5. Bonuses

Bonuses for speed flow, unique style of play and consecutivity

Many players perceive modern competitive Freestyle to be increasingly focussed on single technically difficult tricks. Flow, the flight of the disc as well as artistic and surprising elements that please the crowd are perceived to be lacking. In order to change this, the committee decided to establish a bonus system that shall encourage

a) Speed flow elements

b) Unique/creative style of play

c) Consecutivity

For detailed descriptions of the categories see below.


Technical implementation:

All bonuses are decided upon by the judges at the end of the pool that they are judging:

a) Each artistic impression judge can add a bonus of .5 to the overall score of the team with the best speed flow elements.

b) Each execution judge can add a bonus of .5 to the overall score of the team with the most creative/unique style of play.

c) Each difficulty judge can add a bonus of .5 to the overall score of the team with the most consecutive style of play.

As the word ‘can’ indicates, a judge does not have to give a bonus in case (s)he feels unable to decided upon it. This can be the case when multiple teams performed equally well or when no team showed relevant tricks e.g. no speed flow elements. However, a bonus should be given if possible.
Judges are not allowed to split their bonuses and distribute them among teams. A bonus should be a real incentive for teams to change their style of play and the power of the bonuses gets lost if they are split.
Judges are not encouraged to discuss and agree on whom to give the bonus to as we want to avoid a concentration of bonus scores on one team.


Speed flow:

In Freestyle Frisbee, Speed Flow refers to a quick exchange of the disc from throw to catch. In most cases this means that a player throws the disc to his/her partner who does a trick catch directly off the throw. Usually players will stand at least a few meters apart from each other, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Also small manipulations of the disc are allowed between the throw and the catch and it can still be called Speed Flow. The key criterion of a Speed Flow is that the disc’s movement is not brought to a hold between the throw and the catch.

Examples of speed flow:

  1. Player A does a forehand throw, Player B does a UTL catch directly off that throw.
  2. Player A does a backhand throw up in the air and to his right, Player B extends the flight of the disc by brushing it directly off the throw to Player C who does a scarecrow catch off this brush.
  3. Player A does an overhand throw to Player B who deflects the disc with his hand and then does a lacer catch directly off this deflection.
  4. Player A throws a bounce throw to Player B who does an UTL tip off this throw and catches the disc off this tip.
  5. Player A does a UTL throw to Player C, while Player B hoops the disc’s flight between them.

When a couple of Speed Flows are done in a row, we call it a Speed Flow sequence. A single Speed Flow is called a Speed Flow element.

The distinction between a Speed Flow and a regular combo is vague. Rules of thumb when it’s not a Speed Flow:

  1. The disc is brought to hold before the catch. This refers to the movement of the disc, not to the spin of the disc.
  2. A rim delay or a center delay is done.
  3. A guide is done.
  4. A padiddle is done.
  5. A twirl is done.
  6. A player does more than one brush in a row.
  7. A player does more than one tip in a row.

The difficulty of Speed Flow elements depends on:

  1. The difficulty of the throw
  2. The difficulty of the catch
  3. The difficulty of the deflection/brush/tip done in between the throw and the catch
  4. This distance between the players performing the Speed Flow element. Greater distance means a higher need for accuracy, but still closer sequences are more difficult, as the players have less time and less space, so more coordination more timing, more speed is required.
  5. The speed of exchanges: Quick throws are more risky than slow throws; short breaks between catch and throw are more risky than long breaks.

In general Speed Flow is more difficult than it appears, because it contains a high number of exchanges of the disc between players in a shorter span of time; and a high number of tricks catches (which  are the most risky part of each combination of freestyle movements).


Unique/creative play:

This bonus category is created to motivate players to show new kinds of Freestyle moves that differ from the moves shown by the majority of players. On the one hand, this refers to technically creating new moves of any types: rolls, brushes, pulls, shoots, turnovers, tips, deflections, padiddles, guides, twirls, etc.

