Change jump order near end of competition?

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Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Divalent » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:13 pm

Unlike other events in T&F, the PV and high jump seem to keep the same jump order throughout the competition. And the initial jump order is based on "worse to best" order of their best vault in a prior meet sometime in the past (sometimes, a long time ago). Other events use the initial seed only for the first round, and subsequent seeding is done based on the athlete's performance in the initial round. In the throws and horizontal jumps they based the initial jump order (and flights) based on seed values (i.e., best result from their prior meets) but then reset the jump order for the finals based on the results from the first round. In running events with preliminaries, subsequent heats are seeded based on first round results. So while a good seed is an advantage at the start, they eventually switch to seeding based on the athlete's performance in that meet.

In the pole vault (and high jump), being the last in the order (e.g., highest seed) can sometimes give an advantage near the end of the competition when it is down to 2 (or a few) competitors. That advantage comes into play when the highest seed is currently in second position base on prior misses. If the lower seed (but leader) jumps first at a new bar height and clears it on their first attempt, the high seed will sometimes pass that level, since clearing the bar would still leave them in second place. In order to win the event, they will, at minimum, have to clear the next height in the progression, and attempting to get over this bar won't improve their position, and could possibly worsen it (if they accumulate more misses before clearing it). By passing, the jumper conserves energy and won't have any misses since their last completed bar.

The lower seed in the same position (i.e., in second place based on prior misses) does not have that advantage: they could decide to pass a particular height, but would have to make that decision before they know whether the other vaulter will clear that height. Or if they miss their first attempt and the higher seed clears on their first attempt, then by passing they would be going to the next height knowing they would be allowed only two attempts to clear it.

Obvious the PV (and HJ) have no clear break point to reshuffle the jump order, and no big advantage (if any) exists when there is still a big field. But they could reorder things when it gets down to, say 2 or 3 competitors, when the advantage would then exist. IMO, the advantage should go to the competitor that has performed best in the current meet, not the one who achieved a better result in some prior meet.

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:10 pm

Divalent wrote: ... the PV (and HJ) have no clear break point to reshuffle the jump order, and no big advantage (if any) exists when there is still a big field. But they could reorder things when it gets down to, say 2 or 3 competitors, when the advantage would then exist. IMO, the advantage should go to the competitor that has performed best in the current meet, not the one who achieved a better result in some prior meet.

Good analysis.

It would be good if there's an obvious, clear break point in a PV competition to reshuffle, but there's not.

Maybe the best time is when F = P+1, where F is the remaining field size (competitors remaining) and P is the number of medals (or place positions) to be awarded. Using the Olympics as an example (but the same rule could apply to any values of P and F), this would be when the field of 12 (or whatever) finalists are narrowed down to just 4 vaulters. If there's any ties for P place, then F would be increased to include them as well.

So as soon as there's just one more vaulter (more than one if there's ties) than medals (or points for placing), then the order shall be adjusted.

For big meets, this also reduces the importance of placings in Prelims, held on an earlier day.

IMHO, passing in Prelims in order to gain a vault order advantage in the Finals shouldn't be as important as it is now. We don't want good vaulters to take risks in Prelims by passing and then NH'ing; that's a lose-lose for everyone, including fans. We want to see the highest vaulters on Prelim day get in the Final, no matter how many jumps it takes them (they'll just expend more energy if they choose to take more jumps, but they might "play it safer" to ensure they make the Finals).

As per other events, this would meet the purpose of giving a competitive advantage to the vaulters with the best day's performances thus far.

Just an idea.

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Chukam All » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:52 am

Divalent wrote:IMO, the advantage should go to the competitor that has performed best in the current meet, not the one who achieved a better result in some prior meet.

May I approach this from an officials perspective?
You hit the nail on the head with your bold type. The problem is that, in a one day competition, there technically is no competitor who has performed better than any other competitor. Everyone who has cleared a given height is currently tied. Misses do not enter into the discussion until all jumpers have missed their three consecutive attempts. So how can we reseed based on that day's performance if they are all technically tied?

If the rule book authors do decide to allow reseeding during a continuous competition, how many times? Do we want to reseed for every height after whatever point the reseeding is allowed to start? Once again, speaking as an official, you don't really want to give us any more opportunities for mistakes then we already have.

