New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Advice

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drc_ma
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New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Advice

Post by drc_ma » Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:12 pm

I’ve done some research on this site and have come up with a new proposal for our pack race (to be run in Feb 07). I would greatly appreciate it if an experienced coordinator or two could take a quick look at the derby details.

In the past we used triple elimination. I would like to change the format this year to simplify the staging and running of the race, increase the fairness and keep more of the racers involved.

Trophies have traditionally been awarded as follows:
–Separate race for the Tigers with awards for 1st-4th place.
–Wolf thru WII: 1st-5th place overall and one top finisher award for each den.
–Best design for each den
–Any scout can win only one trophy.

Here is the proposal:

Award trophies as the pack has before.

Switch to a final standings method with points scoring using PPN / CPN race charts.

We have a six lane track with a finish that reads out the places in a heat so scoring by time is out.

Run the Tiger race first (1 den of 8-10 scouts), using a 4 lane chart with 2 rounds. Award trophies based on top 4 scores – run tie breaker(s) if necessary. Allow 60 minutes for the race and a brief trophy ceremony.

Run the rest of the pack (approx 50 scouts, 5 dens of 10 or so).
Use a single round 6 lane PPN chart to narrow the field for a CPN finals round. Select 13 cars for a 2 round 4 lane CPN final. Use tie breaker(s) or a small chart to get to 13 finalists if necessary.

Allow 90 minutes for the qualifying race and results tabulation, etc. Allow non-finalists to leave with their cars at this point.

Run the finals round, awarding 1st – 5th place based on points and breaking ties.

Select top finisher from each den based on points.

Allow 60-90 minutes for finals staging, racing and awards ceremony.

Any obvious problems with this? Do you think the time allowed is sufficient – maximum of 4 hours for the race?

A potential problem I see is determining the 5 den top finishers at the end of the finals round. In the event there is a tie (Would this be likely?) we may need to run a match to determine a winner. If the cars belonged to boys that didn’t advance to the finals they might be gone. Maybe it would be better if at the end of the qualification round we checked to be sure there was a top non finalist from each den before allowing those racers to leave with their cars, if not we could run a den tie breaker before the finals.



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Stan Pope
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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:03 am

drc_ma wrote:Run the Tiger race first (1 den of 8-10 scouts), using a 4 lane chart with 2 rounds. Award trophies based on top 4 scores – run tie breaker(s) if necessary. Allow 60 minutes for the race and a brief trophy ceremony.
Not bad. Note that with this range of numbers, the charts will not be completely balanced in opponents. To avoid appearance of possible bias in assigning racers to chart positions, I prefer to randomize the assignment in some fashion, e.g. draw for chart numbers or computer algorithm that performs the same randomizing function. (Assigning chart numbers in the order that cars check in is not random! Neither is the CM assigning the numbers. Both are manipulatable.)

You can increase the trophy assignment accuracy by running the 6 top scorers in a 1-round PN chart. If there is a tie for 6th-7th include 7th in the finals. If there is a tie for 6th-8th or more, exclude 'em and run the top 5.

Ties from preliminaries increase as you go down the scores and the are more frequent, even with PN and CPN charts, as the difference between lanes increases.
drc_ma wrote:Run the rest of the pack (approx 50 scouts, 5 dens of 10 or so). Use a single round 6 lane PPN chart to narrow the field for a CPN finals round. Select 13 cars for a 2 round 4 lane CPN final. Use tie breaker(s) or a small chart to get to 13 finalists if necessary.
This works ... about 50 heats, 6 runs down the track for each car, and each will race against 30 other different racers.

Ties are likely around 13th place, so expect to have to break a tie OR if there is a break between 12th and 13th with 13th place ties, drop #13, running 12 cars + a bye in a 13 car chart. If your track is good, I'd be inclined to run a PN chart. Trophy accuracy will be almost as good and you avoid 13 heats.
drc_ma wrote:Any obvious problems with this? Do you think the time allowed is sufficient – maximum of 4 hours for the race?
Not bad ... something over 1 minute per heat, which you can beat even if the boys stage their own cars IF you get the next round cars "rounded up" while staging and running the current heat.
drc_ma wrote:A potential problem I see is determining the 5 den top finishers at the end of the finals round. In the event there is a tie (Would this be likely?) we may need to run a match to determine a winner. If the cars belonged to boys that didn’t advance to the finals they might be gone. Maybe it would be better if at the end of the qualification round we checked to be sure there was a top non finalist from each den before allowing those racers to leave with their cars, if not we could run a den tie breaker before the finals.
With final standings on 6 lanes and one round, there are 31 possible scores: 6 through 36. For sure there will be some ties. If the lanes are less well matched than the cars, then there will be more ties.

