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Should Boys/Girls Divisions be re-distributed?

ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
edited July 2012 in Rules/Politics/Issues
While discussing ropes and such another AWSA Official (and parent) suggested that the B2/G2 division is one of significant range in skiers size/weight. They feel that this age range is one that spans pre and post adolescence. Thus, the skiers are not really appropriately grouped. Please see the current divisions and the proposed divisions below and vote and comment.

Why change? Basically, the thought is that 9, 10, & 11 year old's are a pretty constant size within that age range, while 12, 13, & 14 year old's are all bigger but also basically constant in size. The outer divisions each trim a year to allow for the meaningful split of the middle division.
-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.

Should Boys/Girls Divisions be re-distributed? 39 votes

Keep Current - B&G1 (0-9 yrs), B&G2 (10-13 yrs), B&G3 (14-17 yrs)
48% 19 votes
New Proposal - B&G1 (0-8 yrs), B&G2 (9-11 yrs), B&G3 (12-14 yrs), B&G4 (15-17 yrs)
51% 20 votes
«1

Comments

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    Well, if we did the new proposal, then we could apply the lightweight tow rope to only the two lower divisions (11 and under)...
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • JohnNJohnN Posts: 126 Baller
    The real issue in the kids' divisions is the speed changes. My assumption from your suggestion is that the speed for girls goes 32 at 3 and 34 at 4. Do you propose an intermediate step for the boys to go B1/30, B2/32, B3/34, B4/36? That may be helpful. When do then get to start jumping, 2 or 3?

    IMO, the changing divisions for safety makes sense (i.e. people feel that 9 is too young for 34 or 13 for 36 in the case of an late year birthday) and it could make for more fun on the boys side where they can start shortening at 32 rather than spending maybe their entire B2 "career" learning 34 before they shorten. If we were to make a change I suggest AWSA bite the bullet and get consistent with other youth sports and go U9, U13, U15, U18. Current records would stand (Bx/Gx), new records would be set.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,097
    edited July 2012
    I have no dog in this hunt since I have no children that the mothers or courts have notified me of, but I feel that jump from 30 to 34 for the boys is a HUGE detriment to improvement of the younger boys in that division. Another option for B2 would be a dual max speed, where 32 got full buoy count and 34 is essentially +6. They could then shorten at 32mph and make the jump to 34 when they are ready. Then 36 is mandatory when they go to B3. Just a thought.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @JohnN - Yes, the official who suggested this was specifically concerned about the current B2 having to ski at 34 MPH. So, yes. I should have noted that the proposal includes a steady progression of speeds:
    B1/30, B2/32, B3/34, B4/36
    G1/30, G2/32, G3/32?, G4/34

    @ShaneH - That's a neat idea. Maybe another way to implement that would be 34 gets the full buoy count (same as current/normal), but 32 MPH would allow for a -6 buoy count. That would really mess with WSTMS I suspect, though... Also, the skier would have to somehow inform the boat judge who would then have to inform the scorer that the skier has elected to take the 32 MPH max option.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,588 Mega Baller
    I didn't vote because I really have no useful knowledge. (I have two daughters 7 and 11 but neither is anywhere near to competing.)

    The only thing that would concern me about the new proposal is that it makes the number of skiers in each division smaller. In a lower-skier-count region like Eastern, the Regionals might have some really small divisions.

    But I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing. Just something to consider.

    In the end, there's no way to chop it that will always seem fair. 12 may be radically different from 14, just as 10 may be radically different from 13. Heck even one person at 13 may be at a radically different developmental stage than another person at 13.

    One thing that sounds very appealing is bumping up the top speed for the Boys more gradually. 30 and 34 are night and day, although 36 is so damn fast that I almost wonder if 34 vs. 36 is still a bigger change.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @Than - thanks for sharing your insights! You are correct, that such a change would impact the number of skiers per division and that needs to be understood and determined if an issue or not.

