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Age Grades

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 13 April 2007, 10:27 AM  
I concur with the reasonable conclusions.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 13 April 2007, 12:02 PM  
I believe you have had a good attempt Michael but there are flaws in the system you have used, as there is bias towards a conclusion that you are wanting.

The only fair way to compare grades would be to have forced entries for all orienteers at nationals, forcing competitors to their respective age grades. Anything other than that is just playing on meaningless numbers.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 13 April 2007, 12:40 PM  
I would have thought the fact that athletes don't enter their own grade is indicative in itself

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 13 April 2007, 1:09 PM  
Whatever Simon. The figures aren't bias, they are simply fact. The interpretation may be bias, however in this case Micheals conclusion does infact look like the only logical one. Can you think of another?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 13 April 2007, 11:42 PM  
I'm not interested in what would happen if we required orienteers to run strictly in their age class, because there's no sign that would ever happen. The theory I'm testing is what would happen if we took the people we have in those classes now, and combined pairs of 5-year classes. Is there a statistically significant disadvantage to the older 5-year class?

Show Profile  Hamish Posted: 14 April 2007, 7:01 AM  
Totally agree with you Michael. Competition would be better and cuts down some of the workload on organisers. How do we make it happen?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 14 April 2007, 9:54 AM  
You could have made it happen when you ran the nationals in 2005 Hamish:-))

At that time there was nothing stopping it except tradition. The recommended course/class combinations had 10yr classes for events up to 200 people and 5yr classes over (see App 4 of the rules). So just as some organisers of area champs (around 200 people) were still using 5yrs then, you could have used 10yrs for the nationals if you had wished.

Unfortunately, the NZOF Council has just endorsed the following rule change (see April newsletter): "That for senior age groups, organisers have the discretion to offer ten year classes, except for the national championships." Since there was discretion there before, and area champs organisers have finally come round, this looks like a specific move to stop it applying to the nationals.

In the end the process is to make submissions to the Technical Director. But we might be better to pursue the "battle for the hearts and minds" of orienteers first. It's an emotive topic - ironically among the non-competitive.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 14 April 2007, 10:37 AM  
Despite your number of posts Michael, I am unclear exactly why you want 10 year age classes at the Nationals. The only reasons I can see are:

(a) based on past results, the older portion of a potential 10 year age class will not be disadvataged
(b) "The biggest obstacle comes from the hearts rather than the heads of those who expect to compete in a championship with zero preparation and go home with a gong"
(c) organisational efficiency - less classes, less work

If I've got it right, I would reply as follows:

(a) as you yourself point out, the evidence is not clear-cut, and in reality there aren't that many instances where adjacent age classes run on the same course. One from this year is M40 and M45 - ACW won M40 in 48min while Bryan T won M45 in 57min on the same course. A significant difference I suggest. Moreover, when dealing with older classes (M60+) you'll need to deal with the "Ralph King" argument - physical and mental skills can deteriorate rapidly with advanced age making 10 yr age classes inappropriate for 60+ or 65+

(b) checking the entry numbers for veteran classes this year still show they are healthy - e.g. M40 had 17 for the long (surpassed only by the 22 on M21E); M45 had 12. Turning up with zero preparation and returning home with a gong I suggest is not exactly reality in these classes.

(c) can someone explain to me exactly what organsiational savings are made by having e.g. a M40 superclass of 29 competitors when compared to 17 M40's and 12 M45's running the same course?

Just to be clear, I'm only talking about the Nationals - it's a given Regional Champs will have more often than not, if not always, 10 year age classes.

So as not to make it an emotive topic, perhaps Michael could explain exactly why 10 year age classes are needed at the Nationals? My argument for the status quo is:

1. Entry levels for veteran grades are sufficient for 5 yr age classes to be retained
2. It is not clear-cut that older competitors in a 10 yr age class would NOT be disadvataged
3. Is there a sufficient demand from these competitors to combine veteran classes?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect the real issue is holding the Nationals on a 10-course structure rather than a 12 or 13 course one. If so, it's a slightly different discussion.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 15 April 2007, 8:09 AM  
Neil - refer to Rob C's comments.

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 15 April 2007, 2:54 PM  
Ten Four. Great to have some clear reasoned non offensive points made.

Show Profile  SimonB Posted: 15 April 2007, 9:32 PM  

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 16 April 2007, 8:11 AM

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 16 April 2007, 11:02 AM  
I'm after increased competitive pressure. The sort that sees an error lose a place, maybe several. The sort that motivates you to keep training both physically and technically.

My analysis avoids specific pairs of classes, from which you can argue anything you want. I've looked at all pairs of A-Long classes where there is data. The average finishers at Easter (excl 70+) was 9, and I'd like to see it higher. I don't agree with the notion that we should have classes unless there's a reason why not - we should have classes where there is a reason to. Other people have mistakenly argued organisational savings - but not me.

The very old I'll admit I don't have an answer for. Certainly abilities are reducing faster, but at quite a random rate, and the field sizes are tiny. We shouldn't base our competitive structure for the majority on the need to recognise our oldest. Ralph, we missed you.

Having applied my reasoning to juniors, I'm for replacing 18 and 20 classes with 20L and 20S (or whatever labels we care to give them).

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 16 April 2007, 4:46 PM  
That Neil got Owned thing has gone straight to my favorites.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 20 April 2007, 12:52 PM  
"I don't agree with the notion that we should have classes unless there's a reason why not - we should have classes where there is a reason to."

Appendix 1 of the IOF Rules gives you the reason. So you do need some sound arguments as to why we should, for the National Championships, move to 10 year age classes. "Increased competitive pressure" doesn't make me want to join your crusade.

Your average finishing figure at Easter? On what classes is that based? When I look at the finishers on Winsplits, I see most veteran A grades reasonably well populated (on a comparative basis).

There are some classes that shouldn't be there. But combining veteran A classes into 10 year classes when they remain some of the larger fields at the event doesn't strike me as a sensible solution to whatever problem you have.

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