If I understand the trophy plan, den racing and design winners will be chosen from the scouts who did not win 1st through 5th racing overall. So, you can not declare any den trophy winners until finals racing is complete. Also, the den racing trophy winner could be the 2nd or 3rd (or even 6th) fastest car in the den! Yech! :) Would the den racing trophy be bigger than the overall 5th place trophy? (Better not be!)

You can tell den racers who of them is "still in the running for a den trophy", so they can guess whether it is worthwhile to wait around. Dunno if it is worth while to break ties before you know if they need to be broken. Here is a way to remove the problem:
Instead of taking the 13 top scorers to finals, take top car from each den, then fill out wion the top scorers from the remaining cars. From this, you can tell early if a tie needs to be broken! This retains accuracy since 13 finalists for 5 place trophies is overkill (unless your track is really in bad shape!)


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by drc_ma » Thu Nov 23, 2006 7:33 am

Stan
Thanks for your helpful comments,
I'm making the below modifications to the proposal before pitching it to our committee, I think it will be received well. :D
I prefer to randomize the assignment in some fashion
We'll have the boys draw for their car numbers.
You can increase the trophy assignment accuracy by running the 6 top scorers in a 1-round PN chart. If there is a tie for 6th-7th include 7th in the finals. If there is a tie for 6th-8th or more, exclude 'em and run the top 5.
For the Tiger race we'll run a 1 round PN finals round with car selection as you suggest.
If your track is good, I'd be inclined to run a PN chart. Trophy accuracy will be almost as good and you avoid 13 heats.
The track is only a few years old and we haven't seen any obvious problems with lane inequality, so we'll also run a single PN final for the rest of the pack, especially if time is running short.

On the topic of timing:
Not bad ... something over 1 minute per heat, which you can beat even if the boys stage their own cars IF you get the next round cars "rounded up" while staging and running the current heat.
The whole process of rounding up and staging heats is where we had alot of delays in our previous elimination system. With the race charts in hand ahead of time this will proceed more smoothly as you suggest. This year we'll continue to have the adult volunteer race crew do the staging. If the format change works well for everyone, I'll suggest letting the boys do it next time, especially after reading how well that's worked for other groups.

For the trophy reconciliation
If I understand the trophy plan, den racing and design winners will be chosen from the scouts who did not win 1st through 5th racing overall. So, you can not declare any den trophy winners until finals racing is complete.
You are correct.
Also, the den racing trophy winner could be the 2nd or 3rd (or even 6th) fastest car in the den! Yech! Would the den racing trophy be bigger than the overall 5th place trophy? (Better not be!)
Yes, the top den finisher trophies have been less visually impressive than the 5th place ones. I'd like to eventually try to do away with this category for the reasons you stated. Maybe replace with a second design type award. Another one for next time since too many changes at once may be overwhelming.
Instead of taking the 13 top scorers to finals, take top car from each den, then fill out wion the top scorers from the remaining cars. From this, you can tell early if a tie needs to be broken!
I like this idea. But we may still have a tie between non-finalists in a den. I think we'll tell the boys to stick around if they are in the running for the den trophy as you suggest.

Thanks again
DRC



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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:41 am

drc_ma wrote:But we may still have a tie between non-finalists in a den. I think we'll tell the boys to stick around if they are in the running for the den trophy as you suggest.
Think through my comment re every den having a finalist. I'm not sure that this eases the den trophy issue. It was late when I worked the first response, and bride got me up way too early this morning! I need to have more therapy from my pillow! ... Lots more! :)


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Darin McGrew » Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:59 pm

Stan Pope wrote:If I understand the trophy plan, den racing and design winners will be chosen from the scouts who did not win 1st through 5th racing overall. So, you can not declare any den trophy winners until finals racing is complete.
drc_ma wrote:You are correct.
This is a pet peeve of mine. This approach turns design awards into consolation prizes. IMHO, a kid who manages to build a car that is both fast and good looking deserves to receive more than one award.

And as a logistical issue, it's easier on everyone if the winners of the design awards can be chosen well before the finish of the race.



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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Stan Pope » Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:41 pm

Not surprisingly, I agree with you, Darin! I don't get my way on this, but it is the "right thing to do" for both reasons. My own district has run with this exclusive provision for several years. So far, I've not been able to fight it into submission. :(


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Go Bubba Go » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:23 am

Keep rasslin', Stan. IMHO preventing speed award winners from being awarded a best design trophy stinks!!!

