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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

2017 Nationals' Fallout

Warning: If you're a competitor, you shouldn't read this thread. I fear that this could get brutal. I hope it doesn't; but I have my fears.

OK, USA Curling fans and detractors, here we go. It's time for the annual venting of our hatred of the system and predictions of our decline. I'll start.

The Men's podium was unanimously filled with Self Formed Teams while the Hand Picked Teams flew home early. Conversely, the three Hand Picked Teams in the Women's filled three of the top four positions with only Cassie able to get on the podium with a self-formed/self-funded team.

There are some legitimate criticisms to be made about players/coaching. Here's a thread for y'all to vent. I think it's a failure of coaching to have the HPP Women's teams still trying to directional sweep some shots. I saw it happen some in Juniors and was horribly disappointed to see it happen in Women's. I have some specific shots in mind and I'll share that later. For now, it's just an example of stuff I (and others?) will be venting here.

For a tiny complaint: She's wonderful and I'm glad we have Jamie The Savior Sinclair, but could somebody take the time to show her how to sweep? I know it's only from the teeling back, but could somebody spend 5 dang minutes with her?

Have at it,
Ben Tucker (if you're planning to really slam someone, maybe you should sign your name to it)

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Old Post 02-19-17 11:06AM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

Let's start with the Men's gold medal game.

It was a "good game" in the it was competitive and compelling. All the players played well and shot good percentages. What follows should not be misconstrued as an indictment of the game overall nor for any player.

It wasn't a good game. It was a sloppy game marred by some bad misses and some bad choices. Just because the vast majority of the shots and shot calls were perfect doesn't mean it was a good game. Just because Face's hammer in the 10th was the definition of a clutch skip's hammer doesn't mean it was a good game.

In truth, Boo Boo Birr and his team were brilliant in first half. They called it right. They threw them great. They got a small break or two and benefited from mistakes and misses from Team Shuster. Heck, the big 4 ender was a dang GIFT! Tiger George elects to play a runback without the hammer? Not good. Miss it and you're playing against three without. Then Face, drawing against two and limiting damage, taps Boo Boo in for third shot and a free draw for four??? A bad decision followed by a bad miss.

In truth, Face Shuster and his team were brilliant in the second half. They threw them great and took full advantage of some questionable decisions of their opposition.

In a very entertaining 8th end, Boo Boo has a point locked on the button frozen. Face gets overly worried about some triple takeout that would give Boo Boo three, so he plays an ill-advised tap. Unfortunately, Face doesn't throw it all that well and taps a stone to the side-four. Now Boo Boo has another gift with a "pair of pants" easy double for 2 (double or tripling his chances of a gold medal at that point). Team Birr doesn't see it and plays some wacky double-trickle-through-for-two.

Then comes the final 10th end and every single shot is made by both teams. Faceteam, however, shows its brilliance. Lancer makes two great ticks. Hammy smacks his peels. Then with Richie's last rock, Boo Boo goes under the corner cabbage. Faceteam's gut reaction is to draw the open side. They talk and call timeout. Phill weighs in. They elect to smack the cabbage.

OK, calling a shot when you really, really, really like the house already is the toughest of strategy calls. Here, young skips, is you do: Pick the shot that has the least chance of hurting you. In this case, they did consider drawing the center. If it is short or behind the tee, however, you've given Boo Boo yet another gift. They considered drawing the open side. That's the right call. Deep or short or anything and the house still looks awesome for Faceteam. They didn't consider a throw-through...which disappoints me...because it's a decent choice and my second choice.

What they called after the timeout was to smack the cabbage. Now, young skips, how can this hurt you? Well, something can spin to the center. Tiger George throws it pretty good. It even hits the cabbage pretty good. But a Boo Boo rock spins to the back fourfoot. Game on. Boo Boo guards. Face peels. Boo Boo makes a brilliant draw to top four; exactly where one would set a stone. Then Face makes a more brilliant draw for the gold under pressure. When Faceteam isn't winning, it's usually when someone is injured or when Face gets in a spell where he isn't making the clutch draws that he usually makes to rack up an insane amount of National titles. Face making that draw with all the self-confidnence in the world is huge, but Faceteam should have drawn the open side. They knew it before the timeout and now know it even more. The rest of us should learn from this. WHEN THE HOUSE LOOKS GREAT, CALL THE SHOT THAT HAS NO CHANCE OF HELPING OUT THE OTHER TEAM.

