Last Saturday coaches got together to learn, network, and get the winter season started up right at the Coaches’ Continuing Ed event put on by MADT. This annual event is quickly turning into my favorite of the year – just for how much we get to learn and develop the sport in one day. If you’re team doesn’t send a coach – next year you really should! I can’t recommend it enough. We got to see some new faces who are just starting out this year, and plenty of the long time vets who were back to keep growing. There were classes on just about everything going on in dance, but I wanted to also share with you some further talk from our wonderful JAM/MSHSL panel who was in to talk rules changes prior to the upcoming rules online meeting.
Some highlights of discussion:
- First off, I loved the general attitude of calm and common sense that was shown by everyone. With the elimination of so many little penalties, it makes following the rules more a matter of course, rather than this “don’t screw up or you’ll pay” kind of attitude. Love that. The general mood of the changes seems to be “local control”. Tell your dancers to sit, walk, and behave. Don’t waste time at meets. Cover yourself appropriately with a uniform your school supports. Judges don’t have to watch for that – you can handle it as a team/school. Sounds like sense to me!
- Minor rules changes and the “cut and dry” language changes didn’t need much emphasis. Two small points were made here: 1) the language suggests that you must have a coach at the sound table if you face “away” from it – but that wasn’t the intention according to our officials. The intention is you must have a coach at the relevant table you face. Expect that to come out in the online rules meeting. 2) JV can use old varsity music BUT: don’t forget it needs to meet the new time length, and you need to do a new routine to the old music. In a current year, varsity and JV can share a song/dance as we do now. OLD music needs new routines. Just a point of emphasis to think about.
- Uniforms: There are a lot of examples to look for in the upcoming online rules meeting. Hopefully we can clear up grey areas at that time. The discussion really helped pull up the lingering questions and I think we moved closer to understanding. The official rules clinicians (listed on the first page of the rules book) should be contacted with questions, photos, and for help. They WANT to help, and I think if you have any questions – be sure to ask the people who can make that call. I hear a lot of coaches asking each other what’s right – and I’m hoping everyone can take the officials’ advice and ask them directly. They are the final say, as is your AD on what’s appropriate for you. I’m excited to see what new styles we will see!
- Choreography: The object is to keep your use of same/similar choreography to a reasonable minimum. Teams need to use less than 30% of their routine from any number of sources (based on time). Uniforms and music are a part of the equation, but not a lone reason to violate the rule. Earning a “check” or “point” on the grid requires 3 consecutive counts of 8 that are the same or similar to a source. You will also need to cite your usage on your choreo certification form. Take a look at that page if you haven’t yet. Also, there was discussion on how coaches ARE responsible for where their contributing dancers get their ideas. Not being aware of what dancers are up to is not going to exclude teams from this rule. Dancers out there should make sure they note where that “awesome new skill” just came from and declare that at the upcoming choreography sessions. It was something I hadn’t really thought about asking my dancers about before. It will be important now. Again, I expect to hear another walk-thru of this during the online rules meeting.
Hopefully this helps out those who were not at the meeting on Saturday – key points being: don’t assume, guess, or ask your friends – ASK your rules clinicians! Stay tuned for official league updates in the online rules meeting.
Choreography starts on Monday! Woo hoo!