Learning how to be a better Scorer/Observer Thread

Discussion in 'Trials' started by grizCP, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. grizCP

    grizCP DROC

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    Sort of a spin-off of the “Stupid trials question thread,” surely there are people on here who could benefit from a discussion around the nuances of scoring.

    Background: In my last couple of years, I have scored maybe 50-60 days and feel competent enough to score by myself, but there are still questions and disagreements that arise in sections that are hard to make “on the spot” decisions, especially in a pressure situation like a National Round, or a ride off, or just when upper class riders (who you look up to as a rider) try to sneak one over on you. Further, (if you are like me) I’m not a super-decisive personality and a deep processor – I like to think about what I just saw and consider the rules in my head, which sometimes gets in the way of holding up the right number of fingers or punching the card in a timely manner. Consequently, I’m working on a basic mental set of criteria (for my own consistency) that will help make those decisions easier and earn a better reputation as a fair and consistent scorer – which should be everyone’s goal, right?

    I want to keep this discussion open to interpretations based upon current NATC rules (http://www.mototrials.com/library/2016-AMA-NATC_SupplRules-111215-FINAL.pdf) and perhaps local interpretations as appropriate (example: questions about interpreting splits as opposed to gates). I don’t want this to include No-Stop discussions because there are lots of other threads on the topic.

    Also – if you have links to quality videos which show examples of rules, please post those up and I’ll put those in post #2 which will be a sort of “highlights” of the thread. I know the New Mexico folks had a nice one on YouTube, but my search phrases aren’t bringing it up.
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  2. grizCP

    grizCP DROC

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  3. grizCP

    grizCP DROC

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    So here’s my first question to get the discussion started:

    Q: Rule 6.B.2 says it’s a failure if “the motorcycle is moving backwards, with or without the Rider footing.”

    Okay, so this is black and white on paper – did the motorcycle move backwards or not? However, this seems to be pretty lax in enforcement depending upon the scorer or the club. I am sure we all have thought we violated this one to some extent without receiving a fail. So, how should we practically define backwards for scoring while being accurate and not a jerk?

    Did the contact patch move? Does it matter if the tire slides versus rolls?

    Is “down” the same as backwards? Example, a rider attempts ledge and gets hung up on the skid plate – the bike teeters in relatively the same spot sort of pivoting back and forth as the rider then muscles the bike over the ledge… failure or counted the number of dabs?

    I’ve also stuffed the front wheel under an undercut, then had to drive the front wheel back and forth until I can get it up onto the ledge…?

    And, perhaps the most common in upper classes – what if the rider is hopping and scoots backwards slightly while pivoting? This is the one (by far) that I would be the most gun-shy on calling and I can’t imagine any of our local club riders appreciating a 5 for this. Thoughts?
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  4. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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  5. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Modern riders say no-stop rules are too severe and too subjective. No stop and no backing up are mirror image rules, but of course the modern guys cannot stand it to be called. (Modern riders rarely get a five.) Just try to call it as the rule is written, :pain.
    Any backing up is an advantage over the riders that try to ride within the rules. Trials has always been a sport based on rules, and we still are looking for a good fit.
    #5
  6. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD!

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  7. jonnyc21

    jonnyc21 Trials Ninja

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    Thanks lamotovita, good read.

    On another note...
    I would consider myself a modern rider, and I don't believe that no-stop rules are to severe as long as they are applied the same for all riders. From my point of view it's the now modern interpretation of the no-stop rules that are the problem.

    I prefer the stop allowed but won't disagree it has its own set of issues. Still like it better...
    #7
  8. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

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    The OP intended this thread to be a noble effort about how to be a better scorer under the current NATC rules and it only took the first response to steer this into the no-stop ditch. :becca

    We could all learn a thing or two here and thus make our events a better experience so give it a break, k?
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  9. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    The worst examples of modern scoring are the observers who let a rider roll back not once, but time after time until they give the rider a three. Usually it is an upper class rider scoring a lower. Guess where this example leads. Same lower class rider lets all the afternoon riders get away with backing up.
    PS. The best scorers that understand this rule are the newbies who take the rule seriously. You back up it`s a five. This rule is very hard to score with a rider hopping all over. Remember the benefit goes to the rider. But if your mind says that it was a five, your hand should agree instantly.
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  10. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

