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View Full Version : Sanbagging Part 2 - Handicap system ot prevet it?



KellyStick
05-28-2007, 11:22 AM
Ok, I was surprised at the amount of discussion in my previous post about sandbagging. I still enjoy playing is the APA (most of the time). I have spent some thought around developing a new set of rules to prevent sandbagging or somehow better account for it in ordet to make it a near pointless endevour. I have not come up with much. One thought might be that handicaps don't follow the person but rather follow the person as it is associated with the given team. Thus preventing sandbagging on Tuesday to but really playing hard on Wednesday. BUt this is not a solution to much as it has issues. Any thoughts on key aspects of a good handicap system or specific ideas about a handicap systems?

MrLucky
05-28-2007, 12:00 PM
actually it already does this! if you play APA on 3 teams your handicap is yours all innings and safeties and games are entered under your player number not by a team! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

KellyStick
05-28-2007, 05:56 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> actually it already does this! if you play APA on 3 teams your handicap is yours all innings and safeties and games are entered under your player number not by a team! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>

I think you missed my point. No wonder since as I read what I typed it looked like I must be drunk. But wasn't. Just sloppy typing.

So since everything is entered under the player regardless of what team he is on or what night. Then it makes it easier to manipulate handicaps as one team can play two different nights under different names. So on tuesday eveyone just tries to work on innings and sandbag to lower their HC. BUt on Wednesday the team actually tries to win but just enough to make it to the next level. So Tuesday is like a huge anchor dragging down anyones handicap. IF you win on Wednesday then you have to lose on Tuesday plus have lots of innings which is pretty easy for a good player.

The problem in APA is once you qualify for the city tournament you can now start (coming out of your slump...) on tuesday but suddenly the team has a slump on Wednesday (The new designated day of sandbagging). MOst of the big time sandbaggers play on multiple teams and I know they play this game to the hilt. This also makes it harder to find them as sometimes they shoot ok but other times they just can't seem to make a ball. They just appear to be inconsistent players. Of course there are those out there.

So to ID these culprits is not so easy. They are slippery. So my point was to assign the persons HC to the team and the night. above are the problems so this does not work. SO why submit it as an idea? I dunno, just to get the ball rolling I guess. It's a bad idea since it would just make a mess out of things. Thus my post. Is there a perfect or at least better HC system?

pooltchr
05-28-2007, 06:34 PM
Unless it has changed, the BCA handicap system sets a players skill level at the average number of points he scores in every match he plays. Individual handicaps aren't used in matching up, but are combined on a given night for a total team handicap. Therefore, a team's handicap is the actual average score of each player. In order to lower your handicap, you have to lose quite a few matches, which only hurts the team. I have never heard of a BCA team captain wanting any of his players to lose any match. It does no good for the team. I think that is about the best system I have seen to discourage sandbagging.
Steve

jjinfla
05-29-2007, 06:23 AM
Oh, quit being so mental and just go and play and enjoy yourself. It is not like sandbaggers are the next Reyes. Just how good can a 2 or a 3 really be? Do you really think they know enough about the game to even want to sandbag? All they want to do is try and make a ball every now and then and win a match.

The APA must be doing something right since they have over 1/4 million people participating.

The only problem with the APA is all the people crying about sandbaggers.

Just teach your scorekeepers how to mark a safety on the score sheet and everything will work out in the end.

Jake

MrLucky
05-29-2007, 06:36 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> Oh, quit being so mental and just go and play and enjoy yourself. It is not like sandbaggers are the next Reyes. Just how good can a 2 or a 3 really be? Do you really think they know enough about the game to even want to sandbag? All they want to do is try and make a ball every now and then and win a match.

The APA must be doing something right since they have over 1/4 million people participating.

The only problem with the APA is all the people crying about sandbaggers.

Just teach your scorekeepers how to mark a safety on the score sheet and everything will work out in the end.

Jake <hr /></blockquote> <font color="purple">LOL! a little bit harsh but correct Jake if the captains either trained their score keepers how to KEEP SCORE !!!!!! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif and or do it themselves we would not have so many folks successfully trying to play fast and loose with handicaps!

