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Bad Judging - Time to stop being nice about it

HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
There is a fair amount of bitching about how hard it is to become an official and or how hard it is to keep a rating. I 100% agree that the bureaucracy is silly but on the other hand I see SO MUCH bad judging. I used to not see it but as time goes on I see it more and more. Since the rankings list is now so important to the sport one inflated or deflated score can change how a skier is ranked.

I sat on shore last weekend and watched a MM skier clearly get wide of, past and around 5 at 39 but fall before the wakes. I look at the score book today and I see he was given 5.

I am totally conflicted because I am the guy to always says Class C is fine. I do not need ELR. Why would a 47 yr old level 8 need a Class L? A tiny percent of the skiers in the sport should ever need more than Class C.

So more clinics? No. Maybe better clinics and the balls to tell judges when they are clearly wrong. We need standardized clinics that focus on the nuts and bolts. The last clinic I went to was mostly a waste of my time because it was not about the nuts and bolts. It was about odd little rules that I do not remember anyway. I do not care if the average Regular Judge knows the odd parts of rules book inside and out. Just learn to count balls correctly and then learn the other bits.

Come one people it is really really easy.

Ideas? Comments?

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Comments

  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
    edited June 2016
    FYI - twice in the last 5 years it has happened twice that one of my 3 "USAWS Average" scores was clearly wrong. Once I was given a 1/2 ball that I clearly did not round and another time I went just inside 6 ball and they scored me 4 1/2*. Happened in different regions and the with the second one I think both judges are Sr.

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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,832 Mega Baller
    I attended a judges clinic back about 5 years where the theme was "benign neglect". The premise was all judges need to step it up and be accurate. One of the elements was too much soft judgments for Class C or junior skiers. If we continually say, "that W5F was good enough" at class C or local tournaments, then the skier will expect that 50% slid W5F to actually score points at Regionals or Nationals. We are neglecting the skier when we judge too "nicely".
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
    @toddl Lets not take this in the Trick direction. That is a WHOLE other deal for another thread. 1/4 - 1/2 - 1

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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,832 Mega Baller
    Also, @MattL (15 yo) is almost ready to submit for his Asst. Judge rating. We had a similar discussion. He was asking if any of the judges have actually read the whole rule book, recently, or even ever. It sparked a good discussion about whether or not reading the whole book should be expected or not.

    My thoughts align with @Horton. Nuts and Bolts matter. Judges and clinics need ensure accuracy of nuts and bolts tasks, and learn about changes.

    We need a "Cliffs Notes" version of the rule book with only the Nuts and Bolts. If some obscure situation arises, we have a rule book for reference.

    My wife has an old Kindle which is her rule book. It is updated each year with new version and the change summary. She can do key word searches. That is a perfect solution.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    More: I remember a Nationals some years ago that one top-seeded skier went inside a
    buoy, and still got credit for it. Even ran the pass. Very obvious to spectators onshore,
    but the tower was on the other side of the lake. I think the guy even did it again on the
    next pass, which was not a full pass, and ended up on the podium, although not winning.
    This would have been without boat-based video.

    Meanwhile, I have my own jumping story, but I'll yield to Horton's request to keep this
    thread about slalom.
    phauswirth
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    I'm im the camp of many of the others who genuinely feel we will never get this sport behind the technology required to make perfect calls, even if it is inexpensive. Give us a handful of judges who know how to count buoys and let the majority rule. Super simple, not perfect, but no more delays or drama, and the result is a far better competition to watch
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
    @Texas6 you don't need technology just count buoys

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    Texas6
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 718 Crazy Baller
    We're all watching the NBA finals, right? These are highly paid professional officials and they still make too many wrong calls, judgement call or not, and they're dealing with multi-million $ salary players. I don't have enough experience to to chime in about water skiing rules, but I did officiate bball. @Horton is correct, officials have to do a better job at the basics... was it 1/4, 1/2, (3/4) or full buoy... the rest is secondary (aside from rope length and the no so imaginary buoy moving exercise). We need to keep the sport moving or the general public starts to lose interest while we review the inane. We are trying to get more people interested in the sport, right? KISS.
    Than_Boganwtrskior
  • lakeaustinskierlakeaustinskier Posts: 367 Solid Baller


    While I completely agree that "we just need to count buoys" I'll also add that maybe we should take a page out of USA Swimming rules - if the judge(s) weren't certain if the swimmer caused an infraction while swimming (whatever it may be) then the benefit of doubt always goes to the swimmer. USA Swim hammers this into stroke judges.