So this was a good game. The throwing was (mostly) fantastic. Each team showed absolute brilliance for 5 ends. It wasn't a great game.

I'm proud that I have friends on both teams. I mean no insult to my friends. Boo Boo calls a better game than I do. Still, he could watch a few games of mine and pick out 3 or 10 errors. I can watch a game of his and pick out an error or two. Face calls a much better game than I do. Still, picking out an error for any skip is easy if you know the game and watch enough games.

Respectfully,
Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-19-17 02:18PM
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curlinglove
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Bay City, Michigan
Posts: 50

Women's Results

Isn't fourth place Bear/Farrell a self formed team? I thought just two of the top four were HP. However, I think Roth and Sinclair are our best teams. The National Championship proves that Sinclair is our best team this week.

I can't decide whether I prefer Sinclair or Roth to represent us at the World Championship. The teams are aware of the format to determine the world championship team. While Sinclair missed on points at the Continental Cup, they had the opportunity to gain more points at other events, say the US Open.

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Old Post 02-19-17 05:18PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

I was assuming that Christensen was considered 4th place. I guess the tie goes to the head-to-head, so Bear/Farrell should really be considered 4th. Either way, neither are self-formed to the best of my limited knowledge. I believe Bear is a HPP Junior team.

Just to be doubly-clear: I'm not saying that Shuster and/or Birr call a bad game. They both call a very good game. I'm only saying that the final wasn't particularly well played. Very few misses; but some costly misses and some significant mistakes. It was an exciting game. Games like that televised live would be SO good for our sport. The level of throwing in that 10th end was just insanely high. All ten throws...one was just unlucky and one will be remembered for a very long time as the epitome of a hammershot.

Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-19-17 05:52PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

More fallout from the Seattle Nationals:

I'm predicting that this thread will soon trend towards the negative. If I'm sharing some negative thoughts (I'm generally pretty positive), then some venom might flow here. Predicting a thread on curlingzone going negative isn't a brave prediction at all, so how about I point out some good things?

Shuster and his Faceteam earned their way to Worlds again. Heater finishing outside of the playoffs was a longshot that very few would have predicted. Even Heater not making the Finals and thereby earning his was to Worlds was 50/50 at best. So Faceteam was a touch fortunate in that regard.

Still, we are sending a team that swept through Nationals with a perfect win/loss record. We're sending a team that earned World Bronze last year (none of them have let me wear their bronze medals yet...Pete, Ski and Joe Cool all let me wear their Olympic bronze medals...just sayin'). We're sending a team whose skip is making big draws that they are gimmes on a flat putting green.

Faceteam played a really, really tough schedule this year. They didn't do well while Tiger George was out for a month. (sidenote: they carry a GREAT fifth man in Joe Cool Polo). They did cash fairly often and they did cash in a SLAM.

In Women's, we're sending a team that cashed an impressive 9 out of 10 weekends. Yes, their best results were early in the year. Yes, perhaps Sinclair is playing better since their "coming out party" at the Continental Cup. Still, you can't "dis" a team that has cashed 9 out of 10 weekends.

So some of the better fallout: We're sending two teams to Worlds that are serious contenders for the medal stand.

Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-19-17 06:43PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

Yeah, I'm being much too hard on that Men's gold medal game. Just a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking. My fault. In truth, it was generally well played and mostly very well thrown and certainly entertaining. Wonderful TV. Compelling.

Who is the best coach in America? Easy. John Shuster. Everybody who plays with Face gets better. I don't know if he drills them or just encourages them or they just want to elevate their games to match his or whatever...but everyone who plays with Face gets better.

Tiger George was really, really good before he signed up with Face's Team Of HPP Rejects a few years ago. Even Tiger improved. His outturn big weight wasn't as great as the rest of his game, but now he does even that very well.

They all play smart, stay cool and throw well. Face is a great coach.

Speaking of coaches: Where are the coaches when it comes to teams feebly still attempting to directional sweep? At times, it doesn't hurt because the shot is missed and you need a prayer. Other times, however, it hurts and hurts bad.

Sinclair seems to be the worst offender and the most harm is for taps and freezes. 8th end of the Final, Savior Sinclair is tapping a rock off the button. They'd like it to curl a touch more to limit a bounce. Asking for a carve, one player sweeps. The result? Adds weight and they increase the bounce instead of decreasing the bounce. Come on, coaches. Get on this.

Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-20-17 09:58AM
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troll
Knee-Slider

Registered: Feb 2017
Location:
Posts: 5

I certainly won't write as much as you.

- The play overall at Nationals was fairly poor; its more discouraging to see the bad ice reading and brooming... So many shots missed on bad brooms.

- Brown gave their playoff game away to Birr. Birr gave their championship game away to Shuster. Top teams all but have it won when they go up 3 or more; they know how to close. US teams don't have the ability to close.

- As for fallout. I'm more curious to see what HPP does to their teams post Olympic trials. Who's out? Who's new? Who stays? Who plays with who? HPP will claim their successes or others' successes as their own but even a blind man can see the 2016/17 versions of the HP teams were not successful enough to justify their money or existence.

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Old Post 02-20-17 11:35AM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

Post Trials? Too far ahead for me.

Write more than me? You can do it. This is twice that I've sworn off this site. I just want to read it and not write half of it; but things go dead here for absolutely no reason. Lots of great things (and not-so-great things) happening in US Curling.

I have an opinion. I might be wrong. Who is the most talented Women's team, top to bottom? I don't think it's close. I think it's the Christensen rink. Not that the other teams lack talent; I just see player/player matchups all going towards Christensen.

So why haven't they exploded out of Juniors they way most of us hoped and predicted?

First, it has been suggested in other threads that the team should have been paired with a seasoned skip. Fine, but I don't see that seasoned skip out there. Tactically brilliant and solid shooting skips have retired (Erika, Patti, Allison). We have ZERO Women's skips who are naturally strategic. All of our gals work on strategy, but need to learn it situation by situation. So pairing with a seasoned skip is a good idea...except for the glaring lack of skips.

Second, I think the Christensen team has been getting much less coaching than other teams. They shared a coach with Roth and it looks to me like Roth got first call. Even in Seattle, Christensen's coach didn't come out. It was Drobnick instead. Sarah's slide has inconsistencies creeping in.

Third, this team beat the gold and silver medalists yet floundered against the bottom half of the field.

So my solution is to elevate Sarah Anderson to skip. I firmly believe that she is more tactically gifted than Cory. I believe that Cory's pure throwing makes her a better fit at third. I believe that (as the HPP Director says when they change lineups in the middle of Worlds...which I hate) that if your losing you should change something.

Picking a skip is a tough thing. You need shooting, cool and a tactical mind. Cassie shines in the first two so much that she overcomes the third. Outside of Cassie and Sinclair, I think our top female skip for these three criteria is Sarah. If I was to build a team tomorrow, Sarah would be my choice as skip (or maybe Cassie). My third choice would be the vastly underrated Jenna Haag.

Just a thought. I wish I was still closer to the situation so I could speak more authoritatively, but I'm not. We have smart people making these decisions (whether you agree with the system or not, they are intelligent people). I just hope Sarah gets a chance because I hope this is our Olympic team, yet they need to do much better.

Ben Tucker (too easy to sit back and lob out ideas...if it's a good idea, they've probably already thought of it)

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Old Post 02-20-17 12:07PM
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curlky
Swing Artist

Registered: Oct 2013
Location:
Posts: 468

quote:
Originally posted by tuck
First, it has been suggested in other threads that the team should have been paired with a seasoned skip. Fine, but I don't see that seasoned skip out there.


Perhaps this was directed at me, perhaps not , but I know I asked people if there was a track record in Canada for a Team like Corey's becoming elite or not, and posed that they should have gotten on a veteran team.

My point (and perhaps not well stated so I will clarify) was that if I were in charge, I would be hesitant to keep an entire junior team in tact as it becomes a senior team in the HPP program. Ideally put some of the young women on a team with a skip like Erika or Debbie, etc. With a lack of those people, then put the young skip/vice with an experienced front end player. Find a veteran second that is respected and put them onto a team with some of the young women. The focus was on the need of a veteran player on ice, not just a coach who has no voice during a game except for 1 minute at most. Maybe that person did not exist as an elite player. But there is more to be an elite player outside of shot making. People skills make up such a huge part of a small team. Or lacking that, perhaps another approach would be to just not have those junior ladies be in the HPP program as a team as they transition into a senior team. Leave them out of the HPP program for a year or two so that they can grow up on their own. And I will say that I have have absolutely no knowledge of Coreyís team dynamics. I simply saw what I assumed to be bad body language during nationals as things werenít going well or shots were questioned. Perhaps that is just normal body language, and they were all perfectly content. A lot of my comments were not directed about a specific team, more focused on a hypothetical team where an elite HPP junior team all became seniors at the same time, what should happen with that hypothetical team. Should they be kept together in the HPP as the future and allowed to figure it out on their own, kept in the HPP but split up into multiple teams, or nto put into the HPP and told to get some experience and come back next year.