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have had to show other teams how to do the most basic things like marking a 8 out of turn or scratch on 8 much less defenses ! it isn't rocket science I honestly think most just do not realize how important it is ! /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

KellyStick
05-29-2007, 11:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> Oh, quit being so mental and just go and play and enjoy yourself. It is not like sandbaggers are the next Reyes. Just how good can a 2 or a 3 really be? Do you really think they know enough about the game to even want to sandbag? All they want to do is try and make a ball every now and then and win a match.

The APA must be doing something right since they have over 1/4 million people participating.

The only problem with the APA is all the people crying about sandbaggers.

Just teach your scorekeepers how to mark a safety on the score sheet and everything will work out in the end.

Jake <hr /></blockquote>

Thanks for the verbal whipping. I need that sometimes. Plus I think this is the only practical solution. we start our city tournament tonight and I have already decided that everyone I play is a 7 and that they are ALL Going DOWN! I am not even going to give them a chance to shoot. They are all going to be beaten the same way. Mercilessly! If they win a game it will be due to their good luck or me making a mistake which I can only blame myself for. They are going to walk away so disgusted saying "I hardly got a chance to shoot! And when I did I had no shot!". I plan to beat the known sandbaggers with particular pleasure. Let them sandbag. I care not!

Rich R.
05-29-2007, 12:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr>Thanks for the verbal whipping. I need that sometimes. Plus I think this is the only practical solution. we start our city tournament tonight and I have already decided that everyone I play is a 7 and that they are ALL Going DOWN! I am not even going to give them a chance to shoot. They are all going to be beaten the same way. Mercilessly! If they win a game it will be due to their good luck or me making a mistake which I can only blame myself for. They are going to walk away so disgusted saying "I hardly got a chance to shoot! And when I did I had no shot!". I plan to beat the known sandbaggers with particular pleasure. Let them sandbag. I care not! <hr /></blockquote>
Now, that is the right attitude. I wish you the best of luck.

BigRigTom
05-29-2007, 02:19 PM
<font color="red"> "They are all going to be beaten the same way. Mercilessly!" </font color>

I like it too! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
This is the way we all need to think in the APA!
People know how to score they just don't do it and don't want to do it right.
If we just beat them scratch then the handicap doesn't matter anymore.

If we lose we have to just suck it up and play better next time.

lifelover
05-29-2007, 03:54 PM
The APA Handicap Reward System
By J. Howard ďHankĒ Dowdell

One topic that gets talked about in our pool league circuit is the APA handicap system and to the degree possible I thought it worthy to enlighten the players about some things I feel effect handicaps. The handicap system is in place to HELP players and teams, not hurt them. I feel there are several factors that contribute to how the software works before it generates and assigns a skill level to a player.

First, lets say Congratulations to any player that has just moved up in skill level. This player has improved their ability and has earned the right to move up in skill level, and moving up in skill level is by no means a punishment to the player or the team. It is an accomplishment to be proud of. Iím amazed when I hear that a player improved their game, went up in skill level, and the Captain or other players on the team are upset that their player improved their game. They should be congratulating them on their accomplishment.



The Scoresheet. Have you ever really taken the time to look at an 8-ball score sheet and considered the impact it has on your rating as pool player. The score sheet is probably THEE most vital piece of documentation the system uses to establish your handicap and is well worth taking into consideration. The scorekeeper should ALWAYS make sure that the score sheet is filled out correctly for each player and filled out completely. Were there any early 8-balls, scratches on the 8, and were they marked on the score sheet, etc? Everyone should learn how to keep score, not just one or two players. At the end of each rack in either 8-ball or 9-ball both scorekeepers should compare what they have to make sure everything is accurate.



Who won the lag? You havenít mastered the fine art of lagging to get your ball back to the rail closer than your opponent so you always end up racking first. Racking completely deprives you the opportunity of a break and run or making the eight on the break. It also puts you at least one shot behind your opponent. Thatís one more piece of information that goes into the software program. If the person that wins the lag elects to break it is very important that they are listed first on the score sheet, since the person that doesnít break is the guideline for when an inning is marked on the score sheet after they miss a shot.



