22 October 2018

Gender matching in mixed ultimate

Mixed ultimate is usually played with 4 women and 3 men, or 3 men and 4 women.

As of 2018, the AFDA has adopted a step to have these gender splits used equally in National Events. It is called the prescribed ratio rule. This move to equality has introduced some small logistical issues.

From the WFDF rules Appendix:

A7.2 Ratio Rule A ("prescribed ratio" rule)

A7.2.1. At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the gender ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern).
This is more equitable than having offence choose the gender split. Almost equal number of points with each gender split are played in a game.

However, it is logistically challenging. Players regularly have to ask their teammates and opponents what the next gender split is, and confusion ensues. Too many teams at the recent AUC Division 2 championships were in the middle of a point when they realised that a gender split had not been followed correctly.

So the disadvantages of the current version of the Ratio Rule are that mistakes happen too often
and time is wasted on communicating logistics rather than playing ultimate

There are some solutions.

Firstly, play 6 on 6, with 3 men and 3 women. A big change, but a successful one as the Australian Ultimate League shows. A change that may only happen long term.

Secondly, have game advisors there to tell teams the gender split whenever they ask. This is only going to happen in a few select games.

Here is a third option. Simplify Ratio Rule A by having all games in a given period start with 4 women and 3 men. Looking at the score will allow teams to more easily determine the gender split of that point.

The given period can be the day of a tournament so that Day 1 games start with 4 women, Day 2 games start with 4 men, Day 3 with 4 women. Or for an even simpler arrangement, the given period can be a year: games in 2019 start with 4 women, games in 2020 start with 4 men and so on. After a tournament or two in 2019, you'd just know that a score of 8-4 means 4 women play next point and 8-5 means 4 men play.

It's only a partial solution, but it does simplify matters.

Who wants to try this method?

1 comment:

  1. An excellent solution, Owen. I think having a second disc flip overly complicates things when the result won't really matter in the grand scheme of things, and the decision seems rather arbitrary (unlike direction and offense/defense status). My first thought would be that whether Point 1 is 4-3 or 3-4 should just be determined by the event (ie: "This tournament is 4-3 for point 1" or "This league is a 3-4 start for all games") but then I remembered there are teams that play multiple leagues concurrently, and if different leagues choose different things it could still cause confusion. Much better for the AFDA (or WFDF) to declare 2019 the year of "4-3 start" and then alternate each year.

    As an aside, I find your suggestion change the sport to 6v6 interesting. It would change quite a lot of things about the game at high levels. Any reason you'd choose that over going up to 8v8?