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Old Post 02-20-17 02:35PM
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dbsdbs
Drawmaster

Registered: Feb 2013
Location:
Posts: 745

Tuck predicted above that this thread will soon turn negative. But it appears that we are seeing something worse than negativity --- apathy. Initially, the adventures with the HP program did indeed stir up lots of negativity. But as the HP continues on its merry way with lots of changes and with discretionary picks, etc, curlers are more and more tuning out rather than tuning in. Unfortunately, I suspect most USA curlers just do not care anymore. And apathy is way worse than curlers who may be negative, because at least those folks care enough to comment.

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Old Post 02-20-17 02:57PM
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AlanMacNeill
Drawmaster

Registered: Sep 2011
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I wonder if the performance of the Clawson rink at Nationals is going to give the HPP selectors mild fits for next season...

The back end ages out of Juniors this season, so they are now in the adult pool for all intents and purposes...and that pool is pretty full...and already has a pair in the "Former Juniors who aged out, and are now serving an apprenticeship before becoming our flagship curlers in 3-4 years" category.

But...over the last two years, the Clawson team has come in 2nd and 4th at Junior Nationals (and was robbed by the "only 3 teams in the playoffs" policy, IMO...open the field to 10 and put it back as a full Page), and 5th in Men's Nationals both years (8-10 overall record, including hanging the only L on last year's Champions).

That's pretty damned good for a team of U-21's....

But...it doesn't seem like there's any room at the Inn for next season...I don't think the HPP folks really *wanted* them this year...and they may use the "You didn't even make the playoffs at Juniors" as an excuse....but that would be a travesty, IMO.

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Old Post 02-20-17 03:58PM
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TNH
Hitting Paint

Registered: May 2011
Location:
Posts: 128

That is a good point on the apathy. For me the worst thing the USOC has done is to allow the USCA and HPP to operate in a cone of silence. I understand they donít need to respond here Ė it is the USOC they have to keep happy and conversing with curling freaks like me canít be too rewarding. But still, they are spending my money so they can at least pretend ☺.

I would like to see the USOC/HPP hedge their bets by giving self-formed teams a fair chance. If you take HPP money, then part of the deal is you get assigned a team, you play a ton and get amazing experience. But letís not confuse process with results. Teams like Stephen Dropkin, Jessica Schultz and Alex Leichter showed good potential Ė letís keep their dreams alive for as long as we can. This becomes especially important as the HPP is forced to cut good young athletes each year. I support funding teams (see, a positive statement!), but let the best team that week win and letís not mix performance on the professional tour with performance in championships.

As for young Canadian skips that have thrived without an apprenticeship Iíd suggest Jennifer Jones and Rachel Homan. In fact, their style of play is so unique in the womenís game that her team probably developed faster than they would playing old-fashioned curling under an experienced skip. Both have done all right for themselves.

I donít know enough to say much else. Tuck somehow can tell which twin is Sarah Anderson and which is Taylor. As far as I can tell Taylor is throwing 4 rocks per end. My one thought is that the winners of the US Open should be granted spots in the Olympic Trials. They probably already are. If not the reward would add to US curling.

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Old Post 02-20-17 04:03PM
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biterbar
Drawmaster

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
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If the curlers in the US are like those I know, about 10% knew the championships were happening last week. A portion will pay more attention when the Olympics come up, but most care more about what snack is up after there weekly draw.

Most of them also have no idea what the USCA does for us (or that there is a USCA), do not know what HPP stands for and that they send $30 a year from their dues to the organization. I have a few friends who will watch webcasts and can discuss what's happening.

I would say we are much more unaware than apathetic. Or if we are apathetic, it isn't a new concept.

