Playing with tournament numbers

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by mgriff, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    I was in procrastination mode on my taxes this morning, so I ended up playing with national tournament numbers from this season, and came up with some interesting (pseudo)statistics, which you can read about (and even download a spreadsheet!) here:

    Playing With Numbers

    WARNING TO STATS GEEKS: I am not a stats geek. The most complicated (and only) statistics you will find are arithmetic means (along with an unstated assumption of linear relationships).

    Mary
     
  2. KD5MDK

    KD5MDK Moderator

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    You are accounting for duration of the event in your final calculation, right? All the other events are 4 days and so directly comparable, but SN is a lot longer.
     
  3. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    Well, that's what's so entertaining about these numbers. The "fencers per strips per day" for SN is 10.88, not far off that for JOs (10.03). It's only the straight "fencers per strip"--no matter the length of the tournament--that correlates so well with my "perceived difficulty of tournament," which leads me to think that either the correlation's entirely coincidental or we've got way too few data points to tell anything at all. But like I said before, I think of them as (pseudo)stats.
     
  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Just out of curiosity, Mary...was it your impression that there were, perhaps, more referees working in Detroit than were needed to handle the FPS level of the events?
     
  5. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    March is always a bit of a weird tournament to staff. Because it's considered a developmental tournament, the FOC always hires enough referees so that newbies can be assigned with higher level refs for mentoring and observation. So it's quite likely that the numbers were higher than they might otherwise be for a tournament that size.

    The BC was training, too. We had a new trainee and were also working on giving an experienced staff member more practice at being BC chair. That's always tough for us, because so many NACs now are too big and complicated to risk doing much training at, and SN has been out of the question for BC training for years--it's just too risky. Somehow we've got to get better at it, though--we're losing officials when we need to be developing more just to keep up.
     
  6. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    What about mock tournaments? Maybe computer simulations?

    Or send the trainees to ROCs to "qualify" for NACs. If it's good enough fo the fencers...
     
  7. fdad

    fdad Podium

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    I suspect (# of BC Staff/# Bouts Fenced) would provide the same correlation, and be closer to highlighting the real problem.
     
  8. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    Right now, to be a BC trainee, you already need to have ROC, sectional, or other significant regional experience. We're currently working on getting more info from the ROCs about their BC personnel, so we can recruit and develop from those we aren't already working with.

    One thing that's really hurting us now for recruiting BC trainees is that trainees' airfare is not reimbursed under current policy, though we're hoping to get that changed for next season. If not, I expect we will continue to lose experienced people faster than we can replace them. (Some of the losses are just normal attrition due to family obligations or job changes, but the working conditions and delayed pay are real issues, too.)

    It normally takes working *at least* two full NACs for trainees to get promoted to full BC staff status, and there's still a lot to learn at that point. Typically, it takes a couple of years to become comfortable running events with repechage (probably longer now, since there's not so much of it anymore). Potential chairs usually have 3 or 4 years of national BC staff experience when they start learning strip management, which we still haven't figured out a good way to teach other than by doing it under close supervision.

    Another important BC job requirement--probably even more important than the technical knowledge, which can always be learned--is the proper temperament, which is a weird mix of patience, anal attention to detail, the ability to see the big picture, ease with multitasking, an awareness of when to jump in to help and when to stay out of the way, and minimal irritating personal quirks, because even the best-natured people will drive each other nuts under our working conditions.

    Mock tournaments and computer simulations are something we're already considering, though that requires budget and time that we've not yet had enough of. They'd be great for developing the technical knowledge and skill we need, but less useful for learning to handle the intensity and stress of national tournaments--dealing with even the well-behaved fencers and coaches and parents and others, let alone the extremes. (I mean, sure, we could do role-playing, but it would never come close to the real thing.)
     
  9. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    Actually, no. There's an optimum number of people to have working up on the BC stage--beyond that, it just turns what would have been merely difficult into difficult and too crowded, which slows things down.

    Same with strips. A few people keep telling us that all we need is more strips. More strips help up to a point, but once you're past the largest round, you still need just time for the rest of the rounds to fence out and more strips or referees won't make any difference.
     
  10. teacup

    teacup Podium

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    I would speculate that with the increased number and emphasis on ROCs and SYCs, it will become even more difficult to recruit BC volunteers.

    After all which do you think most would choose between; working at least two national events where one has to pay their own way, long hours, delayed payment, and working over four days with an added travel day or working at an ROC/SYC with relatively "normal" hours over a two day weekend and getting paid in a timely fashion?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  11. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    Exactly.
     
  12. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Well, then, the answer is to---get rid of NACs!

    That's where this line of reasoning is taking us, I am afraid.
     
  13. mgriff

    mgriff DE Bracket

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    Not necessarily--just make them manageable. Better for officials and better for fencers. I *hate* always having to double-flight saber, let alone triple-flgiht it the way I'm having to do more often. And fencers don't get the tournament experience they deserve if referees can't see straight because they've already been working for 10 hours and only had 10 or15 minutes for lunch by the time your DEs start. We're like boiled frogs, the way we've let current national tournament operations become acceptable.
     
  14. teacup

    teacup Podium

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    What about making national events two day tournaments?
     
  15. bigdawg2121

    bigdawg2121 is a Verified Fencing Expertbigdawg2121 Podium

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    I think saber creates a lot of it's own problems. There just aren't enough good refs and if you ask around even the good ones are well hated by some coach, athlete etc (that actually knows what they're talking about). I'm pretty sure I've seen events choose to double flight rather than use all available refs*.

    *by available I mean were sent to lunch or shuffled to other events that were essentially fully staffed.
     
  16. KD5MDK

    KD5MDK Moderator

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    It seems like half the time the problem is "not enough sabre refs" and the rest of the time it is "Not enough strips to start everything at once, sabre is fast so it can flight easier". Of course, this then allows you to not use the "not good enough" sabre refs for sabre, which then feeds the perception they're not good enough and perpetuates the tradition of flighting...
     
  17. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I KNOW saber creates a lot of its own problems when it comes to referees.
     
  18. Alexander Kai

    Alexander Kai Rookie

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    I feel like this has potential, however it also means that a 4 day nac becomes an 8 day nac.

    remember folks, children in the backseat cause accidents and accidents in the backseat cause children.
     
  19. RkfdFencer

    RkfdFencer Rookie

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    AK - I think the suggestion is to have it only be two days instead of four by reducing the number of events within the competition.
     
  20. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Good idea...hmmm....I think we should cut out saber. :)
     

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