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AWSA Proposed rule changes


sunperch
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One of the proposed rule changes that I am opposed to is the change in the top age for junior skiers. The proposed change:

 

Boys:

U10, 9 years and younger, no changes in speeds from current B1

U12, 11 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph

U14, 13 years and younger, 48kph/29.8mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 55kph/34.2mph

U17, 16 years and younger, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current B3

M1 Age 17-24, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current M1

Girls:

U10, 9 years and younger, no changes in speeds from current G1

U12, 11 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph

U14, 13 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph

U17, 16 years and younger, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current G3

W1 Age 17-24, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current W1

 

That rule change would make kids with bad birthdays - after Nationals and before Jan 1 - move into MI/WI as juniors in high school. That is not right! 2 years left in high school and they would be considered M1/W1.

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@sunperch, I agree and have not heard this proposed rule before. Making smaller divisions makes the birthday benefit/penalty even more of an issue. Perhaps a small number of 17yo juniors will be ready for M/W1, but the majority are not.

Whatever group of rocket scientists that came up with this need to go to the membership and those affected.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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It was already unfair before. There is a ton of growth in a year for boys & girls. Our son was in 8th Grade and in Boys 3, so the proposed rule change would have had him in 7th grade competing at 36mph. He will always be the youngest in his division unless they do straight age and not based on date of Nationals.
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There is always a cutoff date that make someone's kid the youngest. (Hockey parents in Canada plan so their kid is the oldest within an age group.)

The 4 mph jump from U12-U14 boys SL simply never made sense. A 17 yo vs a 25 yo doesn't make sense either (I happen to think a 14 yo skiing @ 36 is ludicrous, too)

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With a “bad” ski birthday you currently start skiing 36mph at age 13. Waaaay too young. At 14 our son was able to get his Open rating in all 3 events which was super cool, but a lot of stress on a young body. There is such a big difference in boys year to year and 17 (16 if you have a bad bday!) versus 25 makes even less sense.
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I don't have a horse in the fight anymore as my son is 19 now but I like the step to 32 mph and I could see another year at 34 mph then another year or two extension on the oldest age maybe make it U19. I agree that high school kids should still be competing with kids not with college age men.
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Adding an additional kids division is a good move and making the age divisions cover fewer years will lessen some of the huge differences in development that you see with the current system.

 

There may be some quirks that need to be worked out, but derisively calling people who are working on this issue "rocket scientists" is not helpful.

 

 

 

 

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Adjusting the boys U12 slalom speed to 52 km/h will only delay the skier's development in terms of needing to learn to ski faster... Yes, 55 is quick for a small 10 year old skier, but I think that is the whole idea. Another risk is that a larger stronger 11 year old may be able to power their way through the first several line lengths at 52 km/h, but in reality ought to be developing the efficiency to at faster boat speeds so that progress can occur a few years down the road at 58 km/h.

Remember, the rope doesn't need to be shortening for the junior to be making headway; a competition is still occurring if it is at 18.25m into 55 km/h. Lots of challenge and valuable skills learned in that jump to 55 km/h.

Another very important concern for junior development is the opportunity for globally accepted parameters for age divisions and speeds. A fair amount of juniors really want to track their progress against skiers from all over the world. This fuels motivation within the junior skiers, and ultimately the growth of the sport. SO--before changes to divisions and parameters are made, the question of whether the proposals are entirely compatible with the parameters of other regions ought to be considered. And no, this is not an anti-competitive, globalist perspective, this is a very competitive bring-it-on perspective so that the juniors out there can go and get after it against each other!

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@drew I agree with most of what you are saying but I also see instances where the speed acts as a barrier to entry in the sport by new skiers, kids and families that have not started the sport from earlier in age. Many times these kids don't start skiing until ages of 10 or older. If we push that group too soon, I've seen a number of instances where those families leave the sport.
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Good feedback and discussion, so the premise here is not to align with IWWF as much as it is to break up the 4 year cycle of junior divisions. let me be the first to say that I hate to add any more divisions but almost every sport has gone to 2 year age groups and if this is a move that will keep more kids from choosing another sport over water skiing I think its worth a try. This is not an "everyone wants a medal" idea. Its the same principle as to why older divisions are 5 years apart, b/c the physical changes in those years are so different, 10 vs 14 and 14 vs 17 are big differences in ages and growth.