And how do we handle passes? Your whole point was to give the person having the better competition the advantage of knowing when to pass or jump. If we reseed (prematurely) using the tie-breakers, that very pass would work against them at their next height. Which eliminates the very advantage your rule change seeks to give them.

Personally, I am all for giving some (arguably) small advantages to the better competitors. But the overriding concern is a fair and equal playing field for ALL competitors. We should not be putting disadvantages on anyone just to cater to the perceived elites.

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:19 pm

Chukum, you bring up a good point re passing.

Chukam All wrote: Everyone who has cleared a given height is currently tied. Misses do not enter into the discussion until all jumpers have missed their three consecutive attempts. So how can we reseed based on that day's performance if they are all technically tied?

I understand what you mean here. However, tie-breaking rules award the higher place medal (or more points) to the vaulter that has the least number of misses. So this could also be applied when the order is changed.

But even with that tie-breaker rule, there will still be ties. I suggest that number of attempts could be used as the secondary tie-breaker. A vaulter that has passed all bars so far has zero attempts, so he would rank higher than others with one or more attempts.

Vaulters with any remaining ties would not have their order changed midway through the Final.

I realize that my proposed "number of attempts" rule might encourage some vaulters to take risks in the Final by passing, so they will have a higher risk of an NH. We want to see the best vaulters in the Final, and we want to see them clear bars. But at least by deferring the risk of NH'ing from the Prelims to the Final, the fans get to watch the best vaulters from the Prelims (hopefully the vaulters with the best PRs, including PRs achieved in the Prelims) make at least 3 attempts in the Final.

Chukam All wrote: If the rule book authors do decide to allow reseeding during a continuous competition, how many times?

Once.

Chukam All wrote: And how do we handle passes? Your whole point was to give the person having the better competition the advantage of knowing when to pass or jump. If we reseed (prematurely) using the tie-breakers, that very pass would work against them at their next height. Which eliminates the very advantage your rule change seeks to give them.

A pass is not an attempt, so a pass would be an advantage in my proposed secondary tie-breaker rule. So this would work for the passer --- not against him.

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Divalent » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:14 am

Chukam All wrote:If the rule book authors do decide to allow reseeding during a continuous competition, how many times? Do we want to reseed for every height after whatever point the reseeding is allowed to start? Once again, speaking as an official, you don't really want to give us any more opportunities for mistakes then we already have.

I'd suggest that it should be every bar height change, once the field is down to some limited number of competitors. (like, no more than 4. When there are more than that, I suspect no one would be making the sort of strategic pass based on what another jumper just did on their first jump)

Chukam All wrote:And how do we handle passes?

Reseed exactly as you would score the meet if all jumpers failed to clear the height you just changed to. (And if a tie, maybe then you use the initial seeding to break the tie (I don't like the idea of penalized vaulters based on how many lower bars they cleared)).

Chukam All wrote:Personally, I am all for giving some (arguably) small advantages to the better competitors. But the overriding concern is a fair and equal playing field for ALL competitors. We should not be putting disadvantages on anyone just to cater to the perceived elites.

Actually, I agree. Perhaps an simplier solution would be to eliminate the advantage seeding gives all together. Consider this alternative: make all vaulters declare whether they will pass or vault before anyone attempts to vault that height. And if you declare that you will vault, you either make an attempt or you get charged a miss. (If you vaulted and missed, and decide to pass the rest of your attempts at that height, you have to declare before anyone makes their second attempt).

This alternative would be simplier to impliment, and (I think) would eliminate the seeding advantage (as opposed to reallocating it to those that have performed best (so far!) in the current competition; which my original proposal would have done).

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:55 am

Divalent wrote: Consider this alternative: make all vaulters declare whether they will pass or vault before anyone attempts to vault that height. And if you declare that you will vault, you either make an attempt or you get charged a miss. (If you vaulted and missed, and decide to pass the rest of your attempts at that height, you have to declare before anyone makes their second attempt).

This alternative would be simpler to impliment ...

I think this is a good alternative to explore. But I'm not so sure it would be simpler (or fairer).

The problem as I see it is that vaulters decide whether to pass or not based (partially) on whether their competitors pass or not.

