How to Beat the Scoresheet
by Joyce E. Pennington

Too many times, we as directors are guilty of allowing all of the wrong factors to effect our judgment when choosing routines and music for contest. This bad judgment continues when we prepare and polish the routine without ever analyzing how the judge will be able to score and what they will not be able to score.

From a judges point of  view, they may truly LIKE one routine better than another and the "likable" routine scores less. Why? Because the score sheet did not allow them to score in the areas that appealed to them. Many times you will find an average routine, without a lot of excitement, may outscore an entertaining routine, simply because it was technically correct and meet the requirement of the scoresheet.

Before you ever set foot in the record store, the costume catalog, or hire a choreographer, you need to see the score sheet by which your team will be judged. Look carefully at each category on the sheet and their point values and begin to visualize the routine through the judges eyes. If you plan to attend more than one contest with more than one company, make sure to request EACH scoresheet as they will most likely differ slightly from contest to contest. 

It is even a good idea to speak to one of the company administrators, in advance of your choreography, to find out what their general judging philosophies are and what areas they will want to emphasize with the judges.

Many other factors play a roll as well, including the facility where the contest is held: lighting, color of floor, color of background, level where the judges are seated, angle where the judges are seated. Make sure to check these factors prior to ordering costumes and creating formations and patterns. You would not want to choose a silver costume for a gray floor, nor a yellow costume on a yellow wood floor. If the judges are sitting low, your formations may not show up effectively.

When polishing the routine in the final stages, make sure to look at each category on TECHNIQUE, PRESENTATION, CONTENT, and PRECISION. Look at their point values as well as the individual comments. Make sure to see the finished product through the judges eyes. Go through a 'mock ' judging process with your team's performance video.

These steps will assure higher scores at contest 
with greater effect for your routines.



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