The NAPA Skill-level system (or handicap system) is desired to give everyone a chance to have fun competing, regardless of what your skill level is! League Operators have not control over the player skill levels once the player has been created in the NAPA League Management System (and even during player creation there are stringent guidelines); it is important that players are created with a fair, correct skill level the first time. The skill levels are constantly refined as the player completes each match.
Having a skill level that is too high (they loose most of the time) could cause players to not want to play any more. Rating a player too low (they win most of the time) causes issues with other players. NAPA relies on other players, captains, and even the player themself to give honest and accurate feedback. There are many tools for that as well.
A typical skill ranking system rates a player between 2 and 7. NAPA uses a different system; whereby its skill system ranks players from 0 to virtually no upper limit (although practically it is around 140). Races are adjusted based on skill levels to give each player at 50% change of winning this way NAPA accounts for "super 7s" and "cant make a ball 2s" as well as everything in between.
What makes the NAPA skill level system different?
Unlike many league scoring systems, you do not have to could innings, ball counts, or event defensive shots (which are subjective). This makes is much more easier and enjoyable to keep score - it also gives a more accurate, unbiased assessment of a player's skill level. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a highly skilled player - NAPA's skill level system gives everyone the opportunity to win.
Every good handicapping system is based on the premise that each player should end up with a 50-50 chance to win. We wall know that a limited range handicap system lends it self to players that are "above" the top-end of the skill system and those that are "below" the bottom-end of the skill system. This makes for matches that are uneven when players in the match fit into those categories. NAPA not only adjusts the races based on the skills of the players, but also constantly refines player skill levels - making the system self-tuning over time.
How is your NAPA skill level calculated?
NAPA uses an adapted form of the Elo Rating system, which is the system used for calculating the relative skill levels of players in a two-player game such as chess. The Elo Rating System serves as the foundation for many games, including multiplayer computer-based games such as Scrabble, Backgammon, and Football. Some leagues use a form of the Elo system to determine their handicaps - They use the Fargo System.
Skill levels may fluctuate for the first few weeks but will eventually level off. It is not uncommon to have your skill level change up to 7 points over night either up or down. During the next few weeks, the fluctuation gets smaller and smaller until it changes by a single point or two up or down. Players skill levels adjust as needed after each match. You will be able to see your skill level adjust, either up or down - no more wondering. You will always know your handicap and see it change each time you play.
Much like the US Chess Foundation or the US Backgammon Federation, when you win, your skill level increases and when you lose, it decreases. Although NAPA's formula is different - the concept is the same.
What Skill level do you start with?
It depends. NAPA provides a calculator to determine what your skill level should be based on known ability from other leagues or from your Fargo score. If the known ability is not known - there is a guidelines that can be used to determine your skill level based on observing how you play.
This site provides a skill level calculator, found on the Online Skill Level Calculator.
Why Trust NAPA's Skil Level System?
The NAPA handicapping system is a proprietary adaptation of the ELO Rating System. Each player's individual skill level and the number of games needed to win his or her match is determined using this time-proven method.
Who created the Elo Rating System?
Arpad Elo, a respected chess master and professor of Physics at Marquette University, created the formula.
What is the Elo System?
The ELO system is a method for calculating the relative skill level of a player in a sport or game based on head-to-head performance. In its most basic form, the ELO system is based on the following formulae:
More in-depth explanations, and just what the heck the above formula means, can be found HERE. Also, if you think the formula above is familiar, take a look at this video.
When was Elo formulated?
The ELO system was developed in 1960 and implemented by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1970. The ELO system has since been adapted to countless leagues/polls ever since.
Where else is the Elo System used?
Most notably, the ELO system has been used to calculate rankings/handicaps for the following organizations: NCAA football's BCS (Bowl Championship Series) rankings, World Chess Federation (FIDE), FIFA (women's international soccer), and World of Warcraft (online roll playing game).
Perhaps most prominently, the ELO system was used as the basis for "Facemash" - the predecessor to Facebook. Do you remember the dorm room formula scene from the biographically-inspired movie... that’s why the above figures look so familiar!
Why was Elo created/
By definition performance cannot be measured absolutely; it can only be inferred from wins and losses against other players. A player's ELO Rating depends on the ratings of his or her opponents and the results scored against them. The relative difference in rating between two players determines a projection for the expected score between them and a handicap is assigned to each individual in order to make that matchup as "winnable" by each participant as possible.
NAPA Keeps teams together
Players argue that some league handicap systems are desired to ensure that teams have to break apart if the players wish to continue to play. That may be an end result of the team handicap, but in NAPA, the primary reason for a team skill point cap is to help ensure that matches are not one-sided. NAPA League operators have the ability to set their own guidelines for team skill caps, certainly NAPA provides recommendations - but ultimately it is up to the League Operator.
Lets compare the NAPA guidelines to the APA guidelines:
In converting APA handicaps to NAPA handicaps the rule is to add a 0 and then add 10. For example if you are a 3 in APA, add a 0 (30) and add 10 (40). So your handicap in NAPA would be a 40. So for a four person team in APA the max limit is 19. So add a 0 (190) and add 40, each player add 10, gives you 230 which is an equivalent team handicap in NAPA. HOWEVER, the standard team handicap in NAPA for a 4 person team is 260 which is 30 points HIGHER than an APA team handicap. That equates to a team handicap in APA of 22 for a 4 person team but they only allow 19! NAPA allows players to stay together! Actually, NAPA also has the option of raising team handicaps. Columbia and Jefferson City have a team handicap of 280! That equates to 24 in APA for a 4 person team! A 5 person team is even better!
In APA a 5 person team handicap is 23. To find the NAPA equivalent add a 0 (230) and add 10 for each player (50) to get 280. But the handicap in NAPA for a 5 person team is 325!! That equates to an APA team handicap for 5 person team of over 28 and not 23!
NAPA keeps teams together longer than APA BECAUSE of their handicap!