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  • Recommended number of competitions per season

    Hi folks,

    I've had a few burning questions on my mind recently. I've been holding off asking, but now I'm thinking I'd like to get them out there and see what people think.

    I'm going to be starting up competing again after a long lapse, and I'm trying to get an idea of what number of events I should plan on attending. Overall, I could easily attend about 4 or 5 events. Optionally, I could probably swing 10 to 12.

    Like anyone, I'd like to move up as soon as possible ... but to be specific, I want to:
    1. Deserve higher placement
    2. Be able to demonstrate my deserving, without going "over kill" in attending events


    Time and cost becomes a bit of a factor in deciding what to do. Basically, I CAN attend the higher end of that spectrum, but my schedule and wallet would love for me to take it down a notch or two, if possible. But, if attending more (and hopefully doing well at them) will significantly help me in moving up, then I'd be willing to wrestle with my time and budget to do so.

    For instance, say I were to attend 3-4 events (3-4 contests at each) earlier in the year, and I were to receive consistently high marks (maybe an AGL here and there, and maybe never less than 2nd or 3rd place, with reasonably decent-sized fields [say, 7 or more competitors for each event]):
    • Is there lots to be gained be attending a few more events? Or would it be fine to "sit back" a little, and work on new tunes for an (hopefully) eventual upgrade?
    • How many contests do YOU feel is adequate enough in a season to demonstrate an upgrade is appropriate?
    • How far do you find you will tend to travel to reach your goals?


    Of course, the easy answer is to do "as many as possible." Point taken there, but that doesn't really help inquiring minds.

    So I'm seeking overall, "in your experience" input. So regardless of your level/location, I'm interested in what the collective "you" have done/seen in your own journeys.

    As always, any input is appreciated greatly.

    Cheers,
    ~Nate

  • #2
    Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

    The more events you can reasonably attend the more sooner PBA points youíll accrue...If you achieve the ( consistent ) 2nd and 3rd Ďs and AGLís...and a smattering of 1sts .... Then youíll have proved your mettle to the PBA and yourself. An upgrade the next season could reasonably be expected.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

      Originally posted by el gaitero View Post
      The more events you can reasonably attend the more sooner PBA points youíll accrue...If you achieve the ( consistent ) 2nd and 3rd Ďs and AGLís...and a smattering of 1sts .... Then youíll have proved your mettle to the PBA and yourself. An upgrade the next season could reasonably be expected.
      Thanks for the input, most appreciated.

      Cheers,
      ~Nate

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

        Ultimately your grade level is down to how well you play, and while more contests might get you bumped up sooner, I think there's a lot to be said for getting there comfortably.

        Too much preparing for competition can have you being good at being a grade X competitor while not becoming a better piper.
        http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
        -- Formerly known as CalumII

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

          Maybe youíre overthinking it. Begin thinking about your local competitions, do those, see how it goes. In a future competition season, decide whether you want to travel and compete in competitions further afield.

          Charlie
          "Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

            Right on, thanks folks. Again, it's just I have no clue what constitutes more than necessary, verses an adequate amount.

            I was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter in at grade 3, instead of grade 4. According to my instructor, I'm already nearly ready for grade 2.

            So basically, I may still be claiming easy wins right now in grade 3, and frankly, I'm not ok with that. If I should be at a higher level, but instead go around robbing prizes from others who deserve them, it just feels wrong.

            So (presuming I do as well as I hope to) I just wanted to gain a better understanding of how to get to where I'll be having to work for a prize, rather than just getting them with ease. Not only do I not like the notion of stealing easy wins, but obviously I'm not going to improve if I'm not forced to work at it.

            These answers have done that. I'm going to try to do several contests as early as I can this season, and see how I do. If I do well (great), then maybe I'll only do a couple others toward the end of the year. If not, well then clearly that would be a good reason to do more; i.e. keep getting out there, and work at it until I'm getting somewhere.

            Thanks everyone.

            Cheers,
            ~Nate

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

              If youíre put into grade 3 then donít worry about it. Remember, thereís more to competing successfully than the music. Thereís nerves to deal with, varying temperatures, weather, plus a whole load of other things.

              If you have an easy time in grade 3 then youíll be promoted the following year no doubt.

              Charlie
              "Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                The organization is in charge of upgrades...unless requested by the competitor and accepted. Meanwhile donít feel bad about raising the bar in grade 3.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                  Thanks guys, appreciated.

                  Cheers,
                  ~Nate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                    Originally posted by el gaitero View Post
                    The organization is in charge of upgrades...unless requested by the competitor and accepted. Meanwhile donít feel bad about raising the bar in grade 3.
                    Right. To start out, I'd already requested and was granted grade 3. Otherwise I'd have started at grade 4. I'd like to get to grade 2 as soon as I can manage though, as it seems that I may be above grade level at 3.

                    We'll see. First competition is this weekend.

                    Thanks to all for the insight, it helps.

                    Cheers,
                    ~Nate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                      Originally posted by Pppiper View Post
                      Right. To start out, I'd already requested and was granted grade 3. Otherwise I'd have started at grade 4. I'd like to get to grade 2 as soon as I can manage though, as it seems that I may be above grade level at 3.

                      We'll see. First competition is this weekend.

                      Thanks to all for the insight, it helps.

