Expanding League Play to Freestyle
The purpose of this guide is to introduce players to various disc dog league play formats. This is a rapidly growing aspect of the disc dog sport, and this guide includes a new Freestyle Disc DOG format designed and tested by AAC to help players engage in the most challenging and entertaining game in the disc dog sport.
Small venue disc dog league play is a concept that Appalachian Air Canines introduced back in 2008. The idea was simply to encourage more disc dog action opportunities by eliminating some of the challenges of hosting “tournament” style events.
What is League Play?
The basic idea behind League Play is to downsize a competition by taking all the stress-causing elements out of it. Most times our club simply uses cones for yard markers without bothering with painted lines. We leave all the sound equipment at home and get by with a boom box or a booming voice. We keep the scores on a single piece of paper then enter the results into a computer after the event. We typically don’t charge fees or hand out any club awards at these matches (sometimes maybe toys or treats which the host provides), so there is no real need to calculate scores and declare “winners” at each outing. The rules and scoring schemes for each game are up to the event coordinator and can be changed on the fly as needed to suit the venue, host, or participants on that day.
Another way to look at it is to strive for more events instead of larger events. The ideal league match is in the 5 to 10 dog range and lasts less than 2 hours, whereas most tournaments these days seem to be in the 40+ dog, 8+ hour range. Big events scare off most newbies and casual backyard players. League Play on the other hand is like a sandlot game that is low key and inviting. Anyone can join in and have some fun, even if their dog doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on. Social time afterwards is always a welcome addition to our league matches!
K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch League
In 2015 a group of enthusiasts near Akron, Ohio led by Mark Vitullo launched a much more formalized disc dog league format and opened membership to the world. By 2022, the K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch organization had built a network of nearly 150 clubs with over 7,000 teams around the world participating in as many as seven 5-week “seasons” throughout the calendar year. This phenomenal growth has indeed introduced an unprecedented number of newcomers (aka “newbies”) to the sport and got them involved in playing what is commonly considered the foundation game within our sport. The Toss & Fetch league leveraged the distance/accuracy game and field design introduced by the Skyhoundz tournament organizers back in 2001 with a few modest rule modifications. They run 60 second rounds during some seasons, and 90-second-best-5 rounds during others. Visit their website for more information.