How many innings and safeties were tallied up at the end of your game/match? Both scorekeepers should be very attentive to this process. Every time the second shooter misses, an inning should be marked for that game, and every safety shot by either player should be marked. If there is any disparity, Mike and Carol use the average number of innings and safeties marked down between the two score sheets. Donít think NOT marking innings or marking EXCESSIVE innings on YOUR score sheet will help keep your handicap down or be instrumental in raising your opponents skill level. It just doesnít work that way and certainly not that easily. Your innings and safeties are one more piece of information that goes into the system. In 9-Ball the scorekeepers generally ask each other at the end of each rack what the ball count is, innings, and dead balls, wouldnít it be a great idea if after each rack in 8-ball the scorekeepers checked with each other to compare innings, and games won by each player so far in the match?




Did you win or lose and how good or bad was it? This might seem like a no-brainer but thereís more to it than just winning or losing. If the software program is keeping track of YOUR matches, it is sure to be keeping track of your opponents. So it just stands to reason that some factors from both of your histories are entered into the equation for establishing handicaps. Yet, another piece of information entered into the system.




When were you put up during the match? I thought this was insignificant at face value until the end of the LTCís last year. As the matches progressed I watched the winning teams and which player they saved for the anchor game and it was always the same person. It was always a strong handicapped and well-seasoned shooter. Does that player outright win their match all the time or do they play a match and always take it to the hill before they win? What is YOUR average during league play, during single qualifiers, during Higher Level Tournaments? I have to believe all of these pieces of information find their way into the system.



What size table did you play on? Itís right there on the score sheet, a 3 Ĺí x 7í, 4í x 8í, or 4 Ĺí x 9í. Good or bad, the table size has an impact on EVERY player. When regional winners go out to Las Vegas and come home, how many times have you heard the story about their opponent making the 8 on the break multiple times in a single match or running rack after rack? It sounds intimidating and laudable but itís being done on 3 Ĺí x 7í tables. Iíll give the player his due for being good enough to make it to the Nationals, but make the eight on the break or run rack after rack, time after time for me on a 9í table, then Iíll bow down and worship their cue stick. The table size has a tremendous impact on your game and once again, another piece of information entered into the system.

Were you the Home or Away team? In other words, did you play on a familiar table with comfortable surroundings or did you play on a table youíve never seen before at a location not exactly conducive for league play? Guess where that information goes!

Beyond the score sheet there are other forces that influence handicaps. Does the Captain have a higher skill level player keeping score? If the Captain has a lower skill level player keeping score is there a higher skill level player next to them helping identify safeties and defense shots? Mike and Carol benefit from using the Handicap Review Committee. The committee is comprised of well-respected, unbiased players that have been with the league for more than two years. The group reviews score sheets and visually monitors some or several of your matches during a session to assess your playing ability. That doesnít always mean youíre being considered to have your handicap raised. The committee lowers handicaps too. So, the responsibility of raising handicaps is not entirely on Mike and Carolís shoulders. It could be anyone in the league making an observation and providing input for the Konaks and the system.



I have the opportunity to do a considerable amount of socializing with Mike and Carol and the more time I spend with them and the players at various tournaments and the more I study the scoresheet, the more it appears that the APA handicap system (computer software) is PROFILING its players. And I RESPECT it. I canít think of a better method of checks and balances for applying handicap levels to a player. The APA has been around for over 25 years. Thatís plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles in any system. There is no doubt they use variables in their equations that I canít pinpoint but whatever they are I think the system is 99.9% accurate, honest, and fair. And except for the very few detractors, the other 250,000 APA members nationwide think it is too. Now the next time you get into an intellectual debate about the handicap system you will be a little bit more informed about how I feel the process works.

Bottom line is, keep an accurate score sheet and enjoy your evening of pool. The system of checks and balances will take care of the handicaps, and allow any player of any skill level to have a chance to win a match regardless of who they play against. So do your part, go out, play your game and have fun; and let the league operators Mike and Carol, the Handicap Review Committee, along with the software do their part.

Just my thoughts, and I look forward to playing you in a match, regardless of your skill level.

