Thursday, August 19, 2010

Agility Competition Recordbook

Yesterday my Agility Competition Recordbook arrived from Clean Run, and I began scraping together all the bits of information about Maxie's competition runs (15 so far) into one place.  The recordbook finally gives me a point of focus for all this data, which I sorely needed. If you need one, check it out at

I learned years ago, teaching Montessori preschoolers for decades, that unless you record each child's daily progress thru your program, you can never fully evaluate their achievements, and never really pinpoint areas that need more work. You end up making assumptions, skipping a lot of skill building exercises, and being a poorer teacher. And unless you have a well organized checksheet to work from, it is impossible to keep good records.  The Montessori Societies provide very detailed checksheets to accomplish this, and they ain't cheap.

Thus, this recordbook is a bargain at $15.  It records the following information on up to 300 runs:

Date of run
Class (Novice, Open, Jumpers, Excellent, Masters)
Hosting Club
Venue (AKC, USDAA, etc)
City where trial took place
Jump Height
Course Length
SCT (Standard Course Time set by judge, which if you exceed, you are penalized or disqualified)
Your Dog's Run Time
YPS (yards per second, which is Course Length/Run Time)
Leg #
Title (if any)
Top 4 competitors in the race in your jump height: name, breed, and placement.  (These are the very dogs you'll likely be competing against regionally for a long time, so it's good to know what you're up against if you intend to ever place.)
Comments: (a place for you to keep notes)

After each race there is a score book at the trial which shows all this info on each dog's for that day, but if you don't copy it down right then, there is no way to get it later.  The Trial Secretary sends you an email a few days after the trial with how your dog did in their qualifying runs, but not their NQ's.  So you never get to study what you did wrong unless you record this for yourself.

At the trial, there are also Course Maps made available of the day's runs, but if you don't pick up one of those early, they're often all gone.  I got maps of most of Maxie's runs at the time, which I marked with the dog's path and how I chose to handle each course, and how we did, but until this morning these were scattered all over the house, mixed in with various other piles of papers.  How I hate paperwork!

Aha!  I finally found my hook, my incentive, my inspiration to go thru all those stacks, looking for my maps.  I got them all collated into a new 3 ring binder I've labelled Maxie's Competition Book, and the pages correlate run by run, trial by trial, with my Recordbook.  Unfortunately, a few maps have been lost, and all of my NQ history is gone.  I emailed the trial secretaries of all 3 trials yesterday asking if there is any way I could still get that info.  Haven't heard back yet but will fill in here if I do.  I doubt they will do that.

But now I know what to collect, when, where, and I have the book to record it all in, on the spot.  I've studied them all, wringing out all the performance info on Maxie that I could.  I confirmed that indeed he runs way faster in Jumpers than in Standard, just like the big mucky mucks claim they do.  I'm set. 

Sorry, Maxie, that I flubbed up some of your early records in this way.  You deserve better. But, guess what, nobody in the dog world takes you by the hand and shows you these ropes.  You have to find out the hard way, observing other competitors sitting at the score table pouring over pages and scribbling in little books, wondering what they are doing, asking questions and they mumble some cryptic answer, groping in the dark, sometimes more like swimming thru molassas, like I did.

Or maybe not, if you read this page.  Which is why I wrote it.  If you've read this far, I probably wrote this page FOR YOU.

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