    Crazy random idea... What if this were the max speeds with current divisions:
    B1/30, B2/32, B3/34, M1/36
    G1/30, G2/32, G3/34

    Thus, wait for M1 for 36...? B3 skiers who want to ski 36 could possibly enter some JM (Junoir Masters) or Open type of division... This probably won't be possible, but it would allow for a 2-MPH flow from division to division.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2012
    I'm all in for a change. Having a daughter that will go into G3 yr after next seems a bit scary for many reasons both physical and psychological. No way will she be competitive against 17yr olds. That one year could make a huge difference. This is also the time when kids hit that independent age were it's not about doing what mom or dad likes to do but branching out on their own path and that's a good thing. If that's the time when they hit G3/B3 and get placed at the bottom of the rankings based on nothing more then their age, why stick with it. Not to mention other sports start to interest them at their schools. Also a good thing. But, they will come up with excuses why they don't want to compete any more or practice skiing ect... and why should they. Losing sucks. They know full well who they are competing against when they move up. I'm most certainly not an "everyone gets a trophy" guy, but seeing her play Volleyball against other 7th graders makes sense. You win some you lose some. Her playing against the varsity squad all the time would just be stupid for everyone involved. You always lose, they always win. I'd quit. I think the kids get very discouraged with the current set up and I believe some maybe lots drop out because of it. To me the current system almost sets them up to fail. Just when they start feeling successful seeing the rankings and or qualified for Regionals or Nationals, they get knocked way down by a date change. We all have a dog in this fight. These kids are the future judges, drivers and someday parents of the next generation of skiers. The AWSA needs to wake up and understand that the growth of this sport comes from our youth and work to encourage participation through reasonable success of the child's performance and have the divisions set up that way. Open your ears, minds, and hearts AWSA. These are KIDS after all. It's supposed to be fun, not suck. I think that is forgotten all to often. I think the above results of this would be radically different if you asked a 13 year old the same question, or their parents. Listen to the parents. And the kids.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    skinut
  • ntxntx Posts: 828 Crazy Baller
    @todd Starting 36 at M1 puts you at HUGE disadvantage with international events. KC Wilson is still B3. You are saying he should still be at 34?
    34 mph at 10 & 11 is not that big a deal. Many kids do. Lets not reduce things to the point where everyone is a superstar. After all " If water skiing were easy everyone would do it" Changes were made a several years ago to add a year to B,G/2 Lets not get to the point that we have SO many age groups that everyone gets a medal.

    Lets create a 15 year old age group of skiers born in the second half of the year. Its not fair that I have to ski against someone that was born in Jan and I was born in Nov. They are older and bigger and stronger.


    @wish You say you are not in the "everyone gets a medal camp" but it sure sounds that way. I found that going from one age group to the next motivated my skier to train harder. Knowing that they had to be that much better to get to and stay at the top. Depends on the kid. Mine would prefer to finish last at the highest level than to medal in a lower class.
  • SkihackSkihack Posts: 448 Baller
    Another thing that maybe needs to be addressed is the ranking system. It seems to me that in the Nat's, that those ranked less than 12th are just going to get destroyed by the top ten. It never made sense to me that a 40th or 50th ranked G2 skier would go to the Nat's only to get destroyed by the top 10. I thought the EP system was working fine, but apparently not so.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @ntx - I did say it was a crazy random idea. I didn't say it was something that I am sold on. I knew taking B3 down to 34 is a very controversial idea. But the discussion on both sides makes the collaborative process even more robust. Thanks for sharing your perception and your kid's thoughts, too.

    @Wish - The kids are our future. Treat them well, and let them lead the way. Wait... isn't that in a song?!? :P
    Seriously, there could be more intentional attention to the perspective of the junior skiers as they grow from first ride to competitive to life competitors. Maybe the AWSA BOD needs a couple of junior seats (not all occupied by a Level 5, and Level 8 skier in two different divisions (not all B3 or G3).
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2012
    @ntx I used the word "reasonable" as well. It's not reasonable that a 14 yr old go up against a 17yr old and expect to be competitive that year maybe more, win or lose IMHO. I'll go back to the volleyball example. It's great that you have instilled the work ethic in your skier. My background is 20yrs in youth Education. My wife has 20+ as a youth Councillor. We are NOT in the "everyone gets a trophy camp". I would be the first to harp on that if that was the case in the AWSA. That does not benefit a child in any way. Neither does losing all the time or knowing your not even competive for a long period of time. I get that you can talk them through it. But why have to. Have not had to in any other sport my daughter has been part of. I am speaking to the generality of youth and what is experienced at that age level. There are always exceptions. I am simply asking that the AWSA looks for a better balanced approach. A reasonable balance. The above proposal is reasonable. Your child could still finish last at a higher level. Or medal. The work ethic would come from his personality and you working with him/her. I'm going to guess that other youth sports played by them have been more age balanced. Soccer, baseball, basketball. All are played on more age balanced approach.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • ntxntx Posts: 828 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL Going from b1 to b2 and later b2 to b3 can be a challenge but the kids work thru it. I think it is a bigger deal for parents wanting the kids to be successful then it is for the kids. They understand that the time will come back to them in a year or two. As a parent of a "undersized" kid, it scared the crap out of me to see the higher speeds. It still does. LOL Moms are worse. My wife hates to see her son go 36 in slalom, but thinks nothing of watching him jump 160 feet. Go figure. After all, life is full of challenges. Let them learn and work thru them. The time will come again for them to be in the spot light beating up on the younger skiers in the age group.

