Subject: early release of field layouts prior to events
(It isn't your imagination. I am, once again, returning to a topic already covered to one degree or another. This will be the final word, for now. If you're wondering what compulsion moves me to this sorta behavior; it's the kids. Mine and the gaggle of paintball players I routinely deal with most weekends. Somehow it is never enough to hear a thing once. They must have everything repeated over and over so it has become my habitual practice. And your curse.)
The reason given for releasing the layouts early is to encourage teams to practice at paintball fields that have the up-to-date xball bunkers and can setup the latest layout. [Which always sounded to me like some quid pro quo arrangement with Adrenaline Games and not a terribly serious reason. Where, after all, is an xball team going to practice if not on an xball field whether they have a specific layout or not?]
In my informal World Cup survey--sounds authoritative, doesn't it?--most field owners I asked about it thought it did one of two things. A) made no real difference, or, B) tended to swamp them with teams ONLY when the layout was available. What B means is that for fields catering to tourney teams the field release practice has created cycles in their business; heavy use near an event and little or no use (from the teams) the rest of the time. Owners answering A didn't really cater to teams.
This is anecdotal, limited in scope and completely unscientific but it makes sense. Teams have limited resources so releasing layouts early only encourages them to practice when they can optimize their efforts and play the event layout. Contrary to its claimed purpose this ain't helpful to fields investing in xball bunkers and annual upgrades.
It remains an open question how NOT releasing the layouts would effect local field business but there are quality of play, player development, and player skill set implications as well. Think on that for a bit. I will be addressing the issue in an upcoming post called Robots versus Ninjas.