Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Universal Classification: Helping or Hurting the Game?

It's baaccckkk! I'ma dusting off an old bugaboo and going another round with universal classification. (Which, for the record, has been improved upon greatly in recent years, but ...) I am also still following my old teammates in their return to competitive paintball. [If you missed those posts a bunch of guys I used to play with in the Dark Ages got together and started competing again two seasons ago. That was after nearly a decade of not playing. The majority, as you might guess, are older, mostly thirties and forties. Their return to the game also spawned a second team.] Their story, while purely anecdotal, is instructive because universal classification is, well, if not universal it's close to it in the U.S. And I remain unconvinced that in the current competitive paintball environment that it's a universal good.
What is the point of universal classification? Most would probably say it stops sandbagging. Let me suggest it also exacerbates the problem and the fear of sandbaggers. The more divisions you create between players the more opportunities are created for more sandbaggers of every stripe, size and marginal skill level. And it's sillier than that. At D4 a couple of D3 players is "fair." Yet three D3 players is sandbagging or cheating. At what point is the cure worse than the disease? Once upon a time we had Amateur, Novice & Rookie. Was there sandbagging? Sure, most noticeably where valuable prizes were at stake. Now it's conceivable that D4 players can "sandbag" D5 players. Are we really better off? [And APPA could serve much the same purpose by simply tracking all the events a player plays and in what division.]
Maybe but universal classification allows teams from all over to see how they compare with other teams. Does it really? Or does it simply quantify results the same way across the board? Is a successful team from the Northwest necessarily a strong team in national level competition within the same division? The easy answer is nope--that's why we play the games. To find out who is the best. I'm not sure you can even say the results must be close. Is D3 competition more intense and demanding in Cali compared to the Northeast. And isn't the likely result of that breadth of competition better teams across the board despite their similar classification ratings?
Let's return for a moment to my friends, the kids on Team Voodoo. They played D4 Race 2-2 these last two seasons. The first year they were a mid-pack team. This year they won one event and finished near the top of their division a sufficient number of times for the bulk of the team to finish the year ranked D3--if only just. As a result they are now classified out of the chance to play D4 Race 2-4 locally--which is the highest option available at present. (They tried Race 2-4 once last season and struggled, mostly with the logistics.) These are exactly the kind of players that the local level needs desperately and yet, after just two seasons at D4, they don't have any place to play locally anymore. The system now regards them as "sandbaggers" if they were to compete (or try to compete) in D4 Race 2-4. They lose out as does the local tourney scene as do the young and developing players they've helped over the last two years. How many times in how many places is this happening to other teams and players?
Granted it isn't the fault of the classification system that no division above D4 Race 2-4 is offered locally but the system can't (or shouldn't be) divorced from its real world impact. We have seen positive signs in the last year or so of a resurgence in team numbers at the grassroots level. It is a trend (hopefully) that requires nurturing not a blind eye and a one size fits all classification system.

63 comments:

Grant said...

News from Asia is that the events over here also want to join the APPA system - a few already did last year.

Is it really going to help?

Baca Loco said...

From my vantage point it's hard to know, Grant. I'm mostly familiar with the big series like MPOC & PALS and the only issue there is if the national or pan-Asian circuits become the entry portal into competitive paintball for even the lowest teams. That would make the entry threshold pretty high.

Anonymous said...

Grabbing popcorn... Waiting patiently for Chris's response.

Baca Loco said...

I think he's gonna pass. PSP meetings this weekend so he's busy and it's really a no win kinda scenario. On one hand he can, in a round about sorta way acknowledge that there might be the occasional collateral damage but preserving the peace of mind of the lower divisions keeps more peeps playing than it kicks to the curb.
As to the idea that somehow his numbers don't really amount to much in categorizing teams across the country or around the world will simply mystify him because it's plain as day that A+B=C so what's the problem.
I also do card tricks and I'll be here all week, Enjoy the veal.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I never understood the purpose of the system.

In any other team sport (well, any large sport I know of), the only classification you need, is being locked to a team between trading periods.

If someone wants to go get a bunch of Pro players and start out in D2, and work their way up, there should be nothing standing in the way of that.... especially if Baca gets his way, and we start doing promotion/relegation.

dan. said...

I know we played in the CFP series years ago and instead of being a year long event it was broken up into two parts: 3 games in spring and another set of 3 in the fall. We won the series in the spring and had to bump up and play the next div higher and tied for that series champ and had to bump up again the spring of next year. So essentially moved up three divisions in one year. Is the current appa better than that? Sure I think so and that's why so many local leagues are using appa.

However, there does continue to be tweaks to system so local players don't get promoted out of local play. Not every team has resources and time to play national. I think our team is a very good example of that. We've been waiting for more D3 teams to make so we can play local again. If we wanted to play tourney paintball in 2012 our one choice is PSP.

Is that appa's fault, not directly but I believe more local teams would have made a local event possible if if they hadn't gotten ranked so high from a single season of local tourney ball. OF course after a local event where such promoted players would have played and won many of the losing teams would complain about the sandbagging winners. It's a double edged sword that needs a solution to keep the grass roots alive and thriving.

Baca Loco said...

The other thing that happens, Dan, is that everybody loses their edge. Part of the process that improves teams is competing against better players and teams and if every time somebody gets better they get moved out quality of play across the board slips.

Dan said...

I think the PSP Xball numbers are correct.
But beyond that, the APPA is valuing the Xball and five man as equals, as are feeder series and locals, and thats where the bad thing's happen. a team could conceivably 1) never play "xball" and (2) never play a PSP event, and be d2 ranked. which ranks them out of all local events using APPA. what local series runs D2 events? Here in michigan all of our series have moved away from it for that very reason.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

I should also mention that we are better off for not using he APPA as a local ranking system. I couldn't imagine some of the teams the win consistently locally competing in D4 much less D2.

Anonymous said...

Nick is right. Get rid of the player ranking system and lock players to teams. In PSP transfer window could end before the second or third event and start again after the world cup.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Even easier, just close the window when the first event starts.

With the modification that:

If you are not rostered on a team, you can join a team at any point in the season.

And you can always move up during the season (which allows organisations to run multible teams and promote players that deserve it).

Anonymous said...

The best solution would be to go back to three divisions. Pro, Am A. and Am B. At Chicago and Cup over a novice division.

Worked great in the past.

Nick Brockdorff said...

