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"They do shoot about three times as many 96's as the other groups, but they are surely (more than) three times as good as most other shooters there. Isn't this what _should_ happen?"

Uh, no. In a perfect handicap system you would have a perfect overlay because your shooters who are 3 times better would be handicapped down to where their performance wasn't 3 times better.

Also, you need to provide the total number of shooters in each yardage group. If there were 3 times as many 27 yarders as in the other two groups you would expect 3 times as many 96s.

But, what it does demonstrate is that there are underhandicapped 27 yarders and underhandicapped short yardage shooters and that mid yardage shooters ain't going to win.
 

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Some of this would be funny if it were not so serious to a lot of people, all of whom are well intentioned trying to help the game. Phil is correct in that change is needed. J brooks says it all in his last sentence. God Bless Phil for his continuing efforte for the good of the game. Shoot well and often while we can, Bob
 

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Looking at the score groupings for 96, 97 and 98 it would seem that they represent "good scores" for the greatest percentage of shooters within the three yardage groups. As such, arguably it should be the goal of the handicap system to have scores in that range be winning scores.

However, that cannot work if you have a very small percentage of shooters in 27 and in short yardage who can post 99s or 100s. So, you could have a very competitive handicap system if you eliminate the almost certainty of 99s and 100s in those two yardage groups.

Because the 100s in short yardage are almost invariably posted by highly skilled new shooters, the obvious answer is that starting everyone at the 20 yard line is a mistake. This can be easily fixed by starting all new shooters at the 22 yard line with more rapid reduction reviews to move the less skilled shooters forward while the better shooters work their way back..

Because there is no rational way to physically handicap the 27 yarders who have mastered that yardage, the easy fix is just to put those who are in a class by themselves in a class by themselves. I call that the "Master class" . You would then have the vast majority of 27 yarders, as demonstrated by Neil’s graph, being competitive with a good score of 96, 97 or 98 being a winner.

BTW: pouring more concrete, degrading the ballistics of shells through either less shot or less powder or making the targets harder for everyone are not rational solutions to bring the 27 yarders who can regularly shoot 99s and 100s back into the 96-98 range.
 

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Neil wrote: "Let me guess, Phil. What you are promoting is a know-nothing approach to "testing" which is to say you do the test and decided on how to interpret the results (if any) later. The statistician, who's knowledge you think is no good - compared to yours, for example - will tell you that's a recipe for deluding yourself, rejecting real effects or accepting imaginary ones, and generally will just waste a lot of time and money to no good effect. It is universally accepted that a statistical test (that's what you and Mark are proposing) lays out the rules beforehand: what the independent and dependent variables are going to be, how they are measured, and what standard of proof, that is, how willing you are to accept a chance effect as a real one, and so forth."

Neil, I am curious, what was done when the change to 23,25, and 27 yards occurred? Jim
 

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What Neil is getting at is his work is not appreciated. I appreciate it and all the work of everyone who works in the best interest of our sport. But those workers also have different opinions of just how to better the sport. Neil is a technoid and believer of statistics. Many others are “seat of the pants” kind of guys. Sadly, the “seat of the pants “ kind of guys built this great Country and the statisticians and bean counters are about to put it in the dumper. I’m not a highly educated person but do know a thing or two about electrical systems. In this Country, right now, our electrical grid system is on the verge of a complete meltdown because the statisticians and bean counters have figured the odds on failure against bottom line and left the whole system short handed (both on people and experience), low on supplies for emergencies and have almost brought preventative maintenance to a standstill. It will take years and billions of extra dollars to catch up with where we should be. The same type of statisticians and bean counters have decided the way to grow our sport and bring people to the registered shoots is to make it easier for the big scores and high averages. Well it ain’t working. People talk on here of small clubs in their area that would not dream of throwing registered targets but fill up their leagues, practice fields and “game nights” with shooters. I wonder why.

I appreciate Neil’s interest and work on our behalf. Sorry Neil but it’s always been a thankless job but somebody has to do it. If you do it for the “pats on the back” and the “atta boys”, you will be sadly disappointed. The rub is Neil lives and breaths the pattern board and the statistics and the seat of the pants guys, who work hard at their craft, win with what feels right to them without ever knowing, or caring, why. And, apparently, most of them like it just the way it is. Jimmy Borum
 

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Jim, this thread is, in my opinion, about far less than it appears to be. The fact that no one (except Mark Zauhar) "got it" attests to it's absolute non-importance in the great scheme of things, but I'll tell you what I think it was intended to be about just for your own edification.

Maybe it just my megalomania, but I think it is intended to refer to, if not me specifically (though it was, of course) , at least to the "sand in the gears of progress" my kind of approach appears to be to people who want action - any action - (well, let's be frank -their action) because what we have now isn't working.

All this is is a minor dustup between Mark Zauhar and me regarding an apparently simple test he proposed. Here are his words, from Blog 3.

