Junior Competitions – A guide for Parents & Competitors

This season we’ve had more new people competing in competition than ever before, and one thing we have noticed, is how very little understanding newcomers have of Liveheats (the live scoring system) judging, competition formats and general support for their young ones competing.
We wanted to create a bit of a segmented guide for everyone and you can read on below for some helpful information to guide you as a newcomer through competition.

1. LIVEHEATS
Liveheats.com is the place where everyone registers to compete, and it populates the backend for judges, commentators and the heats. Scores can be seen as the event goes on.
Some quick notes:
If you are one of those people who check the scores during an event, be aware that:
i) Scores will adjust as judges place their scores in, so if you look too early you it may change.
ii) Scores are a guide, they are there for the judges to pin competitors in the correct order from first to last, so don’t worry about your scores week to week. The order in which people place is what matters, not the scores.
iii) Scores can be changed, if its a big day and a lot of competitors, its important to make sure the results right, so the judges may review it at the end to make sure the placings are in the right order.

Liveheats tips
1. Register early. No one likes having their heat delayed by late entries, it holds everybody up, and generally the admin will make you go first if you are registering on the day.

2. Expect scores to change as judges enter results, and if it’s a single round with multiple heats, expect changes to scores to move people into the correct order.

3. Don’t focus on scores, focus on consistency, and engaging with the community, they are only kids once, lets let them enjoy it.

2. JUDGING
This judging information is more specific to street and the Etnies Am Series for Juniors, and can be a healthy guide.
The main key things judges will look for will be:
1. Use of the key street obstacles
2. Variety of tricks
3. Consistency of tricks
4. Difficulty of tricks
5. Uniqueness of tricks
6. Style and Execution

Riders are placed on a scale of 1-100 or 1-10 and scored up and down to put the skateboarders in the correct order of placing. The score for the same run will not be the same for every event.

Tricks like Rock to Fakies and 5050 grinds on ramps are not counted in the scoring, as they are considered flow movements between tricks, and ramp/ bowl type tricks are scored from low to none as they don’t form part of the criteria.

Heats in divisions are scored on the same scale, eg two heats of 8 in 12 & Under, but each division itself is scored and placings on their own merit.

Juniors don’t have a huge array of tricks, so a lot of the time half of a heat may do all the same tricks, so judges need to look for any tricks that someone did that was different to set them apart.

It’s also totally ok for your opinion to vary to the judges. On the day the only opinions that matter are the judges, and not everyone will have that same opinion of how the day went.

Judges are human, and can make errors, so its important as a competitor or parent to make sure we are familiar with the code of conduct HERE on how to approach if you think there is an error.

3. ADVICE FOR COMPETITORS, COACHES & PARENTS OF COMPETITORS
We’ve outlined some helpful information below to guide on competition and progression.

Outside of competition – preparation and growth
There are 2 things to assist and focus on that will help someone develop and also provide them with confidence ongoing outside of competition and generally on the skateboard.
They are:
Learning tricks
This may sound simple enough, but young skateboarders don’t have a huge range of tricks, so competition is tight as they all tend to follow each other and mimic tricks. Having more tricks gives them more options when they go to different parks and some tricks just don’t work on certain obstacles. Having a broader range gives them options, and allows them to use the natural flow of the park on the day to be more successful.

Natural Progression
To understand this, skateboarders have certain tricks they find easier than others. Some people skate frontside better than backside, and some people are heelflip people not kickflip people. If you see someone win who did a frontside flip in their run, it doesnt mean you should go learn that. If you have good kickflips and good backside 180s, your natural progression would be a backside 180 kickflip. Following this progression means you will learn more tricks faster, build confidence and gain board control. This will also help in competition as you will stand out by having your own array of tricks specifically to your skillset.

Parent / Coach Balance
These kids are phenominal, they are going at 25 – 30km an hour, on wheels, in front of a crowd with a clock ticking battling each other.
It’s really impressive how they hold themselves.
With this, can come nerves and stress.
When you are a parent, you are also often the coach on the day, and the kids depend on you for advice.
They also need a parent at the event to support them on a vulnerable level. Finding that balance is hard, and its a tough job, we don’t know the answer on how to do this best, but letting people know is only going to help you navigate the situation better and be aware of it.

What’s the plan
With juniors, 100% the focus should be to enjoy themselves, and spend time with their peers. Competitors have days where they just totally shank it, and that’s ok, we all have those days, and its the nature of skateboarding competitions, a trick or 2 off and your down the list 5 spots.

Ideally, you or your child want to be firing when your around 16 years old and transitioning into Mens or Womens.
The best skateboarders have taken a planned approach and especially with children in these years where they get to be kids, having a steady plan can make sure they enjoy skateboarding and develop.
We recommend 4 strategies around planning which develop great skateboarders and also allow them to enjoy themselves.

These are:
Consistency
Going to each competition with a focus on doing a run where you land all your tricks, it could take a few competitions, keep the runs simple and set a goal of getting a flawless run. It doesnt matter where you place, just try build that confidence.

Adding in new tricks
By learning new tricks between competitions, once you have your consistency up, start incorporating those new tricks you learned into the competition, the focus of that event should be to land it in a run.

Chasing Placings
After the events, have a look at your placings, so if you came sixth, try set a goal within the next 2-3 comps to come into 5th, this will happen as your consistency grows and new tricks get included and will naturally happen. Remember everyone peaks at different times, and some will peak next week and some in 3 years, so don’t throw out the book and stick to the plan.

Leaderboard Motivation
A great way to stay motivated is to use the annual leaderboard (HERE) and try and pick a spot to aim for and move your way up. This is low pressure and also does help with getting better positioning at major events.

Day to Day
Social Media and instagram is now a big part of junior skateboarding. Its not going away anytime soon and can be useful for kids to help grow sponsors and record their progression.
If you or your child are using social media, don’t let it be the driver for skateboarding.
Too often videos of the same tricks at different parks are being posted to make sure content is regularly getting out. Focusing on development is always going to be key, and you can incorporate social media into it by learning new tricks and posting when they happen, this is not only more engaging on social media but also continuing to drive development.

Remember, you can always talk to staff at the events on key breaks at events, and we are always happy to support wherever we can.

Helpful Links
Parents Code of Conduct
LIVEHEATS

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