How would that solve the issue we are debating?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

Our team played 18 different tournaments over the 11/12 season as a D4 team.We'll be re-ranked as D3 for 2013 and I think were ready for the bump.So for us APPA has worked the way it's suppose to. Another trend happening on the West coast is the open division. That allows teams to pick up pro players as well as those ranked D2. I believe if their are six are less open teams the multiplier is 4 like playing D3. As I understand APPA if their are less the ten teams in any division less player point are awarded for that event.That should help those teams who play in less populated areas where the skill level is below say that of southeren california.

Baca Loco said...

Mike
The drop is only 5% per team and it was changed from 10 to 8 teams, iirc, so the "value" is minimal.

Dan said...

The biggest issue I see is D3 five man in some podunk indiana tournament is not the same quality win as a D3xball at a PSP event. yet the APPA values it the same...
thats a huge issue.

a local event in any division should be at least half of the PSP score. an 5man and Xball scores should not be values the same either.

Grant said...

Agree with Dan.

There's a lot of events signing up for APPA without knowing the pros/cons. Unfortunately the only places APPA is ever discussed is here. Here in Asia where D4 guys are still using mech markers is APPA even needed?

Don Saavedra said...

We haven't had a good Faction sighting in a while. I thought for sure this post would at least get us a nibble.

Baca Loco said...

What, my raehl impression wasn't good enough for you, Don?
He may yet but they's all busy this weekend off in Vegas planning and plotting PSP 2013. Fortunately or unfortunately they won't be able to tell anyone 'cus what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Don't know what they were thinking.

raehl said...

Ask and ye shall receive Don.

The threshold is 10 teams before the number of points start going down.

For 2013, we're also taking events two seasons old and having them count at 90% instead of 100%, which makes a difference for many of the situations talked about here.

Baca's 2nd comment is a decent summary of the situation, which is, "How long to we let a team win a division?" Without some promotion, top talent in an area condenses onto one or two teams that dominate a division, other teams lose interest in playing against them, then nobody is left playing at all due to lack of opponents.

Promotion can inconvenience the promoted players, especially if you're getting promoted to a point where you have to travel to find other teams with a similar talent level or you have to split your talent up onto different teams. But this inconvenience is definitely the lesser of the evils, and the participation numbers bear this out. CFPS for exmaple, who rather rigorously follow the program (including tangential things like entry fee and prize package structure) has triple the players they did 2 years ago.

Baca is also jumping the gun a bit with his particular team example though; Voodoo will almost certainly have the option of playing D3 RT2 in CFPS in 2013.


@Dan: It seems you've decided something is a problem without having a reason it's actually a problem. We count all wins at a certain division level the same for classification purposes. What is the negative consequence of that that should be avoided?

D3 5-man at some podunk Indiana tournament doesn't count the same as a D3 XBall win at PSP either. Unless there's 10 D3 5-man teams playing, in which case it's not really that podunk, is it?

The difference (for classificaion purposes) between a PSP event and a non-PSP event is simply the number of teams, and the system already accounts for that by reducing the number of points for a win for small divisions, and awarding more near-win points for larger divisions. (Getting 2nd at a 30-team PSP event gets you a 97, at a 6-team "podunk" event it gets you a 66 or so.)

@Grant: System use is separate from Universal Classification use. The promoters picking up the system in Asia are doing it primarily for operational reasons (sign-up/scheduling/scoring etc); how they do classifications is up to them, and none have indicated yet they plan to change their classifications.

Important part is Universal Classifications is a system each league chooses to adopt, and they choose to use it because there's pretty good agreement that it's the best option available.

raehl said...

I should have said, count all wins of events with the same number of teams the same. I.e. 15-team D3 event is a 15-team D3 event.

Baca Loco said...

Chris
Re: divisions of 10. PSP website under Classification reads like a rule was changed to 8 teams or less after the 2011 season.

Glad to see there will be further refinements.

I'm not concerned about the teams that win divisions, either at the PSP or local level. My concern is expressly over teams at the local level classified as if they were PSP teams.

While claiming the CFPS series as an example of classification success--despite the fact that's purely speculative I might say their success is rather predicated on their modification of the standard Race 2-2 format.

Should a D3 Race 2-2 option be available it will be because it was added for the 2013 season--and that isn't a foregone conclusion.

And I suppose I ought to thank you for confirming the fact that as long as the local event has at least 10 teams in a division it is scored just like a PSP event. :)

raehl said...

I think there's a "historical perspective" that teams "move up" to PSP. That perspective comes from back when PSP had fewer divisions, and you'd "move up" from Novice at your local/regional series to Novice at PSP.

That's not the intent with D3/D4 at PSP events now. If you're a team that plays D4 locally, when you go to play PSP, you play D4, against other teams that play D4 in other places. If you play D3, same thing.

If start playing D3 locally/regionally before you try a PSP event, you don't get to go play against D4 teams at PSP just because you "haven't tried PSP yet".

Another way to look at it is start by pretending PSP doesn't exist. We should have a classification system where, if you do well, you should move up, right? So if I play my local series in D4 and win, next year I should play D3, right?

So now let's add PSP back in. I play my local series in D4, and I don't win. But I go play Chicago or World Cup or both, where I STILL don't win. But because those events "count more", should I now have to play D3 in my local series the next year? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Or let's say we decide you should be able to "play down" in PSP. So we let D3 teams play in D4 at PSP and D4 in D5 or whatever. Aren't we then just renaming the divisions? In fact in that case, aren't we making the PSP events worth LESS points, since a D3 team is now getting only D4 points when they go play PSP events?


I go back to what I asked Dan: There's an assertion that "The classification system is not as good as it could be because PSP D4 event shouldn't count the same as a non-PSP D4 event!"

Why not? What is the practical negative consequence? What is the practical improvement if we assign more points to PSP events?

I understand people FEEL it's an issue, but I don't understand why it actually IS an issue.

Dan said...

the actual negative consequence is that when a team wins locally they are forced into the PSP at those divisions.
Im arguing that the competition in the PSP is of much greater quality and quantity at whatever division you name. winning D4 five man at a local is significantly easier than at a PSP event.
SO heres the negative:
win D4 locally and move up.
If we play D3 five man locally and win 4 events over two years, were now all D2 players. without ever having set foot on an xball field, or a PSP field we now must play D2 xball, and vitually no place to play locally.... also How many people run D2 events?

Because PSP events take much more commitment of time and money, the idea of "moving into the PSP" exists. it also exists because people realize the talent gap between a national with 12 teams and a PSP with 40. There is also a pretty decent talent gap between 5man and Xball.

Im not proposing assigning more points to PSP; Im proposing assigning less to everyone else. the system within the PSP seems to be working at its current levels, small tweaks my be needed, you've got the data.
Make an affiliate 75% of the PSP score, and a true local 50%. Making your winning scores 300 and 200 for D3.
and 5 man %85 of the score for that tournament
so a 5man scores 255 (Affilliate) and 170.

or something along those lines, where local tournaments alone won't bump you out of the division nationally.