On the other hand, aspects of Artistic Impression contribute equally to uniqueness/creativity of play. So a team can show ‘standard’ tricks but perform them in a unique/creative way. This contains:

  1. Ways of choreographing the play to the music
  2. Ways of teamwork (passes, sets, hoops, etc.)
  3. Body movements of the players (form, artistic manoeuvres, dance, etc.). Both the players with the disc and the players without the disc shall be considered here.

However, nothing shall be rewarded that is not related to Freestyle Disc movements e.g. showing breakdance moves during the routine without incorporating them into the actual freestyle play does not add to the uniqueness/creativity.

What should be rewarded, for instance, is if the player without the disc is copying the body movements of the player with the disc, as this is related to Freestyle Disc play.

“Rules of thumb” for measuring uniqueness/creativity:

  1. How often did the players show tricks or presented unique movements with a disc that no other players from this pool showed?
  2. How often did the players show music choreographies, teamwork elements and body movements that no other players from this pool showed?
  3. How often was I surprised about what I saw?

The difficulty of the unique/creative things showed plays a minor role and shall only be considered if two teams perform equally in terms of uniqueness/creativity besides this.

The judges shall try their best to evaluate uniqueness/creativity according to these rules. However, it is clear that it also depends on the experience and the personal taste of the judge what (s)he considers to be unique/creative. Therefore, it is the judge’s responsibility (and integrity) to minimize the influence of subjectivity and be as objective as possible.


Consecutive play:

Consecutivity in Freestyle disc refers to linking different trick moves together, rather than pausing within a combination of moves with a simple “THE” nail delay. A simple description for Consecutivity would be that one trick is the direct set for the next trick. Specifically, the basic premise is that a combination of moves of a disc shall never be stalled, stopped, or paused with a simple “THE” delay (a simple nail delay in front of your body) without any restrictions. One exception from this rule: when your partner throws you the disc the reception of that throw doesn’t have to be restricted.

Restrictions: A THE delay is the easiest nail delay and anything that makes this harder is called a restriction. A restriction would be, for example: delaying the disc ‘under your leg’ or ‘behind your head’ or ‘behind your back’; or any “blind moves” like a scarecrow brush or a phlaud catch. Also body-rolling a disc is considered a restricted move, because you are not touching the disc with your hand. THE delays, THE tips or THE catches also interrupt Consecutivity because these do not include a player restricting their contact with the disc in any way.
Within a combo there can be different levels of Consecutivity depending on the number of transitions between tricks that are consecutive. For example, when you do 5 tricks within a combo, you have 4 transitions between those 5 tricks to master. If 3 of those 4 transitions are consecutive (i.e. the reception after the trick is restricted), then the combo is more consecutive, than if you have 2 consecutive transitions only. That means that you have the highest level of Consecutivity if all transitions are restricted. However, you can even add to the level of Consecutivity by not only having restricted receptions but also restricted sets. However, sets don’t have to be restricted for Consecutivity! Examples for (non) consecutive combos:

Example for a totally not consecutive combo:

An unrestricted set, to a spinning THE reception, to an under the leg tip, to a THE tip, to a body roll, to a THE catch.

Example for a partly consecutive combo:

A grapevine set, to a behind the back hold, to a THE delay, to a flamingitis catch.

Example for a fully consecutive combo:

An under the leg set, to an arvand pull, to a behind the back tip, to an under the leg pull, to a spinning scarecrow catch.

Example for an extra consecutive combo:

A chair pull reception off a throw, to a behind the back rim shoot, to a scarecrow brush, to a behind the head pull, which goes directly into an under the leg shoot, into a double spinning gitis catch.

In terms of Consecutivity brushing is a special case, because brushing is more dependent on wind conditions, and avoiding THE brushes is more difficult than avoiding THE delays, tips or catches. However, too many “THE” brushes in a row also interrupt Consecutivity. As a rule of thumb, it can be considered that more than 2 “THE” brushes in a row are a break in Consecutivity. The same is true for nesting: more than 2 nesting brushes in a row interrupt Consecutivity.

Why do we want Consecutivity? Because it adds to the difficulty of play and makes combos look much smoother. Even an ordinary person with no experience in Freestyle disc can see a difference between consecutive play and non-consecutive play.

