Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Informal Survey

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.


raehl said...

How about the layout is just released at the preceding event then? That solves B.

Baca Loco said...

It "solves" the field operators issue, if in fact, it's as wide spread as the anecdotal info might suggest. It may also be a regional kinda thing, too, as mostly I spoke to Florida folks who are open all year 'round.
It doesn't address the other end of the release date concern--which is amongst the pros it creates more imbalance between the haves and the have nots. Nor does it take into account what I am convinced would be the player benefits--which will be outlined in the coming post I mentioned already.

Anonymous said...

If it was policy not to release the layouts until the actual events, teams would adopt and, in so doing, the fields would be taken care of.

Instead of flocking to a field that had the layout, teams would go to a field that had the most current bunker kit. Practices would be more spreadout (over time) and would revolve around activities other than scrimmaging. But teams would still practice.

Net-net, the fields who buy the new field kits and have the best facilities would still garner the most business.

raehl said...

My concern with not releasing the layout is competitive fairness. It HAS to be released at some point. If you don't release it at all, the first team to get a guy on-site when Sup'Air starts setting up the field has the advantage. And if you release it the day of setup, the teams that are not flying that day because they have the money to come in early have the advantage - and you'll have everyone who can practicing at the nearest field.

So I don't think day-of or a couple days in advance is fair either, so I think PSP is pretty close to the ideal at 3 weeks. Maybe one week or two weeks would be better, but definitely not less than a week, and whether two is better than one or three is, I think, just guessing.

But, to undermine my point:

Even NASCAR banned the racing equivalent of releasing the field in advance. (No driving the tracks before races.)

BobCat said...

I don't think any of the local fields around here are going to be hurt. Teams still need places to practice. Sure we have the new NPPL set-up when they are available, NXL field gets set-up also (norcal has it good). Even our local turny posts the fields early and the other local fields set them up for teams. I think teams would be at the field learning how to play paintball rather then learning how to play "this field" with out early release layouts. Besides reality and the lay-out are not often the same.

Baca Loco said...

Nice to meet you at the airport. Now, the not-so-nice. Using my McEnroe voice, "Chris, you can't be serious?!" The best argument for early release offers an equal OPPORTUNITY for teams to prep a particular layout, NOT equal preparation. And that isn't the league's reason for early release. Is it less fair that teams that can afford it get all the reps they want compared to the hypothetical notion a few teams might get a few reps on a best guess version of the competition field? Even on your terms that's a hard sell, seems to me. And we haven't addressed all the other player-oriented good reasons not to release early.

My point precisely.