I don't think you'll hear players argue that a D4xball tournament nationally is not a better win than a local d3 5man. Newer players who haven't been to a PSP associate the level of competition to the level of that score. "we get 200 points for winning at home so and we win there. the points are the same so the competition is as well".

I think we can agree that the value of the win should be based on the value of the competition. thats what started this whole thing. The value of the competition at a PSP is not the same as a local, yet the value of the win( or any place for that matter) are the same. The negative consequence of that is that players winning locally are being placed into talent divisions nationally before they even had an idea of the competition level.

raehl said...

Dan:

Winning a PSP event is harder than winning a local event because winning an event with 30 teams is harder than winning an event with 10 teams.

That's why when we assign points, the event with 10 teams gives out a 100 and a 90, while the event with 30 gives out a 100, a 97, a 93 and a 90. There's more top scores awarded to reflect there's more top teams there.


When you argue that we shouldn't make PSP events count more but instead make local events count less, you're showing that you don't understand what you're talking about, because it's the same thing. If the local events count less, then we have to lower the points at which we promote people locally, which is exactly the same thing as making PSP events count more.

Anyway, your negative isn't a negative. It's your own choice. Yes, if you CHOOSE to only play locally, and become more experienced at paintball, as evidenced by winning locally, then no, you can't wait three years then jump into PSP D4. If you want to play in PSP D4, then you have to choose to do so while you still have D4 experience/performance.

I understand you would PREFER to spend years getting experience locally and then jump into a low division in PSP, but the league doesn't want you to, because the REAL D4 teams that didn't spend years playing locally before choosing to play PSP DON'T WANT TO (and shouldn't have to) PLAY AGAINST YOU.


Put another way, what you consider is a negative is actually a positive.


Lastly, there is no talent gap. I've played, and observed, a lot of D3 and D4 teams (and even D2 teams) nationally and locally. If you go to a PSP D4 event, are there some really good D4 teams there? Sure. Are there a lot more REALLY REALLY bad D4 teams there? Absolutely.

The "format gap" doesn't exist either. It's 5-on-5. Either you know how to shoot, move and communicate, or you don't; it doesn't suddenly change just because you play more points in a row or with more people.


Now, keep in mind I'm talking about classification points here. Season ranking points work a bit differently, for a few reasons, and in that regard PSP events do count more.

Dan said...

Its not the same thing. Assigning more to the PSP would require an overhaul of all divisions, while reducing the local value means you get to keep all of that work you've already done to balance.
It also has the added value of not out-ranking players locally. but thanks for the belittlement.

there must be an issue with this because more than one league I know doesn't use the APPA for this very reason.

I really think theres big disconnect between what you're trying to convince me of, and the reality of the situation. Right now Im siting exactly at the top of D3 with just over 1000 points... that has allowed me to play in D4 5man, D3 5man D3 Xball, and D1 xball all within the last 2 seasons..there truly is a talent gap between 5 man and xball within the divisions. you can say its not there, and deny it, but its there. Ive experienced it on the field. which is a bit different that on the sidelines.

its not the affiliate leagues I have issues with. its the real locals. the ones where 10-15 teams of 5 show up and many of them are guys that play rec ball or 3 times a year. how is winning that the same as winning a d4 psp? the numbers say its the same. but we both know its much more difficult to win a psp event, and the numbers should reflect that. and its not just numbers of teams. the quality of player in the PSP is higher on average than your local. Those REALLY BAD D4 teams at your events may be the best team at the local level. theres a few teams I know of that went and played several D4 events in a year. one was a tom team at the local level. they only lost 3 points the whole season over 5 events. when they went to Chicago MAO and cup, they won a combined 8. and yet next year they must play D3 in the PSP when they could barely score points in D4...

the level of competition locally is not as concentrated as it is a a national. but you're valuing t it the same..

all of this does a couple things at the local level.
it artificially pushes players up, and eventually it moves them up so far there is no where to play. If my locals used APPA points Id either have no league to play in (because we've placed in many of them) or the league would need to introduce a D2 division. which we'd compete against the other teams who have been artificially bumped locally. which eventually gets us into D1.

what this all comes down to is that I don't think you should use wins a at local level to define what division a team should be playing in the PSP. it should be the other way around.

Nick Brockdorff said...

It makes no sense to say that the national level is on par with the local level - at least not if APPA works as intended, and teams are eventually promoted onto the national scene.

And even if that is not the purpose, it should be logical to most, that the national events are where the best from each local league go to strut their stuff.... and yes, there will always be the teams that just go there for the experience and get their asses handed to them.... but to say a local league has the same quality as a national league makes no sense.

MAYBE at some Californian events.... but other than that, it seems to defy logic.

raehl said...

"at least not if APPA works as intended, and teams are eventually promoted onto the national scene."

That's not the way it's intended, and that should be obvious. The vast majority of players who play a national event play one event a year, the one they can drive to. The "national scene" is really D2 and above; D3 and D4 is mostly guesting. (With the exception of about 10 D3 RT4 teams and another 10 in the other D3/D4 divisions.)

"And even if that is not the purpose, it should be logical to most, that the national events are where the best from each local league go to strut their stuff...."

That shouldn't be obvious, because it's wrong. National events are where teams go because they want to play national events. There is a national event experience that you just can't get anywhere else that people want to have.

"but to say a local league has the same quality as a national league makes no sense."

I'm going to assume you mean quality of competition, and it makes PERFECT sense! Any team playing D4 PSP is eligible to play D4 locally, so by definition the quality is the same. At best you MIGHT argue that PSP events have a selection bias towards the higher end of the D4 spectrum, but even if that were true, a D4 team that wins a PSP event is no better than a D4 team that wins local events, it's just where that D4 team chooses to play.

I think you guys have it in your heads that things are still like they were 6-7 years ago, where the top Amateur team in an area that hadn't played PSP before would go play PSP in Rookie. Back then, yes, winning Rookie PSP was harder than winning local am events, because the top local am teams were playing rookie.

That's not the case anymore... the bottom of PSP is no longer "above" the top of local. There's an overlap intentionally built in. The top local teams are NOT ALLOWED to play the lowest divisions of PSP, because PSP is specifically offering divisions for teams that are NOT the best local teams to compete in.

So if you think that teams are supposed to "move up" to PSP D4, that's just not the case.