See Dave Lewis’ and Z’s video for illustration (consecutivity is called connectivity in this video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng5AOVQming

11 Replies to “5. Bonuses”

  1. I have serious misgivings about this. I like the intention but giving judges the opportunity to arbitrarily decide which team gets a bonus to me seems to lend itself to the appearance of bias at a minimum and at the worst the possibility for corruption.

    Suppose for a moment that I am so interested in winning that I am willing to pay a judge to give the bonus to me. Because the bonus is completely subjective there’s no way to hold a judge accountable especially if they are not talking with other judges and not required to agree. A judge can award it to whomever they wish for whatever reason they like.

    A potential solution would be to say judges must have a unanimous vote for a team in order to give them points. Then maybe scale back the total to 1 or .8.

    1. I agree with Matt. That’s 4.5 points the judges can toss to any team they please. 4.5 points is more than the difference between 1st and 5th place in Pairs and 1st and 4th in Co-op at last year’s FPAW.

      If these elements are something the sport wants to overtly encourage, include them formally in a category with criteria and accountability. In fact, at least two of the three are already included in existing categories (consecutivity in Diff and unique elements in AI).

      1. Arthur’s points are good here too. 4.5 points is a lot when you consider the top 4 finishers from last years worlds had a point spread of less than 2 points total. The bonuses could make or break routine.

  2. These bonuses seem to be the most problematic of all the proposed changes. Why only one team get the bonus? The skill level in the game today is so close that multiple teams could cover the parameters to earn the bonus, but it seems like it could become a popularity contest to decide which team actually will get the bonus. Even further, as Matt stated, it could lead to corruption and/or nepotism. It also seems like the bonuses will be a major factor in determining results, and could outweigh the already established parameters for judging that exist today. I feel the bonus parameters will fit in the system better in the established categories.

    Speedflow is already a component of variety (especially if we go back to judging throw and catch variety). And what if a team chooses to do a quick catch or 2, then a quick rimmy thing or 2, to a couple more quickcatches? By solidly defining speedflow like it is above, we come dangerously close to compulsories, which force(if you are playing to win) a team to quick catch in a particular style. This seems antithetical to the current vibe. So we could increase the value and parameters of variety to account for speedflow, but to require it, in my opinion, is the wrong direction to go. Start a speed flow division instead, that has diff and varietal parameters.

    Unique/creative play is a redundancy of variety and the new “show” category, and without any solid defined objective parameters by which to judge this, we could have a messier can-o-wirms than we have already. What if 2 teams do the exact same unique skill in a round? Does the first team to do it get the bonus? What if the first team copied the skill from the team that plays after them? This can happen, as innovation is very hard to keep secret, and who’s to say their new dippy-do is better than my different, but just as unique, new dippy-do. No-one has a patent on any new moves yet, but this bonus category, in its current form, could be the inspiration to begin to copyright them.

    Consecutivity has always been a factor in diff, and once again, very nebulous on how to quantify. What about mobility with the air brush? With the new proposal, the around the horn airbrush sequence would get many execution marks, even though it is very difficult and amazing to see.

    I like all of these elements being considered, but I think they belong in the current categories, rather than as standalone bonuses available to only one team per round.

  3. I like the Idea to reward consecutivity next to the judging in Diff, because I think it is judged underrated in Difficulty. The Bonus System allows the judges to think especially to that important points. In a 15 sec segment only the best Judges are able to recognize if a move is consecutive or not… there are too many other aspects that a judge has to think about in 15sec!

    Speedflow is a risk full element that could cost you a lot of Execution points. I never play Speedflow during a routine because I never get that Diff points for the risk – compared to the possible Execution Deductions! The Bonus could balance that.

    Unique/creative style of play is also a valuable aspect to give Bonus points! Could be a reason for players to keep care on their style and reinvent their game to earn bonus points – a good way to bring the sport forward for the publicity!

    4.5 Points difference is a lot if you calculate it in total, I have to agree with Matt and Arthur. But if we educate the judges to give bonus points only well considered I don’t think that case would happen.
    There is also a head judge who could monitor the bonus results and scratch a judge if he misused the bonuses to push his favorite team.