As for "fallout", I think it is time for a little shakeup on the men's side. There are some great curlers there, but only one great team. The fact that Birr and Clark were 2-3 shows me the HPP selected teams aren't working. It also points out that the selection process has left out some of our best curlers while failing to show some who have been there too long the door.

Team chemistry is huge and I don't see these teams having it. Maybe the HPP needs to get out of team picking and let the players form there own and go to a HPP play down, top 3 teams get funded, next three get some help? Let them pick their teammates and coaches, The HP director, et al certainly can't. Shuster forced his way into the mix, they did not put that team together.

The women's side is tough as well. As I said before I believe Christensen will be a power to reckon with if they stay together. I don't see adding a veteran player (or who that would be?) though Tuck has me intrigued by a lineup change.

__________________
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire"-Winston Churchill

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Old Post 02-20-17 04:59PM
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misty1
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Sep 2011
Location:
Posts: 4925

quote:
Originally posted by AlanMacNeill
I wonder if the performance of the Clawson rink at Nationals is going to give the HPP selectors mild fits for next season...

The back end ages out of Juniors this season, so they are now in the adult pool for all intents and purposes...and that pool is pretty full...and already has a pair in the "Former Juniors who aged out, and are now serving an apprenticeship before becoming our flagship curlers in 3-4 years" category.

But...over the last two years, the Clawson team has come in 2nd and 4th at Junior Nationals (and was robbed by the "only 3 teams in the playoffs" policy, IMO...open the field to 10 and put it back as a full Page), and 5th in Men's Nationals both years (8-10 overall record, including hanging the only L on last year's Champions).

That's pretty damned good for a team of U-21's....

But...it doesn't seem like there's any room at the Inn for next season...I don't think the HPP folks really *wanted* them this year...and they may use the "You didn't even make the playoffs at Juniors" as an excuse....but that would be a travesty, IMO.



clawson has performed very well for sure. the fact that they never actually won juniors might work against them.

i wonder if they might swap out mccormick and plys for a couple members of the clawson rink. i know the USTA loves korey dropkin so i wonder if we might see them take dropkin and a couple members of the clawson rink and throw them together.

i know that mccormick won a lot of events this season but all of them were pretty weak fields. they didnt do anything in stronger events and didnt even make playoffs here. plys was a great junior but he's done nothing at this level and mccormick..i dont know, i just dont think he's all that great himself. maybe take this as an opprtunity to oust them.

as far as christensen goes. seems to me like both her and anderson are strong willed people. head strong. throwing 2 head strong skips together doesnt always work. i think it'd be better to split them apart and let them take charge of their own teams rather than have them together.

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Old Post 02-20-17 05:10PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

Clawson for next year??? Dude, there ain't no "next year". It's show time! Trials! Olympics! Korea, here we come!

Soon (April? Maybe June? Who really knows) the powers that be will start picking the teams for The Trials. Those teams will then get all (or dang near all) the money until the November Trials. Then the Trial Winners will be the Olympic Teams and (rightly so) get all the money.

After next year, it is a totally different story. What will the HPP look like then? It all depends on our Olympic results. It all depends on how our amateurs fare against the pros and semi-pros of the other nations.

Between now and then, all of the HPP and all of the USCA Board need to define goals for a Junior Program. Is it a feeder system for Men's and Women's? Is the goal to win Junior World medals? Is the goal to strive for depth that is sacrificed by the adult HPP?

Between now and then, our methods and personnel for coaching need to be reviewed. Who is coaching the coaches? Does our system get the best current knowledge to our teams? Who is working well with whom and what teams need a new face? Do we have enough coaches? Too many? (as a sidenote on coaching: if I hear again, when our teams get off to a slow start at Worlds, "We just aren't on top of the rocks just yet", I'm going to expletive deleted puke...coach them up on that)

Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-20-17 08:20PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

Here is some more possible fallout from the Seattle Nationals:

Katey Dubbs Dubberstein played pretty well at second for Cristin Clark. That didn't surprise me. Emily "Sister of the Tiny Terrorists" Anderson shot extremely well at third for Clark. That did surprise me.

So now we have a situation where Sarah and Taylor are on a team that is falling short of expectations; while their sister and a beloved former teammate are curling well.

Sometimes I'm very glad that I'm not in charge of the HPP.