    If what you saw was too close to call (you could flip a coin) - always give it to the skier
    and let the majority rule. And - get off your darn cell phone while judging.
    Ted Thomson, Austin Texas, Aquaplex
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,390 Crazy Baller
    One problem that I have seen, and this may apply to @Horton's erroneous scores. @Horton, do you know what the judges called on the two instances that you cited or do you just know what the scorebook said? Not to be calling out scorers per se, as this is about judging, but the end result is what we're looking at, right? Mistakes are made in communication, in fat fingering the keyboard, etc. Gone are the days when judges wrote scores down on a judges sheet. There was a time when, once the scorebook was posted and a skier knew his score was incorrect he could ask the scorer to review the sheets. Just saying while I see plenty of just horrible calls (mostly while I'm boat judging and am amazed at what some tower judges call) scorers make mistakes too and later it may look like it was a judge's bad call.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
    Than_Bogan
  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 389 Crazy Baller
    What @LeonL said plus we must remember it takes two of three or three of five (a majority) to make the call. Judging is not easy, but it's not rocket science either. I think we should be required to have the two Class C shore judges on opposite sides of the lake. Sometimes they are both on the same side and really can't see.
    jmvana1
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,173 Mega Baller
    edited June 2016
    Basketball is one of, if not the toughest sports to officiate. Many hours of education and practical training are required from highschool to the pro level. Pros have a full time year round job, work very hard and within a tiny tolerance for errors. Who is in charge of developing and retaining waterski officials? Are officials paid at the regional, national and pro level tourneys?
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,752 Mega Baller
    @lakeaustinskier See AWSA Rule 1.15
    Sometimes it it's difficult to call 1/4 vs 1/2, or 1/2 vs 1, without video review, and video review isn't called into play unless someone timely protests.
    Remember that even in a C tournament there are three judges and majority rules.

    #iskiconnelly
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,377 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Had the first gate of my life pulled last year in 25 years of on/off tournament skiing at 35 off. If I knew I whiffed it I wouldn't have held onto slack hit after slack hit and a big whammo out the gates if I didn't think I made my gates(what a crap-o pass that was).

    Judges pulled it both boat and tower one. Apology from tower 1 as I walked by but told him gotta call it like you see it...and his view is better than mine. This was class C, and I can tell you it must have been damned close cuz I had no inclination that I missed.

    It's hard when many of us are friends...but I do believe in calling what you see as a judge and it's ok to say sorry man, you missed. Just be honest. If it's so close I can't tell bene to the skier if I'm judging.

    Some of this can come to order of call, too. Tower 2 can't see start gates, tower 1 can't see down course, boat sees all. If one judge hears what the other says it influences their call b/c all on same frequency. Given majority rules things can get goofy when one judge had no view of a miss.

    I've seen skiers miss and advance, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
    Texas6
  • HockdogHockdog Posts: 205 Solid Baller
    So would a second judge in the boat override a tower call since 2 judges are in the boat at a much closer viewpoint?
    livie
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 307 Crazy Baller
    The "majority rules" can be a problem. Two examples, one that went my way, and one that didn't.

    Last year in a tournament, I went inside of 3 ball on my opener. I had been skiing 36 for a couple of weeks to keep up with the Boys 3 skiers I ski with. Went to a tournament, skied 34 with a 36 edge change on a slow lake behind a soft boat and came up short. Decided to finish the pass to get the rhythm back, but didn't even pull out at the end, knowing I was done. The boat stopped halfway around the island and I was told both towers gave it to me, even though the boat judge called it a correct 'two'. Didn't matter much because I fell at 38 shortly thereafter and ran [email protected] the second round and only one score per tournament counts for ratings. The boat judge who could see clearly was overruled by two positions who had obscured views.