"Test, what test? Since the laws of physics say reduced energy will mean reduced breaks, lets run a test at the next Grand American shoot. Put Phil Kiner in charge of setting up the test or maybe two tests. Let him work with one of our domestic ammo suppliers to develope one or two loads that will serve to reduce their effectiveness at longer yardages, thus handicapping the 27 yarders back to pellet energys that one would expect to see at 29 or 30 yards with todays handicap loads. Pick one or two handicaps and require all participants to buy these specially marked shells at the grand. Then take the scores from thses events and compare them to our historical results to see what the impact is.

How difficult will it be to do this? Phil already said Federal will do what ever we want or need as far as load composition. The EC can pick the event or events with a simple vote to do so, and we shooters might have to pop for an extra $4-5 per event to cover the cost of the shells over our reloads or whatever. Everyone will shoot the same shells and we can measure the impact it has on the performance by all groups. If the experimental loads are created to simulate todays handicap load energy at 28,29,or 30 yards, we'll learn the impact of not only the new loads but we should also be able to predict the impact of leaving todays loads as acceptable and adding yardage to the fields. The worst case as I see it would be that we learn most of what we need to know and enough more to run additional tests to garner the remaining knowledge needed to once again make our handicap events, events where almost everyone has a reasonable chance to win."

I followed, after a decent interval, Mark's suggestion with a table of pellet energies which showed at least that in terms of pellet energy, he was never going to get where he wanted. To match the 30 yard line you would need something like 1100 fps and the probable effect was slight-to-zero even at that since 8's had way, way less energy and break targets with great regularity. But the failure of the pellet energy hypothesis does not mean that Phil's assertion, that handicap-speed shells are worth a bird a hundred to good shooters at long distance isn't true and, in fact, it may be worth testing. The problem Phil and Mark have with me is that I've dug my heels in and challenged them on the adequacy of their planning and asked for more professionalism, that's all. So far, they've been unresponsive beyond posting snippy posts such as the one which led off this thread.

I just want to get the ground rules straight and public before we start, and don't think that's a unreasonable requirement if we are to take their suggestion seriously.

Say we could turn the clock back to the 2008 Grand and had let people shoot what they usually shoot in the Remington Nitro 27 Handicap, but certified 1200 (or less, which it really should be if you really want to test the fps theory) ) were required for the Grand American Handicap. And say the results had been as shown in the graph I posted earlier in this thread.

Here's what we would have read on TS,com the next day:

"1200 FPS SHELLS PROVE THEMSELVES AS A STEP TO FIXING HANDICAP!

Yesterday, the effectiveness of reduced speed loads was unequivocally demonstrated by the scores in the Grand American Handicap when compared to the Remington Nitro 27 event shot the day before, when shooters were allowed to use their own preferred loads. Though the very top scores were unaffected, only half as many 27-yarders were able to score 97's with the slower shells, and the 96's were significantly reduced as well.

This is exactly as predicted by the promoters of reducing all shells to that 1200 fps, as they explained to this reporter after the event.

"We never expected those very top scores to fall - they are, after all the "black swans" you never can predict or account for. But the "Handicap problem" is _not_ those couple of people who took home the silver, it;s the far more numerous very good 27-yarders who are killing us, not here, but at our own state shoots, our own local clubs. The data gathered today indicate that if 1200 fps were just required ATA-wide, that sort of problem would be cut in half, just as they were today!"

This is, as you can see, total nonsense, but has a weird populist appeal that just could lead to a rule change based on nothing but hot air. My demands, JIm, are modest indeed. They are only that Phil and Mark tell us what the rules are and show us they make sense to someone who knows what he or she is doing (one of these out-of-touch theoretical statisticians satirized in the first post but unlikely to fall for a song and dance). If they've got the answers, let's see the evidence.

Neil
 

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Jimmy Borum, I accept your post in the spirit of compromise in which it appears to be written. But I have to reply "I wouldn't be so sure."

For one thing, I don't consider my work unappreciated nor do I see much evidence that it is. I guess I'll leave it at that. We live in different worlds and each of us is well placed - and wouldn't survive in the other's.

Neil
 

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Where was this reasoned, well thought out approach to a major change to the sport when the target was made easier in 1995/96???


Jerry Hauser
 

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Oh yes, Jerry, the data poured in throughout the era and the BOD acted on it. Except you've got the years wrong again. Starting in April 1995 the targets were required to be, at a minimum-maximum, a straightaway from one and five (call it "three hole" though the EC didn't dare because of the By-laws) and that continued until the BOD meeting in 1996.

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Neil
 

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Jimmy, I intended to leave this alone, but the approach I recommend - asking for help from experts - has in its design its own (cost free) test of validity. Remember that Mark is suggesting a test of only a couple of events. But there will be lots of them at Grand American 2009. All we have to do is apply the statistical predictions Mark and Phil have paid for to the early events. If they prove out, we'll put more faith in the prefessional interpretation of the subsequent "test cases."

If not, they can write the cost off their winnings and we can forget about testing at the Grand.

Neil
 

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Let's make the All Americans and known sandbaggers shoot at Moskeetos. The rest of use can continue shoot std. targets. That'll fix everything. Yeah, that's the ticket!
 

