Author Topic: Increasing Participation in NADAC  (Read 34486 times)

Bostondirtdogs07

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Increasing Participation in NADAC
« on: March 20, 2018, 09:22:51 AM »
I saw it mentioned by someone on Facebook that their was a discussion on the NADAC page on increasing NADAC entries.  Since I can't seem to track that down I will share my thoughts here. 

In regards to increasing participation and trial entries, we discussed this at length during a NADAC event several weeks ago.  Our Club is small and is only able to support a few trials a year so this topic is of great importance to us.  The group involved in the discussion consisted of all agility experience levels from Intro to NATCH recipients (club and non-club members).  One of the factors seemed to resonate with the vast majority of the group.  This was the perception that in NADAC’s pursuit to provide new challenges to participants, particularly those who have earned numerous NATCHs, the only thing that has really become more challenging is the level of distance skills required to “succeed” in NADAC.  The group agreed that this was consistent throughout the levels, for example Novice, Open and Elite courses have become increasingly difficult over the last 5-10 years.  This has actually served to discourage many from even entering the distance challenge class, Chances, or pursuing a NADAC Agility Championship with their dog.  I find this disheartening but true.  I realize that every agility team may not be able to achieve a NATCH but if you make it increasingly difficult and unobtainable you will not encourage new participants to the venue and you are likely to lose long time participants to other venues.  I liken this to dog training principles; we want our dogs to be driven to continue with their training so we set them up for success.  If your dog is failing to perform the behavior 80% of the time you take a step back and increase their success rate.  With exhibitors, a high rate of continued failure will most likely lead to the pursuit of different sports or venues in which they feel with training, success is actually obtainable.  Please do not misinterpret this to be making things easier so that people do not have to work to obtain these goals.  I completely support distance work as the heart of NADAC agility and the dedication it requires to develop this skill.  I am simply saying that the distance challenges should not be made so difficult that only teams with dozens of NATCHs may be successful at them.  If these people are seeking more difficult challenges, perhaps they should be moving on to bonus lines and boxes instead of NATCH 49, 50, etc.  NADAC could consider other ways to increase distance challenges for multi-NATCH teams rather than making them impossible for those that are still working hard to perfect these skills. 

Another point noted regarding distance challenges was the inconsistency in criteria among the different levels.  The NADAC Handbook specifies minimum of 10’, 15’ and 20’ for Novice, Open, and Elite levels.   Keeping in mind that these are minimums, there is a wide variation in the challenges we see.  Many of the Novice level courses at recent trials have lines nearly at the minimum Elite distances.  We have seen Elite courses where dogs must blindly run 30+’ out and straight away from us.  Some weekends the Novice lines may be 5’.  The inconsistency is increasingly frustrating to teams.  Finally, it should be kept in mind that the distance challenges should be balanced to provide challenges for dogs of all sizes as most of the courses seem to favor large long striding dogs.  It takes a lot more effort for a Chihuahua to go out and complete a 30’ distance challenge than most Border Collies and natural herding breeds.  It was a rare joy to see a 10 year old Pomeranian earn his first NATCH at a recent trial.   
     
I am enjoying the new challenges we are seeing on NADAC courses that are unrelated to distance work and find the technical challenges refreshing.  It has been nice to work more tight boxes, serpentines and even an occasional wrap rather than just continuing to take whatever obstacle is directly set in your path.  I appreciate the flow of NADAC courses but it is ok to offer some sort of challenge to the teams.  Again, though I think distance work should remain the highlight of NADAC, it does not need to be the only challenge that continues to evolve within this venue.   

I have recently had great success in recruiting exhibitors from other venues to play NADAC and will continue to do so.  They enjoy the games and the atmosphere but do shy away from the distance challenges.  I think in order to hold their interest and retain their attendance we need to look at ways to make certain aspects of our venue less intimidating and other aspects more challenging.  Finally, we should continue to recognize accomplishments of teams at all levels as these are frequently overshadowed by teams earning yet another NATCH.

I hope these thoughts will be helpful in supporting the future of NADAC agility. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 09:24:43 AM by Bostondirtdogs07 »

Chris Nelson

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 11:48:16 AM »
We definitely covered this on the Facebook post so I’ll give the same answer here.

It’s all stuff we have been discussing heavily for the past year,  and there will be an announcement in June regarding some changes happening in January of 2018 that will address all of these concerns.

It will be a very large announcement,   On a Lot of different topics,   But I think it will be very well received,  and with 6 months before anything goes into effect folks will have a lot of time to digest everything.


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Bostondirtdogs07

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 12:20:26 PM »
Thanks Chris.  I finally found the Facebook post but with 700+ comments I am glad you responded here too.  I am looking forward to hearing the announcement in June.   😊

Laura Anne Welch

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 07:45:39 PM »
I was one of those in the group that Nicole referred to in her post, and she reported the group's concerns very well.  Those of us who live where the isn't a lot of NADAC and who love the venue don't want it to disappear due to competitors being discouraged by the issues that Nicole raises.  I haven't found the Facebook post yet (thought that the Forum was the way to stay up on NADAC issues?) but will look for it.  And, Chris, are you referring to an announcement in june about changes that will take place in January of 2019, not 2018?  Thanks for the work everyone does on NADAC.

Chris Nelson

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 04:56:03 AM »
Oh yes sorry, 2019.

The forum is a way to stay on top of things.   The post that happened on facebook was NOT started by nadac or sanctioned by us in any way.   It was just someone who decided to post and it took off.   So no real way for us to spread that around, especially with 700+ comments :)

ausscyn

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 11:31:47 AM »
How do you find that post on fb? Whose name is it under?