    The other example happened at Regionals 10+ years ago. I was in first place, watching the top seed ski. He was an open skier skiing M2 and a much better skier than me, but hey, maybe I would get lucky. I thought I did when he missed his gates at 35. The near tower took them, but the boat and the far tower (no way the far tower could accurately see) gave them to him, so he got to keep going. He ran 38 and a few at 39 to beat me by 6 buoys. Certainly the best skier won and it would have been cheap for me to win on pulled gates on an easy pass for him, but I was still bummed.

    Point being, that there are occasions when one of the three positions has a clear view but can be overruled by two positions who don't have nearly as good a vantage point for an accurate call.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,794 Mega Baller
    dbutcher,
    I agree that the best judging was the old judging where you had judges on opposite sides of the lake, multiple judges, etc. I do not think that central towers (Except Cedar Ridge) and/or video judging makes for the best calls.

    However...... With ever decreasing numbers of participants and officials it's hard not to make it as convenient as possible for those willing to volunteer. If Skidawg and I can sit and BS on a central tower for an hour and a half while judging makes it far more fun and tolerable than sitting in the heat by yourself.

    There are good arguments on each side.
    santangeloBruce_Butterfield
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    @Horton makes a very good suggestion in my opinion, to focus more on actual situations instead of going through the rule book in clinics. I have found those type trainings most effective. Maybe the instructor provides video of some challenging calls for group discussion which I think would better stimulate engagement, participation and more importantly, better officials.
    buoyboy1
  • RogerRoger Posts: 1,587 Mega Baller
    @Horton - "fall before the wakes". Not to be picky or anything, but the rule reads "1 point when the skier has crossed the line of the gate buoys before passing
    the level of the next buoy with a tight line under the power of the boat." The boat wakes are not used ;)

    I have certainly seen my share of bad calls and agree with your thinking here. We use Splasheye at Okeeheele which greatly helps with the gate call, but missing the fact that a skier didn't go around a buoy or getting the 1/2 vs full buoy wrong is annoying.

    A few years ago, I was the boat judge in the preliminary round of one of the Big Dawg finals we held at Okeeheelee. The skier rounded all 6 balls, but missed the exit gate by more than 6 feet. Both tower judges called 6... (due to that incident and another, those judges are no longer used in the Big Dawg events here).
    Roger B. Clark - Okeeheelee skier. Senior driver, Senior Judge
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
    @Roger my point was - it was not close. I understand close or hard calls. What chaps my ass is when the score to totally obvious but it still gets in the scorebook wrong.

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  • RogerRoger Posts: 1,587 Mega Baller
    @Horton - I knew what you meant, that's why the wink emoticon... I believe my 2nd paragraph expresses my agreement with your views.
    Roger B. Clark - Okeeheelee skier. Senior driver, Senior Judge
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,177 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited June 2016
    If we focus on helping judges make the correct call on gates/quarter/half/full rather than the rules or technology, here are a few thoughts.

    Horton is right to mention clinics. Fortunately I think the ones I have attended in Sacramento do a great job of going over the nuts and bolts and watching video of tight calls and discussing what the call should have been. It's practical and effective. If others don't perhaps they should.

    At our Class C we have a lot of judges that judge only 2x per year to keep their ratings and they get something wrong from time to time. One time it was me who ran over 3 at 41 and skied back to the inside with the handle but dropped the line before the wake (I know the rule is not about the wake). I was given 2.25. I was fine with whatever they decided to call between 2 and 2.5 but not 2.25. In talking with the judges they did not know the rule and once they did they revised to 2.5. I am now thinking about posting the rules and the scoring images from the rule book in our towers and on the judges clipboard. It's boring in the tower and I bet they look at it!

    Training and refreshing that training is critical and we have opportunities at clinics and at events. Most of the wrong calls I have seen are from people trying to do the right thing and just not knowing the rule. We have fewer and fewer volunteer officials so helping them is one way forward.