As for the point values, the points are set to that they work at the local level, promoting just the right number of players each year to keep the local divisions viable, so focus on "PSP events should count more!" or "Local events should count less!" is silly. Almost no one shy of D3 RT4 and D2 and up plays a season of PSP events; the driver of D3/D4/D5 classification is local events.

TJ said...

The cost for a PSP event is $X,XXX while the cost of a regional event is $XXX. This is where a lot of the problem lies. What motivation is there to play the PSP when you continually strip away any and all of the major benefits of playing a national event?

Imperial won the D4x series by maybe a few points against a team that only played in the MSXL + Cup. Compare the 2 teams season costs and I would bet that Imperial would have thousands more invested than the Wiseguys, but still chasing after the same lame ass prize.

Robbery.

raehl said...

If Imperial had turned in similar performances at non-PSP events they wouldn't have won.

And part of the reason it was close is Wiseguys were 4th and Imperial 6th at Cup.

Anonymous said...

You still have to look at from a business aspect. Why would a team spend thousands more, play teams from all over the country (not just one region) and have to take more time off work becuase the events are further away and last longer if they don't get more points or recognition?

There is no benefit at this point. Not to mention, unless you play D2 or higher, you only receive free entry for winning.

raehl said...

Because you want to play in the best tournaments on earth? Because there is no experience in your paintball career like playing on the Finals field on Sunday, and if you're playing RT4/5/7, broadcast to the world?

I don't think there are many teams deciding which events to play based just on the number of series points for a win, but even then, PSP events count double.

Reiner Schafer said...

It will always be harder to win a competition with 40 teams rather than one with 10 teams. In theory, the best team should win both. But with almost all sports, and certainly paintball, there is always a little luck involved. Therefore wining the 40 team tournament is more difficult, but that doesn't mean that any of the other 39 teams were necessarily better talented or skilled than the average team in that division.

So should a team be forced to move up faster because they do well at the odd national competition? Only if they are playing opponants that are ranked higher than those they are playing at the local events, which is what the Universal Classification system is supposed to control so when you do go to a National event, you aren't playing players that are playing lower than they should be.

raehl said...

I'm hiring Reiner as a spokesperson.

Dan said...
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Dan said...

So the best team in the area must move up the following year. Even if nationally speaking they are still d4 or worse quality players. Got it.

Team a plays random league d4 5 man. Wins 4 tournaments.
In the same year they play 4 psp's. get last place.
Still must play d3 the next year If they psp. Two years down the road they've won 4 d4's, 4 d3's, and at the same time never placed better than last in either division in a psp, and its accurate to force them into d2. Makes complete sense. Here we are in d3, the team has no place to play at the local level, and they have no realistic expectation of competing in the psp.

That is artificial promotion.

By using local results to make sure some players aren't ranked to low you're also making some players ranked to high.

Dan said...

Should read "here we are in year 3", not "here we are in d3"

Mike said...

Im arguing that the competition in the PSP is of much greater quality and quantity at whatever division you name. winning D4 five man at a local is significantly easier than at a PSP event."

I would say it's the opposite. The competition in the PSP is of greater quantity but not greater quality. Playing the WCPPL has fewer teams but has a higher concentration of talent. Their are also locale leagues where beginner teams can compete without getting smashed.


"If we play D3 five man locally and win 4 events over two years, were now all D2 players. without ever having set foot on an xball field, or a PSP field we now must play D2 xball, and vitually no place to play locally.... also How many people run D2 events?"

We just got bumped to D3 for the 2013 season and we'll be playing our first event at the AZPPL. They have two divisions this event, D4 and Open division. Because their will be a six team cap the APPA player points will be the same as playing D3 even though it's technically D2. This however allows players who are "artificially promoted" as you put it to play the event. We wont get smashed because we know the player talent isn't as intense as where we come from. APPA works to the benefit of a small league.


"its not the affiliate leagues I have issues with. its the real locals. the ones where 10-15 teams of 5 show up and many of them are guys that play rec ball or 3 times a year. how is winning that the same as winning a d4 psp?"

Why should APPA or the PSP accommodate players who treat paintball as a hobby?


"the level of competition locally is not as concentrated as it is a a national. but you're valuing t it the same.."

Again just because the PSP has a huge amount of teams doesn't mean the talent is their. I don't know what goes on in the hinter lands but usually a strong team will attract talented players so I don't buy the argument that less populated areas cant produce teams that can podium.So they should be valued the same.

"So the best team in the area must move up the following year. Even if nationally speaking they are still d4 or worse quality players. Got it."

Well maybe they just suck.LoL I think your making a straw argument.


"Here we are in year three, the team has no place to play at the local level, and they have no realistic expectation of competing in the psp."

We'll were in year three and were ready to play D3 both regionally and nationally. We played 19 events in the 11/12 season and podium 7 of those 19 events with five 1st place finishes in D4. We wernt bumped too early and we have everywhere to play now so I don't get your rant. A lot of D4 teams got bumped to D3 this upcoming year. Some of the non feeder leagues know this and will be adding D3 to their tournament schedule. Where a need arises the market will respond.

Reiner Schafer said...

The crux of the problem in competitive paintball, is there is little value to motivate teams to move up divisions, especially if the move means more traveling and more commitment. In other sports, like football, basketball, or hockey for instance, moving up (and away from the local scene) means that there might be a chance to move up even further and get to a point where you may be playing professionally and being well rewarded. Such is not the case in paintball. At best you may get better sponsorships which means that you won’t be footing the total bill yourself. Therefore there are a lot of players who enjoy playing competitive paintball, but have no interest in making huge commitments that involve more travel, more financial input, and more time away from the rest of their lives. Without the motivation to move up, if forced to move up, many will choose to rather quit. This I believe is where Baca’s old teammates are at this point. It is a rather sad dilemma.

I think really the best paintball can hope for is that regional or feeder leagues get popular enough to attract enough higher division teams so that moving up doesn’t mean you have to go national. Regional competitions would be a compromise; not quite as local as “local” but not so far (and as much of a commitment) as “national”.

raehl said...
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raehl said...

I'm (and by I'm, I mean Joe) working on some data we can share. One thing I'd highlight right now is of people who moved from D5 to D4, 797 moved themselves up by playing higher compared to 168 promoted. 305 players moved themselves up from D4 to D3 with another 116 promoted. 64 moved themselves up from D3 to D2 with another 51 promoted. Of those 51, 35 played PSP.

So we have 16 people in the country who were promoted to D2 this year without playing PSP.

Of those 16, 5 are former Pro/D1/D2 players, 10 are from the WCPPL D3 Hitmen team (and WCPPL offers D2), and 1 is a guy who played on 2 different teams in the NEPL that both did well.