Ben Tucker (sidenote: Did y'all see Benton and Richie R shoot in the playoffs? Dang. I mean...just...dang...nice shootin')

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Old Post 02-20-17 10:32PM
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curlinglove
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Bay City, Michigan
Posts: 50

I wouldn't say Christensen fell short of expectations. True, most of us picked her for playoffs, but her team did play well overall including wins over Sinclair and Roth.

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Old Post 02-20-17 11:34PM
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dbsdbs
Drawmaster

Registered: Feb 2013
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quote:
Originally posted by biterbar


Team chemistry is huge and I don't see these teams having it. Maybe the HPP needs to get out of team picking and let the players form there own and go to a HPP play down, top 3 teams get funded, next three get some help? Let them pick their teammates and coaches, The HP director, et al certainly can't. Shuster forced his way into the mix, they did not put that team together.




Now there is a novel idea. Unfortunately, even with the Shuster results to support a change like this, it probably makes too much sense for HP to even consider it.

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Old Post 02-20-17 11:42PM
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Alice
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quote:
Originally posted by dbsdbs


Now there is a novel idea. Unfortunately, even with the Shuster results to support a change like this, it probably makes too much sense for HP to even consider it.



Been thinking about your "apathy" line. That's how I normally feel with this Nationals Fraud thanks to HPP because if I'm not apathetic I start talking to my windshield as I drive around...

The Corey/Sarah body language drama. I saw these girls play as juniors. Impressive then. Smart. Tough competitors. But putting them on one team? A coach who can't read Body Language 101? (Is that the one who lost a lawsuit to a Scottish lady curler after an inability to understand her body language much less what she said?)

And, what is this business of one (or more?) former HPP or other USCA leaders becoming players again after they sliced and diced self-formed successful teams? Is that a popular thing among the up and coming competitors? Will they have an in-house advantage in getting HPP cash for next winter? Ever more reason for the next HPP camp to make its cash dole-out strictly from on-ice game results instead of any subjective criteria.

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Old Post 02-21-17 02:30AM
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curlky
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Registered: Oct 2013
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quote:
Originally posted by dbsdbs Tuck predicted above that this thread will soon turn negative. But it appears that we are seeing something worse than negativity --- apathy. Initially, the adventures with the HP program did indeed stir up lots of negativity. But as the HP continues on its merry way with lots of changes and with discretionary picks, etc, curlers are more and more tuning out rather than tuning in. Unfortunately, I suspect most USA curlers just do not care anymore. And apathy is way worse than curlers who may be negative, because at least those folks care enough to comment.


Could not disagree more. I see the results of Nationals as a success for elite curling in the US more than an indictment or fulfillment of the HPP.

First, I donít think that the average curler really cares about Nationals, Worlds, HPP, elite curlers, etc. I think the average curler enjoys curling, having a drink with the team, etc. I think the average curler might not have even known Nationals happened this week. Iím sure that some people will step here and tell me that it was the buzz of their club. I say take that with a grain of salt. Most likely if you are on this board, you are a curling nerd, and as such are likely to hang out with fellow curling nerds at your club, who are the ones talking about Nationals, so sure in your clique, it was all the rage, but I donít think to the average curler they could tell you who won at Nationals or who will go to Worlds, etc.

Second, many people are tired of this HPP argument and have just given up on any of these threads, because nothing changes from ranting on a message board.

Third, the Ultimate prize is going to the Olympics. Being an Olympian is a title that means something, and carries respect. You can meet a total stranger, and they tell you they were an Olympian in any random event, they immediately have your respect, because being an Olympian means something. I think the same thing happens about being a US National Champion, especially in an Olympic sport. With that title you can get that respect. I think along with that comes a greater chance to get your own sponsors. I think company X is more likely to sponsor a team that says they are US National Champion, or Olympian, versus simply someone who participated in Worlds.

Fourth, the HPP seems to work to me. I honestly could care less if a team if self-formed or appointed, or self-funded or financially backed. What I want to see is the best US teams going out and playing a world class schedule. I want to see improvement amongst teams as a result. I think the HPP system, as well as the general move of curling becoming a professional athlete based sport has allowed this to happen.

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Old Post 02-21-17 09:00AM
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tuck
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Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 2557

I've been rewatching some games. I made is small error in one post. The failed directional sweeping that actually hurt the shot for Sinclair happened in the 9th end; not the 8th. My bad.