    Also agree with what @brettmainer posted. Not sure what the improvement around majority would be.
  • BRYBRY Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    @MrJones Your "you didn't try to come back in so it was a quarter buoy" and "explaining how it was impossible to get a quarter at 39 not falling as the instant you stand up you are inside the buoy line" cracked me up! I was tower judging a C (center tower setup) with a Senior (I'm a Regular) and the same thing happened. The Senior gave the skier a 1/4 and I gave him a 1/2.
    Senior said "but he didn't make a move in."
    I said "that doesn't matter, it's where his front foot is, and at that line it doesn't reach the ball therefore if he's standing up he's inside the buoy line."
    Senior said "well, I was taught he had to make a move in."
    In my head, WTF! We went round for a bit and Senior ended a little pissed at me, after all Senior was a Senior. I was nice but wouldn't budge and Senior didn't like that.
    Not sure where this "have to make a move in" comes from, certainly not in any rule book or guide, but have heard it other places since.

    Seems a training video could be made in 720p (would show up well on almost any device nowadays) clearly, concisely showing how to call gates and buoys with clear, easy examples, slo-mo and graphic overlays for quadrants to show clearly what it is supposed to be. Follow with a few live action, short line tough call examples applying previous concepts. Probably wouldn't be more that 5 minutes long. Show at clinic's, available online and required watching for gaining/upgrading rating. I believe the vast majority of judges try to make the right call every time. Some easy, quick, nationally consistent training would get most everyone on the same standard and get the best we can out of everyone.
    BG1Bill22
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,177 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited June 2016
    Also, for those who found out later there was a score in the book that was wrong, you need to check the score before you leave. That is why they post it. Sure it should be right in the first place but people make mistakes. Both judging and scoring. It's straight forward for the officials to circle up, confirm what happened and make a change if needed. "Ah, that's correct, we know Joe started st 22 not 15 so his score is 6 bouys short, we need to fix that"
    ski6jones
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,952 Mega Baller
    When the competition of the day ideology went to performance ideology the judging problems really came into play. Now because advancement to championship level (State's (in Florida) Regionals and Nationals) are now based on a rankings only system the frequent bad calls are impacting this system , As do other problems but will save that for another discussion.


    In WPB Nationals a few years ago I was driving G-2 Slalom, somewhere towards the top seeds a girl had deflated and destroyed a Bubble buoy 3 ball that was situated right under the judges tower on the turnpike lake. Bring in the next skier opening pass and as we got to 3 ball the judge say's to me the buoy is gone....... Girl keeps skiing and we stop at the end and tower calls in 6 ?? and 6?? (both judges on same tower) Hmmm!!!! Then it was conversation about if the pass was protected at 6 or 2 ???? Wait I said, RE-RIDE due to tournament malfunction but being I was the driver and not the judge the conversation went on and on. ACJ had to step in and declare RE-RIDE due to tournament malfunction..

    Overall I think that most judges take pride in their officiating and for the most part are as accurate as humanly possible, but things happen, sitting on a hot tower for hour's on end take there toll and reminder we are all Volunteers!!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


    bishop8950trishel41
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,177 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Jody_Seal I was your boat judge and the only event judge that insisted the score was not 6 when there was no 5 ball, I called in 4. Crazy. When the other event judges would not concur I asked for the CJ to get on the horn and we got the ACJ. It took longer than it should but ultimately the right call was made.

    The lesson I learned is to keep a better eye on the buoys, especially when I saw the prior skier run over the ball that went down in the prior pass. Maybe we could have spotted that before the next skier. Maybe not but I will try to look next time.
    Jody_SealDrago
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,645 Mega Baller
    I think a small step that maybe could help a lot is to make a little "judging poster" that shows the 1/4, 1/2, and full zones, and maybe a small number (<= 3) of bullet points.

    The truly key information is very short, so a 1-pager near the starting dock could remind everyone.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    bishop8950
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,209 Administrator
    edited June 2016
    Ok so here is a potentially bad idea.

    For Class C make the skiers their own judges. At the end of your ride you go to the dock, give your score, sign the scorebook and get your handle*. There should also be a 1 or 2 judges somewhere…. If the skiers score matches the other judges it is all good. If there is some sort of discrepancy …. Video? Or something. Maybe we poll the folks on shore?

    Point is 99.99% of the time the skier knows exactly what they got. A few skiers will be wrong or full of crap so we need a mechanism to stop that. Again 99.99% of the time the skier knows best and all we need is a way to make sure no one fudges their score.

    *after all these years I am still bad about getting my handle so this is a good idea for me.

    (I did not say this was a good idea)

    @skimom Should I submit this to the rules committee ? : )

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