So, how much more time do we want to spend talking about that one guy out of 12,000 who played only local D3 and got promoted into a division that isn't offered in his area? (And even that one guy can play on a D3 or D4 RT4 team.)



Dan: You're making up a situation that doesn't happen. People who win local D4 don't get last place at PSP D4. I know, because *I* don't even get last place in D4 PSP and I just got my ass handed to me in a D5 4-man tournament. Granted, my teammates were a bit different in each situation, but 5 Chris Raehl's don't get last in PSP D4 and we don't place top-half in any D4 event anywhere.

You can spend all day posting about how national D4 is "higher" than local D4, but you're just going to be wrong all day.

Dan said...
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DanC. said...

Joe, Im describing a situation that hasn't happened. But is has happened to D4 players in leagues with no D3 option (See baca's friends) I realize its extremes and its unlikely. buts its certainly possible and if EVERYONE in the country used the system, I think its a different story. And its and example where the system fails. and does so miserably. heres a real life example. Ill even use an affiliate. not even a podunk 5 man example. Lets look at 2011 PG United of MSXL:
2011 d3x 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd...
world cup 2011: d3x 32/45
this team has 9 D3x MSXL events never placing worse than 3rd. they also have ONLY 3 PSP events, and have never done better than 67 points... This is a D3 team all around. middle of the road (at best) on a national scale, but the cream of the crop in MSXL.
all ranked D2 at end the year. where is that team now?

Joe Id like to invite you to come out in the spring to action and play in one of our tournaments at action paintball. explain to me why 1) these guys need to be ranked in your system, and (b) what's to prevent artificial score inflation by beating the same 10 other bad teams for 6 times this sumer.

I think you guys are confusing what I mean when say local. Locals are not AZPPL, WCPPL, vicious series, etc... local is the mom and pop 3-5 man tournaments. Locals are the GLS's and IMS's of the world. they are the Plex fun ball tourneys.

Mike your response is virtually irrelevant.
Playing Paintball is a hobby. its one for me. I play in CXBL elite, and D1 here. Its a hobby for my teammates. Its a hobby for my employer's store's customers... If its not a hobby and its not a profession... what is it?

Honestly people. So many threads on various forums say how intense the competition is at the PSP vs other leagues. namely the NPPL. how many times have we heard "the talent is better" at PSP events? insert any any other league here.... now we've flipped the script....Either the PSP IS the best competition in the world, as it and so many others claim, or its not and is at best equal (which is how the points work. you cant tell me it is then show me its not.

but lets simplify this. Since we all agree that it IS harder to win a PSP event, why is the numerical value equal to an event that's easier to win?

raehl said...

PG United rostered 10 players for Cup in 2011. Of those 10 players, 7 played at least 4 events in 2012 and one of them hadn't played any event since 2009 before hopping on the team for Cup only. That leaves two players who played for PG through 2011 but didn't play tournaments after, which is actually a bit lower than the normal paintball player attrition rate. (You'd expect 3-4 players of a 10-player roster to not make it to next season regardless of classification change.) And one of those two players played Masters at 2011 Cup.

7 of 9 players returning is pretty good by paintball standards.

Baca Loco said...

Chris
You're not really responding to Dan's most recent point.
Claiming players from PG United continued to play is nice to know but unresponsive. It fails to acknowledge that PG United is gone and it doesn't tell us how many of PG's roster ended up ranked D2 or even if any of the 7 are still playing together.

If competing in the MSXL isn't indicative of PSP potential--given that the MSXL is the big mid-south PSP affiliate--a reasonable assumption based on PG United's record then equating for classification purposes participating in smaller events drawing from a smaller talent pool at the local level is simply a rejection of reality because reality doesn't fit the numbers.

Since you like equations try this one: PSP>MSXL>Local whereas classification system claims PSP=MSXL=Local

raehl said...

Most of PG's players ended up on Louisville Asylum in 2012. Some as D2, some not.

Where did we determine that MSXL isn't determinative of PSP potential? They played D3 in MSXL and they played D3 at Cup. If you're saying winning D3 at every regional should mean a team can win D3 at PSP, I don't think that's a reasonable goal. We're never going to have different regions where all talent strength is exactly the same - that's why sports have these things called playoffs (or in the case of paintball, World Cup.)

PG United played D3 at Cup. They went 1-3, scored points every match, and all their opponents won advanced out of prelims and won at least one playoff match. Did they rock it? No. Should they have been playing D4? No.

Plus it's one event. If we look at just PSP teams playing just PSP events, those teams bounce all over the place too. Revo II went 5th, 5th, 1st, 2nd and then 29th in D3 this year. Or maybe a team that's played a local series all season, despite their talent, just has trouble adjusting to traveling to an event.

You'd also have to admit that if you have one team that's been playing PSP for 4 events already and another team that's stepping out of their local drive-to events that you'd expect the team playing PSP all year to have an advantage - not because they're better, but for the same reason you'd expect a team playing PSP all year who then plays a local event against a team who has played that local series all year to have a disadvantage.

We're not going to take the winner of 8 regional series, put them in a championship, and have them go 1st through 8th. Some of 'em are going to choke. Some 5th place team is going to have a good event.

For example, in D3 MSXL this year, Louisville Asylum got a 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 1st.. and 29th at Cup. But Tippmann Effect TMG got 1st, 2nd, 2nd and... 8th at Cup. Look at one team and you think MSXL is weak, look at the other and it's pretty strong.

This is sports. It's not going to be nice and neat, because on any given day...

raehl said...

Another data point - Outta Kontrol got 3rd for the season in MSXL in 2011 and placed 12th at 2011 Cup. So they lost to PG United 3 out of 4 times in MSXL's, then get 12th at Cup while PG got 32nd. Although Outta Kontrol won the last MSXL while PG got 3rd, so maybe one team just had a better end-of-season than the other.

Here's another: (Sticking with D3 RT4)

The team that won PSP Chicago Open got 29th at Cup. The team that won Phoenix got 28th at MAO. The team that won MAO got 14th at Chicago. About the only kind-of consistent team was Venom who got 1st at Galveston and Cup and 4th/9th at Chicago/MAO.


So if you're going to argue "Well, they won MSXL and then did bad at Cup!" means MSXL isn't a good indicator of PSP potential, the same logic says winning PSP isn't a good indicator of PSP potential, which is, of course, silly.


Again, Welcome to Sports.