Hank

jjinfla
05-29-2007, 05:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr> I plan to beat the known sandbaggers with particular pleasure. Let them sandbag. I care not! <hr /></blockquote>

Nobody sandbags during the playoffs.

Well, almost nobody. My then Captain, and bar owner, not only sandbagged but tossed away our chances to go to Vegas in the Semi final match a few years ago, because he couldn't take off from work and his bar to go to Vegas. But that is another story and the reason why I don't play in APA anymore nor have anything to do with that POS.

He was a pretty good sandbagger. Rated a 4 but could have easily been a 6. It is all in who you match up with and when.

Jake

Snapshot9
05-30-2007, 08:00 AM
Well, I developed a skill ranking system. It is based on
10 ball (AKA Bowliards). It can convert to any league handicapping system (BCA, VNEA, or APA). It works for
8,9, and 10 ball (like 9, but 10 ball rotation).

Based on my system, a player can Establish a starting handicap for any or all of the 3 leagues. (especially useful in handicapped tournaments).

I, also, am a retired Sr. Software Engineer, with many years experience with algorythms, formulas, and have a heavy mathematical background clear through Operations Research (The highest level math course offered in college).

To say the software is computing everything (like the APA speech) IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You have to know the logic behind it. Since I developed Software for many years, I am aware of all the intricities and pitfalls of such. I have also played Pool for 45 years, and know all aspects of it.

I will give one example of a minor error in logic that can make a difference in a league. Performing a function within a spreadsheet where it rounds up with .51 in lieu of .5, and truncates with .5 and below, when the league really calls for rounding up at .5, not .51, and it has to be done with
'manual' instructions to accomplish it in lieu of a predetermined function within the software.

An inexperienced programmer (if you call setting up spreadsheets programming ... I don't) or a person not really qualified will make these type of errors ALL THE TIME.

And in a whole system, these 'little errors' compound themselves over time to where they become big insurmountable problems later on, and then they have to get new software....LOL (wonder why?). Among systems people, we have a method we call 'DIRT' (Do It Right, Turkey).

KellyStick
05-30-2007, 05:14 PM
Well snapshot 9. I'm sorry but I totally missed your point /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif did you have a bad day?

WHen you mentioned the "APA Speech"... THat was interesting reading by the way and I take the point of proper scoring to be important. Not doubt we don't quite take it to the level we should. However, sandbaggers exist, they do manipulate the system, they do get away with it (not always and forever necessarily), proper scoring can help. In the end I don;t think the lag can have much impact on one's SL for example. I can accept it might be buried in an equation in the software but I can't believe it has more than a miniscule contribution if not less 99.9% of the time. Anyway though thanks for the insights. I will try to improve my and my teams' scorekeeping

pooltchr
05-30-2007, 05:38 PM
The lag might be more important than you are giving it credit. Suppose you had the perfect match up between two APA 3s. Neither player can ever make 3 balls in a row, but both ALWAYS make 2 per inning. Which player wins the match? (BTW, it would be a shut-out)

I ALWAYS like to see my players win the lag. It usually puts them ahead from the start.

Steve

KellyStick
05-30-2007, 06:16 PM
not referring to skil of lagging and advantage of shooting first but rather to how it impacts your SL or not. Which I think is minimal. Did you read my post? BY the way we always flip for the break here. I'm gonna start asking for the lag like it says in the rules. Here in BTR it's like a tradition to flip not lag.

Bob_Jewett
05-31-2007, 12:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr>... APA ... Any thoughts on key aspects of a good handicap system or specific ideas about a handicap systems? <hr /></blockquote>
You can minimize sandbagging by paying more attention to whether a player wins or loses matches as opposed to how many innings he takes to win. Google on the "NPL" handicapping system to find lots of previous discussion. Several independent leagues use something like it.

If you are trying to reform the APA handicapping system, I think your chances are pretty slim.

pooltchr
05-31-2007, 05:51 PM
Kelly,
I would definitely demand lagging for what many consider to be the most important shot in the game. Why would you want to leave the decision to fate?
Steve

mthornto
06-02-2007, 09:13 PM
About winning the lag. I really think that depends on the opponent. I don't play in any 8 ball leagues, but I do play pool against people of different skill levels regularly. There are plenty of players I want to give the break. If my opponent does not run out regularly and plays overly aggressive 8 ball (this covers a lot of players), I want him to break. Nothing better than stepping up to the table after my opponent breaks and runs 5 balls or so before missing of safing himself.