    Just for grins. Look at the B3 overall rankings. The top two, are skiers that are in the first year of B3. They will dominate that age group for the next four years. AND, they have to ski big boy speed.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    edited July 2012
    I kind of see where @Wish is coming from. The truth is that in any sport in any age-based division solution, there will be stand out performers, average kids, and beginners (at all ages). The beginners have to catch up if they didn't start at the early stage. Rules don't necessarily need to cater to them, especially at the later age groups. However, at the younger age groups (FYI under 12 is considered younger in most sports), there are allowances to let the beginners have a sensible pathway to competitiveness.

    Consider a 12U (that's under 12 years division in a sport where the divisions are in 2-year buckets) division. A kid in that 12U group who is just over 10 years old will typically be less skilled than the 12 year olds. They benefit from playing on teams with 12 year olds so that they can learn from them and see what is expected for the older ages. However, they expect to "ride the bench" some at 10, a little less at 11, and be a starter at 12. They know how it works. Youth programs often have rules to limit the bench time and ensure sufficient participation for all players. (Note I did not say fair, I said sufficient.)

    However, in most sports they don't make significant changes from one division to the next. In baseball, the kids don't jump from t-ball to kid pitch. The bases don't make a 15 foot jump in distance, etc. Rather, each age group slowly moves towards the full scale of the sport. They go from T-ball to Coach pitch to Kid Pitch. Along the way the bases move out a bit in small increments. The bat rules go in several stages from easy to hit to more in-line with adult rules. Keeping with Baseball, the High School athletes do not play with the same rules as college ball and College ball is not the same as Minor/Pro leagues. However, in our sport, there is no difference in rule/scope for a 14 year old boy and a Pro Slalom skier. I'm not suggesting that B3 need to radically change, but rather, I am putting the discussion into context of a very well established youth sport.

    Back to Junior Divisions. Again, this poll came about from the analysis of the transition from B1 to B2 (10 year old boys): 4 MPH jump and from Junior to Standard ropes. If nothing else, that warrants some sort of honest look for options to smooth it out a bit.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2012
    I think the "team sport" aspect of comparing, and I used several.. oops, may be a bit murky. Lets use USGA (golf). They have six youth age brackets up to age 18. USTA (tennis) has 5. This is just a quick look on the internet but I believe this is so. I'm sure this was set up this way to garner more support and growth across the board for the sports as well as considerations to having a balanced competitive nature among the ages. Their youth numbers are massive and growing and have grown at a faster rate then ours. Of course there are prodigies. I believe a 14yr old was in the USGA's US Open and I believe a 17yr old was doing very well close to the end. But for the vast majority of kids that want to have fun, be competitive and even feel as though they could/may win, our age brackets do not work well.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    ToddL
  • jdarwinjdarwin Posts: 1,381 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    My girls both skied 34mph when they were 9 (G2). That was scary! I'm glad they dropped G2 to 32mph.
    Joe Darwin
  • ntxntx Posts: 828 Crazy Baller
    @Wish. Look at the number of players in those sports. Total slalom skiers in the nation with a ranking score in b1 thru b3 is 313 skiers. And you want to break that up into smaller segments? Based on that, I would hope that golf and tennis would have age groups every six months to get a 100 per age group average that water skiers have. Look at it this way. Little Johnny has a 1 in 100 chance to win nationals. Give me any other sport that has that kind of odds. The odds get even better in the trick and jump events. Unfortunately, the sport we all love just does not have the numbers to support that many age groups. Many may say that we have too many now based on the number of skiers. That's what allows a trick skier who skies on two skis tied together ski at nationals. (that's a whole different mess)

    The great thing about this sport, is that you can set individual goals. You ski against your PB. With the exception of regionals and nationals, it does not matter where you place. I always told mine, that if he skied above his seed, then it was a good performance at regionals and nationals.