DanC. said...
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DanC. said...
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DanC. said...

first let me make this clear again. local events are not regional/affiliate events. local events are the winter wednesday night leagues. the ones who say " one year or less of tournament exp." or 16 and under only's.
"Where did we determine that MSXL isn't determinative of PSP potential?"
where have we determined that it is? there are many many teams who do well locally but fail to do well at nationals for whatever reason. the reason is irrelevant.

"If you're saying winning D3 at every regional should mean a team can win D3 at PSP, I don't think that's a reasonable goal."

no, thats what you're classifications are saying. and in some cases winning locally (not affiliates) its saying that they must play a division they are likely unprepared for.

Id still love to hear an explanation of this:

1)We've all agreed that its harder to win PSP. why are you giving the same points for a harder event than an easier one?

2) why did the USPL league not count for full points?

This is a system that said in the USPL: PRO=d1psp. d1=D2psp and on own the line. So your system is saying winning D3 5man in the "Manitoba Speedball league" is not only equal to D3 in the PSP, but D2 in the USPL as well. If we win 4 events d3 5man in "paintball plex's winter indoor series" we now must play D2 xball on a national scale if we wish to continue playing together.
Thats all it takes. 4 good finishes in a bad league.

The PSP (among all of its supporters, myself included) keeps saying "psp is the best competition in the world". I agree. However they system that the PSP uses says "PSP is equal to every other league in the world, regardlesss of scale"

so which is it? is the PSP the best competition in the world? If so the points earned should reflect that ( the most effective way of that is to reduce the amount of points locals and regionals are worth)... OR is the PSP equal to "Puerto rican paintball events"?
Cant have it both ways.

raehl said...

first let me make this clear again. local events are not regional/affiliate events. local events are the winter wednesday night leagues. the ones who say " one year or less of tournament exp." or 16 and under only's.

So, like, D5, which PSP doesn't run except Cup, or D6, or Young Guns? Not sure what you're getting at here - you won't earn enough points at any of those events to do anything other than (surprise) not let you play them after a year (because the RULE is, 1st-year players).

1)We've all agreed that its harder to win PSP. why are you giving the same points for a harder event than an easier one?

No one said it's harder to win PSP. We said it's harder to win an event with more teams than it is to win an event with fewer teams. That's just math.

So, what we do is, when there's less than 10 teams, we reduce the top score, because our sample size is smaller. When we get to 10 teams, we're pretty confident that a win is a win, and the winner gets 100.

I know it's easy to focus on the 100, but more important is that at the 11 team event, the winner gets 100, 2nd gets 90, and 3rd gets 80.

At a 41-team event, the numbers change. The winner still gets 100, but 2nd place gets 97.5, 3rd gets 95, 4th gets 92.5, 5th gets 90. So yes, while it's harder to WIN a larger event, we're talking about a few points either way, and the larger events give out a lot more high scores to accommodate the higher number of talented teams you'd expect to come out of a large pool of teams.

2) why did the USPL league not count for full points?

It did, the exception being we counted NPPL Pro as Semi-Pro points, for what most would agree is obvious reasons.

is the PSP the best competition in the world?

Yes.

If so the points earned should reflect that

They do. You're going to earn more points playing PSP Pro than anywhere else.

OR is the PSP equal to "Puerto rican paintball events"?

If those Puerto Rican paintball events are D4, and you're comparing to PSP D4, then yes, they're ABOUT the same.

Cant have it both ways.

Just did, through the MAGIC of DIFFERENT DIVISIONS!

raehl said...

Stepping back:

no, thats what you're classifications are saying.

The classifications are not exact. They can't be, unless everyone plays against everyone else. Even then, athletic performance varies over time. That's why many sports leagues have best-of-5 and best-of-7 playoffs. What we're trying to do with classifications is establish groups of teams where each team in the group can play competitively. Note that is NOT the same as being able to win. Not everyone can win.

Let me put it a different way: Is going 11-0 in the SEC the same as going 12-0 in the Mountain West? Of course not. But they are both undefeated seasons. It's the same here - you win, you're a winner and you get 100. Is every team with a 100 equally as good as another team with a 100? No, no more than every team with a 10-2 record is as good as every other team with a 10-2 record. You know they're both 10-win teams, but you don't know for sure which is better until you get them in the bowl game. Same with D3, or D4 - we know the teams with 100's are tournament winners, but we don't know which is better until they get to Cup.

But I can tell you for sure that a 10-2 DI-A college team is going to obliterate a 10-2 DI-AA college team, and I can't even imagine what they'd do to a DIII college team. A D3 team earning 100 points is going to obliterate a D4 team earning 100 points.

And we certainly don't let NFL players play college, nor college players play high school. And there's a whole lot of high school players who get "promoted out" of high school and can't find a place to play in college.

In fact, in pretty much every sport out there EXCEPT paintball, there comes the point where you either make Pro or have to accept that you had your chance and you're just not good enough to keep playing.

Be happy paintball isn't one of those sports.

and in some cases winning locally (not affiliates) its saying that they must play a division they are likely unprepared for.

What's "unprepared for"? If your definition of "prepared" is "ready to win the higher division", that's not realistic. Everybody can't have a good chance of winning their division. If you suck at paintball, you're going to play D4 forever and never win... that doesn't mean we should let you beat up on newbies in D5. You just suck.

And if you kick everyone's butt at D4, it's time to try D3. Maybe you won't be able to win there - but that doesn't mean we should let you keep mopping up on all the people in D4 who are going to suck for life and are just trying to have some fun either. In fact, we absolutely can't let you do that, because then they stop having fun, stop playing, and then there's nobody to play against at all.


Again, the classification system is NOT going to give everyone a change to win. That's communist-everybody-gets-a-trophy garbage. It's there to give everyone a change to compete, to practice, improve, and measure their performance against other competitors without getting blown-out (or blowing their competitors out).

raehl said...

damnit, and blogger ate one of my comments. 1st comment 2nd:

first let me make this clear again. local events are not regional/affiliate events. local events are the winter wednesday night leagues. the ones who say " one year or less of tournament exp." or 16 and under only's.

You mean D5 events. Or D6. Or Young Guns. That don't do anything to your classification other than, after a year, likely not let you play tournaments where the rule is, "only players who have been playing less than a year".

1)We've all agreed that its harder to win PSP. why are you giving the same points for a harder event than an easier one?

No, we all agreed that it's harder to win a tournament with more teams than less teams. That's just math.

For events with a small sample size, we reduce the top score because we're not as confident that a win indicates a certain level of performance. But once we hit 10 teams, we're feeling pretty good that a tournament winner is a tournament winner.