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Jimmy Borum,

I sorta get what you are saying with the "power grid" meltdown analogy, but I wonder if maybe you're drawing the wrong conclusion from that example.

Stated another way - I could just as easily turn your example around, and say the foolish cutting of corners on power grid maintenance is an example of ambitious, "Seat of Pants" men being too eager to save an easy buck - against the advice of the careful Statisticians telling them otherwise. It wouldn't necessarily be true - any truer than your take - but it's certainly plausible - isn't it?


The power grid example isn't a case of statistics leading to an obviously faulty conclusion devoid of "common sense." All statistics can do is figure the level of risk - it is then our decision (or more properly, the bean counters' decision), whether or not we want to take that risk. If the mathematician tells you the risk of melt-down is 10% in the next 5 years, and bean counters go ahead and cut corners anyway - is that the mathematician's fault? All he did was to quantify the risk.


You can either strap homemade rockets to the seat of your pants, and kill a thousand people trying to get to the moon...or you can make some calculations, and get it right on the first try. None of this has anything to do with Neil's and Phil's handicap topic, but I'm just reacting to a sort of "anti-scientific" ethic that sometimes rears its head in these discussions. I'm sorry that some people choose to see mathematics, science, and prior "6P's" work as an obstacle to progress...and Heaven knows, there's enough phoney-baloney pseudo-scientific Al Gores out there helping to legitimize that view - but on further reflection, I don't think anybody wants to live in a world where progress is limited only to what can be achieved by cavemen using trial-and-error and "common sense." Do we?
 

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jbrooks
"In a perfect handicap system you would have a perfect overlay because your shooters who are 3 times better would be handicapped down to where their performance wasn't 3 times better"


Is that really what we want? Is that really the direction we want to take trapshooting? We wouldn't have had co champions in the clay target this year would we? I'm sure Leo would have been penalized more birds then Foster. Kay wouldn't have won the grand american handicap a couple of years ago with 99 because he would have been penalized more then some of the other 99's. And we think that's fair and good and the way things should be?

Am I the only one that thinks one of the great things about trapshooting is that you and me can go mano-a-mona against one and all and the winner is the one who breaks the most targets? The winner not's determined by a handicap added or subtracted from your score, it's not decided be some judges interpretation of how well you shot and it's not decided by a number drawn out of a hat.

From reading these threads it's obvious to me that a lot of you would like nothing better then to bring the better shooter down to your level. I hope we don't do it. How about you improving yourself and your shooting abilities so maybe one of these days when you beat Phil you'll have something to be proud of and your win won't be tainted by the fact that you only won because birds were taken away from Phil because some people thought he was to good.

fd
 

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Speed and angle of the targets. To simple an answer. In any sport there is the top (27yarders) and the bottom (18,19,20)and a whole bunch in between. You want to level it and have everybody be able to shoot the same score. When you are done with this I hope all 3 or 4 of you have fun because all the others will have moved on to other things or PITA will have a surge in membership across the country.

PK and friends you are in the minority, accept it.

Don
 

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JBrooks makes a lot of sense. It will be near impossible to affect the scores of the top dogs without also impacting the rest of us.

If the top dogs are the problem with the sport (note: I do not know if this is true), then isolating them in Master Class takes them out of the game. It seems like a heck of a "reward" for being one of the best - but at least they won't be "taking our money" anymore.

Will the Master shooters stay if they are only able to win money in Master Class? If some decide to leave, is that good for the game? It feels wrong if the objective is to "dummy down" the sport.

Whatever is decided will have no impact on me because I love the game. I will shoot 1 oz loads or wider targets or faster targets or whatever combination you want to throw. As long as everyone else shoots under the same rules - that is as "level" a playing field as I need. But I may be in the minority.

Whatever is decided will have even less impact on the top dogs - unless you segregate them. I think JBrooks is right on that one. They will ALWAYS be the better shooters.

Don
 

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Neil, I know that what you are promoting with a definitive study is the correct method to determine what change will likely provide the desired results. That said Neil, is there any rule in our rulebok that was written after such a study was done? It seems to me that you are requiring an exhaustive study to fix a problem that was created by anecdotal evidence at best. Why is that suddenly necesary when it was never required before? We will never know if a particular change will provide the desired results if no change ever happens. Even in depth studies often produce a result that was unexpected. The move to a narrower/slower target has not helped the organization grow and MAY be a cause of the decline in ATA participation. Jim
 

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Frank,

You are mixing apples and oranges. The class system which is used in singles and doubles is designed to identify competitors of equal ability, within predetermined parameters, and let them compete against each other with in their classes.

A handicap system is to allow competitors of differing abilities to compete against each other. In Trapshooting, a handicap system depends upon handicapping better shooters by making them stand further back.. Consequently, we have physical limitations as to how far someone can stand back based upon the amount of concrete available. We also have physical limitations because shotgun patterns degrade very quickly so that even a properly placed pattern may not break a target.

In golf and bowling the handicap systems subtracts strokes or add pins to the score. This allows for infinite adjustment amongst competitors. However, I do not believe that Trapshooting lends itself to any type of score adjusting in the handicap system.
 
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