Judging workshop


The program starts on Friday at 19.00 and ends Sunday 18.00. It consists of six parts each about 2 1/2 hours, as well as two parts "on the field".
Of course it is -as always- possible to incorporate any good idea!

Each 'module' starts with an introduction of about 20 min, in which I will explain and illustrate the subject, followed by an hour and a half of discussion about the subject. After a short break we will try to find the best way to implement our knowledge and expertise in our own judging, and maybe formulate advise for other -beginning- judges as well as for pilots. If possible and/or necessary also for organisers and rule book writers.

The idea is to go from "big" to "small" and especially cover subjects that usually are no part of a judges- or pilots-meeting.

1 Why do we judge, what do we judge?

In my opinion a competition is between pilots, who want to know who is the best flyer. We judge because the flyers themselves can not fly and judge at the same time.

That means two things: 1) we (the judges) need to know what to judge, according to the pilots and 2) these criteria need to be "judgable".

After 12 years of judging I think judging is a speciality, and needs talents that not necessarily are present in pilots. Judges analyse, while pilots synthesize and both need to explain their work in order to get well judged competitions.

(This is the main reason I liked to have not only judges attending this workshop. The opinions of pilots are just as important as demonstrations of their flying abilities!)

2 Routines: art or craft, technic or beauty?

Most of us agree that Rembrandt was a real artist, but his contemporaries thought his painting technique was sometimes lousy! Most of us agree something beautiful is better that something ugly, but is that true in a sport as well?

Is a composition of a routine bad if it makes flying easier, or is a difficult piece of music for a ballet better, even if the flying is not really good?

And is a routine really worth nothing more than 50 ticks?

What is the trade-of between good and beautiful?

On the field: a pair and an individual ballet routine.

First the routine, then an explanation of the pilot(s), then an explanation of the judges (opinion, scores)

3 Ballet versus precision: composition and tricks; timing and improvisation.

this might start later, depending on the length of our "field trip"

Often I explained what a routine should be in the following way: the pilot has to show he can express himself, then teach the judges "words", teach the (his) "language", then show a "poem". If that works well, the score will be high.

If the flyer tries to fly a straight line, we only know he wants to fly that line based on the context of the routine. If a trick is flown, but not very well, the same applies! Now in a ballet the music gives a basic context, so if you fly difficult things in a ballet they might be recognised better (even if not well performed) than in a precision routine, because of the music! Because there is the rhythm of the music, improvisation in a ballet is much more difficult then in precision.

4 Compulsories: how precise are the judges? And can the pilot know what the judges see?

The compulsories are, just like in figure skating, invented to let the pilot prove he is a good pilot, in a short, simple to judge, comparable way. The compulsory is a technical test!

Both the pilot and the judges need to know precisely what has to be flown, otherwise the whole idea of compulsories is useless.

And then the judges must be able to compare what is flown with the prescribed moves. And of course the pilot need to be able to see if he follows the pattern too!

During the demonstration of the compulsory we will "test" a bit the ability to "look precise"

5 What you see is what you judge; judging the kite or the pilot?

Some people have emphasised this "judging what you see" quite strongly the last years. I have explained often before that judging what you see is impossible without knowing what you see and knowing what you don't see. But more importantly, the competition is between pilots, not between kites. Avoiding the test(s) in a compulsory, by flying it the easy way is avoiding competition. (Of course it would be best if compulsories were made in such a way that "avoiding" is difficult)

On the field a team or pair compulsory, and a team or individual precision routine

Purpose for the compulsory to see what "precise flying" is, for the routine how to get to an end score.

6 Practice: scoring, control, practical details

Scoring a performance is not the same as judging. Distilling one single figure from all you have seen and appreciated is the hard task of the judge. So do we add up the good stuff, or deduct for the bad parts? What is the balance between the score for a tick, and for a complex trick? Can you score an overall impression after seeing so much detail?

How do we check the judges? (I will illustrate what I think is a reasonably good way to check, based on my "statistics") Is it possible to find a system to rank judges?
Can we (the judges) prove to pilots we did a good job, and what about so called "open scoring"?

What do we need, as judges, to be comfortable on the field. (I know, good weather, coffee, a massage now and then!) Organisation, paperwork, information required.