Collection and Lead Changes

A few days ago we talked about leaping and front footed landings, an important and hot topic these days that drew out a great conversation. Here we are again discussing a couple of ideas that may or may not be on your radar, but rest assured they are both important… and soon to be quite hot.

Lead Changes and Collection

Hopefully by now you’ve done a bit of homework and started to observe your dog’s landing. Taking a step back and watching, critically, will make you a better observer. As we move on to these next few concepts, continue to watch your dog, both in person and on video. At a contest watch all the dogs move.

What is a Lead Change?

The front leg of the dog that is reaching furthest forward when a dog is running is called the “Lead Leg”. Dogs often switch the “Lead Leg” and this is called a “Lead Change”.

Lead Changes happen frequently when a dog is turning or adjusting to a new or different motion.

Look for lead changes. You will see them when your dog is coming in and preparing to “Go Around”, when she’s getting ready to leap and in many other places. Be sure to watch other people’s dogs work as well. Watch many dogs move.

What is Collection?

Collection is the moment the dog gets ready to leap – where the dog “Collects” himself to leap well.

In any kind of jump, before it happens, the dog’s rear feet will come forward, as a unit, often winding up in front of the front feet. Preparing to take off from the ground is collection.

In basketball, when the player slows, steps forward sharply swinging the trailing leg, plants the foot, bends at the knees, reaches behind with the arms, all this is collection to spring off the ground for the monster dunk. Dogs do that too.

The rear legs come forward, in front of the front legs (arms), Collection, then the dog leaps. Boom! Lead Changes often happen when the dog is getting into position for Collection, if you watch basketball players you might see a similar human movement as the player shuffles his or her feet and throws the arms back behind them in preparation for a big leap. Dogs that are too excited about biting the disc or running too hard as they chase the disc do not and often can not collect properly.

One more thing to observe for the homework. You ready?

Watch your dogs head. We’ll talk about what’s going on with that, why it’s important and how it relates to landings, quality leaping and lead changes and collection landing in the next installment on Friday.

Understanding Lead Changes and Collection is an important part of consistent and safe leaping. Want to learn more about Collection and Lead Changes or have some information to share? Drop a comment below.