The Trouble with Handicapping

In our league play what we’d like to do is make a comparison between dogs of different heights that compete against one another; giving a handicap advantage to dogs with shorter legs.

We’ll take a range of jump heights, 4″ through 26″ and establish a straight-forward handicap schedule like this:

Height

RoT

% HC

4

1.9

0.63

8

2.2

0.73

12

2.6

0.87

16

2.8

0.93

22-26

3

0

This table reflects a rational differential between jump heights. The columns are: Jump Height; Rate of Travel; and Percentage for Handicap.

Below I’ll show a time score (presuming a clean run) for each of the jump heights in a standard (numbered course):

Height Time HC Adjust Place

4

74

46.62

1

8

68

49.64

3

12

62

53.94

5

16

55

51.15

4

22-26

47

47

2

This table plays with a variety of scores that could be expected from the different jump heights (in the Time column). Multiplying the dog’s time on course by the Percentage of Handicap in the previous table gets the Handicap Adjustment score and the Placement Results.

Now, the problem…

In a free-flowing and barely turning sequence like this, there might be only about one yard of difference between the 4″ and the 26″ dog. The handicap calculations are really based on this kind of flow.

On a more technical sequence with tight turns like this one, there will be about 8 or 10 yards of difference between the 4″ and the 26″ dog. And this is only a moderately technical sequence.

So the adjusted rates of travel should give less advantage to the small dog in the comparison of course time. So it looks like there needs to be a technical factor that softens the advantage given to smaller dogs.

I haven’t completely figured out the math. It looks like all of the handicap percentages need to be based on a ranked number 0-5 that will drop the handicap percentage based on a Rate of travel as much as .5 yps, stepping down through the jump heights; but probably no more than that.

A Further Complication

How do you handicap a points-based game? It strikes me that it should be the inverse of the numbered course logic. Traditionally small dogs are given more time in a points game. That means the small dog has to work longer than the big dog; a fact that doesn’t make terrible sense. It’s like saying that the small dog has greater stamina than the big dog.

Instead, what we might do is add a multiplier factor against points based solely on the rates of travel. So points earned by the 4″ (in the same QCT) would be multiplied by 1.37 to arrive at a score that can be compared to the performance of the 26″ dog.

It strikes me that a motivated Yorkshire Terrier could rule the agility world.

BLOG732

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

In the movie Grand Hotel John Barrymore carries a dog across the lobby of the hotel under his arm and gives the dog over to a bell-hop, telling the young man to walk the dog until he’s “completely worn out.” What was the breed of dog under his arm?

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston BudHouston@hughes.net. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “The Trouble with Handicapping”

  1. mariann jackson Says:

    this took some digging… dachshund

    • budhouston Says:

      That’s right! It was a very houndy looking thing too, reminding me of a Coon Hound in miniature.

      You should watch the movie. Grand Hotel won the best picture Oscar back in 1932 or so. It’s where the famous line from Garbo comes from, “I want to be alone!” I’m pretty sure I’ve at least once had the Robert Osborne review.

      Bud

  2. Debbie Brewster Says:

    Adolphus the Dachshund a classic movie some great lines in

  3. Carole Shlaes Says:

    Hi Bud – Since you’re thinking about handicapping….

    Don’t forget the tall end of the spectrum for handicapping if you’re designing a system. The truly big dogs (not necessarily BCs running 24″ or 26″ but who measure into a lower height) are not as fast and nimble and as zippy through tunnels that are shorter than the dogs are. That’s one of the reasons why the yps for 24″ was recently changed by AKC and why SuperQs often go to the lower height in Open when the heights are combined, even with the same # of points.

    Good luck on your handicapping endeavors. It is a tough subject.

    – Carole

  4. Georgette Burritt Says:

    Bud I appreciate the fact that you are trying to equalize the playing field for the small dogs. Hopefully some day it will actually happen.
    Georgette

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: