There are a number of roles that each person plays in each team that runs...
Each team has a nominated captain responsible for the running of that team on the day, this is usually someone running in that team but not always. It is the team captains responsibility to ensure they submit the team details in the morning and have the days running order, knowing what races they are in throughout the day, against which opponents and which lane they are running in. If you have more than 4 dogs in the team it is the team captain who will make the final decision on which four dogs will be running in each leg, substituting dogs and maybe changing the running order where necessary.
You also need a handler for each dog running so 4 handlers are always required, for those team members with multiple dogs they will often have another team member handling a dog for them, as a team we try and ensure that everyone has practice running other peoples dogs as this is often required in competition. Ideally you will also have a spare hand to hold your subs.
One of the most important jobs on the team is that of the boxloader; they have an awful lot to remember! As each team provides its own box for racing a good boxloader will be aware of the race order and what lane the team is in and be ready to get the box set up as soon as the previous teams have finished racing to ensure the team can make the best use of the 2-minute warm up time before racing ensues. They then have to know what order the dogs are coming in and which way each dog turns as this will determine which hole its ball needs to go in; bearing in mind the box loader has approx 4 secs to re-load the box between dogs! They also have to keep an eye on the fault lights, if any of the dogs has been given a fault light it will be running again as fifth dog so the box loader will need to have the ball ready and make sure its in the right hole. Races can be won and lost by the boxloader!
Ideally you will always have someone stood at the start/finish line checking your passing and recording your results/times. Having someone assessing your passing by watching where each dog is exiting the flyball lane while the next dog comes in will tell you whether you need to tighten up (if your passing is late) or hang back if you are getting faults! Its quite a difficult job because everything is happening so fast but once you get the hang of it and your team members know how to interpret your feedback it is very worthwhile.
Image: Len watching the passing on the start/finish line
It is also nice to have a spare bod in the ring collecting up the balls between each leg, keeping your runback tidy and most importantly safe. So in the ideal racing situation you will have a handler for each dog in the ring, a boxloader, a ball collector and someone on the line depending on how many dogs you have on your team sheet thats between 7 and 9 people. This isnt always possible but you will often get people from other teams willing to lend a hand if you are short staffed!
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