I agree with much of what Curl Kentucky just posted, but I disagree with his conclusion. I think most people who read these threads are curling nerds. Unfortunately, that makes me THE curling nerd; but I guess I can live with that. I think the constant bashing of the HPP does become repetitive. I also agree that the average curler these days probably doesn't know much about Nationals until the next edition of The USA Curling News arrives in the mail (a wild shift from my day when State and Nationals were the talk of the clubroom because every club had a team trying for gold). Still, viewership on TESN proves that those who are interested are extremely interested.

I am forced, however, to point out Kentucky's glaring error. Boo Boo Birr and The Brady Bunch finishing ahead of Heater McCormick and Craig Brown is a stinging indictment of the HPP. Even Shuster's forming his team with fellow HPP rejects and then shooting his way into funding still indicts the HPP a couple of World appearances later.

There are lots of good things coming out of Stephen's Point, CurlKy. You don't have to reach and defend everything; especially not the obviously wrong. If you tire of those attacking the HPP repetitively, challenge them to come up with something better to face pros and semi-pros. It's hard. It will take a full thread by itself.

Respectfully,
Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-21-17 11:07AM
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AlanMacNeill
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I disagree with you, Tuck....

It ain't *that* hard...

1. Get a US Based Tour off the frickin ground and voila, problems solved...the US's top 6 or so teams can mix with a varied field of 12-20 of the other top teams (I guarantee that if you meet the pot, folks will come to curl in DC over Yellowknife...).

2. Redefine the HPP's job. Their job becomes *ONLY* identifying the 4-8 teams that deserve Central Money. Get them out of the Championships. Get them out of the Worlds and Olympics selection process. just find players for teams, and get them money and coaching. If they really are our best, they'll end up representing us. If not, they won't.

3. (requires #1 above) Base our World's Rep on the champion of the US Tour. Include "Nationals" as the last stop, and give it enough points such that it *matters* in the determination, and some other little perks (I'm thinking cash here...) for the Champ...Make it matter.

Voila, do those things and US Curling will be the world's strongest (or at least competitive enough that we'll never have to sweat if we're in the Olympics again) again.

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Old Post 02-21-17 11:30AM
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curlky
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quote:
Originally posted by biterbar
Maybe the HPP needs to get out of team picking and let the players form there own and go to a HPP play down, top 3 teams get funded, next three get some help? Let them pick their teammates and coaches, The HP director, et al certainly can't. Shuster forced his way into the mix, they did not put that team together.


I look at the self-formed/appointed teams differently than most. If they put me in charge here would be my rough plan.

First, modify the approach and try to take the pool of funds and fund more people partially than a few people fully.

Second, a 3 tiered funding approach. If teammates donít live in the same area (define this as within a couple hour drive and for a certain duration of the ice season) then your team will only qualify at best for the lowest level of funding. This is to incentivize the ability to practice as a team easily. I think that it is a reasonable request that if you want to be a pro-curler and get fully funded, you are willing to sacrifice to make that happen. Teams that are willing to live in the same area would be eligible for the mid-level of funding. In order for a team to qualify for full funding, they must live together, and be able to be at the National Training Center on a semi-regular basis for work with the HPP staff. Many people like how Canada has self-formed teams, but they forget that Canadian teams are geographically tied as well. My overall point is that if the HPP wanted to put together a team that had one person in Washington, one in New York, one in Minnesota, and one in Ohio, it would be ridiculous for those people to ever get together to practice, or play in a league at the local club as an example. There is also a reality that most events are in a certain geographic radius. It is a lot more expensive to have to fund someone in Washington to fly to an event versus people based in an area that allows them to just drive.

Third, I would offer performance funding bonuses for teams in the HPP as well as other teams that are elite but not HPP (think a team like Pete Fenson, Brady Clark, Jessica Shultz, etc). For these, you can get some cash bonuses for things like playing in a non-US based event that meets certain difficulty requirements. Or perhaps getting a podium at a rated OOM event, or just qualifying for playoffs at one of these events, etc. These cash bonuses for each team would not be huge, but perhaps enough to pay for food and lodging at the event, maybe $500 here $1000 there.

Fourth, you can apply for funding as a self-formed team or as individuals who can be paired together.