So for each bar, what order do you ask them their intentions to attempt or pass? This order will still provide an advantage to the last vaulters asked (though decisions would not be based on actual clearances and misses part way through a height).

And how many times do you allow them to change their mind? It could be a long time between when they make their decision and when it's their turn, and things (like wind or rain) could change quite a bit during that time.

And how would you physically re-order the score sheet? Unless a new sheet is written for each height, it might be quite confusing to write up all vaulters' "pass decisions" and all "jump orders" on a single sheet. This confusion could easily lead to clerical mistakes being made, which in turn might lead to protests.

Even rewriting the sheet is a potential source of clerical errors. I know we're in the mobile computer age, and a tablet could easily solve this, but rules need to be simple enough to implement manually. You can't expect every school or meet to have a certified tablet ...

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Divalent » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:31 am

KirkB wrote:I think this is a good alternative to explore. But I'm not so sure it would be simpler (or fairer).

Okay, lets keep exploring this alternative then. There has got be a simple solution that eliminates the advantage (or, if anyone has the advantage, we at least give it to the person leading in the competition) or if we can't eliminate it, make it smaller.

Remember, the advantage is that a higher seed that is currently in 2nd place is allowed to decide to jump *after* they see what the lower seeded leader does on their first attempt. I.e., when it becomes clear (by watching another clear the bar) that making an attempt would do nothing to improve their ranking in the competition, and could make it worse. (Whereas a lower seeded vaulter currently in 2nd place never gets this advantage)

So first, putting aside issues of implimenting it (who decides first, when can you change your mind, etc), at least making them declare their intention before anyone has made an attempt will *minimize* the advantage. (if wind/weather conditions change, so be it: will someone really say "since its now horrible conditions, I will pass this lower bar and instead go for a higher one?")
KirkB wrote:The problem as I see it is that vaulters decide whether to pass or not based (partially) on whether their competitors pass or not. So for each bar, what order do you ask them their intentions to attempt or pass?

How about if each vaulter is asked privately by the official. (Remember, this rule change would only be in play when there are only a few competitors left, so it's not like he would be polling the whole field every height change). That would be the simpliest way to do it, and no one has an advantage. But if you want to do it in some order (which would give an advantage to those that chose last), maybe we borrow from the first proposal and give the current leader (as defined by who would win if no one cleared any more bars from this point forward) last choice. In any event, you can't change your mind until you complete at least the first attempt. (If you said you would jump, you either jump or get charged with a miss; if you said you would pass, you can't get back in until the next bar.)

KirkB wrote:And how would you physically re-order the score sheet? Unless a new sheet is written for each height, it might be quite confusing to write up all vaulters' "pass decisions" and all "jump orders" on a single sheet. This confusion could easily lead to clerical mistakes being made, which in turn might lead to protests.


I don't think this would have to be done. If vaulters have to declare before anyone has made an attempt, then jump order no longer matters much: if they have to jump, they know that clearing the bar is always better than not, regardless of whether someone made or missed in front of them. So keeping the order as listed on the score sheet would be okay.

So a specific proposal:
1. when the field gets down to 4 or fewer, (5?, 3?)
2. the official will privately poll each competitor whether they intend to pass or vault at each bar height change.
3. anyone declaring they will vault must make at least one attempt at that height, or will be charged with a miss.
4. anyone who passed cannot vault until the next bar height.
5. Jump order will remain the same as it was earlier in the competition.

So how about that? Simple? Easy for the official to impliment? And does it eliminate any advantage anyone has?

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:36 pm

More good analysis. But a couple of big concerns ...
Divalent wrote: How about if each vaulter is asked privately by the official?

Officials should not be put into a position of having to keep a secret. Whether biased or not, an official might give hints (by facial expressions or other body language - perhaps even subconciously) to competitors each time a vaulter makes his verbal declaration in private. For example, to verify that he heard correctly, the official might repeat the word "pass", and other competitors might lip-read the official mouthing that word. Officials should not need to be poker-faced, and nobody will want protests based on their poker-faces.

Another unwanted scenario might be that the next competitor glances at the score sheet and reads what the previous competitor declared (which would be cheating). This could easily happen as a naive official exposes the score sheet to the vaulter before hearing his declaration. Officials should not need to hide their score sheet from competitors.

