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It's winter let's change the sport.


skier2788
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Something I have been kicking around for awhile. What if we got rid of the "rankings" list. Why don't we go Nascar style and use a points system. For instance a tournament has a M3 number 1 seed skier with an average of 100 bouys. Points for placement in that division and tournament goes... First 10 second 8 third 6 fourth 4 and fifth 2. Every division would have a different point scale based on strength of competition. Same tournament as above but for G1. Top seed has an average of 50 bouys points are first 5 second 4 third 3 and so on. This allows for the points to reflect strength of competition. You could have certain tournaments that are a dedicated point total like regionals would be a 25 point tournament win. I hear people talk about the conditions at some sites and what if you showed up to a 10 year old boat at a tournament. With a point system it wouldn't matter just beat the competition on that day at that site to take the points. Set some date like July 15th and everyone in the top 75 in the division gets to go to Nationals.

 

Now there are some disadvantages. People in the North don't have the opportunity to ski as many tournaments. I would not weight R any more than a C. Most places do not run R tournaments outside of Florida. I would also make open and master rated skiers exempt their placement in a tournament and average would not be calculated into the points system. They would be given an automatic entry into Nationals.

 

Just kicking stuff around. Thoughts?

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Interesting outside-the-box thinking.

 

First criticism: While this provides a huge incentive to go to a lot of tournaments, it also makes it so that anyone who doesn't is completely out of the picture. As worded currently, this would be mostly about who attended the most tournaments, with sort of a tie-breaker based on performance level. Of course, a case could be made that that's what we want. I personally do not think that it is.

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"So what is my incentive to ski any tournament between now and regionals 2019?"

 

I think that question points to the more fundamental problem: When tournaments are viewed as a chore that we need to incentivize people to go to, I don't think much else we do will matter.

 

I went to a lot of tournaments for 20 years, and by far the main reason was because each one was fun for me. Finally, I got a little tired of it, and have taken a few years (mostly) off. But I suspect I'll return some day, and if so it won't be because of any ranking lists or point systems. It will be because I want to spend a day with my fellow Buoyheads.

 

Make tournaments something people WANT to attend and a lot of other problems just disappear.

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That requires making a tournament a truly fun endeavor again. A version of this came up in the state of the sport thread. The fun part of a tournament is the day at the lake with friends. Obviously if you go and ski your brains out with a PB or close to then you had a lot of fun as well but that doesn't happen at every event and it would be more fun with friends around so back to the original point.

 

To me, changing the sport should mean shifting more focus to what is happening on shore as well as what is happening on the water. Doing something to get more people interacting with each other on the shoreline to make the vast majority of the day when you aren't skiing more fun.

 

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@Than_Bogan I would agree with everything that you posted above. To that point my desire to attend tournaments would go up if I knew there was something more on the line than a score. Let me talk trash on the dock with the other guys. The placement at that tournament suddenly means something. The way it is structured now I am only skiing against myself and my ranking list scores. If I don't beat a top three score the tournament doesn't count for anything. If I come in first or fifth it doesn't matter. I have seen a few skiers show up to a tournament and the conditions are tough so they pack it up and leave.

 

I believe this is why tournament like the BOS cash prize tournaments are so popular. You get a true head to head format. You actually get to compete with some on that lake that day.

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My argument against what you are proposing @skier2788 is that for all but a few divisions (M4, M5 and M6) there are hardly ever more than one or two skiers in them at any given event.

 

With the current rankings list system if you are the only Women's 2 skier at a tournament, you can still "compete" against others by trying to increase you average, qualify for Regional or Nationals, etc. Under the proposed system there would be no reason for that skier to even bother skiing that day.

 

Also, even if there are a handful of skiers at a given tournament, what happens to the skier who is really competitive on a National level, say a Level 9 skier, if the rest of the group is not as good. "Winning" by 4 passes isn't exactly all that exciting. At least with the rankings list you can still achieve something that day.

 

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@jcamp I agree those are issues.

 

In your example the women's 2 skier wouldn't be skiing for nothing. She would be skiing for the points that would qualify her for regionals/Nationals.

 

As for the level 9 skier. Same would hold true. That person would be skiing for the points to qualify.

 

I skied 20 tournament rounds this year. Because I skied well in two R tournaments only 2 of my 20 rounds count on the rankings list. That means 90% of my tournaments scores count for nothing. With the proposed system even if I didn't move my average I would still walk away with some points for regionals/ Nationals.

 

Just spit balling the idea .

 

Edit: level 9 would be open or master rated so they would not need the points. Could keep a rankings list for the true elite in the sport. The rest of us mortals play for points.

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The 3 tourney avg is kinda funny for rankings. Someone can ski 20 tourneys whiffing early with some consistency and get thru a pass sometimes. I may ski 3 so I don't have a penalty and be over 100 buoys avg (the year before my sequential injuries). Who is better day in/out? Both look the same.

