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Worse friction for the semi winner
OffLine 8a.nu
  2018-04-18 00:00:00    
Innsbruck 2018 has published an interesting Meiringen analyses talking about technical skill adapting to different types of challenges, carried out by Udo Neuman. As the route setters will be the same in the WCH in Innsbruck 2018, important lessons have to be learnt. Udo also points out the problem with the conditions deteriorating which in practice means that the better result you had in the semi, the worse friction you will get in the final.

On the first problem, that can be seen in the picture, the first three guys did it at the same time the four last guys, and higher ranked in the semi, failed.

"Once someone has slipped off a foothold twice, the risk of slipping again increases dramatically. This also had a big influence on the result in Meiringen." Video of last man out, Jakob Schubert, slipping from that big yellow hold.

Udo also says, "It can only be hoped that a more level playing field will be made available in the future.". IFSC comp stats since 2007, confirms that the semi winner seldom actually wins the final and this is especially true for the WCHs. Other reasons for this is of course, the increased pressure starting last out, having heard that other guys topped and also that plastic holds and the whole arena get slightly heated up from the first to the last climber.
Click to Enlarge Picture
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2018-04-18 12:29:12    
Interesting. But... once the foot slipped twice to Jakob Schubert, video footage is very clear. 1) he cleans the shoes on the leg, which are probably dump due to moisture. Jakob think he cleans them in his capris, but he does it on the skin. May be he has never climbed in Bleau to climb very well the rubber? 2) the second slippage IMHO has to do with design of shoes. With the so called "reversed" cup, which does not allow to have great surface of contact on slabby holds. 3 ) on Minute 2,02,12 on the other hand, you see a typical slippage of a too soft not structured kind of shoe once the apply pressure on small holds. Bottom line, worth considering to carry two pairs of shoes on each boulder.
OffLine finbarrr
  2018-04-18 16:11:41    
i always assume the lights in the finals make more of a difference than the chalk or rubber build up.
they should have constant lighting throughout the event. if you fire up the spotlights per boulder, the first climber is going to get the wall at room temperature, the last climber will get plastic that has been warmed by stage lighting for up to twenty minutes.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-18 16:39:45    
Good analysis indeed :)
OffLine Jan V'
  2018-04-18 19:42:43    
I tend to disagree with Udo Neumann. IMHO more likely reason is shoes Jakob wear - La Sportiva Solution. One of the hardest shoes out there, not great design for slabs, Emanuele Pelizzarri is of same opinion I see.

@ Emanuele Pelizzari don't think Jakob did not know he isn't cleaning his shoes on his shorts. Cleaning shoes on the skin is commonplace and I really doubt all the climbers doing so don't realize they are cleaning their shoes on the skin.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-18 20:55:15    
It is possibly a combination of reasons but the bottom line is that it is harder to be last out in comparison to be the first guy out.

Talking to Ingo Filzwieser, former Austria national coach, he also mentions that the fingers and hand on bigger hold tend to warm up plastic holds slightly deteriorating the conditions.

I have pointed out this problem since 2007 and IFSC have to deal with it in one way or another because otherwise, we will might end up with some climbers possibly not trying their best in the semifinal.

Imagine the Olympic semifinal with 20 guys and what impact the conditions could have. Do not forget same strange upside-down results from the qually to the semi in Meiringen and what Stasa said.
OffLine Jan V'
  2018-04-19 10:07:30    
"bottom line is that it is harder to be last out in comparison to be the first guy out"

? that is not bottom line, it's stated there pretty clear.

While I think this factor is non - existent or almost non - existent in finals where there are just a few (usually six) athletes, it can have impact in semi - finals and especially in qualification round, especially in venue as Meiringen is where it gets warmer with time. Surely some stronger guys didn't get into the semis.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 11:39:32    
Apparently there were quite a lot of talk among both the athletes and the trainers in Meiringen in regards worse conditions for the last man out, also in the final. Even the commentators mentioned that the conditions were getting worse when Schubert where climbing.

If you check the stats for the finals since 2007, you will see that there is almost no correlation in between the results in the semi and the final which some find a bit strange.You would expect that the one winning the semi would have greater chances of winning the final but that is not the case. In regards the WCH, there is actually a negative correlation meaning that the #6 in the semifinal are the ones that most often have become the world champions.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-19 15:10:33    
I've seen lots of posts here in 8a, that show finals results do correlate with semis results in the World Cup. i.e. while Jens has often made his 'upside down' claim, I've seen many statistical analyses that say he is wrong.

The expectation would have to be pretty vague in any case. It's not like the 100 meter dash in athletics, where the playing field is basically always the same. In bouldering, the problems change from round to round, in very significant ways. That means finals will likely favor different climbers than semis did. That's maybe the major theme underlying Neumann's article.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 15:23:36    
There is no significant correlation in between semi and final result.

