Thursday, September 18, 2008

Saving Xball

The title may strike you as a bit over the top, a little hyperbolic and it probably is but I tend to prefer my reality toward the pessimism side of the spectrum. What isn't hyperbole however is the fact that xball still costs wheelbarrows full of our increasingly devalued dollars and the steps taken last off season to mitigate expenses (for the pros) wasn't sufficient.
So, I'm gonna start harping again on one of the suggestions I made last year around this time for helping to reduce cost to compete at the pro level. (I'm leaving out of this the whole Pro Circuit and the details in the follow up Pro Paradigm--which will post later today--as they aren't essential elements for this particular cost reducing suggestion.)
How does that reduce costs, you ask? (Even if you didn't ask I'm gonna tell you.) Not only will it most likely reduce cost but it will also have added extra benefits by way of intended consequences. (As opposed to those pesky unintended consequences which usually don't turn out so well.)
The current preparation standard is to scrimmage another team or run points on the event layout both of which churn ungodly amounts of paint. (We usually burn 80-100 cases a weekend doing that.) No layout and everyone has to re-think how to prepare for an event. The focus becomes not learning every detail of a specific field but in developing players ability to understand and exploit all sorts of different possibilities. This can be done with considerably less commitment to blazin' paint. And in the process you create a player with the mental skill set of the Old Skoolers and the physical skill set of the xball generation.
The result is refocusing on skills and teaching how to bring those skills into play without the necessity of shooting millions of balls and coupled with the new flexibility in field design would mean that at events you would see teams playing to their particular strengths and matches would be not only a match of skills but of styles.
The argument offered last time around against this suggestion was that local fields have purchased xball fields and without the layouts there's no guarantee anybody plays them specifically--but think on that for a second--
If you are an xball team what kind of field are you going to train on? Does it really matter that you don't have the layout? I don't think it does but if the PSP is still concerned then the simple answer is to make the NXL field layout different from the divisional layout.
Okay, so maybe it won't save any pro teams but it might and it's still a good idea.


raehl said...

I think one 'nice' thing about the early release is that it mitigates the advantage to the home team. You HAVE to release it before you set it up on-site (as as soon as you do that someone takes pictures), and if you release it on Monday, the teams not flying are practicing an extra day. Release it 3 weeks out and it's not a big deal.

3 weeks may be too many, but at least one weekend is probably necessary. Maybe two Mondays prior.

Baca Loco said...

If it's only teh pro field there is no reason it can't be setup on Tuesday and NEO was the only location with a "home" team and you've already argued that was meaningless.

raehl said...

I said practicing a layout that was taken down and set up again on the same piece of ground was essentially meaningless. That's an entirely separate issue from whether you have to fly to get to the event or not.

You can't have a Pro-only layout at some of the events (Chicago and Cup) because the finals field is shared on Sunday (currently). Although I suppose with Chicago it's the All-Star game, so not a big deal.

Baca Loco said...

Can't is a pretty authoritative word to be bandying about there, Chris. The only reason there's a shared field is because PSP thinks it helps sells seats. If they had a better reason to act differently they could.

Mike said...

You directed us back to this post, so I'll comment here...

It may be true that not releasing the layout in advance will save money for the teams shooting 80-100 cases per week preparing for a specific layout, but that likely only applies to Pro and D1. How many D5/4/3/2 teams are actually shooting anywhere near that at practice? How does it save money for teams shooting 1-2 cases per player per week, which is likely almost all the D3 and below teams? Alternately if there are D3/2 teams shooting that much, it's not the players paying their own way, so how are self-supported teams supposed to compete?