This weekend marks another mile stone for the Red Sevens- we will be playing in Division 2 again a bit of history as the first Singaporean Team in Division 2.
It is not the first time we are going to play the M7 format as we had done twice before in Taiwan during the Asian Invitational and the World Games. In MPOC the format is slightly modified with race to 2 points where as in Taiwan it was a race to 3 points. There was guaranteed a swap of starting gates when you have to play 3 points. The max points in a race to 3 is 5 where as in MPOC it would be 3.
During practice last weekend a few points came up and I reminded the team that we're playing xball - the mind set has to be changed. With a coach and spotter in play - everyone has to get used to listening to the coaching some thing which I still find hard to do. We're also playing for 2 points so even if you lose the first point you'd still have to get into the pits and get ready for the next point.
Preparation and planning before the match counts as much as during the points. Everyone has to know the plays and their jobs of course but with the addition of a race to format. You'd also have to prepare for the change overs - when they come in to get cleaned, paint and air. Everything has to be laid out and organised in the easiest and fastest, least chaotic way.
I have developed my technique of organising the pit area how to get everyone cleaned up and podded up - smoothly. Hopefully we wont get into each other's way and with a race to 2 its less frantic than a race to 3. I certainly hope we will get pit areas on the side of the stewards booth along with air inside - otherwise we'd have to run out for air.
We have to come up with plays and code words for things we want to do in the game. This is an added dimension to the game - we have more things to consider in what I think is a more compressed time frame. M7/ xball no doubt will be a faster game as compared to the M5 format. I always say that the 8 mins of a game is the fastest 8 mins in my life.
We would also have to have more gear- more pods, loaders, tanks and extra gun set ups on stand by.
COACH AND CREW
For me personally I enjoy coaching and crewing immensely and I am looking forward to doing it again. We might be short on crews and a spotter but if Hostile Intentions* can win the WCA with practically no crew and no spotter - I guess its not impossible to get by with out some.
Ramping to me isn't that much of a difference- I don't think it was much of an advantage playing ramp at 13bps in Taiwan. You do get a consistent stream of paint of course and that does help when you're laning and bunkering.
But the drawback is having to be aware of your paint and having to reload a lot. Some guys can pull faster than 13, heck Ken Tsuda told me the kids on Oakland Blast pull 19-25++ bps on their Bob Longs that shits on 13bps ramp.
* Hostile Intentions had only 6 (?) players and a girlfriend as crew. There was no spotter until the finals (I spot for them out during the final) and they didn't even have anyone to collect pods for them and they were running out of pods during the match. I crewed 1 game for them and I thought they were going to have a hard time getting through to Sunday without a proper crew but they ended up as champions - which I think adds to their achievement.