My point is that in all other sport there is a stronger correlation in between results.

After meiringen, many coaches and athletes have said that it is better to start first. This is something I have said since 2007.

To say that problems change and because of this different problems will favor different climbers is like saying there is no correlation in between competitions. If you look at Meiringen, I am sure we will see a strong general correlation with Moscow... but possibly not semi vs final.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-19 16:31:20    
I don't have them at hand, but I'm pretty sure lots of posts showed significant correlations between semis and finals.

The comparison to other sports, even if true (Jens has said it is true but hasn't proved that as yet) doesn't really work. In other sports, the playing field is the same from round to round. In running, the track is the same. In high jump and pole vault, the bar doesn't change, and neither does the runway. Weight lifters always lift the same bars, with the same weights on them. Speed skaters race around the same oval. Swimmers swim in the same pool.

Not so in climbing. The problems change radically, between qualifiers, semis and finals. That was the entire lede to Neumann's article.

Some climbers are so great, they nearly always make semis and finals. It's hard to know the order, though. But does it surprise anyone if Janja wins, whether she qualified first or sixth? Same with Shauna last year. Same with Chon, or Tamoa in 2016.

I doubt it's valid statistically to break out the World Championship results. The numbers are simply too small.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 17:01:39    
There are many sports with different playground or that you meet different opponents with different skills and tactic, like football, icehockey, sailing etc.

Why is there a correlation in between competitions but no significant correlation between a semi and a final?

The best female boulderer in the history, Anna Stöhr, has won like 25 times. Interestingely, she did win in like 65 % of the cases when she started among the first two but only in 35 % of the cases when she started among the two last.

In any case, coaches and athletes say it is unfair that the conditions deteriorate during the competition and this is what I have said since 2007. Please also remember that also the commentators said that this mght be a reason why Schubert could not do the first problem.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-19 19:09:52    
You haven't shown there is no correlation between semis and finals. Others in these pages have shown there is. I clearly remember seeing that, well more than once.

The correlation between competitions is easy. The best climbers, on average, come out on top more. Sometimes one or two climbers are much better than the rest. They virtually always make finals, and once there, are more likely to win. As Neumann put it, they can more quickly adapt to the changes each round requires.

I'm sure you're right that the friction is less for the last climbers. A clear disadvantage, which IFSC should try to change. But the last climbers have some advantages too. They lead going into the last round: their fate is in their own hands. That is not true of anyone else in the comp.

The last climbers know where everyone else stands, and they know which boulders are hard and easy. i.e. they have more information. In a sport that has such a mental aspect to it, that extra knowledge is a big advantage.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 20:19:20    
There is no SIGNIFICANT correlation is what I have said.

Penelty kick statistics say that the first team to shoot wins in 65 % showing what you suggest is in reality a disadvantage :) it is better to start with No or little info available.
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2018-04-19 20:24:00    
As far concerning lights and temperature: in skis is normal to invert position. So the best on semifinals, gets the worst conditions. Everybody lives with it!

@ Jan V: the problem is not Solution, it's how it's made which is not working for that specific footholds. But you can see the problem before on the video, it was Drago which could have stick to that sloper/slab better than Solution, but slip on a clear small foothold.
Once you see a climber looking at his fingertips because he is sweating, he/she should realize that cleaning shoes on sweaty legs, is not the case.
I have never ever seen a local in Bleau cleaning shoes on sweaty skin! They spit on soles to then clean them better, nt to wet them for the same of it!
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 21:07:06    
In bouldering you do not accumulate the semi and final result. It is not that the last person who won the semi starts with one extra top or zone like in skiing where the last person has like 0,5 second to go.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-19 22:31:47    
@Jens. I'm aware of one study that showed 60% advantage for going first in penalty kick shootouts, not 65%. But several later studies only found 53% advantage. Given margin of errors, even that 60% study could in fact mean only a 54% advantage. Next to nothing.

Can you give a link to the study or studies that show 65%?
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-19 23:04:57    
If it a 60 % advantage in world cups that is of course a clear advantage. As a matter of a fact, they have actually started to test that the teams should do two shootouts per team after the first one as this 60 % creates unfairness. The error margin is very small in such statistics. Please show me several studies showing just 53 % advantage.

Once again, if the coaches and athletes complain about the disadvantage of starting last, they just confirm with what I have been saying for years.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-19 23:46:51    
Jens, so the 65% figure you cited is not right?

