Saturday, December 01, 2007

What the RO seminar is like ...

As could be predictably expected, our first day of Chief Range Officer (USPSA Level II) training was both more and less than expected.

Let's deal with the "Less" part first, just to get it out of the way.

"Less" is because of my own personal expectations. I really wanted someone to go through the 2008 USPSA rule book and compare & contrast the rules with the previous (2004) USPSA rule book. While NROI Instructer Carl Schmidt spent a significant portion of his time pointing out the new rules (as they came up in conversation, so to speak) that was his primary purpose for the seminar.

"Less" is also because, as you may recall from my comments yesterday, the original CRO course was primarily invested in Stage Design and Match Administration. I'm probably not so much surprised as disappointed (and, I admit, irrationally) that Mr. Schmidt did not discard the lesson plan in favor of teaching all his students about the new rules.

In fact, he mentioned at the morning break that he had read yesterday's post, and informed me quite firmly that yes, we were going to spend a lot of time on Stage Design.

And he was right, but we did kind of sidle up to it ... sidewise, like.


To present a 'coda' between "Less than expected" and "More than expected", it's significant to note that this is the first time Mr. Schmidt had used his Power Point presentation, which moved from the old (2004) USPSA Rule Book [including all the bridges between USPSA and IPSC] to the new (2008) USPSA Rule book [which deliberately includes zero references to IPSC.]

The thing is, the presentation, and the three tests in the CRO handbook, were based on the 2004 rule book which is in effect until January 1, 2008. Only THEN will these new rules be in effect.

What does that mean to those of us taking the class today and tomorrow?

The answers are wrong.

First, the presentation refers to IPSC rather than USPSA. That's a major BOO!

Second, the course book provides the questions and the presentation guide which is made available to the instructor provides the answers, but those answers are most often applicable to the 2004 rules version.

Here's where we began to really learn about the 2008 rules.

We had 3 tests today: the "Basic Test", the "General Test" and the "Rules of Course Design Test". In every test, we took the same questions as the 'last' class, but our answer source (the last two were open-book tests) was the 2008 version (the Blue Book); the previous class Mr. Schmidt had taught using this material was using the 2004 version (the Green Book).

As it turned out, many of the questions were confusing because they were designed to test the student's knowledge of rules which had been obsoleted. We (the class) would give our answers, we would discuss the reasons why our answers varied from the Course Guide, and Mr. Schmidt would dutifully note the parts of the questions which were causing confusion.

This is A Good Thing for the student, because it effectively provided a comparison between the two rule versions ... which was what I had hoped for.

It also rates as A Good Thing because hopefully, the next seminar Mr. Schmidt leads will be guided by an updated Course Guide; one which is based on the new rules.

It's not exactly as if the December 1, 2007, Seminar Attendees are throwing themselves on their rhetorical swords for the future benefit of their brethern, but this class is definately, absolutely providing feedback which will be used by USPSA to improve and update the course syllabis.

That makes me feel just hush-puppy warm, y'know?

At the end of the class today, I had hoped to discuss Arbitatration. Instead, we talked more about Stage Design, quick-coded some stages for discussion, and were treated to The Mystery Stage!

The Mystery Stage was included in the 2007 Area 1 tournament, and bears discussion.

Mr. Schmidt presented it as a lesson, providing the original stage diagram for our evaluation. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with it although Mr. Schmidt affirmed that the Area Director corrected the stage before the Area 1 Tournament actually began.

The key was in the stage procedures, which essentially stated:
At the start signal, draw and engage all targets through Barrel "A".

Here's where the Learning comes in, and I caution you all to pay close attention to the next half-dozen sentences:
  1. The new USPSA rule book states in the GENERAL PRINCIPLES: (1.1.5) - USPSA matches are freestyle. Competitors must be permitted to solve the challenge presented in a freestyle manner, and to shoot targets on an "as and when visible" basis. Courses of fire must not require mandatory reloads nor dictate a shooting position, location or stance, except as specified below. ( not included; see your current rule book)
  2. The stage design presented "... essentially stated:
    At the start signal, draw and engage all targets through Barrel "A"."
  3. That statement contradicts the 'Freestyle' stated above.
  4. The difference is, USPSA takes the Principles seriously. No stage which ignores this principle is USPSA legal.
  5. There are some exceptions for Level I matches, but they are carefully defined in much less 'broad terms' than previous Rule Book versions have used ... to the confusion of the readers.
  6. The thrust of the "Stage Design" training made available through this seminar seems to be to emphasize the importance of adhering to the General Principles, now as traditionally found in Rule 1.1 of the USPSA rule book.
This is Major Culture Shock to this Geekish competitor, and when sufficient time has passed (and a sufficient number of objections to stage designs have been registered) I suspect that the Culture Shock will be transferred to other members of at least the Columbia Cascade Section.

UPDATE: 02-DEC-2007
Uh ... no, I hadn't noticed that I spelled 'seminar' incorrectly when I posted this. Yes, I realize that "siminar" is only similar. I have corrected the spelling in the title, but unfortunately the title is used to form the unique URL for this article. That means "siminar" stays part of the URL, and my bad typing will haunt me forever.

Just as do my run-on sentences, pedantic sentence structure, excessive use of parenthetical comments, semi-colons and ellipses, and annoyingly arrogant assumptions that I am always right (nothing can be done about the last; I am ... always right.)

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