 

I enjoy a tourney here and there...but I can't imagine running 20 in a year...I love lots of other stuff, too. I can also ski my butt off at home and still enjoy lots of other things if I'm not off at a tourney somewhere. --shoot in MN I don't have 20 weekends/year ski-able...not even close.

 

3 tourney avg likely stimulates some minimum of participation, and removes the "one hit wonder"...so maybe it's reasonable. Perhaps penalty under 3 tourneys but over 3 tourneys true average score?

 

Having to ski a pile of tourneys to get points...if that was required to go to nats then nats would be a very small tourney. Many have families and other competing priorities and are lucky to hit 3 in a short seasons just to avoid score penalty. Nats is and will always be also a very expensive one round affair. I have never gone...it would be an expensive, one-round, non-placement.

 

@skier2788 I appreciate the brainstorming and outside the box thinking. The more brainstorming the better.

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How has the AWSA level Team Skiing worked out the last couple of years? I remember it was something like teams of 5 men, 5 women, and 5 juniors...

 

I like the idea of brining team skiing out of collegiate and into the AWSA world but I haven't really heard anything about it in a long time.

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@RazorRoss3 team skiing has worked OK, in some regions its a big deal and regionals is a ton of team fun, there are certain aspects of awsa vs ncwsa which make it hard to be as successful. Overall we have seen a handful of skiers attending reg/nat who normally would not have since they "made the team" but overall its not doing what I had hoped.

What makes college great is the self recruitment factor, teams go out and find skiers to fill rosters, but in AWSA more regions have been worried about winning and not recruiting so they have decreased the # of teams. When we started team skiing we had 36 teams across the nation, now we have 29 b/c instead of teams going out and finding skiers to fill rosters they felt it was easier to have less teams, full teams, and those teams would be more competitive.

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I love the idea of reinventing our rankings list, right now its just a PB list not a true reflection of competition. I hate that I can go to a competition, ski 1 buoy under my average and I get nothing for it. We should be giving points for performances at big events such as reg/nat, otherwise right now its easy for everyone to sit and home, ski a few back yard and local events and walk away rankings champion.
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Thanks @JeffSurdej, yeah, in Minnesota I'm looking around and I'm certain I'm not a top 5 talent in any of the three events so if there is only 1 team in the state I'd be out of luck.

 

I can understand why teams would want to merge together to be more competitive but like you I think it would work better/be more fun with higher volume.

 

Again, thanks for the update on that.

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@JeffSurdej maybe the teams are too big! Finding 5 women and 5 juniors for each event is a challenge. Maybe we need to reorganize things a bit and make it something like 10 people total with a min of 2 women and 2 juniors. We can certainly make the numbers work but seems the consolidating of the teams is largely driven by the need to fill women/junior trick & jump slots.
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Is it possible that a good way to baseline how many of each age/event makes sense on a team would be to look at the proportion of each in the rankings list? More slalom skiers than jumpers, so maybe teams have more available slots for slalom than jump. Just a thought as far as having team distributions across events more closely mirror population distribution across events. Probably works better in some regions than others... maybe doesn't work at all.
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For the rankings list what if it took a turn to be more like a golf handicap. Your golf handicap uses more scores the more rounds you play. If you only have 5 rounds it takes the 1 best, for 10 rounds it takes the 3 best and with 20 rounds it takes the 10 best. This removes real bad rounds from the equation like if you mop and lessens the impact of 1 stellar round. This might lower the ranking averages I am not sure. You could still have Regional and National qualifications based on beating a score the way they are today.

 

For those of us in the Northeast we pretty much only have a 8-10 week tournament season so getting to more than 3-5 events is very difficult if you have a family particularly if that family isn't into tournament skiing. When the first tournaments roll around in mid June everyone is still pretty rusty as well.

 

I understand the competition aspect of things. Having a handicapped score can keep things interesting. You could also do a 34 mph winner and 36 mph winner across divisions although without handicaps they would frequently be the same in different tournaments.

 

We have plenty of good natured competition across age groups among 34 mph skiers. I go (when healthy) to tournaments for the people there and to see how I do when it matters (as much as a ski ride can matter). I guess I don't need an incentive as I do it for the fun I have with the people when at an event.

 

 