Cynthia Kennedy

giddyup

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 02:24:29 PM »
Hi.  Don't know if this would help increase entries or not, but has NADAC ever considered doing both a East Coast and West coast Champs simultaneously?  I see/hear people talk about "Darn, my dog qualified for Champs but it's on the other side of the country this year" "my dog is getting older, hope we can qualify again when it gets closer again". "Why bother trying to qualify this year since it's too far this year", etc.
Maybe having two Champs (I believe DOCNA does this) could help increase local trial entries with people trying to qualify and more people would get the chance to go to Champs which I'm sure is an exciting experience. ( as I kick myself for not going last year 😊)
Lots of work for NADAC, I'm sure, but just a suggestion?
Jill

Chris Nelson

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2018, 03:16:45 PM »
It's been talked about.    But it always gets shot down as part of the joy of Championships is competing against people you wouldn't normally see on a weekend trial.   This would compound that problem if we made two events.

It's actually much more likely for there to be a 'central' location that just becomes the permanent location.   Then everyone has to travel equally.   But that plan usually gets shot down as well!

Linda Fussel

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2018, 04:01:06 PM »
I love NADAC but being in Central Cal. there isn't any close trials.  One of the reasons I often hear for not liking NADAC is time.  There are a lot of dogs out there that participate in agility but don't have the speed to make time in   NADAC. so they don't attend. I have a dog with a nice easy speed that has clean runs but doesn't always make time so we NQ.  I did notice that the standard course time is being looked at.  I hope that helps.

Anne Etherton

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2018, 03:39:01 PM »
The times have generally become more generous in the past few months.
Anne

Lorrie Stelz

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2018, 04:17:59 PM »
Just adding my 2 cents.  I think the reason we have trouble "keeping" people is a huge variety of sports venues being offered now.  I only have a handful of people in my little area (county) that do NADAC and those people dabble in other dog sports such as obedience, herding, dock diving, barn hunt, CAT (?), plus other agility venues... AKC, ASCA, then there is some UKI and USDAA in my region.  There just aren't enough weekends in the year. People by me make choices on what to attend.  I only do NADAC, but my attendance is hindered by working every other weekend.  But, that's what I'm seeing.  We had a local trial and I was the only one in my county to attend all 3 days.  One attended one day.  The other people chose to do their other sports. 
As far as getting new people... I think it comes down to what's available to newbies and classes in the area.  What they are intially exposed to is what they tend to go towards.  The international type challenges are what people in my region seem to love the most (which is NOT my idea of fun), but that's what they want to attend.  AKC is biggest in my area.  USDAA is big, but few trials.  Now those people are now trying UKI, and ASCA has also had a trial now in my area.  Thankfully we have a HUGE devoted group of people in my region to keep NADAC well attended as we all travel sometimes many states away, to go to trials in the venue we love.  :)
As far as the distance challenges... hard for me to speak since I love those challenges the MOST!  And with people in my area all becoming very skilled at them, we usually don't hear too many complaints about the distance issues. Since I don't run in Novice or Open, I'm not privy to what's being said at those levels.  I'd hate to see distance challenges go away, or become easier.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 04:26:49 PM by Lorrie Stelz »
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agilityaddict2

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2018, 07:38:44 AM »
Here’s a thought.....letting people that do other venues start at the same level in nadac, instead of having to start in novice. Some of the other venues do this. Might get some newbies to nadac but not agility to try nadac that otherwise would not

bhodges865

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2018, 12:10:43 PM »
I really see more and more people doing other "stuff" with their dogs, myself included, which limits funds and time.  Where I use to just do only agility, we now do Up dog and dock diving which take weekends/money away from playing agility.

I have heard the complaint about NADAC having the fast times, but I think that and the distance is what makes NADAC different.  Plus my dog likes the flowy courses and I have seen more and more technical courses which I see as good for some and bad for others.

And where some places don't have much nadac to play, in East TN we almost have too much if you are involved in other sports.  I just can't afford to play agility 2 weekends a month plus do other activities.
Team TX Heeler
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mstomel

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2018, 12:36:43 PM »
Here’s a thought.....letting people that do other venues start at the same level in nadac, instead of having to start in novice. Some of the other venues do this. Might get some newbies to nadac but not agility to try nadac that otherwise would not

The only venue I know of that does this is DOCNA, and even still there are regulations and you have to request to be grandfathered in within 30 days of registering your dog. Since I registered my dog when I first got her, but then didn't show in DOCNA for a year, I was in NADAC Elite but I had to start in DOCNA Beginner. BUT the beginner classes gave me the time to figure out the differences in the venues and how to chance my style to better suit the different classes. And within 3 shows I was back to a higher level. Honestly, it hasn't seemed to help DOCNA get new exhibiters. My know-nothing opinion is that if you want people to enjoy your venue then get it out there for people, don't change your venue to suit them. There are soo soo many agility venues and trials these days. But I see so many clubs made of only elite exhibiters. Encouraging novice people is the only way to keep a sport from dying off. Unless you plan to breed your own agility handlers, you have to rescue them and train them. I think the best thing is the clubs that are able to give discounts to those first-time people or letting people run FEO, perhaps even before they commit to registering with NADAC? Give em' a taste right? The first hit is free :)

agilityaddict2

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Re: Increasing Participation in NADAC
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2018, 04:09:47 PM »
I could be wrong but I think USA and UKI both let you start at levels other than novice.