Here's a link to the study that found 53% advantage: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11445/1/dp_kocher_lenz_sutter.pdf

And here's the third sentence from the abstract to that study: "Teams kicking
first win only 53.4% of 262 shootouts in our data, which is not significantly different from random."

i.e. according to that study, there is no statistical advantage at all.

edit: if football thinks there really is an advantage in going first, they could easily neutralize it. Here's one way. Hold two penalty kicks at the same time, with each team kicking, at two ends of the field. No one goes first, and no one goes last. If they worry that the keepers will watch what's going on at the other end, roll out a mobile screen at midfield, so they can't see past it.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-20 08:55:33    

Obviously, they think it is so unfair that the first team wins so often so they have actually tested a new system for shootouts.

The coaches and athletes think also that IFSC have to deal with this unfairness that starting first is better.
OffLine Philippe Vaucher
  2018-04-20 11:38:44    
There's a difference between what people in the sport think and real evidence. Your article basically only cites one source of evidence which says 60% https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1373669. We saw with John that another study found 53%.

Maybe there is indeed a first kick advantage, but based on these two studies I'm more likely to think that the advantage, if any, is very minimal or inexistant.

We need more studies to find out.

About what people think, most of the time the people with the most biased opinions are the ones expert about the topic. For example, a lot of nurses think there are more people born around the full moon, but when you check the data (which is very easy to do in developped countries) you find out that this is not the case.
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2018-04-20 11:47:03    
Let me politely tell you that you are not getting the point.
If you are in location A, may be later, means outside is colder therefore it's better also inside. Or Air condition works better due to less sun...
If you are in location B, may be later, means lights and public heat up the temperature, so its worse.
If you are, as example, in Innsbruck outside, later is colder but damper... Who know if it's better!
If the guy in front of you has greasy hands because he cleans his hairs before you, then you slip...
That's the sport.

If a footholds gets rubbered, is it actually better o worse? Why racing cars and bikes make faster laps if there is more rubber on tarmac?

So, again, that's the sport. May be playing snooker flattens the importance of conditions.
OffLine John Render
  2018-04-20 15:20:48    
@ Jens: you ask for a study, I supply it, you respond by ignoring the results, and instead appealing to authority. That is one of the main logical fallacies.

Why don't you address the point made in the study I cited? If you do that, you might also comment on the next two sentences in that study, which say...

"Our findings have two implications: (1) Apesteguia and Palacios-Huerta’s results [the study that claimed 60% advantage -- JR] are not generally robust. (2) Using specific subsamples without a coherent criterion for data selection might lead to non-representative findings.
OffLine Jean-Baptiste Jourjon
  2018-04-20 15:37:01    
Conditions is a vast and interesting topic, and surprisingly not well discussed.
Temperature, wind, moisture, cleanliness, skin erosion...

I'm surprised that no rag is allowed to smash holds so as to remove dust and dry holds. A good brushing only mixes dust especially on big flat volumes.
Also, holds are often brushed whereas they're not dirty but wet. Brushing is useless in that case.
Having fans (ventilators) would help drying climber's hands and holds to compensate for indoor conditions and radiation from projectors.
Rags, fans, other things like this could and should be envisaged to be more equal from first to last climber.
OffLine Philippe Vaucher
  2018-04-20 15:50:45    
Another solution is to do less friction-dependent boulders. But as Emanuele said, this is part of the sport.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2018-04-20 16:53:32    
In the case of Meiringen, it seems that also the quality of the holds loosing their surface friction and getting heated up to quickly, was a big problem. I will follow this up with an article.
OffLine Jan V'
  2018-04-21 18:06:59    
Commentators didn't talk about holds/volumes getting warmer, neither did Udo Neumann. Udo Neumann said: ""Once someone has slipped off a foothold twice, the risk of slipping again increases dramatically." Why there is bigger chance to slip on the foothold after slipiing twice already he DID NOT EXPLAIN.

@Emanuele Pelizzari: "the problem is not Solution, it's how it's made which is not working for that specific footholds." - do you realize this doesn't make a sense? You basically say problem is not Solution, problem is Solution. Because to say problem is Soluation is the same as to say problem is the way Solution is made.

"Once you see a climber looking at his fingertips because he is sweating, he/she should realize that cleaning shoes on sweaty legs, is not the case." This is different from your previous point; you've said Jakob Schubert did not realize he isn't cleaning his shoes on his shorts. I've argued he did and supported that by observation that actually many climbers clean their shoes on their skin. Do some research on it please and you'll see I am not talking BS.
OffLine Jan V'
  2018-04-21 18:09:07    
Jens Larssen "In the case of Meiringen, it seems that also the quality of the holds loosing their surface friction and getting heated up to quickly, was a big problem. I will follow this up with an article."

It does seem that it wasn't the case in the finals as is discuseed thoroughly here. Point you continue to ignore.
OffLine Jesse Weiner
  2018-04-25 20:39:11    
heres a solution...

have the setters or non finalists to session on the boulders while the competitors are in iso, and everybody can have bad friction!