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@JeffSurdej Scores at Nationals and Regionals should get bonus points. Maybe a multiplier of 5% at Regionals and 10% at Nationals. Besides the fact that Regionals and Nationals are championships and so provide tougher competition, they are 1 rounders so should get more credit than a score that was in actuality a 1 out-of-three-tries accomplishment.
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@jcamp I agree, we tried to propose this 2 years ago but too much of the membership felt it would not be fair to those that can not travel to reg/nat but I say if you want to be ranked high then you should be attending those events. You cant win the fed ex cup without participating in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Upon further reflection I still like the idea of giving bonus points for Regionals and Nationals, but the 10% I suggested above would be waaaaay too much. Maybe 1 and 3% are more appropriate, but regardless of the percentages, we should find a way to reward performances at those two events.
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It's a little weird to artificially inflate a score in my eyes. Like, if I put up 100 buoys (4@35 36) it shouldn't magically turn into 103 buoys (1@38 36) because I did it at nationals. I don't care if you did it at nationals or at a backyard event, 4@35 is not the same game as getting out the end gates. It might be better to do something like a general populace rankings list (what we have right now) and then an "elite" rankings list where you need to have participated in regionals or nationals to be included. The general populace one would allow skiers like myself who have never been to regionals or nationals to see how they would stack up against the skier who tend to go. You could be top 30 in the general populace but if only the top 15 go to nationals you could find yourself top 10 in the "elite" list because you are willing to commit the time to chase down the "elite" (regionals and nationals) events.
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@jcamp and @JeffSurdej you could maybe have Regionals and Nationals scores count as two of your scores for your average. That would put extra weight on those big events. For golf there is a concept of a tournament score in your handicap and it carries heavier weight than a regular round put into your handicap.
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@Chef23 I was going to suggest the same thing. That way a good score or bad score at Nationals will have more impact on your average. Perhaps even the same type of weighting can be put on class L tournaments?

 

How about an idea like this -

Class E/L/R tournaments have a value of 1.00

Class C tournaments - 0.80

State Tournaments - 1.00

Regionals - 1.50

Nationals - 2.00

 

Even Class F tournaments can have a value of 0.50 up to level 7 on the ranking list (if the score is over the bottom score in level 7 it's ignored).

 

So the modifier would be applied to the score AND the number of tournaments skied. That keeps the score the same as reality it just weights it differently. Which in my opinion is better than a 2.5% or 5% reduction if there are fewer than 3 scores in the ranking list.

 

Another thought is to weight more recent scores heavier than older scores.

 

And while we're at it, if various weightings were applied using more than 3 scores would again better reflect what the "true average" was. Bottom end outliers would be ignored. Then use all scores not just one per tournament.

 

Something like this can be tested with the current database.

 

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I am not sure I am crazy about the idea of devaluing a score in a Class C. That may be because with the exception of Regionals in the Northeast almost everything is Class C.

 

Regarding weighting more recent scores you could make it 10 scores out of the last 20. Include all rounds of a tournament and not just one score. That makes it your most recent performances that impact your ranking and a true indication of your skiing.

 

I think it would still make more sense to base Regionals and Nationals off beating a cut off score that makes it much easier to plan and could help increase attendance at those events.

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devaluing a class C is bad for the sport.

 

"hey neighbor, you should really join USA waterski and come to tournaments, oh, by the way, your score is going to get discounted by 20% because it's class C..." I can see membership spiking already... #SarcasmFont

 

I am also not a fan of overly complicated weighting systems... the three score average certainly isn't perfect since it isn't a true average but I'm not sure there is a good way to incorporate "consistency" into the system without overcomplicating it. You would certainly like the guy who put up score X in every tournament he skied to be ranked better than the guy who had three scores of score X and 10 scores ranging from missed openers to Score X-1 but that gets confusing and weird really fast.

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The ranking system as it is now is already "weighted" some what. If skier A has a PB of 4 at 38 and skies 20 tournaments a year his average will probably be close to 4 at 38. If skier B has a PB of 4 at 38 and only skies two tournaments his average will be less than skier A and is less likely to get close to his PB. Regional and Nationals should be stand alone scores. Skiing in those tournaments should be acknowledged in a meaningful way. Even if you miss your opener at Nationals at least you qualified and skied. This year the water skier magazine printed the results of Nationals but so little space was allocated to it that even with a magnifying glass you couldn't read the names. Making local tournaments more fun appealing to novice skiers is important but qualifying for Regionals and Nationals has to be exclusive and should be promoted that way.
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It would be insane to include every tournament set in the rankings. No individual sport does that (averaging).

As long as rankings are based on total buoys, many will seek out the best lakes, want the new boats, and not ski when Nationals isn't @ okeeheelee. Plus, how can you give someone 105 when they scored 100?

This has been going on for a million years. Someone good at math could figure out a way to give a score according to whom you are competing against that day. If you had a great day, or ski well in wind and are 6 buoys off several elite skiers, your ranking should go up.

(Or down, if the system had the best in the world at zero, like ski racing)

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I agree with @Drago. Figuring out how to value performances at different sites, speed, weather conditions, type of tournament is a daunting task.

 

If you really want to change the sport, let's hand the keys to @MarcusBrown and let him have fun. Or, give @JeffSurdej freedom to change things to make the sport more exciting to participate in.

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I would suggest that the average of your top three scores isnt real indicative of ones performance or how “good “ a skier is. It may take be 40 rounds to get my average of 105.75, but another skier may do that in 10 rounds and is a much more consistent skier. In the distance past your seeding was something close to: high score+ 2x median score + average/4, this rewarded consistency over a couple good/lucky performances.
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Along those lines, use the ranking list for seeding competitions and keep a second season standings list based on competition results. I'm on the other side of the consistency discussion. It really shouldn't matter how often you hit that high score as long as you do it at the right time (big event, against strong competition, etc).
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