Increasing Competition – Part 1 – Introduction

Discussion in 'Discussing the Cheerleading Industry' started by Andre, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Andre

    Andre Batman at Justice League

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,495
    Shimmys Received:
    1,274
    Location:
    Hopefully someplace warm
    Web:
    Twitter:
    andrejcarter
    I am a(n)...:
    USASF
    Verified Member:
    Andre Carter
    USASF Core Safety Official
    This was originally posted on Spirit Post. Part 2 will be published on February 1st.

    This is the first part of a series about increasing the average number of teams in a division at each event. This part re-introduces the idea that the average number of teams in a division is too low and provides statistical support for that idea. The next 3 parts will look at factors we have some influence over and the 5th and final part will outline the recommendations I’ll be sending to the USASF as proposals for the next rules change cycle.


    Last season I kept stats on over 200 events in an attempt to get statistical information about the average number of teams in a division and the average number of teams at each event. Once the season got going, I selected 10 events per weekend, 5 being events produced by Cheersport, Jammy, or Varsity and 5 being events produced by other companies. In a minor attempt to steer the averages higher I selected all of the Worlds Bids events that put results online within a week of the event, and when choosing which events I went with what appeared to be the larger event. My goal in doing this was to make the statistics a best case scenario, assuming even the best case wouldn’t be as good as many of us would like it to be. Here’s a quick summary of the stats:

    Average Division Size
    • Overall – 3.25 Teams per Division
    • Worlds Qualifiers – 4.65 Teams per Division
    • Non Qualifiers – 2.71 Teams per Division
    Average Event Size
    • Overall – 70.34 Teams per Event
    • Worlds Qualifiers – 182.79 Teams per Event
    • Non Qualifiers – 50.17 Teams per Event
    (Full Statistics on Google Docs)

    My feeling is the average division size is not high enough and as an industry we need to take steps to increase it. I wouldn’t want to attend a baseball, volleyball, basketball, or soccer tournament in which my team was only competing against 4 other teams, but that’s above the norm for cheerleading competitions. I’d like to see a norm of 8 or higher, but only 1 event met that last season, Cheersport Nationals with an average of 9.02 teams per division. In fact, less than 10% of the events tracked had an average of 4 teams per division or higher, and only 10 events averaged 5 or more teams per division.

    The average is what it is due to factors we have little control over, including the number of gyms/teams in existence and the number of events each season, and factors we have some influence over, such as the number of divisions offered. Over the next 3 parts of this series I’m going to discuss the factors we have influence over.

    If you have any thoughts concerning this topic or suggestions regarding increasing the average please let me know.
     
  2. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,410
    Shimmys Received:
    19,081
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Twitter:
    jodymelton
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    Verified Member:
    Jody Melton
    Owner of Cheer Athletics
    (firing from the hip)

    Start with divisions simply broken by age and level, (Mini 3, Senior 5, etc.) then ONLY split past that when there would be enough to have at least 3 (or 4?) in each resulting division. Exception could be teams from the same gym, but on different parts of the breakout grid would not be forced to compete against each other. (CEA Small Senior would never have to compete directly against CEA Medium Senior).

    Eliminate age/level splits with fewer than 5 teams nationally the following year. (Only 3 Youth 5s in 2012? That division goes away in 2013.) Those divisions would only be reinstated (for the following season) when 5+ gyms committed to forming those teams. (Those gyms would then be locked into competing in that division at least 4 times at sanctioned events the following season to be Worlds-eligible as a program.

    The magic bullet to the problem would be to limit the total number of competitions available. I see no way possible to make this happen.

    (Although perhaps a start would be that any EP is only allowed to award one "national championship" per division per season.)
     
  3. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,260
    Shimmys Received:
    5,940
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Web:
    Twitter:
    shark_dad
    I am a(n)...:
    Parent
    Some rules that would assist this problem:
    - Eliminate so many options for cross competing athletes. Pick some way, whatever the coaches felt is correct for whittling down from 38 to say. . . 26 divisions (again I am not dictating the number, just that choices should be made)
    - Athlete registration so that kids are registered at a certain level and then there is a rule for what they are allowed to go up/drop divisions.
    - Having some set rules for crossovers.
    The athlete registration is one of the biggest keys to the whole sport and with that, online registration for all competitions. It's not hard to do and would prevent illegal subsitutions, gym swapping, rostering, etc.

    - Deciding on a proper Nationals Competition structure. Make a fair starting point based on particpation right now and then adjust each year based on changing numbers of participation EXAMPLE: Competition A dropped from 300 teams to 150 so they are now designated as a "Regional". That leaves room for Competition B to move up as a "National" because they went from 150 teams to 320 this year. Unlimited number of "Inivitational" competitions

    I know I'm not a coach or gym owner, I am approching this from an organizational standpoint. It may seem like some of this is unrelated to division sizes, but when the sport settles on standardization that emphasizes proper athlete skill progression and safety over the profit of the industry, then the industry will find a way to adapt and make it work and you should see better competition in all divisions. For those that argue that stricter rules and division enforcement will hurt their gym or EP, I would point out that 14 million cheerleaders won't go away, they will just seek the programs with the best quality.
     
  4. Andre

    Andre Batman at Justice League

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,495
    Shimmys Received:
    1,274
    Location:
    Hopefully someplace warm
    Web:
    Twitter:
    andrejcarter
    I am a(n)...:
    USASF
    Verified Member:
    Andre Carter
    USASF Core Safety Official
    The bolded part will be one of the proposals I send in.
     
  5. CGAcheer

    CGAcheer When all else fails.... I shimmy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,395
    Shimmys Received:
    798
    Location:
    Brunswick, Ga
    Web:
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    eliminating or limiting crossovers would actually hurt this particular cause.

