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Restacking

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Pacificus
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TDragic1997
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:26 pm
Since I have seen so many topics about this on Facebook as well as on the reddit, I wanted everyone’s thoughts on this. Are there actually schools out there that remove people from teams, or even remove teams entirely in favor of people who couldn’t get out of Regionals/ORCS? It just seems incredibly selfish considering the people taking their spots are not capable enough to get out of Tournaments themselves. What are your thoughts?
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:45 pm
I don’t want to air any dirty laundry, however, I was on a team that was directly affected by this issue. I competed on the same team for four years, and during my senior year my team finally made it out of regionals. This was the first time our school ever made it out. Keep in mind, I don’t think restocking should be banned all together. I think if you have a legitimate reason, such as someone scoring too low or someone missing too many practices, then you should be able to switch them out. But, if you have something happen where coaches or executive officers only make decisions to help certain people they prefer on the team over others, then yes I agree with you. Being a coach myself this year, I am well aware that coaches are not above bias, so decisions have to actually have rationale.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:10 pm
There are definitely programs who restack teams for ORCS and NCT based upon prior tournament performance. Obviously, this mostly occurs within the biggest schools in AMTA, who typically have a deep-enough program to move around a few individuals and absorb any resentment that may be taken from those who are moved down/kicked off. When you build a program culture around Mock Trial being a team-based sport, you'd be surprised how little people care if a coach changes rosters before ORCS/NCT.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:02 pm
That makes sense! I think coaches should be allowed to restack, but I know there are plenty of schools where EBoards are responsible for stacking and that can definitely raise some issues. Stacking with purpose makes sense, but I think stacking without any rationale/reason poses some questions towards those decisions.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:06 pm
I think the problem is when you're not clear before the results come in. aka with my team we sent two teams to regionals and we asked before, if B team gets a bid and A team doesn't, who wants to go to ORCS, and a majority said to just give it to A team. So I think if the program's standards are the designated best team will always go, no matter which team gets the bid, then re-stacking is fine. And if it's that the team who gets the bid goes, then restacking isn't ok. It's all about expectations.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:07 pm
Restacking should 100% be allowed, solely because actual dropouts do happen, whether it be by illness, special events, unusual circumstances, et cetera. The ethics of restacking solely for competitive advantage is a whole other issue.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:10 pm
That makes sense. The issue we had was certain people on our B were moved up and replaced certain people on our A without an explanation based on scores/rankings, only on “hunches”. But that’s just one situation, I’m sure that’s a unique situation.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:13 pm
Also just full disclosure, I wasn’t one of the people replaced. I just had strong feelings about “hunches” being enough of a rationale to essentially invalidate someone working all year for the privilege to make it to ORCS.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:34 pm
One of the issues is that there are teams out there who stack for Regionals with the intent to restack for ORCS. They'll have stronger members step down to captain lower teams. Members whose scores almost placed them on A or B team (or scored well, but were 2nd string to someone even better) are moved up to fill the gaps.

That places you in a hard position. You don't want to tell people that they're second string- that their performance doesn't matter this year because of a few standouts in similar roles. You don't want to use them to get to ORCS, then lose them. But you also don't want people to be afraid to step down to captain and feel like volunteering for that bars them from rejoining A or B team. And you can't leave your lower teams without competent captains.

There's definitely things you can do to mitigate this. You can make it clear who will be moving back up after Regionals. You can talk with people individually to see what they'll put up with and what is a dealbreaker for them. You can make sure you only put people on your top teams if you're willing to keep them on for ORCS in at least a 1-sided role. Last year my school sortof ignored a lot of this. We gave people more roles than we should've because we didn't know what they'd be willing to give up. We didn't bring people back who stepped down to captain lower teams. We attempted to remove someone from the ORCS team who had performed reasonably well at regionals but was a second-string to more senior members. Every one of these decisions blew up in our face.
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Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:49 pm
I'll speak to this a bit as a coach who was in a tough spot this season. We had three teams, and two got through - our A and C teams. Our C team went 6-2 with a 7.5 CS, which (as you'll hear me acknowledge on a podcast episode that I swear is almost done) is an extremely low CS. It doesn't take anything away from my C team students, who are amazing and worked so hard to get ready for Regionals, to acknowledge that their experience was different from their teammates on B who had a 19.5 CS.

We've been clear from the beginning that all bids are program bids. Once we knew how many teams we were taking to ORCS, I said in September that I would sit down (with help from the assistant coaches and executive board) and build the two strongest teams for ORCS. I considered raw numbers, adjusted scores, comments, film - especially film in context looking at how people handled pressure rounds, and feedback from assistant coaches and executive board members. Ultimately, our A stayed the same and our B ended up being a mixture of B and C, with 6 B members and 3 C members (until one C member couldn't go and another B member stepped in).

It's a really hard process, because there's inevitably hurt feelings and people who are disappointed with their ORCS placement (or lack thereof). But I think it's totally reasonable to be both incredibly proud of my C team students for getting through to ORCS (which I am) and also realistic about the fact that going into Regionals, I believed B to be stronger than C. As a coach, I try to be as honest as possible about why I make decisions, and to emphasize that all bids are program bids. It doesn't solve every problem, but I think it's possible to build rosters in a fair way that makes sure students understand why decisions are being made, even if they don't agree with them.
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Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:29 am
TDragic1997 wrote:Also just full disclosure, I wasn’t one of the people replaced. I just had strong feelings about “hunches” being enough of a rationale to essentially invalidate someone working all year for the privilege to make it to ORCS.

My program had a spreadsheet which we used to calculate how each individual member performed. It basically calculated your performance individually by a variety of metrics, including average score, average points above/below the median score for each round (if I remember right). It also broke it down by role and side. So we could see that, hey I'm scoring a point above the median when I open for the prosecution, but I'm half a point below playing a certain defense witness.

So people tended to get moved into certain roles or certain teams based on ballot performance, and while subjective judgment came into it, there was more objective data to make team and role decisions.

I'm fairly confident we were not the first or only program to use some kind of system like this.
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Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:32 am
I think spreadsheets are great! Ever since last year, as a coach I have started using a spreadsheet as well! That’s why I completely understand restacking if somebody scores too low! But also, if people have questions about stacking I can answer them based on scores. I just think if you don’t have a statistical reason, or if something doesn’t come up that bars somebody from being able to compete, I don’t think people should be moved down just based on favoritism or subjectivity.
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Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:23 am
Does anyone have a spreadsheet template to use? I think setting that up would be great, but I'm not the greatest at spreadsheets
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Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:57 pm
I use both a spreadsheet and a computer program that I developed in 2012 (which is admittedly now dated, and I keep saying I'm going to write a new one and then don't). The spreadsheet can be downloaded here . The computer program can be downloaded here . A sample data file for the program is available here .
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Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:45 pm
As a coach for several years, I vow by the usage of PD spreadsheets -- it's a lot easier to restack students when the numbers clearly show that someone is doing better than another student at a given role.
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Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:19 pm
I definitely think restacking occurs on a highly individualized basis. There can be instances when someone isn't pulling their weight on an award-winning team, and someone on a lower team has shown vast improvement over the course of the season and could deserve to be moved up. Mock Trial is subjective, and students might subconsciously favor their friends in the program at times for that reason, but I trust that in a healthy team culture this won't be a problem. IMO restacking between ORCS and Nationals is way rarer (or should be) than restacking between regionals and ORCS. Breaking out of ORCS requires a way higher level of skill, especially depending on which regional the program normally goes to, and I would hesitate to move anyone off a Nationals qualifying team barring serious performance issues.
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