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You are Not a Spectator
When throwing discs to a dog, remember that the handler is a participant, not a spectator. It you want to watch your dog catch discs, try sitting in the stands.
Handler’s don’t have time to watch the dog when playing freestyle. Watching the dog catch discs during a routines is likely to lead to lead to poor disc management and late timing. Once a disc is thrown the handler needs to be moving on to the next task like preparing for the next trick or picking up more discs otherwise the will suffer and the handler will get caught flat footed and ill prepared for the next trick or sequence.
Follow the Throw
There is no law that says that a handler cannot move and no law says to wait for the dog to come back. A great way to start moving around the field is to throw to where the dog is going to be and follow that throw. This puts the handler next to the dog, or close by as he make the catch meaning less time for setting up and field coverage. Team movement and efficient set up between sequences is a large part of the definition of a great routine.
Meet Your Dog
If the dog is running back to a prepared handler there is no sense in waiting there for him. Moving to where the dog is going to be is not only more efficient, but it shows an active handler and draws attention to the team aspect of the game of disc.
Meeting a dog on the retrieve is cooler than waiting for him to run back to the handler. Plain and simple.
Move to Discs
During a routine, moving towards discs or piles of discs lying on the ground is not only sensible, it’s necessary. The handler can throw towards piles of discs as well as meet the dog at piles of discs. The game of disc dog freestyle revolves around where our discs are laying.
An obvious point that is easy to miss when playing a heated game of disc is that handlers should move towards piles of discs before moving to single discs. There is nothing worse in disc management than moving from single disc to single disc with no discs in hand. When we find ourselves with no discs in our hands we need to move towards the part of the field that has the most discs on it.
Art of the Invisible Pick Up
Ideally, the crowd never sees the handler pick up a disc. Skillful handlers can and do pick up discs while the crowd is watching the dog. A long throw or a victory lap by the dog after a tough catch draws the attention of the crowd. That’s a great time to pick up discs. If discs are going to be picked when the attention of the crowd or judges is on the handler, that pick up needs to be made with efficiency or in a flourish of style.
Carry Multiple Discs
Handling 5-7 discs in a hand is something that all handlers should be familiar with. Efficient handling and management of many discs at once is important. It’s hard to look cool fumbling discs around or constantly stooping down to pick discs up from the ground.
Disc dog handlers need to carry at least 3 discs at a time. Having 3-5 discs in hand at all times will help to make it a habit. If you don’t have at least 3 discs in our hands you should be worried.