We need to be encouraging the boys, especially at this young age, to question dilemmas like this (speed vs. looks) to determine if they might not actually be false dilemmas. A truly "designed" design can accomplish both speed and looks, and not just settle for the "either-or" proposition. Why train them to settle for one or the other by awarding for one or the other exclusively? (Goodness, the Engineering soap box emerges rather quickly these days...)

Also, the notion that looks are categorically less important or less valuable than speed is another stinker, again IMHO.

If there was an Emoticon with a sad face holding his nose above rising smell waves I would apply it here. Since not, I'll settle for :wall:

drc_ma: feel free to steal any of my reasoning above to tackle this issue while you're at it...


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Mr. Slick » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:54 am

How about his one for an "idea that should be put in the trash"? Image

I understand the parents point of view in the $ per boy, but I also understand the builder's desire to receive FULL recognition. :D


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by rdeis » Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:58 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:This approach turns design awards into consolation prizes.
Agree. And that's already a danger when design awards aren't as visually impressive as speed awards. (i.e. trophies for one and certificates for the other)

This year I'm going to try balancing the "big honkin' trophy" speed awards using very cool prizes donated by a local hobby shop for the design awards.



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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by drc_ma » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:30 pm

The race went off beautifully. Much positive feedback from parents and Scouts.

Thanks everyone for your feedback, all was helpful.


I agree with the comments posted concerning the design awards, but I didn't want to introduce too much change at once. I will bring a revamped trophy awarding system to the committee next year, with equally impressive design trophies awarded independent of speed awards. The boys put too much time into designing and building the cars not to focus more on this aspect of the competition.



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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by Go Bubba Go » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:36 pm

drc_ma wrote:The race went off beautifully. Much positive feedback from parents and Scouts.

Thanks everyone for your feedback, all was helpful.

I agree with the comments posted concerning the design awards, but I didn't want to introduce too much change at once. I will bring a revamped trophy awarding system to the committee next year, with equally impressive design trophies awarded independent of speed awards. The boys put too much time into designing and building the cars not to focus more on this aspect of the competition.
Congratulations!!! If they only know how much "homework" goes into putting on a well run race.

Wise comment about not introducing too much change at once. But now that you have a success "under your belt", you will likely (hopefully?) have a few less arguments with your suggestions going forward.


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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by rdeis » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:22 am

Go Bubba Go wrote:Wise comment about not introducing too much change at once.
Indeed! I'm actually concerned about that and I'm trying to limit myself. (-:

My 2nd son will be a Tiger next year, so I'm looking at a 5 year plan to morph the derby into something spectacular by adding a little change each year based on new aspects I want to bring in and informed by lessons learned.



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Re: New Pack Race Coordinator Proposes New Format, Seeks Adv

Post by SlartyBartFast » Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:26 am

Darin McGrew wrote:This is a pet peeve of mine. This approach turns design awards into consolation prizes.
The more I read this forum, the more the coddling and protecting the kids from "failure" irritates me.

If you can't give prizes and rewards without offending people or upsetting the kids, what on Earth is the point of running a competition?

What kind of life lessons are the children learning when being told not to strive for the best in all things? Or that regardless of outcome everyone deserves a reward? Or perhaps the fact that making sure the most people possible get awards regardless of merit shows that the reward the ultimate goal and the only thing of value when competing?

The self-esteem, well-being, and enjoyment of all should be promoted WITHOUT debasing, limiting, or holding back those that excel. Any awards being given out for something other than excellence, to balance the awards taken home, should be clearly be for fun.

Doing it any other way teaches lessons that should be anathema to the organizations that hold these races:

- Don’t bother doing your best. Just do enough except when guaranteed a win.
- Don’t bother at all. You’ll get a reward no matter how much effort you put in.
- If you don’t win something, it’s not fair. Don’t bother learning to deal with disappointment, the world owes you satisfaction. Never learn to take a loss in stride.
and I could go on...

There are things that can be done to make the event as enjoyable as possible to all. Having the organizing committee do the “politically correct” thing and balance out the real sought after awards is not one of them, IMO.

“Best Design” is a political hot potato. After all, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Let the participants or public vote for best design. Have different categories with specific criteria. But don’t balance out any known pre-planned prizes.

If there are other participants that deserve a prize, invent it on the spot. That way, the participant with the car winning “Best Hamburger” knows they are being recognised extra-ordinarily for something they did and others know they are not being unfairly penilized to implement some PC notion of awards fairness.

Sorry for the rant, but I just had to say it....



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