    Are you putting to much emphasis on winning? You say no, but your posts always come back to that. There are ways to enjoy the sport without the pressure of winning. Part of the enjoyment of nationals, is getting to see the friendships that develop of kids from all over the country. Yes, the first year going from g2 to g3 will be tough, but if the passion for the sport is really there, your skier will work thru it.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    ntx you assume that every division should get to go to nationals. If we had 1,2,3,4 divisions, then we could, for example, only let div 2 and 4 go to nationals. Just another random thought... Again, we can all think outside of the box. We have to clarify our assumptions and when those become barriers or shaky, then we should challenge those assumptions.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,642 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    edited July 2012
    First a couple of disclaimers:

    I have a 10 year old son that will be moving into B2 and a 13 year old daughter that will be moving into G3 after Nationals.

    Bringing up new ideas, regardless of outcome, is essential for the growth and future of the sport. So these kinds of discussions are excellent.

    My opinion is that the current division structure and speeds are fine for the vast majority of kids. There is a tremendous difference in size, growth rates, and athletic ability even among kids of the same age. You won't have to look very hard to find a 12 year old that will smoke most 14 year olds in whatever event. If you want an extreme example, how many of you would be willing to go head to head against Neilly Ross?

    As some other have mentioned, moving up in the divisions provides incentive for the kids to step up their game. It is far too easy to get complacent and not want to work hard to improve. Knowing they will be competing against kids 1-3 years older provides motivation so they won't get left behind.

    In slalom, for most kids moving up, it takes about a week to get use to the new speed and their buoy count is right back where it was at the previous speed. The progress they make is aggravating to us old folks and many times changing something provides a boost and they step up to the change.

    Another disclaimer – when I first started tournament skiing at age 20, there was a 10 year old kid that was good enough that they put him in with the M1.....and he won. (The Jr Boys speed at the time was 34 for all kids under age 13).

    In the old days, it was Junior Boys and Junior Girls, under 13 and they both skied 34. After age 13, they went to Boys at 36, and Girls at 34. I think it was in the mid 1990's that it changed to B1/G1 under 9 at 30mph, B2/G2 age 10-13 at 34/32, and B3/G3 age 14-17 at 36/34. That was an absolutely huge improvement over the old system.

    I am in favor of the lighter rope for B2. I don't see any downside to including B2 as a division where the light rope can be used.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
    MattP
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @ntx. Could not agree more with most of what you say and get all that. The same would hold true for tennis and golf as far as friendships and social development, fun and how a parent works with their child. Deviding 303 by one more group does not seem like that big of a deal. So little Jonny now has a 1 in 75 chance. Not asking for further divisions. The odds are still much greater that he will lose. Same with the tennis or golf. Way better odds of losing. Hay, I'm not talking about winning. Hmmmmm? Go figure. My opinion is it would be better off to go with the proposal for reasons stated above. And yep winning is part of that. A very very small part. Crap, talking about winning again aren't I. Take winning and add all the good stuff you said. Funny thing is, non of what you mentioned changes if the praposed plan above took affect. Maybe I'm missing something here. Help me out. Why do the numbers matter so much. Why are the odds of winning (1-100) a better thing then what a junior golfer and tennis players experiance if winning is so low on the totem pole? I ski tournaments all the time here in FL. Typically there are 3-4 tournaments in the state at the same time. Many of the devisions have 3 people or less. So they all win. Should we shrink the number of devisions so we are assured some losers. Especially those older divisions. Just combine Mens/Womens 6-10 and tell them they will be competitive in a year or two ;) Hmmm? Ok, I'll stop. Having fun though. You and I need a beer summit. ;-). I'll buy.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    MattP
  • ntxntx Posts: 828 Crazy Baller
    @toddL So if I understand your plan, the top skiers in division 3 would not be allowed into nationals, even if they are better than a division 4 skier. What does that accomplish? At least now a talented skier in the first year of a div can still ski nationals. Bruce posted above that he has two kids that will move to a higher level next year. Are you going to tell them that no matter how hard they work they can not ski nationals. If that is thinking outside the box........... I will stay inside. Thanks. I will even go so far as to say that in a year from now, if you check, both of them will ski nationals next year in the higher div. They both work very hard and have some great coaching and have a true passion for the sports. The skiers that don't have the same passion are the skiers that will fall behind. I have said it before. In some div the requirement for nationals is set too low. This is supposed to be the best of the best. Do you know that every G2 overall skier can ski at nationals? They are all level 8 ranked. REALLY!!! Looks to me like we are getting close to the concept of everyone gets a medal.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,096 Mega Baller
    Yes all the G2 Overall skiers can ski Nationals. BUT there is only 32 of them. How does one keep their kids interested in the sport? MAKE IT FUN Nationals is FUN. Especially keeping girls in sports in general is a major job. So what if they can all ski it? Good for them for getting high enough scores AND learning all 3 disciplines!
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    28 or so will lose. How is that medals for all?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • ntxntx Posts: 828 Crazy Baller
    @mattP Wish has the arguement that if they have no chance to win, they will lose interest. So a skier who jumps less than 40 feet, tricks 200 points and runs less than max speed in slalom will have a chance against a skier on the other end who slaloms into 32 off, tricks over 5000 points, and jumps 70 feet. Oh and by the way the two skiers used in my example are the same age. Now what do we do? Handicap the better skier. That's what I call a beat down. I would be very concerned for the kid put thru that. Again, are we at the everyone gets a medal stage? I am all for bringing kids into the sport. I have also seen some very good skiers drop out because of the "been there done that"