                      Cheers,
                      ~Nate
                      A Big jump. Good luck. Practice hard...win easy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                        Hi all,

                        In being the original poster, I wanted to follow up on this thread for posterity. In the end, I ended up doing quite a bunch of contests, and I was indeed upgraded to grade 2 for 2019.

                        To briefly rehash, at the start of 2018 I was going into my first year of competing. Initial grading was a little weird for me, in that I'd started playing pretty young and I'd kept up with playing since (for about 20 years), but didn't compete. Finally and more recently, I'd decided to give competing a go, for many reasons.

                        The EUSPBA graciously saw fit to place me in grade 3 initially, though my instructor maintained that grade 2 would soon be a better fit for me. I had/have no desire whatsoever to be a "sandbagger," so if I found that I was doing well straight away, then I wanted to be out of 3 and into 2 as soon as possible ... such was what prompted me to post this question ... "how many contests do people feel is enough to safely secure an upgrade?" ... I knew it of course depends on how well one does at any given number of contests .. but I just didn't know (even if I were to do well) ... would attending three venues be enough (with good placings)? Four? Five?

                        Fortunately for me, I live in an area of the US where there are quite an array of contests available if one is willing to drive a little. In the more-immediate vicinity would be games like Glasgowlands MA, Rhode Island, New Hampshire (Loon) & NH Indoor, Quechee Vt., Casco Bay & the Maine Games, and a couple in Conn. That's already potentially 8 or 9 events.

                        Slightly farther afield would include events in eastern NY, and maybe New Jersey. This potentially added events such as Capital District Indoor & Outdoor, Hudson Valley, Rockland, & Jersey Shore.

                        So I had the ability to do quite a number of events, I just wasn't sure how many I wanted to do.

                        I must say, Charlie's statement in particular was quite helpful and insightful:

                        If you’re put into grade 3 then don’t worry about it. Remember, there’s more to competing successfully than the music. There’s nerves to deal with, varying temperatures, weather, plus a whole load of other things. ... If you have an easy time in grade 3 then you’ll be promoted the following year no doubt.
                        This is well stated ... I am rather lucky that nerves are rarely ever an issue for me, but it then occurred to me that if/when I were to make it to grade 2, it's likely that just about everyone else in my group will have been doing competition for a few years, whereas I will be rather "green" to the whole process. Indeed, I definitely found that there was some sort of new challenge/factor to be figured out at every outing:
                        • Changing weather/temps, not to mention rain, of course. And heck, at one outing, the day started with torrential rain, and within an hour the sun was searing over you, and the grass was steaming from beneath your feet
                        • Long waits between individual contents ...
                        • ... and conversely, events where contests are all piled right on top of each other (at one event, I played my piobaireachd, 2/4, and then strath/reel right in a row ... I was done with everything in about 15 minutes).
                        • Events where everyone else's pipes are echoing in the air, making it very difficult to hear your own set with precision
                        • ... the list goes on and on


                        So within reason, I decided to do as many events as possible ... if/when reaching grade 2, it would be quite helpful to have been through all of the above situations and more.

                        In all, I ended up doing 13 events ... pretty much all being 4 hours drive or less from home. This would ensure that I could drive out early in the morning, do the contests and be home in the same day (i.e., no need for a hotel). Granted, I needed to leave extremely early (often 2 or 3am), but I eventually found that this worked well for me—by the time I'd get there, I'd have been up and going for 4 hours, whereas others will still be waking up. Adrenaline is an amazing thing.

                        The farthest driving-wise was Jersey Shore (Tom's River, NJ). That was about 5 solid hours, so that was really kind of pushing it. I made the mistake of pounding Red Bulls in the last hour of the trip, and consequently my hands were visibly trembling upon arrival. Drinking plenty of water settled me down, but that wasn't the greatest feeling to have first thing in the morning. I dunno if I'll do that one again ... good results though, thankfully, but 5 hours driving before playing is pushing it, to be sure.

                        Otherwise, the farthest I'd also decided to go to was Fair Hill (Colonial) in Maryland/Delaware. I flew down and made a weekend out of it, since I know a lot of folks in that area. The weather was abysmal, but the results ended up being pretty good, and I definitely learned some lessons in how to deal with playing on a cold, rainy morning.

                        Anyway, I certainly could have done less ... and I would imagine I'll do considerably less in 2019 ... though, who knows? Lots of lessons learned, and many new friends made as well. So in the end, I feel that I did "enough" to accomplish what I needed, no more, certainly no less.

                        Cheers and chunes,
                        ~Nate
                        Last edited by Pppiper; 12-23-2018, 07:59 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                          Nate , a vigorous season.
                          Zo,..Where did you end up being euspba ranked by seasonsí end?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                            Originally posted by el gaitero View Post
                            Nate , a vigorous season.
                            Zo,..Where did you end up being euspba ranked by seasonsí end?
                            Number two. Good year ... learned a lot.

                            http://competitionmanager.azurewebsi...=2&seasonId=40

                            Lots of work to do on 2019.

                            Cheers,
                            ~Nate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Recommended number of competitions per season

                              Originally posted by Pppiper View Post
                              Number two. Good year ... learned a lot.

                              http://competitionmanager.azurewebsi...=2&seasonId=40

                              Lots of work to do on 2019.

                              Cheers,
                              ~Nate
                              Excellent work. Yep...it never lets up. Good luck next season...then onto grade 1.

                              Comment

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