 

So U12 fits in nicely but we do have issues with formatting the rest I agree. Canada has gone to U12 already, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to follow IWWF if we can but if we stick with B3 or U18 then we are keeping the 4 year group of B3 so not really accomplishing as much as we can. The alternative is to add U21 like IWWF and go U10,U12,U14,U17,U21. We would need to decide what to do with M1 then but the U21 might smoothen the transition from a high schooler skiing against a 24 year old. We could add U16 and U18 but is that too many divisions then? or we can go 3 years U9, U12, U15, U18 but while we are doing this it would be nice to align worldwide as well which has U14 and u17 so not sure the best route.

 

BTW here is survey results from the membership, 40% in favor, 17% against, 41% dont have kids dont care, when filtering by kids divisions, 75% in favor, 25% against

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@JeffSurdej what about changing U17 to U18. I know that gives you a four year gap in the top age group but by that time kids are a little more mature and understand it may take a year or two for them to be really competitive in that age group. You could then migrate from U18 to M1. There are always going to be a few kids with bad birthdays but that is bad planning on their parents part :).
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If we make any move wouldnt it make sense to align with IWWF? Do their age groups follow the calendar year or something similar to “after Nationals”? Most sports are based on birth year, versus aging out after a specific event. (Like Nationals) Not sure what IWWF observes.
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People keep talking about how the age division puts their kid at a disadvantage because of where their birthday falls. Wasn't that the point of ZBS? So you as the parent or you as the skier can decide if you feel comfortable with the chosen speed for your division. Why does one expect a 14 year old to be competitive with a 17 year old? Would it be logical in any sport that for most when moving up in age division you wouldn't be competitive for a year or two? Are most freshmen playing varsity football? I feel like you are chasing a problem that you can't solve.
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@chef I disagree with you. It’s “horse in the race” or “dog in the fight”. There are, to my knowledge, no horse fights. But I digress.

 

In my view, the second most important set of records after Open is Boys and Girls 3. We kill those divisions and lump the majority of potential record breakers into M/W 1? I think that totally diminishes the record side of the sport. So to me, whose dreams of a B3 record are years gone by, I think there should be a darned good reason to change around the junior divisions, and so far I haven’t heard one.

Lpskier

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For the few Elite skiers, skiing up should be an option. That track is very rare, and unless the Mission Statement of awsa is to create world -class water skiers ( @JeffSurdej ?), rules should not be based on those 4 kids per decade progressions. They will handle themselves just fine.

If the mission statement is to create world champions, then take the Canadian father/coach/manager's advice as he built one of the best skiers in the world

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@nikandsteve IWWF uses calender year but so do we really, the only difference is that after nationals skiers change divisions for the upcoming year so for a few months yes skiers are younger than they should be perhaps but overall AWSA and IWWF use calender year to determine what divisions one will be in.
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@lpskier good point about the records for B3/G3. I love watching G3 division at Regionals and Nationals, some of the best and most competitive skiing! Changing the rules "hoping" that it will keep more kids in the sport seems like a poor justification. Many of the kids that are 16-17 y.o. have been working for years with specific goals in mind as they reach the pinnacle of their divisions. This is not about having a good birthday or bad birthday -I have one of each - this is about making high school kids ski against young adults, some of whom have graduated from college for the hypothetical pipe dream that changing the divisions will keeps kids skiing. Isn't that why ZBS was instituted?
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@JeffSurdej I think going to the Uxx model makes sense, and I like the 32mph, but would this mean that M1/W1 are included in a family membership or are junior/senior high school students on their own? One of the consequences of this may be to give 17 and 18 year-olds one more reason to not ski tournaments...
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@JeffSurdej I would be in favor of the two year scenario which would add yet another division...U10, U12, U14, U16, U18, M1, M2, ....Jump speed / height in U16 & U18 / same as current B3. Or leave out U16 and have U18 a four year division. That way you don't bring a lot of kids into 35 MPH 5 1/2 jump who may not be physically ready. They will bump up the speed and height to try to compete. I don't have a horse in the race but the is my 2 cents worth.
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@skiinxs - I have a horse in the race and I agree with you. I've got a 12 year old currently in B2. In fact, I am in favor of the U14,U16,U18, U21 Jeff described (or something close). I think this is important for the sport.

 

A lot of posts and discussion about how to keep kids in the sport, and I think that making the 14-18 year old age range more competitive is very important to that goal. The size and maturity difference between a 14 and an 18 year old is huge. If you want kids to stick with the sport, they need to feel competitive and not become disillusioned. Perhaps that is not how it was when we were kids, but every sport changes with the times.

 

2 years is a reasonable spread in age divisions. I suspect AWSA has numbers, but I wonder how many small 13-14 year olds give up when they get to B3 and are faced with competing against a 6 foot 200 lb high school senior?

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my daughter had to spend one full year slaloming 34 mph before it was dropped back back to 32 mph. She had great fundamentals coming out of girls 1 and into g2 yet she was very small. I think if she could have utilized ZBS scoring that first year she might have been a bit better skier but 34 mph at her up!! I think the proposal makes sense as a junior can always ski up and provided when they ski under international divisions R&L criteria they then can get on the worlds standings list.

Cool!

 

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Does the "U" model mean that ANY age skier under the stated age can compete in that division (i.e. compete up), while no one over that limit can compete in that division? Yes, stating the obvious here.

 

So, if there are more U divisions, it doesn't prevent the upper echelon skiers of any age if they want to compete with the higher group, right?

 

No number of divisions or rules about when the age is applied will ever solve the physical development differences from one youth skier to another. Boxing is one sporting solution which takes physique size into account for divisions. No one want to do "Weigh-Ins" at ski tournaments. Heaven help us if we ever need a puberty test to set divisions.

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@lpskier I thought that by making the age group U18 it preserves the current B3/G3 ages but I will admit I don't always understand the when kids move. I think the year my son turned 18 (May birthday) he was still B3 the year in which he turned 19 he became M1.

 

I agree with you about those age groups and that was what I was trying to protect. I may have missed the mark somehow.

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More comment and clarification--"narrower" age divisions within the broad international divisions makes good sense, especially in the US where there is a load of competition at all stages. No issue there.

Boat speed for boys who are 10 and 11--moving up to 55 km/h is a process, and it is in the junior's best interest to begin this early! 58 km/h comes really soon... No shame in getting stuck at 55, it takes time! And it will actually close the gap in scores between the division leader and the middle-of-the-packer if they compete at 55 km/h more than at 52 km/h (where the bigger stronger kids can run away with it down the rope).

Adherence to international age divisions and parameters of competition (boat speeds): this is very valuable. And yes, narrower divisions can fit inside this. It is just important that there be an alignment in the more broad "breaks" with international standards. Why not aim to have it all? US kids will benefit with global ranking lists, just as US kids have benefited with US rankings lists.

 

For background, this discussion doesn't really pertain to my kids anymore. Neilly is just finishing her final year of U17 competition (end of calendar year), and Charlie (dob 08/02/05) has one more season of U14 remaining at 55 km/h before moving up to 58 km/h. But having just been through the two year period of discussion (boys skiing as 11 and 12 years) with him, my takeaway is that as difficult as 55 km/h was in the beginning, it provided him with the acclimatization to speed that is needed. Now 55 km/h feels slow for him, and he'll be more prepared for 58 in a year.

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@Chef23 Mark, I was just busting your chops on your mixed metaphor. My kids didn’t ski as juniors so I don’t have much of a basis to opine from a parent’s perspective. In reality, if kids and parents think it’s a good idea, I guess I’m for it (no horse in the fight ;-) ). Records are important, though. That’s why we keep track of them. The proposed reorganization of the B/G3 divisions would wreck havoc on the record books. Will last year’s rule changes impact records in the 4 and 5 divisions? Probably, but not that may people care. B/G 3 records are big deals, in my book.

 

Clean up those metaphors, would you?

Lpskier

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As a parent of a skier that just went from B1 to B2, I love the idea of 2-year age groups. We are not a long-term AWSA family but are relatively new to competitive skiing (in our 3rd season). I can't count the number of families that we have met that had kids drop out in the transition from B1 to B2 (or G1 to G2) because they were uncompetitive for a couple years and it was discouraging to them. As said above, skiers can always ski "up" and be where they want to be. Ethan's shift to B2 has been pretty good and he has already put up a 22' off, 34 mph score in a tournament. But, if this rule change results in a fraction less kids dropping out then it is well worth it.

 

I do think that there is some good feedback here on the older Junior age groups and I don't know all the answers. But, I do like 2-year age groups in principle.

 

Dan

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