"Spacing" for team flying

     Aside  from all the fancy maneuvers that teams can do,   the 
most  important  and  impressive performance  element  to  me  is 
spacing.    Good  spacing  is when all kites maintain a  constant 
distance between  each other.   During straight line flight  most 
teams  can do this.   But,   most teams loose their spacing  when 
they  go around corners,   and then re-establish it when they get 
back on line.  I call this action "accordioning".  To me its like 
the opening and closing of the bellows on an accordion.  Constant 
spacing  is fairly ease to achieve if all flyers assume the  same 
frame of mind.  The term to apply is:  "FLY THE SPACE"

     Definition:   "FLY  THE SPACE"  means fly the space  between 
the kites.   Each flyer must focus their eyes on the space between 
the kites and not look directly at either their kite or any other 
kite.   The  kites are observed in the peripheral  vision.   This 
area  of focus should also be maintained during the execution  of 
turns as well.
     The beginning team flyers are told to watch the kite in front 
of them.   For the beginner this is good.  It is supposed to keep 
them  from running into the leader.   As the team  flyer  becomes 
more  and more experienced,   less and less focus is necessary on 
the kites and spacing becomes more and more  important.   Another 
instruction  for  the beginner is for them to follow the path  of 
the kite in front of them.   This again is good to keep them from 
cutting  the corners and closing in on  the  leader.   Typically,  
they  will  then fall behind if they stay exactly on the line  of 
the  leader.   The responsibility of the leader is to  carve  the 
corners smoothly and not run away from the followers.  The leader 
will  enter  the power zone before all of the team  members  have 
made it around the corner.   Therefore,  the leader must not pull 
the  corner.   The  followers should pull the corner.   When  the 
followers  fly the space they will undoubtedly cut the corner  to 
maintain  space  on the leader.   It should be  understood  that,  
"Staying  on  the line of the leader is NOT a judging factor  but 
constant spacing IS ".

        focus     focus     focus

     Here   is  a  test  that  you  can  do  to  illustrate   the 
significance  of  this technique.   As an individual,   take  two 
sticks  with little paper or cardboard kites on the  ends.   Hold 
the other ends of the sticks, one in the left hand and one in the 
right.   Move them around as thought they were flying in a follow 
the  leader  formation.   The  pattern  should  be  a  horizontal 
infinity,  whereby the path is down on the outside and diagonally 
up  across  the center.   Notice that you  are  probably  looking 
either at one or the other of the little kite ends.  You may even 
be glancing back and forth between the two.   Have your team mate 
observe  the spacing.   Your objective is to maintain a  constant 
space  between the two kite ends of the sticks.   Now focus  your 
eyes  only on the space between the kite ends of the  sticks  and 
continue  the pattern.   More likely than not your team mate will 
tell you that the constant spacing has improved.
     Practice  peripheral  observation  in  your  daily  routine.  
While walking and driving your car etc.  Become in tune with what 
is  in your peripheral zone.   Soon the acute awareness  of  your 
peripheral  vision  will  become  second nature  and  your  teams 
performance will take on an added element of precision.

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