BigRigTom
06-04-2007, 08:01 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mthornto:</font><hr> About winning the lag. I really think that depends on the opponent. I don't play in any 8 ball leagues, but I do play pool against people of different skill levels regularly. There are plenty of players I want to give the break. If my opponent does not run out regularly and plays overly aggressive 8 ball (this covers a lot of players), I want him to break. Nothing better than stepping up to the table after my opponent breaks and runs 5 balls or so before missing of safing himself. <hr /></blockquote>

Instead of giving that player the break why not break yourself and IF you don't have a run out immediately play your way to a killer safe that will give you ball in hand....or....play yourself into a position such that when you do miss your opponent will NOT have a complete run out.
You can do that by intentionally causing a cluster in your opponents balls possibly more than one cluster so that he can not likely break up both.

I ALWAYS try to get the break and if I don't sink the 8 ball on the break, I'll usually make a ball &amp; spread the rack pretty good. That is when you have to play smart pool no matter how good you are.
The only thing worse than having the other guy break in the 8 or break and run is for him to break bad and leave you hooked on the very 1st shot so that you have to attempt a forced safe with 15 balls on the table after which you have to sit down and watch him shoot.
No matter how good you are if you are sitting in the chair you can be beaten.

jdj
06-08-2007, 02:38 PM
I am fairly new to APA, and have only played 12 matches total. I have won 11 out of the 12 matches. I only play on night a week, and I am currently rated as a SK 6, in 8 ball.

So far I feel the rating system is fair, but can see where people might think sand bagging is taking place.

I have a terrible habit of playing to the level of the competition. For example, I once had to play a two, and played like my SK was 3 (or what ever level is required to still win the match). The match was won 5 to 1 but the innings were really high. This is actually quite common in many spots.

A few weeks after we played the same team, and I was matched up against there 6. I skunked him 6 to 1. I guess that means I played like a SK 7. In this set the innings were really low. There was one break and run, and one run out from the opponents scratch on the break.

I do not intentionally sandbag, I am just a pressure player. I find no pressure or skill in beating a SK 2, but found some competition in the SK 6.

I only play/practice pool one night a week, on league night. If the team I am on goes to the playoffs or nationals or what ever, I will practice more than one night a week. I would expect my SK to go up with more practice.

If our team goes to the playoffs / nationals / etc, I might be tempted to practice more.

I would love to be able to play my best game during every match, but thatís hard to do when the match up is not always competitive.

I believe the only way to remove sanbagging completly is to make each game competitive. IE. playing for money. Maybe the APA could give back the 8.00 entry fee for players that won, and make players that lost pay double.

Just a thought

jjinfla
06-08-2007, 06:17 PM
I don't see why anyone would think you are sandbagging. You are winning your matches. Your SL has moved up to a 6, and most likely your next win or two will make you a SL7 where you will spend the rest of your time with the APA.

Then as a 7 you will find yourself in the position where you will have to win each time you play. If you don't then you will hear your team mates wondering why they have a 7 on the team who can't win. LOL.

Then you will have to find more players and form another team where you will be the captain.

And the pyramid grows some more.

Just enjoy it and don't worry about sandbaggers.

Jake

TCIndepMo
06-09-2007, 01:56 AM
"So on tuesday eveyone just tries to work on innings and sandbag to lower their HC. BUt on Wednesday the team actually tries to win but just enough to make it to the next level. So Tuesday is like a huge anchor dragging down anyones handicap. IF you win on Wednesday then you have to lose on Tuesday plus have lots of innings which is pretty easy for a good player."
________________
Brilliant! I wonder if this tactic will ever occur to any APA league operators. Maybe like YEARS AGO! When viewing the computer record for each player, each week the LO can push one button on your PLAYER screen and see a break down of your WL record by team, as well as the total overall record. This allows them to easily spot the player's
"serious" night and their "dump" night.

