Just open up any Clean Run magazine to find articles on "Foundation". All are about foundation for the dog. What about the handler?
I had an interesting conversation with my friend, Gail, this weekend about handling. We came to the same conclusion: Everything we needed to know about handling we learned growing up playing basketball.
Here are some basketball skills:
Working as a team
Reading body language
These are all important agility skills!
- In basketball, you always know where the ball is, but use your peripheral vision for movement from other players.
- In agility, you keep your eye on the dog.
- When you get the basketball, you either dribble, pivot, or shoot.
- Is a pivot any different than a front cross? No!
- Is passing or shooting a basketball any different than sending your dog out to an obstacle? No!
- Basketball is a lot of stop and go movement. Can you say "acceleration" and "deceleration"? I knew you could!
As a handler you are both the coach and a player. You guide your dog through the play. It is your job to anticipate the off-course potential. You send your dog on in gamblers. You snake your dog though a snooker. And you do this without flailing your arms and screaming.
It may be worth having a handler foundation class on a basketball court. A few bonks in the head by a basketball (trust me, it hurts), may be what some people need to get into the game.