Freestyle Guidelines

The freestyle round is a timed freeform competition that is judged on a 40 point scale using the the four categories included in the DISC freestyle scoring system - Drive and Athleticism, Ingenuity, Sequences and Flow, and Comprehensive. Only moves that begin with the disc in flight and end with a catch are scored. Takes, moves in which the disc is handed off to the dog, will not be scored. Rollers, throws that are intentionally rolled along the ground to the dog, will be scored provided the dog makes a clean catch. Moves such as taps and double throws in which one or more discs are intentionally missed by the dog and caught by the thrower will be scored provided they are cleanly executed.
Time Limit
Freestyle routines have a time limit of 120 seconds. Official time begins with the first throw, and countdown of time remaining will be given at 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, and time. In the interest of time, the UFO recommends competitors limit their pre-routines to 15 seconds or less.

Competitors may use up to 7 discs during their freestyle routine. At all UFO events, competitors will supply their own discs. Discs must be from the list of approved discs and manufacturers. This list is available at the UFO website, here. Any disc not provided by the UFO must be on this list, and in new condition. If a competitor has any questions as to whether a disc is acceptable for use, they are strongly encouraged to seek out UFO officials for guidance. The UFO reserves the right to deny the use of any disc it deems to be outside of these guidelines.

Costumes and Props
There are no clothing restrictions in the freestyle round; however, the use of a costume will not increase the likelihood of a higher score if it does not add to the overall entertainment value and crowd appeal of the freestyle routine. Competitors should be aware that the use of a costume could actually contribute to a lower overall score if it hinders the successful execution of moves or disrupts the overall flow of the routine. The use of any type of prop, an item not worn on the body as clothing, is not permitted while the competing team is on the field. If there should be any question regarding this matter, it is highly recommended that competitors consult with the UFO officials in advance.

Infractions of any or any combination of the above guidelines during a competitor's round will result in a 1 (one) point deduction from the freestyle score for that round.

Competitors who bring their own music should present it to UFO officials when they are called to the on-deck area. Contestants are encouraged to avoid music that is not suited for a family audience. Music should be marked clearly on the case with the name of the competitor and the track number, and must be presented on a CD. Bad country music will be chosen for competitors who do not supply their own tape or compact disc.

It is not necessary to include vaulting, using the thrower's body as a launching pad, in a freestyle routine in order to obtain a high score. If attempted, vaulting should be executed in a very controlled and safe manner, and special care should be taken to ensure that the dog lands safely and cleanly upon completion of the maneuver. Frequent repetition of vaults, or excessive height during vaults will not be rewarded.
Point Deductions
Each UFO official reserves the right to deduct up to 5 points from a competitors freestyle routine score, or in extreme cases, disqualify them entirely from the competition for violating any part of the Canine Welfare section of the UFO General Guidelines. The point deductions recommended by each individual judge will then be averaged to arrive at a final deduction value (0.5 point minimum).

Three judges will be responsible for judging one of the three subjective categories in the DISC Freestyle Scoring System: Drive and Athleticism, Ingenuity, or Sequences and Flow. Each judge will also give a score for the Comprehensive category, the high and low scores for will be dropped, and the remaining score will be the final Comprehensive category score. Each category is scored on a scale from 1-10 in 0.1 (one tenth) point increments. Judges have the option of writing a few short notes or suggestions on comment cards for the benefit of the competitor.
One additional judge will be responsible for determining a Catch Ratio Score. The Catch Ratio is used for reference and as a tiebreaker only. It will not be added to the other scores.

DISC Freestyle Scoring System

  • Drive and Athleticism - Judges look at the athletic ability of the canine competitor with special consideration for the dog's level of prey drive, speed, stamina, tracking skills, leaping ability, and control while in the air and during landings. Canines should show consistency while catching discs with varying spins and orientations over a range of distances.

  • Ingenuity - Judges look at the creativity, athleticism and throwing ability of the human half of the team with special consideration for the consistent placement of discs, and ability to deliver a variety of difficult throws. Successful completions are an important part of this category, but emphasis is placed on innovation and variety, not execution and repetition.

  • Sequences and Flow - Judges look at how the team works together to present a routine that flows naturally from trick to trick and transitions smoothly between sequences. Individual sequences should be composed of tricks that logically flow together, and competitors should pay close attention to proper disc management when linking sequences to form a routine. Solitary tricks that are not part of an obvious sequence are given consideration for their contribution to the flow of the routine as a whole. Teams are not penalized for taking time to set up tricks properly provided the overall momentum of the routine is not compromised.

  • Comprehensive - Judges score the general impression of the routine as a whole with special consideration for showmanship, presentation, energy, and overall crowd appeal.

  • Catch Ratio - A mathematically determined number that is obtained by dividing the number of completions by the number of attempts, multiplying by 10, and then rounding to the nearest tenth of a point. For example, (22 catches) / (30 attempts) * 10 = 7.3333, or 7.3 by rounding to the nearest tenth of a point.