Now, if we take four 10-team tournaments and make a 40-team tournament, obviously we had 4 winners before but can only have 1 now. But we handle that - at an 11-team tournament, 1st is 100, 2nd is 90, 3rd is 80. At a 41-team tournament, 1st is 100, 2nd is 97.5, 3rd is 95, 4th is 92.5, 5th is 90. More talent at the large event, more high scores at the large event.

2) why did the USPL league not count for full points?

It did, with the exception that USPL Pro counted as Semi-Pro points, for what I assume most would agree are obvious reasons.

If we win 4 events d3 5man in "paintball plex's winter indoor series" we now must play D2 xball on a national scale if we wish to continue playing together.

Uh, the winter league is 3-man. It counts half. It's impossible to get bumped to D2 from that.

Maybe the problem isn't the classification system, maybe it's you have no idea how it works.

is the PSP the best competition in the world?

Yes.

If so the points earned should reflect that

They do - you'll get more points playing PSP Pro than anywhere else.

OR is the PSP equal to "Puerto rican paintball events"?

If they are both D4, then yes, they're about the same.

Cant have it both ways.

Just did, through the Magic of Different Divisions.

Mike said...

@ Dan. "many of them are guys that play rec ball or 3 times a year" ect I don't think we have to worry about these guys getting bumped up the APPA system to quickly lol "Its a hobby for my teammates. Its a hobby for my employer's store's customers... If its not a hobby and its not a profession... what is it?" Umm.. It's a sport. Kinda like soccer. I don't know anybody who plays soccer because it's a hobby. lol Your employer's store's customers help fund our sport in an indirect way as that's where the money is, rec ball, scenario ect. APPA and the PSP and their affiliates is what legitimizes what we do as a sport. Is it perfect? No. But it seems to be working out in most places. Different leagues run their events in different ways utilizing the APPA system as best benefits their players.Leagues in Northern California are structured differently then in Southern California. In the north Capital Edge Paintball League has young guns and D5 tourny's which give players new to the sport more time to improve before they go into D4. Fuzion is a solid organization up near Fresno and a lot of their players have a history at that park and their divisions place well in regional and national events. Down south their haven't been any D5 tourney's going on so players go right in to D4 so a little tougher learning curve. However ASG in Colton is a local "Ma and Pa" business and will be adding D5 and D3 this year to their series as their an up tick in new players and some local D4 teams were bumped to D3. So we have a system (APPA) and market forces which shape the direction of our sport.

DanC. said...
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DanC. said...

Mike, anything that you do for fun that you aren't paid for is a hobby. being a sport does not prevent that. how often you play or how serious you take it doesn't change that. playing Paintball is a hobby for nearly every one who does.
chris,
I know exactly how the system works. Im speaking on theoretical levels here. but again, thanks for the belittlement.

There is no reason why a division existing prevents the theoretical addition of another. or the theoretical assertion that it could have just as easily been d35man.
If PSP pro> every other pro then it stands to reason
D1psp>every other D1
D2psp> every other D2
D3psp> every other D3, etc.
your position is a logical incongruence.

I dont see much practicality on trying to compare a D3 xball team in California to a D3 5man team from singapore if neither are playing in the same league. If we feel that winning one league (such as the PSP, vs the MSXL) isn't the same as the other, then why are we even trying to equate them? this isn't a sample size thing. this is more like political polling where you will get different results based on where you poll..paintball is concentrated differently to different areas of the country, and the world.
I think the leagues should operate more like the electoral college. where we realize the final result is worth more point because of the league, and the difficulty of the win. giving the most points to the PSP xball, the Affiliate xball then the 5mans, then the locals. Until we recognize numerically that winning one isn't the same as another (just as 12-0 SEC guarantees a title shot, and 11-0 in a mid-major only gets you into the BSC talk. Just as 11-1 in the SEC is worth more than 12-0 in the Mid major, and even 10-3), then we will continue to lose teams to success.

I dont think were ever going to see eye to eye on this one.
I think The APPA is a good thing for people who play in the PSP and its affiliates, but until there are changes at the local level, We wont be using the system

For the record I know more people who've quit playing APPA events because their record got too high and have nowhere inexpensive to play, than people who quit paintball from getting beat. without actually seeing the data, it feels like there are a significant number of players when they Hit D2, they play drastically # of reduced events. If the divisions were offered, great. but as of right now the practical effect of too much local success, regardless of division, is a death sentence for the team unless you can afford to go play PSP for a whole season. (didnt you aregue that the thought of "moving up into the PSP isnt true?") we need players to play locally. we need grassroots leagues and local support. And if were losing even one team because of the system, then there is something wrong.

raehl said...

Dan, it wasn't belittlement. You said two things that were just blatantly not true, so clearly, you don't know how the system works, where the definition of "knowing how the system works" is "not saying things about the system that are wrong".

If PSP pro> every other pro then it stands to reason

No it doesn't.

And it isn't. CEP and Aftershock are better than or very close to the best D1 team, and significantly better than all the other D1 teams.

The lower D3 teams are worse than the best D4 teams. And the best D5 teams are better than the worst D4 teams. It's a sport, talent is important, and at any experience level talent is going to win.

then why are we even trying to equate them?

Because it's fun?

But also because it works. There's always going to be some variance, but if we say, "Players in their first season of play are D5, and after that they advance to the 2nd lowest division, and they stay there until they consistently win the 2nd lowest division or decide to move up to the 3rd lowest division", we actually get some pretty even divisions. And I've flown 150,000 miles around the world this year just to check. Turns out the guys playing Beginner, Rookie, Novice and Am in Australia are pretty much the same as the guys playing D5, D4, D3 and D2 in the US. D4, D3, D2 and D1 in Asia pretty much like D5, D4, D3 and D2 here too - they just start at a different number.

I dont think were ever going to see eye to eye on this one.

We're not going to see eye to eye because you're wearing a blindfold. Case and point:

it feels like there are a significant number of players when they Hit D2

You have all these "feelings", but the ARE NOT REALITY.

We bumped 51 players from D3 to D2 this year. 35 of them played PSP. That leaves 16 "local" players; 10 of them played for Hitmen in WCPPL, 5 were former Pro/D1/D2 players who did well enough to get pushed back to their old division, and ONE, *ONE* player out of over 12,000 players in the US, played enough "local" D3 last year to get bumped to D2.

ONE.

Now, if you're talking about 5 years ago, I agree, we were not doing as good of a job back then. But the system is far, far different now than it was in 2008 or even 2009. So if you're basing your opinions on stuff from 3-4 years ago, good news, we've already changed the system.

Look, lots of people quit sports, all the time. People get out of paintball for lots of reasons. It isn't because getting bumped made paintball too expensive - pretty much all the leagues charge the same for D3 and D4.

