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End course video


LeonL
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As all you Senior drivers know, the AWSA Drivers Policy Manual states that you must submit an end course video to your respective Regional Driver rep each year. Now just how stupid is that? Is a driver going to submit a video that shows him weaving all over the place? No, he's going to keep recording tournament after tournament until he has one that looks good. That is if he's a poor driver and has to do that. But the point is, what gets submitted may not be an accurate representation of a drivers skill. The other point that doesn't get addressed is a lot of the other mistakes that some drivers make, ie, wrong start speeds, failure to increase speed, poor boat handling outside the course, all to the dismay of the skier, but not addressed in this scenario. This isn't in the rule book so how does one propose a change to policy manuals? When I mentioned posting on this subject, a friend said "you're probably gonna open a can of worms", but if so........
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Good points about noting all aspects of a driver's performance, not just centerline video.

Back when the driver ratings were first established, the Chief Driver had to do a report on each driver in the tournament. Not now, and advancement tends to be based on quantity.

 

However, for Record tournaments (Class E, L, R), all the centerline video is supposed to be submitted to the Drivers Committee Regional Representative. See p. 83 of the AWSA Rulebook.

http://www.usawaterski.com/pages/divisions/3event/2013AWSARuleBook.pdf

 

"The video tape recordings of non-record passes (on standard size VHS cassette) shall be

submitted to the Regions Driver Committee Representative."

 

Quite a monumental task to wade through the tapes, not all with a sound track and driver/pass identification. For every 16 seconds or so of the boat in the course, there will be maybe a minute between passes and likely more between skiers. Running the tape at fast-forward actually tends to accentuate boat path deviations, though.

 

VHS is getting to be old technology, and there probably will be changes coming there. Such as automatic tracking by SplashEye, DVD recording, etc.

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What about using some survey service like Survey Monkey to tabulate information or ratings from Chief or even skiers?

 

Not sure the video is worthwhile for reasons stated above. I am wondering if a driver should have one "training on the job" where chief reviews from boat or shore and documents area for improvement?

 

I like the concept of customer surveys though.

 

Its hard to tell a volunteer you don't want them to volunteer any more. Better to tell them how to get better.

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My opinion is that on some regular basis the drivers receive a written evaluation by the chief driver of an event. It seems like the only really effective evaluation of all points is by a trainer observer at the sight. This could be used as a ongoing approach in a constructive way to help everyone.
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But then you put it upon an already volunteer driver to have to spend his time working even more. USAWS has already made it so that some drivers won't be around next year when the new motor vehicle record check is instituted. Let's make it even it more difficult on our volunteers. If I had to spend my time evaluating other drivers, I just wouldn't be a chief driver at any more events.
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Leon, I agree that submitting all those videos does not provide much value in my opinion.

 

Shane, I also agree with you about the limited value of a DMV check, although for the little bit of cost and effort, seems like not much to ask.

 

My main point is that I feel one of the primary roles of the chief driver is to be watching the drivers for the event and providing constructive support and feedback where it is necessary. Too often the chief is just another one of the drivers who happens to coordinate the schedule when I feel for the benefit of all involved, should be helping the drivers to improve.

 

The boat judges could help some in watching boat path and out of course activity, but often we would be better served by some sort of evaluation of the skilled and experienced eye of the chief driver.

 

The drivers do alot, and I also feel all of the officials put in significant effort to make everything happen and we need the entire team of volunteers. The scorers are working before & after the tournament for set up and close out of the events. The TC's are amoung the hardest working group I have seen. The safety directors usually are on duty the entire tournament without relief not to mention regularly taking first aid and CPR classes on their time and at their expense (which is much more expense than a online DMV check). And the judges are constantly on duty because many events run short on providing enough help.

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I'm kinda with @AB on this one, and I like the idea of incorporating skier feedback into the equation. If a short standard short survey were emailed out the all registered skiers of the tournament on the following day, it is likely that accurate and honest feedback could be collected. Personally, I rely more on skier feedback to make sure that I'm giving them the best pull possible.

 

As far as submitting in course video, I believe it should be similar to when drivers are tested. Drivers could sign an agreement to submit video from a specified tournament that they plan on attending, prior to the tournament (say, at least a month prior). That way it is a one time shot, and the results are what they are.

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Speed being taken out of question these days, the only thing that they need is an attest of path straightness, and I don't see why that can't be signed off on by the boat judge on forms or electronic signature. Very simple, less overhead cost than someone sitting in front of a monitor and reviewing path on video.

 

What's more important to me is they are not crusty grumps that want to mow through their group so they can ski again.

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That wouldn't work because the boat judge really can't tell if the boat path is straight and to what extent. Plus, the wake folds differently for different boats. A malibu has a different center of wake than a nautique and neither correspond to the boat centerline. That's why it's absolutely not possible to center the boat unless someone is looking from end course.
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I guess i look at the gates when the boat goes past and the wash to see the straightness of path.

Sounds like i have been doing it wrong for a long time.

 

What should i be looking at when sitting in observers seat? SN's only.

