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Flying Fish
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What would make you want to compete at national level?

Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:52 pm

During this year's four rounds of national competition, there were very few competitors, and disappointingly few freestyle flyers. Just looking at freestyle-flying, what would make it interesting to you to compete at the nationals? Anything STACK could do or change to persuade you to give it a go?
Lex
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711jrp
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Re: What would make you want to compete at national level?

Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:41 pm

Free beer maybe ??
Pete
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Re: What would make you want to compete at national level?

Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:54 am

Apart from the lack of free beer, what makes flying at the National Championships not attractive to people? As someone who, at first, wasn't ready for the mental step up, but decided to give it a go and has enjoyed it, I'm curious as to what stops others from just giving it a go. For us, we most definitely wouldn't be at the level we're flying at now without competition.
Lex
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Re: What would make you want to compete at national level?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:13 pm

I think one of the major factors in this relates to this thread, and the uphill struggle over the last few years in just trying to sort out a Fly-in down Hinckley, as used to occur reguarly. There are just so few trick flyers in the UK full stop and of those, I guess, only a small percentage want/feel confident/have time to compete nationally. For most, I think, just getting a few hours at a weekend on their local field is a luxury.

From speaking to a few people at Filey about the STACK comp at Souter lighthouse, I got the impression that the 'ballet' aspect freaked them out. They were just used to freestyle flying, as opposed to 'disciplined' flying. Also, a few looked at me with a clueless face when I mentioned it was coming up. They had just presumed that STACK was all about precision, and were not aware that it was looking for trick flyers to join in. One comment, which I do get, was along the lines of 'If I travelled for a few hours I would be a bit cheesed off if I was the only one competing. It would devalue the accolade of doing well in it'. Totally chicken and egg but I see where they were coming from.

We have had similar problems with trying to attract people to Filey, so you are not on your own. We were pleased this year that we had 16 people attend, however only 8 of those were flyers. The rest were family members. But we take pleasure that people feel comfortable enough to bring their families along and take part in the wider fun.

You were asking for a few suggestions so this is my two'penneth worth.

1. Make the events longer. Rather than a 2-day competition attach a day either side of it as general flying days., i.e more of a fly weekend that happens to include STACK. This might attract a few more people who are reluctant to compete but want to see what it is about. If they don't compete they can still enjoy a kite weekend and who knows, they may realise there is nothing to be scared of.

2. Have more rounds. Forgive me if I am wrong on this, don't understand the format or it has been tried before but I will explain this thinking from my point of view.

Let's say hypothetically there are 2 STACK weekends in the year, one down South, the other up North. Now say I can't make one for reasons such as other commitments/too far to travel, then I would then have less desire to go and attend the other round, purely because I am going to score not as well as those who have attended both rounds. So I don't go.

But what if the rounds were set up to be spread over 5 locations, North, South, East, West, & Central? A flyer could choose their rounds and the best scores would be taken from 2 or 3 of these rounds. (thereby someone who attends all 5 has more opportunity to try to better their previous score, but not discriminate against those who can't attend all 5)...... Now I may choose to not attend the South one due to distance but totally up for a central one. I attend. Now I would be left with North, East, and West. Because I have already attended one I have now invested into it and so would pick 2 from the remainders. Now lets say on one of those rounds the weather is dreadful and I decide at the last minute to not attend., or maybe I do go but mess up terribly. I still have one more opportunity to make another round. If I don't then I would just have to accept that I would be posting scores from 2 rounds.

I can see that this is not only more organisational and logistical work and could result in smaller numbers at each round location, but overall might increase the total number of participants.

3. Attach the STACK onto existing events, (be they formal festivals, or informal fly-ins) where you know there is already a willing audience. I think most people, if they were there on the day, would go 'Oh sod it, lets have a go then'.

4. Ask for a Sticky at the top of sites/forums etc just constantly reminding people of the dates. They can't say they didn't know about it then.

5. Run a tricks party format rather than try to bring the ballet aspect into the tricking. From the people I spoke to they would find this in more familiar territory.


I, for one, will be competing next year. I really want this to work. I am pretty sure there are 2 others in the NMKG who will come along with me, even if I get them there under threat :badgrin: . You know who you are and I will be badgering you all year now to commit.

I hope some of the above might be useful to you.
 
