future to address many aspects of judging and scoring systems.