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Switch It, Change It

Another experimental thing I’d like to see some event try is switching panels after day 1. I don’t know that this is a great idea, but I believe it would be worth trying at some events. The apparent downside would be getting inconsistent scores across days when performing the same routine. I believe this is possible and even likely.

I also believe if it would happen when switching panels by day it would happen if switching panels by event and getting the quicker feedback of seeing it happen by day would make it easier to address. Right now it’s rare for a judge to see another judge’s scores for a routine. Would seeing another judge’s scores lead to more consistency across judges and panels? I don’t know, but it would give an opportunity for a judge to see if they are high or low compared to someone else, which would make it easier for the judges that want to be great to look into why.

It would also give the coaches more feedback which I believe would be greatly appreciated at early season events, although I admit it may not be what they are looking for at major events. It would make judges watch day 2 routines with “fresh eyes” because they wouldn’t have their notes from the day before and it would incorporate more opinions into the final results, both of which I believe are good things.

Like I said at the beginning, I don’t know if this is a great idea that would lead to significant positive adjustments, but I don’t see it causing problems so I’d like to see some events try it.

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Editorials News

Execution First

Execution wins. I’d really like to stop writing with just that, but I feel like some sort of explanation is expected. On most of today’s scoring systems the difficulty portion is outlined enough that it’s hard to separate yourself from other teams on that side of the score sheet. In All Star Cheerleading if a team can’t get in the high range in every category that states specifically how to get in the high range, it becomes questionable if they are in the correct level. Of course there are exceptions, like teams put together to push kids or allow them to perform skills above the team average, but generally if you are trying to be competitive in a division you should be able to hit the high range in all difficulty categories.

With just about everyone that’s going to be competitive in a division being in the high range in difficulty it leaves execution as the deciding factor and the place you can separate your team. If you think of the teams and programs that consistently win does their difficulty or cleanliness come to mind. For me it’s cleanliness, aka execution.

How many teams can you think of that you would say the primary factor of their success over their competition is being more difficult? How about having better execution. What about being more creative? I can only think of 2 teams in which I think their creativity is what sets them apart from the other teams in their division and both of them rely on precise execution of their creative elements to ensure the skills are performed legally and are viewed by the crowd and judges the way they were intended to be. I can also only think of a couple teams that I feel like difficulty is the thing that consistently separates them from the competition and even within this group the most consistent ones also execute very well. Execution is the thing most of the highly successful teams I see use to set themselves apart from the competition.

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Editorials

Hit or Miss

It’s time for another random idea. I’d like to see an event that already eliminates teams each round, like college nationals, which advances about half the teams, or Worlds, which advances 10 teams, give priority to teams that don’t drop.

First guarantee advancement to any team without a fall. This means you and your fans could know that you are moving on as soon as you walk off the floor. If you drop you’d have to wait and see if all the advancing spots get filled by teams that hit or if not and you have a high enough score to take one of the remaining advancing slots.

Second, only make teams without a drop eligible for 1st place. Some details would need to be worked out to ensure teams still performed something that resembled a legitimate routine, like set a minimum score requirement, but the general thought behind this is you must hit to win.

This puts an emphasis on execution over difficulty and competitions would become an execution contest with difficulty as a tie breaker. This method won’t be everyone’s favorite, but is smartest in the long run. Pushing execution means more skills should hit and athletes generally don’t get hurt as often when skills hit. Trying the opposite and pushing difficulty over execution, would have a higher rate of drops, increasing the risk of injury.

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Announcements News

USASF: Are You Competition Ready? (2019-20)

USASF Logo 2018Dear USASF Coaches and Program Owners,

Competition season is upon us. Are you competition ready? Join Regional Directors Glenda Broderick and Robin Galik as they walk you through the steps to ensure you are prepared for your 2019-2020 events and fully understand compliance, eligibility, rostering, and more!

SELECT THE TIME THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU

  • October 16, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
  • October 16, 2019 at 9:00pm EDT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Can’t join us at the times listed? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.

Be sure to check The Connection for a posting of the webinar and further discussion.

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Editorials

Past Ideas

Several of my past ideas centered around trying to increase the average number of teams within a division.

First is making the standard team size 24. Forget XS, Small, Medium, and Large divisions and make a single sized-based division with a maximum of 24 athletes. Second is reducing the number of mainstream levels from 5 (last season) or 6 (next season) to 3, excluding Level 6/7. Tumbling wise  the first would require hand support (walkover and handsprings), second would be flips without twisting (tucks, layouts, whips), and third would be flipping and twisting (fulls and double fulls). Building wise we could start with next season’s Level 2, 4, and 6 rules.

Third is changing from the 5 age groups (Tiny, Mini, Youth, Junior, and Senior) we currently have to 4, Tiny (6 & Under), Youth (4-10), Junior (8-14), and Senior (12-18). Fourth is defaulting to every team within the same level and age group competing against each other until there are enough teams to split them. This puts every Senior 4 team, coed, all girl, small, and large, in 1 division until there are enough teams to warrant a split. Fifth is raising the number of teams remaining on each side before a split is made from 2 to 8.

The intent of each of these changes is to increase the average number of teams per divisions at competitions. Implementing any of these changes would have a small impact on increasing the number of teams competing against each other and all of them should have a significant increase.

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Editorials

All Eyes on the Floor

Another unconventional idea is to crowdsource bobbles, falls, and legalities to the other teams competing at the event, basically turning in your opponents. This would put more eyes on the floor looking for deductions, reducing the likelihood of one being missed and if one is missed it is at least partially the responsibility of those most impacted by it. I believe to accomplish this programs would assign someone to watch their competition.

The side effect of teams watching each other is it gives them more insight into what placements should be. It may even incentivize programs to have their staff judge some or more often, which could lead to more people who spend a significant amount of time in the gym being on the judges’ stand, something I’ve heard coaches requesting for years.

On the legality side this I could see this leading to more programs having a rules expert because each program would need to know the rules in order to call someone else on them. On top of that I imagine the programs that have an in house rules expert would be able to ensure their own routines are legality free which is part of the end goal.

There are several logistics that need to be worked out to make this work and I’ve thought about a couple. First the events would no longer have deduction judges on the stand, they would instead be in a score review type area to verify the deductions turned in by the other teams. Next there would need to be a way to limit programs from turning in meritless deductions. For this I envision something like NFL uses. Each team starts with X challenges and when they submit a deduction they use one. If the deduction is accurate they get the challenge back and if it is incorrect they lose it. I know there are many more logistics that would need to be worked out, but I think it would interesting to give something like this a shot.

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USASF: Are You Eligible?

Event season is heating up…is your coach profile ready for competition? Make sure your membership is up to date and that you have a completed background screening through NCSI so you’ll have access to warm-up rooms at Sanctioned Events. Log in to your coach profile today and get competition ready!

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Announcements News

USASF: Are You Competition Ready?

Please make sure you are READY and ELIGIBLE to attend sanctioned events this season! The compliance requirements are the same as last season, HOWEVER the system by which we confirm compliance is NEW.

Take some time to log into your USASF Member Profile and review your eligibility status. Click here and read “Account Information” for a list of what to do when you log in to make sure you’re ready for the season.