To fulfill our mission of promoting healthy, fair, and transparent competition environments while satisfying the guiding principles laid out on our home page, we have designed a scoring system unlike any other which breaks down the act of tricklining into its most fundamental movements or 'tricks' and objectively assigns a difficulty value to each trick.
To determine the difficulty value for a particular trick we examined the physical and biomechanical factors which make the movement challenging for the human body to perform. Each trick was computationally modeled and evaluated according to these factors to produce a truly objective "difficulty value" associated with the movement. For more detailed information see the American Trickline Association Official Rulebook.
With a system for mapping body movements to difficulty values in place, in essence scoring a round becomes a matter of recording the tricks an athlete performs, looking up the difficulty values for each trick, and adding them up to arrive at an overall score. Our system also includes bonuses for linking tricks together to form combos and deductions for repeatedly performing the same trick or failing to complete a trick or combo cleanly.
Expecting a judge to lookup difficulty values and compute an athlete's score by hand in real-time during a competition is unrealistic. As such, we built custom software specifically designed for scoring slackline competitions using the American Trickline Association scoring system. The software, called TrickScore, can be run using the link below and may be used freely for training purposes or in any unsanctioned slackline competition.
Scoring a round using TrickScore simply entails typing the tricks an athlete performs (along with any deductions) into the text box at the bottom of the program's control panel. When scoring a round, this means it is often necessary to break tricks down into their most fundamental movements as defined by our rulebook. This can take some practice but is much easier than it may sound at first. In general, the tricks performed in modern tricklining fall into one of two categories: (1) Contact Tricks and (2) Air Tricks.
Roughly speaking, contact tricks are tricks in which the athlete is in contact with the line throughout the execution of the trick. For example, a buttbounce is a contact trick. Static tricks like elbow levers and buddhas are also contact tricks. To score a contact trick simply type the name or abbreviation of the contact trick into the text box at the bottom of the program. All of the available tricks and their abbreviations are listed in the info panel on the right side of the screen. So to score a buttbounce you would type "ButtBounce" into the text box or just "BB" for short. (Note that the software will attempt to suggest tricks to help you save keystrokes; to cycle through trick suggestions press the TAB key).
Air tricks are tricks in which the athlete is not in contact with the line throughout the execution of the trick. A 360 twist is an air trick.
Air tricks are composed of two parts, a rotation and a body position or "grab" and because of this they are significantly more complex to score than contact tricks. To get a feel for the two parts, consider a frontside 360 twist and a frontside 540 twist. During both tricks the athlete's body is in the same position, the top of their head is pointed toward the sky and their arms and legs are drawn tight against their body like a pencil. When performing a 360 the athlete makes one full, 360 degree, rotation about an axis that runs from their head to their feet whereas when performing a 540 they make one-and-a-half rotations about that same axis. When scoring air tricks with rotations we need to type in (1) the direction of the rotation (2) the amount of rotation the athlete performed, (3) which axis the athlete rotated about, and (4) what position the athlete was in during the rotation. The axes are defined relative to the orientation of the athlete according to the diagram below.
So to score a frontside 360 twist we need to recognize that the athlete is in the "twist" position and that they've performed a frontside 360 degree rotation about their z-axis. To input this into TrickScore you would type ">360z/Twist" or ">360z/TWS". Similarly, to score a frontside 540 twist you would input ">540z/Twist" or ">540z/TWS". Breaking it down, ">" indicates that this is a frontside or forward rotation ("<" is used for backside or backward rotations), "360z" indicates that the athlete performed a 360 degree rotation about their "z" axis, and "TWS" indicates that during the rotation the athlete was in the twist position. (Deconstructing common rotations like this every time would be tedious so we've defined a number of common air tricks that can be input directly without breaking them down into rotations and positions. In this case you could actually just type "360fs" or "540fs").
When inputting a combo into TrickScore fundamental tricks should be strung together using a comma (","). For example, to key-in a frontside FreeFall you would type in "ButtBounce,>360z/Twist,ChestBounce" or "BB,>360z/TWS,CB" for short. (Typing this in every time an athlete does a frontside FreeFall would be time consuming so we've defined a number of common combos that can be input directly without breaking them down into fundamental tricks. In this case, you can just type "FreeFall360fs" or "FFL360fs"). Mentally breaking tricks down can be challenging at first. A general rule that can be applied to help you break down tricks is that each time an athlete makes contact with or loses contact with the line they have completed a fundamental trick and are beginning the execution of another.
Athletes are awarded a bonus for reestablishing control of the line after a combo. An athlete reestablishes control if they hold a single contact trick through one full period of the line's vibration or if they stop the vibration of the line without falling off. For example, if the athlete stands on the line after completing a combo and maintains contact with it while it moves through one full up-and-down cycle the combo is considered complete. Less intuitively, during a sticky buttbounce or sticky chestbounce the athlete also maintains contact with the line through a full vibrational period which implies that these tricks signal the successful completion of a combo and the beginning of another. If an athlete does not reestablish control after a combo (for example by falling off the line) all tricks that the athlete landed according to the landing criteria below should be scored and the combo should be terminated with "...".
A common source of dispute when judging slackline competitions is determining whether or not an athlete "completed" a trick. In other words, did they execute the trick well enough for it to be scored. It is important to have an objective method for deciding when a trick should be scored so that scores remain globally comparable. The American Trickline Association has adopted the following criteria for determining when a questionable trick or combo should be scored.
When competing on a slackline which can be mounted from the ground it's possible for an athlete to use the competition surface to help stabilize themselves during contact tricks. This practice, called "dabbing", makes it significantly easier to remain on the line. Since dabbing affects the difficulty of a contact trick it must also impact the difficulty value of the trick. As such, our system includes rules for applying dab deductions to contact tricks. (Note that dabs cannot apply to air tricks since it is impossible to contact the competition surface during an air trick).
In order for rounds to be globally comparable, it must be very easy for all judges to agree on when a dab has occurred and on the severity of the dab. With this in mind, we designed a very basic system for dab deductions. A dab occurs when an athlete makes contact with the competition surface during the down-bounce of a contact trick. If the athlete makes a clear "pumping motion" with any of the joints that connect to the dabbing limb the dab is considered a "heavy dab", otherwise the dab is treated as a "light dab".
To record a light dab in TrickScore simply add a minus sign ("-") to the end of the trick that the athlete dabbed, to record a heavy dab add two minus signs ("--"). For example, if an athlete dabbed lightly during a buttbounce you would input "ButtBounce-" or "BB-". If the athlete dabbed heavily during the chestbounce of a frontside FreeFall you would input "ButtBounce,>360z/Twist,ChestBounce--" or "BB,>360z/TWS,CB-". Dabs can also be applied directly to predefined combos. If the athlete dabs lightly on the first trick of the combo then the combo should be preceded by a minus sign. If the athlete dabs lightly on the final trick of the combo then the combo should be followed by a minus sign. For example, if an athlete performed a Freefall and dabbed lightly on the buttbounce and heavily on the chestbounce you would input "-FreeFall--".
Once your round has been uploaded it will be reviewed by one of the expert judges on our staff for accuracy before it is made publicly viewable on our YouTube channel. Note that you must have a verified account in order to upload a round. Accounts may be created on the upload screen and will be verified via email.