    To give the Bonus points at the end of round is a good tool to avoid manipulating marks at the end of a round.
    All marks are done and the judges calculating the sums and final points of each team. At the final discussion between the judges, they are recognizing that they have a big variation at the final ranking. To balance that, some judges add the one team a little bit more teamwork points. The other judge reduces a Variety score of another team. And in the end everything seems fine for the judges because now they have the same ranking – tadaa…

    This is a use case I often saw at tournaments, which is totally wrong in my opinion. It is hard enough to keep a 5 min Routine in your head and find a fair mark. (I am not able to do this always, although I would say I’m an experienced judge). And change that marks at an end of a complete round will destroy all the thoughts you have done while judging this team.
    By giving Bonus Points you have a possibility to balance the result in a way that is more comprehensible.
    Daves Argument that this 3 Points are already existing in the system is right, but not judged as good as they deserves it I think.

    Generally I am always overchallenged at judging AI because there are too many things you have to keep in your mind for 5 mins to find a fair mark. Maybe unexperienced judges don’t have that problem because they don’t think so complex. And at most of the tournaments you have timepresure while judging – this is also causing a lot of mistaktes.

  4. Bonuses do not help to make the system less subjective.
    Please refrain from implementin this in Freestyle judging!

  5. I like the idea of the bonuses to support things like consecutivity, speed-flow and so on but i also see the difficultys and dangers that Matt,Arthur and Dave describe.
    Maybe it could be a solution to let the three judges discuss after the pool and give one single bonus for the best team that diserves it in any way.
    This single Bonus should have less than 4.5points but could be a good way to support any kind of nice action that maybe hasnt been recognized or respected by the judges or the system.

    But, even as I like the idea ,I agree with the critical opinions and I think the way it is proposed right now ,it should definitly not be implemented!

  6. I oppose the bonus proposal strongly. I’ve commented briefly on it before in response to Matt’s thoughts. Some more feedback:

    Judging of performances is intended to reward excellence. These bonuses seem to be intended to sometimes reward excellence and sometimes reward things the committee wants to see.

    This proposal neither makes judging more fair nor makes judging less demanding. It decreases accountability and adds 1 thing each judge needs to track.

    Let’s not kid ourselves that judges will give less than 0.5 points each. The full 4.5 points will be in play during each round. Rather than creating more accountability in the system, it creates purely subjective swings in point totals. Let’s also not kid ourselves that judges won’t discuss the bonus points or look to their fellow judges’ sheets for insight on who to give bonuses to. Need for validation is a strong force.

    Speed Flow elements: this is promotion of a specific style of play, not a measure of excellence. If the committee has decided that routines should have speed flow, they should say that clearly. From my perspective, there is no consensus that speed flow should be a component of all freestyle routines. Instead, there is a respect for the craft of speed flow and a desire that well-performed speed flow be rewarded in a way judges aren’t seeing right now.

    Unique/creative style of play: This is already covered in AI, especially if Show has 40% of the AI mark. It’s piling extra points onto something that’s already rewarded more than technical proficiency.

    Consecutivity: I’m biased toward rewarding this with an infinite number of points because this actually is a measure of excellence. That said, I don’t think it should receive extra gifts of points. I believe better ways exist to reward teams playing technically superior delay and brush freestyle.

  7. I’m totally against that proposal! And I can keep my comment very short. Reed the comments of Matt, Arthur and Dave Schiller; I totally agree with them. Additionally: It would extend the period till the results are up and I think it’s important to have immediate, public scores.

  8. 4,5 points of difference is too much, if we tcahink these category are necessary, we can make Variety more easy to be judged. Speed Flow and Creative Style could be a subcategory of Variety (brush, delay clock counter upside down, different throw, different catch can be judge with a scale of 0-6) and 2 little scale 0-2 for speed flow (you did it 1, you did it very well 2, you didn’t 0) and creative style (you are a copy of others players 0, you put some creative stuff 1, you style are unique 2)
    Consecutivity could be judge in a full scale from 0-10 in a difficulty box and divide with others vote

  9. I strongly oppose this proposal for the reasons listed above. If there are elements of play that we wish to reward, then they should be included as categories so that judges are accountable.

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