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Re: What would make you want to compete at national level?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:45 pm

Thanks a lot for your thoughts, Ian!

Barry may well chip in as the STACK boss, but on the issue of rounds: it's already the case that not participating in every round doesn't immediately put you at a disadvantage. This year, there were 4 rounds in total for precision, 2 in the south (Dunstable Downs) and 2 in the north (Souter Lighthouse). Best two rounds count. For freestyle, it was one round in the south and one in the north; best round counts. So only being able to make one of the two legs (southern or northern) still allows full scores (though, obviously, participating in more rounds gives you more opportunities to produce a good round). Rule of thumb is that you take the total number of rounds, divide by two, and round up if necessary to get an integer number. That gives you the number of rounds that counts towards overall score. So if five rounds were organised next year, your best 5 / 2 = 2.5 > 3 rounds count.

Barry is also looking at one or two more rounds next year, possible in conjunction with existing festivals. The challenge is how to accommodate this, as festival organisers may well not be keen to give a substantial part of their time/space to a competition. So this could work if there is lots of space, and it's easy to create an additional arena for the competition; much harder if space is limited.

As to extra days either side, whether that's possible probably depends on the deal that's made with the site. I'll let Barry chip in on this one.

Maybe worth exploring whether it might be possible to combine a STACK competition round with the Filey gathering? Barry, your thoughts?
Lex
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Re: What would make you want to compete at national level?

Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:59 pm

Thanks Ian - it's always good to hear suggestions, and to know that it's not just me that struggles to generate interest in kite events. :-)

Below are a few responses - sorry it's a bit "stream of consciousness".


Number of events

Some years back STACK used to run 4 or 5 rounds on separate weekends. I would have no problem going back to this - indeed I'd love to be able to. However, there is a cost issue. If we run our own events we usually have to pay something for the site, and we may have to hire a PA, and maybe loos. Any such costs ultimately have to be covered by the competitors, so with only a small number of competitors we have to minimize the costs, hence less events. We do try and run two rounds at each event, so that if you can't make a particular event you still have enough scores (this year it was best 2 of 4 scores).


Running STACK rounds of the Nationals at other events

Again in the past STACK rounds were often run at other kite festivals. (Years ago when I used to help with Bath Kite Festival we used to pay STACK to attend - how times change.) This is something we would be keen to do, as it saves money on site, toilets etc. However there are less festivals than there used to be, and we can only go somewhere that has a full size arena, and is happy to give us a reasonable amount of time for the competition. Typically we used to run competitions in the mornings. In the old days we used to run different disciplines at different festivals - eg team at one and individual at another. This reduces the time needed, but festivals usually want the more spectacular team competition. Also we now have fewer competitors, so we need pretty much everyone to turn up to everything. On the other hand at least with fewer competitors a complete round is quicker. Sometimes we run a second arena at a festival, but this requires a lot of space, and an additional PA.

I'd be happy to talk to anyone about having some STACK competition at their event - ideally a round of the Nationals, but if an event just wanted a "taster" or demo competition that is certainly a possibility.


Trick competition

STACK are now running a National Freestyle (Tricks) Championship as well as the traditional Precision and Ballet competition. We try and have a round at each event - but it depends on people attending, obviously. We use a simplified version of the French Tricks Party format which involves four imposed tricks and a trick intensive routine set to music (which we call a ballet, obviously). The main simplification over the tricks party rules is that we don't require competitors to specify the tricks in their ballet in advance - to be honest this is mainly to make judging it easier, eventually we will probably migrate to the full Tricks Party rules.



Longer events

I'd have no objection to having a longer event, with a "fun day" before or after the competition (or even both). I'd like to know if this was of interest to people - obviously the fun days would be optional.


Camping

STACK tries to pick sites where there is camping and B&B nearby. On-site camping is desirable, but to be honest we can't pick and choose, if someone offers us the use of a suitable sized site at a reasonable price we usually have to accept any restrictions it may have.


Arena size

The arena sizes for competition are laid down in the rules For team and pair competitions a 110m square arena is required. For individual dual line it is 90m square, and for multi-line individual it's only 75m square. These are only guidelines, but are pretty important for a round of the Nationals, however they could be flexed for a non-Nationals competition.

Phew - that's enough for one go. :-)

Cheers
Barry
Team Flame & STACK National Director 2012-17