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Time Zone Discussion Empty Time Zone Discussion

Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:51 pm
Hello all,

I wanted to bring into discussion a point that I have not seen yet debated. The issue of how time zones are affecting performance.

At first glance, I think everyone would agree that the West Coast holds a disadvantage on paper when it comes to time zones. They have the very traditional tournament schedule, morning and mid-afternoon trial. Most people would argue that this gives the Mid- and East- schools more time to wake up, gather their thoughts, prep, etc. (This is of course, assuming that the competitors would not wake up at the crack of dawn from anxiety anyways regardless of their performance time, which I understand may be a faulty assumption.)

However, is it not this same traditional schedule that breeds familiarity? Habit, routine, and practices Wink tend to benefit teams that can keep consistency with what they're used to. I find that perhaps East Coast mockers with later trials, while they may be more well-rested have trials during their normal meal times. And many mockers report nausea or not being able to eat right before trials.

I'm curious to see what people think about this topic. My own assertion that the middle time zones would be most advantaged by this, with an extra hour to sleep but not infringing totally on meal times.

-MocketyMock
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Time Zone Discussion Empty Re: Time Zone Discussion

Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:41 pm
I think this is spot on. In person tournaments all have the same "no sleep" component and at least for regionals it is pretty rare a team will be moving two time-zones. But, even if they did they would at least be functioning in the same time zone as others. ORCS often sees at least some teams moving time zones, so it softens the issue. Nats is usually in the East or West time zone, so plenty of teams will wind up having to deal with the change there too. But yes, it is very clear that at least for the purpose of regionals the mid-west likely had the least impact from the time issues. But... by this point in the year most teams (and certainly teams that have been competing in invitationals) know that and could pretty easily adjust. The question is if that alone is enough to account for what appears to be a pretty strong showing for the mid-west through regionals.

I'd be willing to bet that what we've seen is actually just that the floor in the mid-west is super high because of how many programs have been around and competing and going to invitationals for over a generation whereas there simply isn't as deep of a bench of the (to borrow from the NCAA bracket) "mid majors" coming from the West. UCLA, Berkley, Washington have been high level teams for a while. Similar in the south east where there are a few programs that have been killing for years but in the last decade the mock trial boom has created way more teams, even at flag-ship type programs that just didn't compete before. Alabama comes to mind here, a school that started a program in 2011 and by the 2017-2018 season was going to NATS and is now basically a lock to send a squad to ORCS. Oklahoma is a state that until recently was basically not a factor, and now has several solid programs. AMTA pre-ORCS and post-ORCS are pretty different, just like if you go back in the records to the first 10 or so years. Going back to 1985 you can see a 10 year/10 year/10 year history that shows the growth pretty clearly and the current 10 year run (this being year 6) is similar in the transformation of the power across the country.

Mock trial in general is now in its second full generation, with graduates out practicing law and coaching, starting teams, coaching helping with new and growing high school programs, etc. The overall "experience" level is just higher for a lot of folks in the heart of mock trial country where the old model of speech and debate as the core of forensics programs has shifted as people see that mock trial is a synthesis of most of the best loved parts of speech and debate. OO, Extemp, duet acting/duet improve, radio, policy debate, story telling, DI, HI, you can see elements of all of those categories in just one round of mock trial. As that shift continues across the country the lines blur overall. Naturally, big schools with the bodies and money (either from the school or having students from higher socio-economic backgrounds that can afford the time or parents that support programs, and never underestimate the ability of a school that has a law student population that may be able to assist with coaching as a real structural advantage) will rise up quickly and find a seat at the power table while smaller schools may take years to find a good foothold. Overtime, the states of Iowa and Illinois have become less of an outlier as smaller schools from other states learn to compete like the bigger schools. The midwest has had a head start on this progression (see: Washburn, Illinois State, Drake, Central Missouri as smaller schools all in different midwest states that have had programs for a while) since mock trial was born in along the I-80 corridor with schools in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois as the earliest participants and went up to Minnesota, down to Missouri and Kanas... then the northeast did the same, and the west and southeast have been doing it in the last 10-15 years. There are exceptions across the board, but that is generally how the activity has spread and grown. The ceiling for the bigger national schools is often higher but the small established schools raise the floor of the more developed areas. With time that fades, but right now it appears to still be alive if you look at the post from josh611, the midwest and northeast had the "best" showing at regionals.

So the timezone thing probably matters some but it discounts the larger picture that the depth of the regions isn't the same. The historical growth of the activity has moved from midwest, to northeast, and now has proliferated across the continental US.

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