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    Two weeks ago we were scoring and the entrance had ribbon about 18" high tied to a bush.
    The first 3-4 riders came through and they were rubbing the ribbon/bush with their legs trying to get a better angle on the next turn.
    Well........the next rider comes trough, barely touches the bush and the ribbon snaps.
    Crap......what do I do?? I first feeler him for a five and then we had a discussion with other upper riders there and I made the executive decision to "correct" the entrance, extend the ribbon, put it on the ground (like our club does) and gave the rider a re-ride.
    I still am not sure what the correct call was but this fixed the issue for the day. :dunno
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  11. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    The ribbon in most clubs is set higher than ours for whatever reason, last event the ribbon was purposely set high in an attempt to keep it from being eaten by the critters. Our sport has never been perfect, but you kept it fun. :thumbup
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  12. Brewtus

    Brewtus Buffoonery, Inc.

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    The decision for the re-ride was due to the riders foot hitting the razor-sharp sticker bush that the ribbon was tied to, not the ribbon itself. The ribbon was not broken due to direct contact with either bike or rider, so it was not a failure. Tough call sure, but we made the right one Gordy. Any doubt I had evaporated later when one of those damn bushes snagged my brand-new shirt and tore a hole in it while punching another riders card. :kboom
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  13. grizCP

    grizCP DROC

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    This is really what made me start the thread - almost identical conversation.

    Side note: We have had several "ugly" situations recently when people get bent over receiving fives. I think the lax scoring in lowers can promote and re-enforce an idea that we should never fail a section; and when we do, we are unnecessarily, mentally devastated by it. And, then we worry about discouraging new riders... and then we keep it lax for them. In fact, I would argue that an idea develops in Novice/Amateur that riding a section "well" means cleaning it - anything less leads to ire and loathing.
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  14. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD!

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    When observing a section I try to get there early and adjust any markers that I think might cause a problem like that. Otherwise I think that every rider who flirts with a marker needs to be aware that that marker will probably fail for somebody, and it might be them. I frequently see it with riders contacting a split marker in a section, which we allow in our club, the split marker can only take so many hits though and sooner or later, somebody will get a five.
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  15. ridenm

    ridenm Long timer

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    At our club trials, when I start observing for the afternoon if I see slight (inch or two) backwards movement I generally don't call a five (depending on the situation and the section) but I do make a mental note of how much movement I gave that rider so I enforce consistently. Front wheel stuffs are a tough call.
    At a national event I'm going to be a lot tougher, partly because it is a National, partly because there's usually at least one other observer who probably saw it and can back me up.
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  16. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    The other year I was scoring the nationals. We had a gate glued in place on a rock. First several riders hit the plate, but never moved it. The "ride over a marker without displacing it is legal" bit. Finally had a rider hit it with a little too much tire spin and tore the plate off the rock, got the five. After that the fresh glue (and tape) was never as strong and gave a lot of 5s for taking the plate of many more times. The first riders simply got lucky that the glue and plate were as strong as they were to start with. How fair is this? I consider it the same as a rock or a log shifting in a section as the day goes on.

    Every time we have a nationals we have mandatory checking school. Watch the video, live demonstrations, Q&A. Make sure we have everyone on the same level. This spills over into the club level for a good year or so as well.
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  17. ridenm

    ridenm Long timer

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    Bad section setting.
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  18. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

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    Good topic and conversation! :lurk I can admit that I've probably become too relaxed in scoring the roll back in our lower classes. Probably need to get a little more strict with that but still call it consistent as ridenm stated...however you call the first rider through is how you call the rest for that day.
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  19. PSchrauber

    PSchrauber Long timer

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    In any case if observing modern or classic trials score equal and I doubt score for the rider.

    To the roll back issue in modern trials, if the rider is still on his pegs and balancing and just parking in for a better position in the move and there is an occasional a couple of centimeters where he is rolling backwards I don't mind. If rider and bike are a tripod it's a different question.
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  20. thegraydog

    thegraydog 2 wheels X 6 ways

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    Yes, but.. when setting I certainly try to have the ribbon and gates well back out of trouble, but inevitably the gate enforces the intent, and if riders crowd it, it's a calculation.
    If when checking I can identify a critical point -- say the plane of someone else's gate -- Ill call it out to all riders and announce I'm gonna be a hardguy on this.

    Now rollbacks -- much harder. I like PS's analysis above.
    It's hard to be the checker. As a rider I try to keep it light and peaceful...
    #20