I do think there should be a national standard developed to qualify a person on a funded team. I base this on something like a qualifying time for the bobsled. Jamaica could send a team to the Olynpics only if their team had a time in an elite event that ut them up to a world standard. This probably needs to be adopted for HPP funding. I will try to explain this with a crazy hypothetical. Lets say that there is a skip named Jon in Tennessee who is the greatest curler of all time (10 times better than Kevin Martin). At his club there are 2 other curlers who are world class curlers, Joe & Jim, but there is no one else at the club who is very good at all. However Jon, Joe & Jim are so good that they might be able to win an HPP funding tournament with anyone who can throw 2 guards as their lead, so they pick up Stan as their lead. Stan has 1 good trait, he can throw guard weight awesome. He cant throw a hit, is consistently off his weight when asked to draw into the house, canít sweep very well, has no idea how to use a stop watch, and really has no concept of curling strategy other than how to throw a guard. He is also extremely out of shape and overweight. But the team of 4 manage to do well enough to qualify for funding. I would propose that some rule should be put in place to prevent a person like Stan from being included. His team did well in spite of him rather than because of him. If they had any real lead that could throw a peel or a tick, or a come around, they would have won the tournament easily. Not sure how to develop that standard, but I am sure that it would not be too difficult. Some standard of being in shape (run a certain mile time, situps in a minute, etc.), demonstrate the ability to throw all curling shots, pass some sort of strategy test, and whatever else. I also think that it is fair to ask for a time commitment to curling such as that you will spend a minimum of X hours per week of on ice time to get funding.

Now I actually would not change much in terms of who becomes Team USA at worlds and the Olympics. I like a system that encourages people to get out and play elite events. I might tweak the criteria on OOM rank needed, etc, but I am mostly onboard with the plan in place now.

Just my rough idea on how to improve the HPP

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Old Post 02-21-17 12:23PM
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tuck
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I love your plan, Alan, but there is one huge problem. The USOC will not fund it. That plan falls outside of what they consider to me their mandate. That's a problem to the tune of 500k per year. But to be clear, I love the plan.

I have yet to read The Kentucky Plan. Based on past threads, this discussion will swallow the fallout discussion...but that's OK with me. I'm just glad there is discussion about USA curling.

Ben Tucker

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Old Post 02-21-17 12:37PM
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curlky
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quote:
Originally posted by tuck
I am forced, however, to point out Kentucky's glaring error. Boo Boo Birr and The Brady Bunch finishing ahead of Heater McCormick and Craig Brown is a stinging indictment of the HPP. Even Shuster's forming his team with fellow HPP rejects and then shooting his way into funding still indicts the HPP a couple of World appearances later.

There are lots of good things coming out of Stephen's Point, CurlKy. You don't have to reach and defend everything; especially not the obviously wrong.



For anyone that knows me, rarely have I ever been accused of defending others beliefs. I am a very free thinker, and defend my own beliefs regardless of consequence. Frankly I still hold a small grudge towards you over some of your comments anti-arena curling national championships.

BUT, I did not make an error. You and I took the same set of data and reached 2 separate conclusions, both of which have some merit. You look at success as this team was part of the HPP, this team was not, fair point. I judged results with a viewpoint of the intent of why the HPP was created (from what someone told me at least). They wanted to make sure that a team did not catch fire one week and win nationals and then go back to their normal skill level at worlds and get destroyed. So I look at the teams that finished in the top half-ish of the nationals were all teams that went out and played tougher schedules and earned the most OOM points. By having a deep talent pool where teams are more battle tested, they are less likely to fall to the team on fire. So to me, the system worked this year, as anyone who did well was a team that played a great schedule.

If I wanted to be argumentative, I might say that your error is that both national champions were HPP teams. Sure Clark, Birr & Potter had success, but as Ricky Bobby taught us all, ďIf you arenít first, youíre lastĒ and perhaps you should judge success by wins, not by everyone gets a trophy standards. But I donít want to be argumentative over semantics, so I wonít say that.

I am glad that you are posting some here, as you are one of the rarer people on here who you can have a post discussion on a topic and actually make some discussion progress, not have a trolling battle. You are very right that there are good things happening out of Stephenís Point. I have seen a lot of good things since I started curling. Sometimes I see what they do, and can brainstorm some flaws in my engineering brain, but am always impressed that the people making decisions are willing to tweak things to improve, rather than being set in an idea and refusing to move off of it.

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Old Post 02-21-17 12:44PM
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