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1A-5A Freestyle Scoring

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Technical Execution (T.E.) Scoring for Prelims & Finals:

The Championship Division freestyle judges shall judge a contestant's Technical Execution according to the following scoring criteria.

Positive Point Awards:


Positive points shall be awarded for advanced level tricks or trick elements performed successfully. Variations of tricks and elements shall be fully scored.

Repeated tricks, repeated trick elements and repeated mounts may be scored at a lower value or not be scored at all.

Transitions between tricks shall be scored.

Additional points shall be awarded based on the difficulty level of a trick element. The base level (simplest advanced level tricks) trick would normally score one-point while more difficult tricks would be granted multiple points as the judge feels is warranted.

The number of points a judge awards for a particular trick element may also vary depending on how well the trick element is performed. For example, the same type of catch of an off-string” yo-yo may be given more points if the launch was extremely high as opposed to a launch where the yo-yo barely leaves the string. Similarly, a very basic Eli Hop may not even be scored if the yo-yo is only hopped a few inches off the string (because a particular judge feels it is not an advanced level trick element) while one with a high toss would be scored.

Other factors, besides difficulty level, that may increase the basic value of a trick element include but are not limited to: speed, amplitude, control, blind catches, and movement (i.e. turning while an off-string yo-yo is in the air before catching the yo-yo.)

Negative Point Assessments:


In all divisions, 1-point shall be deducted for each trick or trick element missed including but not limited to: missed string hits/catches, missed slacks, missed lacerations, missed binds, missed 5A counterweight/string catches, failed 4A launches. In all divisions, 1-point shall be deducted for each loss of control Repeated efforts to regain control of a yo-yo, such as but not limited to: repeated unsuccessful binds, repeated unsuccessful launches, and excessive uncontrolled loops or punches shall result in additional deductions. In 2A and 3A (and in 4A and 5A when two or more yo-yos are in play), each yo-yo is judged separately. Loss of control that results in a restart shall be a mandatory 2-point deduction per yo-yo. Therefore, in 2A and 3A (and in 4A and 5A when two yo-yos are in play) if both yo-yos need to be restarted a mandatory 4-point deduction shall be assessed. Note that each 2-point deduction includes the initial 1-point deduction for loss of control leading to the restart. If a contestant chooses to replace a yo-yo rather than to restart it, it is still a mandatory 2-point deduction. In all divisions, replacing one yo-yo with another, shall count as a mandatory 3-point deduction if the yo-yo becomes unplayable due to a jammed, broken or knotted yo-yo string or due to a malfunction of the yo-yo. Voluntarily replacing a yo-yo (or yo-yos) which does not require a restart or which is not unplayable does not incur a deduction. In all divisions, a mandatory 3-point deduction shall be assessed for any yo-yos that leave the stage for unintentional reasons including but not limited to: broken strings, broken yo-yos, failed aerial catches in 4A and 5A, or yo-yos that come a part. In 2A and 3A (and in 4A and 5A when two yo-yos are in play), replacing both yo-yos at the same time, shall count as a 6-point deduction if both yo-yo are tangled or otherwise unplayable. Note that each 3-point deduction includes the initial 1-point deduction already assessed for loss of control leading to the yo-yo replacement. In 4A and 5A, if more than two yo-yos are in play each additional yo-yo shall be judged separately and each additional yo-yo shall be subject to the mandatory 1, 2 and 3-point deductions described above.

Intentionally launching, throwing or otherwise discarding a yo-yo off the stage or into the audience shall result in a mandatory 5-point deduction. Repeated violations of this rule may lead to a disqualification if the actions are considered disruptive or dangerous. Note that this rule is in effect before, during, and after the freestyle time period.

Performance Style (P.S.) Scoring-Finals Only:

(Note that during the one-minute preliminaries, separate performance style scores are not tabulated by the judges; however judges are free to click in points for performance elements that they feel enhance the technical value of a trick element.)

In the finals, the judges will grant a score of 0 to 5 points for each of the 5 categories of “Performance Style” listed below. The total “Performance Style” score of between 0 and 25 points will then be added to the contestant’s normalized “Technical Execution” score to determine the final freestyle score.