    We now have 105 kids, 0 crossovers and 5 teams. If I were a heavy crossover user I could probably squeeze out another 2 to 4 teams.
     
  6. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,260
    Shimmys Received:
    5,940
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Web:
    Twitter:
    shark_dad
    I am a(n)...:
    Parent
    Taken by itself, yes. But as a whole system, I think it's part of the reason there are so many divisions with so many options to create a team causing less in each division.
     
  7. CGAcheer

    CGAcheer When all else fails.... I shimmy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,395
    Shimmys Received:
    798
    Location:
    Brunswick, Ga
    Web:
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    To increase division sizes, we have to either increase the number of teams or decrease the number of competitive opportunities (divisions, splits, competitions, etc) or both.

    No one really wants to decrease the number of available competitions, we like having the ability to chose a schedule that fits our programs needs and can't do that if we eliminate competitions.

    People don't really want to get rid of divisions. we don't like change, we were planning to have that division next year, etc. but that is something that could be adjusted to and dealt with if it is done appropriately. (perhaps- sr 18 and under, Jr 14 and under, Youth 10 and under, Mini 6 and under, no tiny)

    Splits is an area where we can easily accomplish this. Right now it splits if there will be 2 in each division. Change that to 3 and I would be willing to bet that the average per division would jump by at least 1 team.

    As to increasing teams- If we as gym owners and coaches were more inclined to share our experiences with each other: what works, what doesn't work, this marketing strategy brought in x number of kids, this was a waste of money, this technique is golden for converting class kids to team kids. If we could find out what works and what doesn't and systemize it into an easy to follow process then we could truly grow the industry.

    promote half year and rec teams
     
  8. CGAcheer

    CGAcheer When all else fails.... I shimmy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,395
    Shimmys Received:
    798
    Location:
    Brunswick, Ga
    Web:
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    I'm not really a fan of crossovers, but eliminating them will decrease the total amount of teams.
    The number of divisions is a separate variable
     
  9. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,260
    Shimmys Received:
    5,940
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Web:
    Twitter:
    shark_dad
    I am a(n)...:
    Parent
    I didn't intend to propose 0 crossovers, just to come up with a rule, whatever the coaches decide is appropriate, and stick to it.

    The sport has a very deep lack of standardization at any level.
     
  10. Spazz

    Spazz Last Pass... on International Open 1

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    143
    Shimmys Received:
    178
    I am a(n)...:
    Athlete
    I think the first (and maybe easiest/most fair?) step to creating more competition is to eliminate splitting between sizes. I know right now it is a USASF rule that you have to split after what....3 or 4 teams? But I think that limit should be pushed higher, to say 6 or 7. And if EPs modify their score sheets, I honestly see no reason why a large senior 5 and a small senior 5 can't compete against each other - they're executing the same skills after all.

    The reason EPs would have to modify the score sheet is because the "majority rule" is different at different places. I think Varsity is one score sheet that doesn't use the majority rule, ie you can put up one stunt and you will be judged and awarded points regardless of the fact that you have 20 people on the floor but only one stunt. If a majority rule is in effect to determine points, I think putting the different sized teams together won't be an issue.
     
  11. SarahS

    SarahS Slow your roll, Sparkle.

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,718
    Shimmys Received:
    4,866
    Location:
    Virginia
    I am a(n)...:
    Coach
    Yes! One reason I love the JAMBrands score sheet - they specify exactly how many stunts you have to have to reach a majority based on the number of people on the floor, and specify exactly what "quantity" score you'll receive based on number of stunts per number of people. It makes it so the playing field is more level between dissimilarly-sized teams.
     
  12. Just-a-Mom

    Just-a-Mom Best Overall Female Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,960
    Shimmys Received:
    20,968
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    I am a(n)...:
    Parent
    Why this? Not necessarily disagreeing with you...just curious as to why you take this stance? I don't see why gyms who choose to be HUGE and have 3, 4, 5, 6 teams in every age/level split shouldn't have to compete against one another.

    I think everything else you said was spot on though. I would love love love to see the divisions only divided past age and level when there will still be multiple teams left (and no, not TWO).

    ***And before anyone thinks this, I'm not just saying this because you used CEA as an example - FAME has teams that would have to compete against each other all the time. UA had teams competing against each other yesterday, and I love both those gyms.
     
  13. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,410
    Shimmys Received:
    19,081
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Twitter:
    jodymelton
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    Verified Member:
    Jody Melton
    Owner of Cheer Athletics
    If we had teams that competed directly against one another, we would simply not go to that competition at all. I would imagine that most larger programs feel the same way. This means lost revenue for the event producers.

    I would love for their to fewer, but larger, competitions. It would save money for the event producers (economies of scale) which could potentially lower prices for athletes. It would typically increase the teams that are in each division.

    I don't see a practical way to make this happen, however.

    The only practical and politically feasible solution would be to raise the threshold for division splits. If you don't include the caveat that programs' teams aren't forced to compete against each other, then you likely lose the support of the large programs AND the event producers, which would make getting the change passed much more difficult.
     
  14. Just-a-Mom

    Just-a-Mom Best Overall Female Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,960
    Shimmys Received:
    20,968
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    I am a(n)...:
    Parent
    Gotcha. That makes perfect sense. Now I agree with your whole post. :D But would you still not go if there were paid bids to be had?
     
  15. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,410
    Shimmys Received:
    19,081
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Twitter:
    jodymelton
    I am a(n)...:
    Gym Owner
    Verified Member:
    Jody Melton
    Owner of Cheer Athletics
    We might would take multiple Worlds teams, I suppose. However, paid-bid-eligible teams are a small part of the industry.