I'm sure we lose the occasional team because of the system - the team that has been winning a division all the time and is using the prizes to pay for their paintball habit.

Now, we have a choice. We can let that happening, let all the other teams in that league keep paying for that team to play, until they get sick of it and all the OTHER teams quit, or we can say, hey, ok, you've won here, it's time to move on. And that team can choose to move on or spread their talent around or whatever, but you're right, their gracy train is going to end. And if they only reason they'll play is if other teams are footing their bill, then you're right, we're going to lose a team.

But losing one team because of the system is very, very right, if not using the system means we DON'T lose another 10 teams who quit because they're sick of getting beat up on by the same people over and over again in D4.

You don't get to play high school paintball forever. And you don't get to play D4 forever. (D3, you can PRETTY MUCH play forever unless you're already playing national or in SoCal, in which case there's D2 for you.)


Fact of the matter is, the successful leagues use the system. If you go into any area where there is an APPA league and a non-APPA league (if you can even find one), I can tell you which league has more players.

Nick Brockdorff said...
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Nick Brockdorff said...

Wow, been a while and this thread has exploded :D

Well, if D4 at at local level has the same quality of competion as D4 at a national, I stand corrected.... it didn't used to be like that, and it most certainly is not like that in Europe..... but maybe the mindset is different over here, where the top 4 divisons are chuck full of teams aiming at making results and gaining promotion.

Maybe the lack of a promotion system, is what actually creates such a huge difference in team mindsets between the US and Europe? (but that a story for another thread ;))

So Chris - question for you:

Say a promotion/relegation system is introduced in the PSP (which I hope and half expect).... do you agree you will need to change the system to rank teams, rather than players?

To my mind, just like in any other sport, the ranking should belong to the team - not the player.... in a system that moves teams up and down divisions.

If Lionel Messi (worlds best soccer player, for those that don't know ;)) is hired to go play for some D3 team with aspirations... he can.

But, in PSP, under the current system, Konstantin Fedorov can't do the same.

It seems to me a system that attaches the ranking to the player, would create a very rigid situation, that makes it hard for ambitious lower ranked teams to progress.

Mike said...

Dan said "is the PSP the best competition in the world?...OR is the PSP equal to "Puerto Rican paintball events?"

The PSP is the best competition in the world because it has the most teams participating in the event. If the Puerto Rican paintball league offered more teams then the PSP at their events then it would be "the best competition in the world." But what your concerned with is whether teams in Puerto Rico are on par with others teams here in the US and elsewhere.The answer to that is the teams in Puerto Rico have the same opportunities as the best teams do in the U.S. provided they put in the time to train and have the funding.If we were talking about whether Puerto Rican soccer players were on par with the U.S. I doubt any of us would be questioning whether their teams would have the ability to compete. So why is paintball different then any other sport ?

"We've all agreed that its harder to win PSP. why are you giving the same points for a harder event than an easier one?"

Because their are no gods in paintball and all we have is math. You want to tweak the math in favor of players who only play local leagues so they can play longer in a particular division. National events are made up of teams from all over not just PSP teams and their feeder leagues. So why wouldn't they be held to the same standard? It's up to the local leagues to offer different divisional play and they will if the numbers are their. In my previous comments I tried to show how different leagues use the APPA system, so I would disagree with Baca who wonders if APPA is a "one size fits all classification system". In regards to Team voodoo I'm going to presume that some of the teams they played got bumped as well. Now if they were to follow the AZPPL's example and offer an Open Division that would give Team Voodoo the option to play as well as attracting rostered D2 players and some local pros the opportunity to put a line together. So rather then see their example as an end game I see it as an opportunity to expand paintball.

Nick said "To my mind, just like in any other sport, the ranking should belong to the team - not the player.... in a system that moves teams up and down divisions.
Well the PSP does have a team ranking system in place. More points are awarded for PSP national events and fewer for PSP regional events. Their is also some player attrition and players changing teams throughout the season so if teams were locked I'm not sure how that would work.The object of the APPA system is to keep over qualified players from playing lower divisions.I think what your suggesting is if a team bombed out during one season the same team could play down a division the following year.
What I would be interested in seeing is team ranking within the APPA system itself that included leagues not connected to the PSP and their affiliates.We played ten events this year, and five of the tourneys were with leagues not connected to the PSP. If you took team rankings from APPA and crossed them with player points you would get a picture of who the top players within the lower divisions are within the sport.

Nick said "It seems to me a system that attaches the ranking to the player, would create a very rigid situation, that makes it hard for ambitious lower ranked teams to progress.
Teams have that option now. A D4 team can play a D3 event if they want to.

The truth is the teams that do the best are the ones that practice consistently every week irregardless of location or what league they play in. It's up to players to realize their full potential within a particular division and up to leagues to expand their divisional games as players move up through the ranks.

raehl said...

@Nick:

1) I don't choose classification systems, leagues do. We provide software that tracks participation and does other tasks for league promoters. The system can do (and has done) any number of classification systems.

2) That said, I don't think promotion/relegation and individual classification are mutually exclusive. If your team does poorly enough to get relegated, the points you're earning will likely allow you to play in the division you're relegated to anyway.



Paintball has never had promotion/relegation, at least not in the sense promotion/relegation applies in other sports. A real promotion relegation system isn't just, "Well, the team you fielded this year stunk, so we're taking away your right to pay an entry fee next year, unless you buy that right from someone else or someone decides not to pay the entry fee in which case we'll sell that right back to you again", it's "A team is its own entity with a roster of players that are under contract with that team, and only the team is promoted/relegated."

That means if you're a guy with some money, and you decide you want to field a Pro team, you can't just go find some other guy who has entry-fee-payment rights and buy those rights; you have to buy the entire team - the name, the trademarks, the stadium, the player contracts, etc, etc. THAT is promotion/relegation.

What "promotion/relegation" we have now, somebody loses their entry fee rights, or gains their entry fee rights, but there is no team continuity - they can change the team name, they can completely swap the roster of players, or the players can jump ship themselves....


I'm not sure your Messi/Federov example is a good one. If we were major league soccer and switching from Pro to D3 meant a player was sacrificing millions of dollars a year in salary, you might have something, but when any D3 team with a sugar-daddy can rival the compensation of a Pro squad, we need another mechanism.

In the US, other sports also have classifications of sorts - for example, if you go Pro, you can't go back to playing in college. Ever. Same for college/high school, and obviously many sports classify by age.

Paintball just happens to have the unique property that size of participant doesn't matter much, and we don't group our teams by geography (high school sports teams), so age isn't necessarily the best classification mechanism.