Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How Judging Works

Ever found yourself at a yo-yo contest cheering for what seems to be the best freestyle you’ve seen all day, only to realise that when the results were finally out, the poor guy on stage didn’t get the gold?

Ever wanted to know what separates one player from another at a contest?
Now before you cry “foul play!” and start questioning the contest, it is important to understand how the judging system works.

Through this article, Spinworkx will try to give you more insight as to how our judges score competitors at competitions. We hope that after this article, you too will have a better understanding of how we judge contests, as well as allow you to become a better competitor by educating yourself with the judging system.

The Setup

Before we move into the details of judging, we first need to introduce you to the judge’s two best friends - a pair of tally counters, or ‘clickers’ for short. It is from these two pieces of equipment that a judge uses to determine up to 50% of a competitor’s score.

Clickers count for 50% of a competitor's score
Naturally, having a pair of clickers means the judge holds one in each hand. Generally, the clicker on the right would keep track of positive points while the left clicker takes count of mistakes.

The General Rule

Most of you would probably know by now that different judges give different amount of points to a particular trick depending on their opinion on what is difficult and what is plain simple. That said, there are still general rules to follow when giving points, especially negatives.

Negative 1

Whenever a judge gives a negative 1 point, it’s is normally in the event of a miss. Simply, when a trick is done, and if you miss the string, you get a point deducted.

A miss of the string will get you a negative 1
Tip #1: You may miss a trick and decide to do it again. That’s fine, but understand that if you miss it again, the judge will keep deducting points. If the trick you are attempting does not earn you much points, some times its better to abandon the trick after the first miss than to try it again.

Now how does this apply to 2A? For double loops, a miss can be something as simple as a corkscrew during loops, which demonstrates a competitor’s lack of control with the yo-yo. When the two looping yo-yos knock each other unintentionally during a freestyle, it generally shows lack of control as well, resulting in a -1 for the trick. A -1 can also come in play if say, the yo-yo decides to return in the middle of a trick. Basically, for 2A, -1s are given when a player has lack of control over his/her yo-yo during the tricks being pulled off.

Tip #2: Understand that for 2A, if you loose control of both your yo-yos that’s -1 for EACH hand. Plus, if for example you do 10 loops and out of 10 times, the yo-yo corkscrews twice, that’s a -1 for each corkscrew, resulting in a -2 score as well!

For 3A, 4A and 5A, it is important to understand that -1s are not just given for misses made during a 3A, 4A, or 5A trick. In other words, if you are competing in a 5A freestyle, and you do a trapeze and miss the string, even though it is a 1A mistake, you still get the deduct!

Also, understand that a miss can sometimes be landing on two strings when you’re suppose to be landing on just one.

Negative 2

Wind Ups. Basically a negative 2 is given when you not only make a mistake with your trick, but the mistake requires you to wind back or restart the yo-yo.

Need to restart your yo-yo? That will cost you a -2!
So if you were to do a trapeze and miss, you get the -1. But if that miss results in you having to do a restart, the judge will normally add on an additional -1, giving you a total of -2 points.

Understand that for 2A, the points are doubled if both yo-yos require a restart, resulting in a -4 instead of -2.

Negative 3

The highest single negative score you can get per hand. A negative 3 is normally given when you are required to change your yo-yo during your freestyle due to a malfunction or loss of your previous yo-yo on stage.

Changing your yo-yo due to a malfunction will cost you -3 points!
Just like the negative 2, a judge may initially give you a -1 for your mistake during your trick, but then add on the -2 totaling it to -3 should he/she realise that you require to change the yo-yo from a mistake you made.

Tip #3: If you are coming to the end of your freestyle and your yo-yo acts up or rolls off stage, requiring you to wind or change your yo-yo, it may be in your best interest to avoid restarting or picking up the new yo-yo and just bow. To some judges, doing so will only mean that they deduct you for the miss, but will not deduct you even further for the wind up or change of yo-yo as you have come to the end of your freestyle.

As usual, for 2A, changing both yo-yos will result in a -6 deduction, so try not to mess up!!!

Staying Positive

So now that you know how deducts are being given, how do we judge for positives???

Generally, different judges have different ways of giving points. Here’s two methods you will tend to see being done by our local judges.

Understand that even though each judge may have a separate method of judging, the most important thing to take note is that as long as the method used is consistent throughout each contestant, there is no need to worry with regards to your scores.

One Point Per Hit

Judges adopting the one point per hit method tend to give positive clicks each time the yo-yo lands on the string. Judges using this method tend to result in really high scores at the end of each freestyle. That said, judge scores will generally reflect correctly as long as they do the same for each competition throughout the competition.

Scoring on Difficulty

Another popular method of judging would be to score base on the difficulty of a competitor’s trick. This is generally done by observing the different combos performed by the competitor, and then giving the positive/negative clicks accordingly after each set. This method generally allows the judge to view the tricks as a whole, and then decide, base on his/her opinion, how difficult the combo was and how much points it deserves.

The other 50%

So we know how the first 50% of freestyle scores are being judged, what about the other 50%??

In general, the remaining 50% scores for a freestyle fall under the category referred to as “scored points”. These "scored" points are for Technical Evaluation (20%) & Performance Evaluation (30%). For this 50% of the score, it is given at the end of the freestyle, based on the judge’s opinion as to how much they should award the competitor.

Dressing up or keeping your appearance neat is very important in a freestyle!
Broken down into several parts, the Technical Evaluation & Performance Evaluation consists of 10 categories in total, where the judge is to decide how many points to give each category, from 0.0 for the lowest, to 5.0 points as the maximum, resulting in 50 points if the competitor scores full marks. For these scores, points can be awarded up to one decimal place.

The 10 categories are broken as follows:
  1. Cleanliness (Technical Evaluation)
  2. Variation (Technical Evaluation)
  3. Uniqueness (Technical Evaluation)
  4. Execution (Technical Evaluation)
  5. Routine (Performance Evaluation)
  6. Music Use (Performance Evaluation)
  7. Professionalism (Performance Evaluation)
  8. Amplitude (Performance Evaluation)
  9. Style (Performance Evaluation)
  10. Showmanship (Performance Evaluation)

With this judging system introduced to us, the judging for performance & creativity scores have been further clearly defined, and more emphasis has been placed on them, giving the judge a better evaluation on what is considered to be a good performance, and what isn’t.

Summing everything up

So now that you’ve got a better understanding of how points are given (and deducted) by a judge, and have a better idea on what determines a 50% evaluation score, it wouldn’t be of much use to you if you don’t take what you’ve learned and use it as an advantage in your freestyle!

Knowing what judges look out for in a freestyle is very important, having this knowledge allows you to decide what you should put into your routine, and what you can remove, in order to score higher points during your 3 minutes.

In our upcoming blogpost, Planning a Freestyle, we will explain to you how to plan and setup your freestyle. With this new found knowledge in judging, we hope that you’d take what you have learned in both articles, and gel them together to gain an edge in your future competitions!

With that, we wish all competitors good luck in your next contest, and to our local boys, we look forwards to seeing better freestyles from you in the next competition!

Good luck to all competitors!

Disclaimer: Note once more that the judging methods at Spinworkx may not fully reflect the way judging is done by other international judges. As mentioned, each judge has his/her own technique on judging that fall somewhere along the same guidelines. Just remember that as you need not worry about judging styles because as long as the judging is consistent, the outcome normally churns out the same results.

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