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Starting a Fly Ball team in my area

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Technically, all you need is a small group of other like-minded dog owners (advertise online), tennis balls, some training jumps, a flyball box (or at least a slant board to start with), baby gates and a place to practice. Ideally, you'll want at least one person to half way know what they are doing, otherwise it will be the blind leading the blind and the dogs will suffer for this later if they are trained incorrectly. I've only been doing flyball for a year and I have to say it is way more complicated than I imagined. Training technique is everything. My dog has been learning a good swimmers turn for the last year and still needs a little bit of work to make it perfect. If you start running them before they get that down they end up with bad habits (such as pounding the box with their front legs which is bad for their joints) and retraining later becomes much more difficult. The good news is that there is lots of info online, books and many successful clubs these days hold training seminars to get dogs and their owners on the right track. The first book I bought was "Flyball Racing: The Dog Sport for Everyone" by Lonnie Olson. It's an older book but has all the essential stuff in to get rolling.

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The NAFA webpage has some information. I'd suggest contacting the Regional Director for your area for help and advice. Your RD may know of others in your area looking to get into flyball. Also, the training forum on the NAFA page has some good information. Another good resource for training information are the Spring Loaded training videos/DVDs.


Best of luck!

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Ours started with someone who knew flyball who offered lessons. There were a lot of looky-loos and show-up-oncers, but some people stuck to it and we ended up with a team.


You will need to find a way to keep people interested. NAFA is a good venue and the poster above me gave very good advice regarding their resources. Check them out. Another venue, U-FLI, has singles and pairs racing, so you can get some tournament stuff going to help maintain people's enthusiasm and give the green people and green dogs some tournament experience. New people and new dogs at a tournament can get overwhelmed and go south real fast. People get stressed and forget they are doing this to have fun. Also, I found singles racing a GREAT way to learn to read the lights and start my dog consistantly. Exhibitions also are a good recruiting method, and running your dog on an open team (once he's trained) can begin to get you in the groove.


Both U-FLI and NAFA tournaments are similar in the basics. There are differences, of course, like the singles and pairs option and different ways to measure jump height, but our team competes in both fairly interchangibly. There are very nice, fun people in both venues. If possible, I would suggest registering with both to increase your tournament opportunities.


Some potential recruiting resources are 4-H clubs and dog obedience clubs in your area. Don't think "ooh, that dog will NEVER do it" He might. He might not. He might suddenly get it. People with non-stellar dogs who still love participating often make good boxloaders and pass callers. Some dogs, while they will never be competitive, greatly benefit from the socialization and experience of participating in training and can make good teacher dogs.


Here are some websites:





(The two below are mine. They are on a free platform, so they're full of advertising and gunk. There are links, videos, training ideas and descriptions of team roles at a tournament mixed in there, however. If these are inappropriate, please delete.)





There is a lot of other stuff on the net about flyball. Hope you have a blast with your dogs and new teammates!

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