Instead, how about each vaulter giving a private written declaration for each bar, and when they're all written, then the official simply opens them and records them?

Another alternative is all vaulters to declare their intentions for all bars, but allow each vaulter to change their minds before the first vaulter at any height makes their first attempt. This alternative would reduce the interactions needed at each height, but would require the vaulters' "declaration sheets" to be kept private.

Quite frankly, each of my suggested alternatives has weaknesses.

Divalent wrote: If vaulters have to declare before anyone has made an attempt, then jump order no longer matters much: if they have to jump, they know that clearing the bar is always better than not, regardless of whether someone made or missed in front of them. So keeping the order as listed on the score sheet would be okay.

There is a psychological factor here that I think you're ignoring. While you might think that it's just "the vaulter against the bar", if someone clears a bar that you must make, then your competitive juices kick in and you're more inspired to clear the bar (than if you just don't know whether your competitor will clear the bar or not). After all, it's a competition.

And it would be anti-climactic (for fans and vaulters alike) if you don't know the importance of a make (or a miss) the moment the bar is cleared (or missed).

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:16 am

Ignore what I said above, I have a simpler idea. How about this? ...

1. When there are 5 (or fewer) vaulters remaining, this "jump order rule" shall be enforced.

2. Add another column on the score-sheet to each competition height, so the clearance order can be tracked height-by-height for the remainder of the competition.

3. The first vaulter clearing the new height is marked as a "1" (in the clearance order column) next to his name for that height to indicate "1st" to clear it. The second vaulter clearing that height is marked as a "2" to indicate "2nd". And so on, until all vaulters have completed that height (either by being eliminated or by clearing or passing the height).

4. A vaulter that passes is marked the same as if he cleared the height.

5. When the bar is raised to the next height, the new jump order will be from the highest jump order number (5) to number 1. There should be no need to record anything else to track this. Just call all of the vaulters in the reverse order of the order that they cleared the previous height.

6. Repeat this cycle for each bar height, until a winner is declared.

This process causes:

1. any vaulter taking less attempts than any of his competitors at a certain height to be allowed to vault later on the next height (because based on misses, he's now jumping better than his competitors in THIS competition, at THIS height);

2. any vaulter taking more attempts than others to clear the height to be forced to vault earlier at the next bar height.

3. any vaulter tieing one or more competitors to go in reverse order amongst those competitors, but also going higher or lower relative to other vaulters with a different number of misses at that height.

There is no advantage or disadvantage to passing (in comparison to clearing a bar) built into this process, because (for vault order purposes) a pass is the same as clearing a bar on the first attempt.

This process is cumulative, so of the top 5 (or less) vaulters so far, the jump order will usually be the same as their final places. i.e. You should usually be able to tell who's leading so far, simply by their order of attempting a new height. The last to attempt any bar will usually be leading. (You'd have to count all misses to know exactly who's leading.)

This is a simple process, and doesn't require secret declarations! :idea:

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Divalent » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:19 pm

Well, the psychological aspect of jump order can cut both ways, but in any event, besides being unavoidable (someone has to go first), it is a much smaller issue of fairness compared to the one I think we should be focused on. And so I'd rather a solution that solves the big thing in a simple, easy-to-implement way that would be acceptable by those that implement it than a solution that is more comprehensive but so complicated that it no one thinks it's worth the effort.

While initially I was thinking that it would be better to give the advantage to the leader in the current competition (by changing the jump order), "Chukam All's" comments (and yours) have led me agree that it would be better if no one had that big advantage.

To review, when the higher seed, who is currently trailing in the competition, passes after the lower-seeded leader clears a new bar on their first jump, they gain significant advantage that the leader did not have:

- they avoid making a jump that would not benefit them, conserving their energy. (The leader didn't have this option)
- they don't risk worsen their position (whereas the leader did risk their position by making an attempt).
- they made the jump by the leader meaningless. [Under the scenario where the higher-seeded vaulter passes after seeing the lower seed clear the bar on the first attempt, there is no possible way that successful vault will factor into any tie breakers against the any other competitor. So it becomes a pointless vault (but only because the higher seeded vaulter could pass without penalty after observing the outcome of the leader's vault).]