Sandbaggers tend to flock together and their greed usually gives them away eventually. This is very helpful to the LO.

There is another section of the scoresheet that is also VERY important. I refer to that big blank space on the back. If you think your opponent is incorrectly rated, put some details on the back for the LO to review. We do, trust me. Please consider running this amateur pool league is how we make our living. It is not to our advantage to let anyone get away with sandbagging or any other sportsmanship violations. It just chases away the honest players. And you honest players will always have the cheaters outnumbered. Thank goodness for that.

In case you haven't guessed yet - I have been an APA LO for over 27 years. Occasionally I even know what I am talking about. Though some of my recently raised players will dispute this. LOL.

Good luck to everyone that qualified for the trip to Vegas this year.

Jager85
06-09-2007, 09:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jdj:</font><hr> I am fairly new to APA, and have only played 12 matches total. I have won 11 out of the 12 matches. I only play on night a week, and I am currently rated as a SK 6, in 8 ball.

So far I feel the rating system is fair, but can see where people might think sand bagging is taking place.

I have a terrible habit of playing to the level of the competition. For example, I once had to play a two, and played like my SK was 3 (or what ever level is required to still win the match). The match was won 5 to 1 but the innings were really high. This is actually quite common in many spots.

A few weeks after we played the same team, and I was matched up against there 6. I skunked him 6 to 1. I guess that means I played like a SK 7. In this set the innings were really low. There was one break and run, and one run out from the opponents scratch on the break.

I do not intentionally sandbag, I am just a pressure player. I find no pressure or skill in beating a SK 2, but found some competition in the SK 6.

I only play/practice pool one night a week, on league night. If the team I am on goes to the playoffs or nationals or what ever, I will practice more than one night a week. I would expect my SK to go up with more practice.

If our team goes to the playoffs / nationals / etc, I might be tempted to practice more.

I would love to be able to play my best game during every match, but thatís hard to do when the match up is not always competitive.

I believe the only way to remove sanbagging completly is to make each game competitive. IE. playing for money. Maybe the APA could give back the 8.00 entry fee for players that won, and make players that lost pay double.

Just a thought <hr /></blockquote>

I AM THE SAME EXACT WAY. I am also a SL6 and play bad whenever I play lower numbers. Subconsiously I know that it does not matter if I miss against a SL2 because the chances of them running out is very low. Hey I'll have another shot no stress/pressure here.

Curtis

Scott Lee
06-11-2007, 12:24 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TCIndepMo:</font><hr>
There is another section of the scoresheet that is also VERY important. I refer to that big blank space on the back. If you think your opponent is incorrectly rated, put some details on the back for the LO to review. We do, trust me. Please consider running this amateur pool league is how we make our living. It is not to our advantage to let anyone get away with sandbagging or any other sportsmanship violations. It just chases away the honest players. And you honest players will always have the cheaters outnumbered. Thank goodness for that.

In case you haven't guessed yet - I have been an APA LO for over 27 years. Occasionally I even know what I am talking about. Though some of my recently raised players will dispute this. LOL.
<hr /></blockquote>

Great post! Even though I was only an LO for 4 yrs., I always prodded my players to WRITE IT DOWN on the back of the scoresheet whenever they felt like something funny was going on. I've stated before, there was NO sandbagging in my league. The main reason is that it was small enough for me to know every player. When your league gets large (150+ teams) the LO has to rely on division managers and the board of governors.

Scott Lee

KellyStick
06-12-2007, 11:29 AM
I understand the responsibilities of the LO and the players keeping score a little more. I think my area suffered from a LO that just input the data and never did anything to stop cheaters. Cheating became almost common place if you wanted to be competitive. Thus it was a vicious cycle.
Well actuall the previous LO might actually promoted cheating so to speak. This is how bad it was. One of the biggest sandbaggers who organized other sandbagger teams (who has now been kicked out of the league for cheating by the way) used to be one of the people who entered the data from the score sheets.

With our new LO I have seen some movement towards reeling this stuff in but years of neglect are hard to fix overnight.

Thanks for all the posts. Our new session starts this week. I'll likely be fishing down in Katrina ravaged country that day but I now have a new approach to dealing with the SBs from now on.