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As a judge, when I'm not driving, I find it impossible to determine if the boat is centered. Plus if I watch the boat path I can't be doing a very good job of judging buoys and vice versa. My job is to count buoys, and do it accurately.
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@LeonL - perhaps you better review the rules on what a Boat Judge is responsible for. Among other things:

3. One event judge shall ride in the towboat, hereafter referred to as the

boat judge.

a. The boat judge and scorer shall check the boat time for each pass

and identify reride situations in accordance with Rules 10.09 & 10.10.

b. The boat judge shall observe the boat path (see Rule 10.07). If any

46

part of the boat deviates outside the bounds of the boat gates, the

boat judge shall award an optional reride if the path of deviation was

a disadvantage to the skier. If it was to the skier’s advantage, a

reride is mandatory

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@Roger, perhaps I should have said my "primary" job is to count buoys. I know what the rule book says. I challenge anyone to accurately observe the boat path and simultaneously determine if a skier is rounding buoys at 39.5. Maybe I need to turn my judges rating because I just can't do that. Oh, I can do pretty good if the skier is running long lines at slow speeds. This thread may have taken a different turn and that's OK. Will some others comment on how good they think they can observe boat path and also do a good job of judging buoys? Am I incompetent or are there super judges among us?
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Between a score of a full buoy and 1/4, I watch the boat path.gates, too. I watch the ski through the gate, then keep watching the gate, the way I heard umpires in baseball make strike/ball calls. I try to communicate with the driver every pass. ("You 're right on. Move your way 2 inches, etc)

Hope I never have to pull @ ob, though. ;)

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@Horton Yeah, but a straight path ain't a bad place to start. I have a friend who runs 39 at 58k in record tournaments. Did a clinic where they wanted to see him ski too. Couldn't run 35 and took one of his worst falls ever trying to fight his way through the wrong siding. This was behind that clubs "best" driver. Spasheye could be a big help for a lot of us. Some have further to go than others to produce "top level driving".
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Warren Witherall complained that I was "helping" him by 3 or 4 inches @39, way back in the late 80's driving a Supra. I just didn't want to short him, being the first time I ever pulled someone at that level. A few inches does make a difference...
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Yea, many of the top skiers at Nationals didn't like the fact that the drivers were under such a microscope of SplashEyeSlalom. Each driver got a report at the end of their session showing how they did. Some were driving for the straight line rather than doing what they normally do as @Horton mentioned.
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Uh oh. When I developed cruise back in the 80s my protos held speed at 36. Of course, everybody hated it.

 

So, before I get too far down the road with this, is gatordrive supposed to hold the pylon on a straight line down the center of the course or not? I ski with guys who run into 39, so don't have access to the superstars. If I'm gonna need A1+ thru C3- on boat path I think I quit now.

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That is so true. I tend to pickup the skier earlier than some of the other guys I ski with. One guy I ski with who has said I need to stop helping him in the past, when I was not trying to help him, realized this when an outsider to our group skied with us and sat in the boat, noticed that I was picking up the skier early, but straight.. Now he tells everyone to pick him up earlier off the ball.

 

I never gave it much thought before as it has just become my process over time... The deal with Warren was hard to tell, manual speed control, first time driving a Supra that didn't track like the SN I was used to, etc... I just made sure I wasn't on the wrong side of the course.. so probably was helping him more than I should have.

 

I am not a rated driver and probably never will be, but want to give the tournament guys I ski with a pull like they will get in a tournament so they know where they are at. I doubt I would invest in any special video equipment, but it is an interesting concept for improvement..

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My friend has a gps iphone controlled electric trolling motor on his bass boat. The motor can be told to hold the boat in spot X and it will do it to within so many feet or inches, I really don't know how precise it is, but is pretty cool to watch do it's thing... Maybe someday technology will be there to have the boat steer itself down the centerline within 2" or whatever..
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I think you should shoot for dead nuts center. The tolerance is a safety net for when a driver gets out of sync with the skier. You can drive dead straight and be in sync with the skier. Too many drivers are trying to use the tolerance to make it easier on the skier. I have talked with almost every open skier and they would rather have a tight line at the finish of the turn than an driver that is trying to use the tolerance to give the skier 2-3 inches. I can assure u that skiers at short line need the rope to finish the turn not the back of the boat. Splash eye is a great tool for drivers to see what they are doing. Hopefully it will become affordable enough to have it at each site. It's great technology for drivers
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What would be really cool is a feedback to the driver on a iPhone App that downloads the pass log from the cloud by the time you get to the end of the lake to see how you just did. I could see having my iPad setup on the dash for instant feedback.
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@chadscott. It's much easier to make a system that aims for zero error than to make one that programs in individualized error. Thanks for the feedback, if the big guys want straight line then that bodes well for a systems acceptance.

 

@AB: How about an Ipad suction cupped to your windshield that shows your current position realtime at the end of a trace showing you past position, relative to center of the course and relative to allowable tolerance on either side of center sumperimposed on the realtime video of the course you are driving?

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Thanks @Horton - but don't say I didn't warn you

 

SplashEyeDrive is a tool to help drivers and skiers by automatically monitoring EVERY pass in a tournament or practice. AS @LeonL says asking a driver to submit a single pass each year does nothing. Reviewing end course video from a tournament after the event is brain-numbing, rarely done and very hard to implement any change from.

 

SplashEyeDrive will give you objective statistics by Driver, by Boat, by Skier, by Competition.

In realtime. Here's a video of it in operation

 

 

Immediately after the pass the information is sent to the cloud where it is available to registered users. For an example logon to www.splasheye.com on your phone. Email: demo@splasheye.com Password: Demo

 

You will see the events you are registered for. Click SplashEyeDrive Demo. You will see the passes recorded for the event by skier, speed and rope. Click the first one. You'll see the boat pass through the course (Green line centre. Red lines 20cm tolerances each side. Blue lines position of each buoy

 

SplashEyeDrive works fully automatically when tied in with Gate Cameras. The system detects the boat going through the gates and triggers the end course monitoring and also records and replays the start gate. It is currently manual in standalone mode meaning an operator has to trigger it as the boat goes through the gates but we're working on that.

 

 

 

 

 

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