A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE RANKING SYSTEM
Why have a Rankings System?
So that fencers have an ongoing means of tracking their standing against their peers based on competition results.
Is it the same system as last year?
Most of the basics are the same. Rankings are calculated by adding the points earned from a number of competitions though the calendar year. The points system remains the same as does the multiplier factor for different levels of competition e.g. local comps, State and National event and FIE sanctioned events. Fencers will still need to actually compete in a U13, U15, U17 or U20 event to start to earn a ranking at those levels. There will still be the opportunity to reward those fencer’s who “fence up” above their age group level. The differences are at the margin and are in response to feedback from many sources within the Fencing community.
What areas are different from the Ranking System used in previous years?
There have been changes to the way a ranking total can be calculated in two main areas – the number of Outside-of-Class results that can be used in a Ranking total and in the size of the multiplier factor applied to the OOC results. It is in the area of these Out-of-Class results that most of the feedback centered. Also, to encourage competition participation, the maximum number of results that can be added to calculate a ranking has increased from four (4) to six (6) with the additional criteria that a maximum of three (3) results earned from non-Fencing Victoria events may be used.
Why Change the system?
Based in part on feedback from the 2008 Competitions survey, it was felt that changes were necessary. Some concern was raised in the disproportionate results achieved for modest performance in higher level competitions. Also, concerns were raised about the potential composition of a ranking total at a particular age category without using any results achieved at that age level. These concerns are reflected seen in just one comment from the Competitions survey:
“We think the system of rankings seems not quite right. Massive points are awarded for doing moderately well in competitions above the relevant age group. However as parents we do not want our son to have to enter every other competition as well as his own to come out at the level in the rankings where he would be if all the kids of the same age were to fence against each other. This puts pressure on families to have to attend competitions on many weekends which is not fair on other kids in the family or the family as a whole for going away weekends etc. Kids need to have a balanced life! We apply this philosophy in our family unfortunately to our son’s detriment. The most points should be awarded for relevant age group events with some bonuses for other events here interstate and overseas but not disproportionately as they are at the moment. Thanks for the opportunity to have a say well done!”
However, we do not want to discourage fencers from pushing their own boundaries. But it is agreed that a balance was needed.
So, give me some specifics?
To address the concern that a lower category ranking can be comprised entirely of results earned in higher categories, there is a minimum number of events to be earned at that category. This is to maintain some peer relativity with fencers who do not compete outside their age based category. So, for 2009, half of the results used in calculating a ranking points total for a particular category must be earned at that same category. Another way to say that is that only half of the results used can come from competition results at a higher level.
Sounds fair, anything else?
The Out-of-Class multipliers have been greatly reduced. Where there used to be steps of 2.5 times for each level higher, this has been reduced to 0.5 times. If that sounds complicated, what is means is that a bonus of half the points earned by the finishing position in the higher level competition is added to the total points earned towards the lower level ranking. If the higher level is 2 steps up the ladder, the bonus points are doubled, and so on. The fencer will still get the same points in his higher-level ranking as those fencers he competed against. It is the lower level rankings total that will have the bonuses applied but the bonus is much smaller this year.
I need an example.
Take the following as an example of an adventurous U13 fencer who comes 2nd a lot in different events. What would they earn?
2nd in U13 comp = 8 points in U13 ranking list
2nd in U15 comp = 8 points in U15 ranking list and 12 points in U13 ranking list
2nd in U17 comp = 8 points in U17 ranking list and 16 points in U13 ranking list and, if holding a U15 ranking from previous competition at U15 level, 12 points in U15 ranking list
2nd in U20 comp = 8 points in U20 ranking list and 20 points in U13 ranking list and, if holding a U17 ranking from previous competition at U17 level, 16 points in U17 ranking list and, if holding a U15 ranking from previous competition at U15 level, 12 points in U15 ranking list
2nd in OPEN comp = 8 points in open ranking list and 24 points in u13 ranking list
and, if holding a U20 ranking from previous competition at U20 level, 20 points in U20 ranking list and, if holding a U17 ranking from previous competition at U17 level, 16 points in U17 ranking list and, if holding a U15 ranking from previous competition at U15 level, 12 points in U15 ranking list
Notice in the above example, a fencer will always earn ranking points in at least 2 categories if they compete OOC – the event category and their usual or “home” category. If they have competed in other categories previously and the event competed in is higher than those other categories, then the bonus points are applied in those categories as well. That hasn’t changed, just the size of the bonus.
OK, got that – it sounds like the OOC system can be tricky. Why have it at all?
It’s really not that tricky. The younger fencers love to work out the different combinations that are possible. And, it serves a valuable incentive function in encouraging participation out of the comfort zone. With the changes introduced this year, the balance of reward/incentive has been addressed and the rankings should still reflect closer competition and relativities for peer-comparison with the fencer who likes to compete within their own group.
Any other changes?
To encourage participation in Fencing Victoria sponsored events, there is now a maximum number of results from non-Fencing Victoria events that can be used in the ranking calculations. By setting a maximum of three (3) non-FV results, the aim to do the following:
· encourage local competition by counting all FV events contested (up to 6)
· reward fencers competing in up to 3 AFF/FIE/Other events. This implies:
o The fencer that competes in only AFF/FIE/other non-FV events will only count their best 3 results. The fencer that competes in only FV events can count their best 6 results
o Fencers who compete in both FV and AFF/FIE events can count their best 6 results but remain subject to the maximum 3 non-FV results limitation
Does that mean a fencer HAS to compete outside of Fencing Victoria events to do well in the rankings?
No, not at all. Fencers that do well at AFF/FIE/other non-FV events would be competitive in the rankings calculations due to the multipliers even if they do not compete in FV events. However, offsetting the multiplied points effect, fencers that compete in FV events can earn points from up to six events instead of only three. If the rankings race was tight, the ability to add results from FV events would make all the difference to the final total.
OK – Bring it on! I’m ready to start building points. When can I start?
Check the FV Calendar for 2009 on the website. The season has kicked off with a bang and some tremendous bouts has taken place. But it’s early days yet, with lots of time to start to amass a healthy points collection. Set yourself a target for 2009.
Happy Fencing…… J