One simple change to the rules will do it, to be imposed when the competition is down to (2 | 3 | 4 | 5) competitors.

proposed rule wrote:"Prior to any competitor making the first, second and third vaults at a given height, all competitors must declare in private to the official whether they intend to vault or pass. Anyone who chose to vault must vault, or be charged with a miss. Anyone passing cannot vault at that height."


I can think of several easy ways to have them declare this; I'll give only one: the official has a sheet of paper on his clip board that has with many "P"s and many "V"s printed randomly about it. All competitors still alive assemble in a group, and one-by-one they approach the offical and indicate their choice by placing their finger on a letter. (once all have declare, there is no secret to keep)

If you still want to change the jump order, I think that would be fine also, but if the rule above is imposed, the gain in "fairness" might not be worth the added complication and possibility for error.

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby KirkB » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:01 pm

While I think your latest proposal has some merit, I don't think it's any better than my latest. They both have some merit.

The main issue we're debating is simplicity. Is it simpler to have private declarations each time the bar goes up (and as you say, on each of 3 possible attempts at each bar), or is it simpler to change the order according to some "fairer" criteria than seed-order at the start of the meet?

I do agree with the concern that you raised when you started this thread, Divalent, that if the person "leading" a meet clears a height before any higher-seeded vaulters, the higher-seeded vaulters have what appears to be an unfair advantage in being able to pass that bar.

But a gaping hole I see in your latest proposal is this:
Divalent wrote: ... when the higher seed, who is currently trailing in the competition, passes after the lower-seeded leader clears a new bar on their first jump, they gain significant advantage that the leader did not have:

- they avoid making a jump that would not benefit them, conserving their energy. (The leader didn't have this option)
- they don't risk worsening their position (whereas the leader did risk their position by making an attempt).
- they made the jump by the leader meaningless.

I don't see why the leader's clearance is meaningless. If the higher-seeded vaulter passes at this height, then fails 3 times at a higher height, the leader's clearance is the winning clearance! :idea:

Winning clearances are never "meaningless"!

To compare apples to apples, I will reduce my proposal down to a single paragraph too:
KirkB wrote: " At each new height, the order of competitors shall be in the reverse order of clearances at the previous height. Any vaulter may choose to pass when their turn arrives, and for purposes of deciding the jump order, a pass is considered equal to a clearance."

Divalent wrote: "Prior to any competitor making the first, second and third vaults at a given height, all competitors must declare in private to the official whether they intend to vault or pass. Anyone who chose to vault must vault, or be charged with a miss. Anyone passing cannot vault at that height."
So which proposal is simpler? :confused:

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Re: Change jump order near end of competition?

Unread postby Divalent » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:49 pm

KirkB wrote:I don't see why the leader's clearance is meaningless. If the higher-seeded vaulter passes at this height, then fails 3 times at a higher height, the leader's clearance is the winning clearance!

It only makes a difference to the mark assigned to the win. If the higher seed passes and then goes XXX at the next bar, the lower seed wins whether they made that vault or not. Put it this way: if the lower seed knew that the higher seed was passing, would they have made that vault? Assuming the point of the competition was to win (not to improve a mark for qualifying purposes), the lower seed would have passed as well. Why would they also pass? To preserve their position.
KirkB wrote: " At each new height, the order of competitors shall be in the reverse order of clearances at the previous height. Any vaulter may choose to pass when their turn arrives, and for purposes of deciding the jump order, a pass is considered equal to a clearance."

The problem with your proposal is that it doesn't eliminate the advantage, it just keeps reshuffling it. Consider the situation where it is down to two, A has many fewer misses than B at lower bars, so will win the final tie breaker. For simplicity lets assume that both vaulters either pass or clear on their first attempt at any new bar. In your scenario, lets say A has to jump first; they do and clear it. Then B will pass (clearing that bar does not help him win). Next bar, B goes first (clearing it), and A jumps also (A has to keep up with B), also clearing it. Next bar is like the first one: A jumps first and clears, B passes. So A jumps every bar, B jumps every 2nd bar. In your case, its not necessarily true that the higher seed always has the advantage: now you let a lower seed that is behind sometimes have the advantage. I'm not sure how that is making it less unfair.


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