The five “Performance Style” categories that will be scored are:



Artistry and Control

Risk of Tricks Performed Successfully

Variation of Tricks Performed Successfully

Overall Impression

A judge may grant a score of zero in a category if the contestant, in their opinion, failed to meet the minimum level expected for the competition. A score of 1 should be awarded for barely meeting the minimum level while a score of 5 should be reserved for an outstanding performance in that category. The overall impression score is designed to reward the contestant for how they have encompassed all the elements of style into constructing their freestyle.

General Scoring Details:

For each of the five “Performance Style” categories a number of typical scoring elements are listed to orient the judges on what they should be looking for in a championship level freestyle. However, all of these categories are quite broad and many other related factors may be considered by each judge as they score a particular category.


This is a very broad category that evaluates how elements such as the use of music, movement, stage use, audience interaction and freestyle theme are utilized to create an entertaining, impressive and exciting performance.


Does the music seem to fit the freestyle theme?

Are the tricks timed to match the beat of the music?

Was the performance staged and constructed in a manner to add to the interest level of the freestyle?

Did the contestant play to the audience and showcase their tricks?

Does the freestyle have a beginning that grabs your attention and subsequent elements that build to an energetic climax?

How entertaining was the freestyle presentation?

Artistry and Control:

This category judges how mature and refined the player’s yo-yoing skills are.


Do the body movements and the yo-yo merge and flow together artistically?

Are the tricks executed in a clean, fluid and controlled manner?

Do the transitions into and between trick elements demonstrate mastery and control of the yo-yo style?

Are the tricks presented (showcased) with consideration of how the trick appears to the judges and audience?

Does the player perform even the hardest and riskiest maneuvers under control?

How artistic is the yo-yoing style?

Risk of Tricks Performed Successfully:

Risky tricks not only increase the technical level of a performance but also may greatly enhance the entertainment value of a performance.


Are the player’s trick elements difficult and risky?

Are the trick elements performed with amplitude that increases the difficulty and risk of the elements?

Are the trick elements performed with speed that increases the difficulty and risk of the elements?

Are the trick elements performed while the player is moving so to increase the difficulty and risk of the trick elements?

Are the trick elements performed with changes in planes from vertical to tilted planes that increase the difficulty and risk of the trick elements?

Rather than catching the yo-yo between tricks are risky regenerations utilized to maintain the flow of the freestyle?

Variation of Tricks Performed Successfully:

Trick variation not only demonstrates the scope of a player’s skills but may also significantly enhance the entertainment value of a performance.


Does the performance contain a variety of trick elements encompassing all the major variations within that division?

Do most of the trick elements appear unique with little repetition?

Are the trick elements showcased to the judges and audience in a manner that make them clearly unique from other elements already completed?

Are the trick elements performed with stylistic variation?

Are a variety of regenerations utilized to link tricks?

Overall Impression:

After considering the four categories above individually, the judge will determine an “Overall Impression” score to reward the contestant for how all the elements of Performance Style: choreography, yo-yoing artistry, trick risk were interwoven to construct a stylistic and entertaining freestyle.


The judges will score Technical Execution (T.E.) elements as they see them occurring in real time. Performance Style (P.S.) will be separately assigned at the end of the freestyle.

Technical Execution (T.E.) And Performance Style (P.S.) Judges scoring:

A contestant's final freestyle score shall consist of the algebraic sum of their average normalized score for Technical Execution (Maximum score of 75) plus their points for Performance Style (Maximum score of 25).


The highest contestant's Technical Execution raw score from each judge will first be normalized to 100 points and the other scores from that judge determined by multiplying 100 times a contestant's raw score divided by the highest contestant's raw score. The average Technical Execution score for each contestant shall be determined by discarding their highest and lowest normalized scores from the judging pane and averaging the remaining normalized scores to the nearest hundredth of a point. The maximum normalized and averaged technical score will be 100 points if all of the middle judges have that player in first place and a score of less than 100 points for all other cases. The contestant's technical score will then be multiplied by 0.75 to obtain their final Technical Execution score. This will result in final Technical Execution scores for the contestants of 75 points or less.

The final Performance Style score for a player shall be determined by discarding their highest and lowest Performance Style scores from the judging pane and averaging the remaining scores to the nearest hundredth of a point. This may total up to a maximum of 25 points for each contestant.

The Final Score is then calculated by adding the averaged final Technical Execution score and the averaged final Performance Style score.

In the event of a tie for first, second or third place, if the Contest Director and Head Judges determine that the tie must be broken, the tied player with the highest score for Technical Execution will win the tie, otherwise it will remain a tie.