    you say "good for them for getting high enough scores and learning all 3 discipline" Did they really get high enough scores to compete are nationals? Local tourns and regionals fine.Beyond that, I am not sure.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,096 Mega Baller
    @ntx
    Its not all about winning.... Its having fun, time on the start dock with your friends. It's not always about winning... it's about setting goals and achieving what you want to do for your self. Dont get me wrong winning is cool, but its not the end all. IF that is all you want out of this sport is solely to win and you would quit if you dont sorry you can just quit now cause you are just wasting your time. Its all about the journey.
    Do you ski 3 event? It is slowly loosing is competitor base so why not encourage more of the youth to do it?
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    Someone proposed optional maximum speeds with +6 for the higher speed choice. Seconded! Maybe for all divisions?
    Eric
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    edited July 2012
    I have been thinking about this topic of "winning" or "chance to win". The interesting thing about that is this type of change comes pretty much completely from the B1 to B2 transition (8-10 year old boys). Most skiers in that age range have not yet gotten the "Nationals" champion bug, yet. There are only a top few who seem to be that focused at that age. Rather, most of the kids that I know and have watched over the years are more focused on self advancement. They like personal bests (PB's)!!!! They fist pump, scream, jump up and down, enthusiastically celebrating that 1/4 buoy improvement. That is what I see all of the time. So, just like we all realize, there will be national champions and their will be the rest of us. The rest of us (90% of the skiers in our sport), will celebrate the PB's. Can you imagine if when you turn from 44 years old to 45 years old, all of the sudden you had to ski 38 MPH (4 MPH faster)?
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,983 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @ToddL. So how does any of what you said, and I agree whole heartedly, change with the addition of G4 and B4? There would still be the fist pumps for PBs. I still feel like I'm missing something here within the discussion. Still not seeing the downside to the change. If its hard to change a rule like That or it really messes with the numbers so bad that it will not work, that I can understand. But so far the arguments against a change have either been an extreme example or stuff that would not change.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @Wish - the addition of B4/G4 is not what is critical. They are practically the same as the current oldest division in junior (just dropped the first year down to the division below).

    The real change comes from splitting the current B2 group into two. That allows for a different max speed for the lower half of B2.
    Another proposal I heard was:
    G1, G2 , G3 - no change
    B1, B2a, B2b, B3 - just splitting B2 in half...

    I guess some of the motivation could be parents who want their 10 year old to have a chance at a national title when now their darling can't compete against the current 13 year olds. But, I think the more prevalent concern is the 4-MPH transition from B1 to the current B2.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    Oh, I forgot to mention, but hopefully you all guessed it correctly... The B2a group would have the 32 MPH top speed. I guess this is just another way to say, "how can be allow a 32 MPH top speed for the smaller/younger B2 skiers?"

    The other proposal of allowing an optional 32 max with a -6 buoy penalty for final buoy count basically serves the same purpose.

    All of these are interesting ideas that generate very meaningful discussions and concerns. If in the end, the consensus is that nothing should change, well then it will be a conclusion based in sufficient investigation of ideas. If a better way do do this comes from the discussions, then that's cool, too!
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    edited July 2012
    Oh, and just so everyone knows where all this hits my only son's skiing abilities... These division changes don't hurt or help him. He's not even close to skiing 28 MPH yet, much less his max speed. So the division change topic is one that I offered due to the other parents and officials who were discussing it.
    (The only selfish or personally beneficial rule change for our family is the light weight rope option topic. That change seems to have significant momentum and support. http://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/comment/80699 )
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
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