Are You Point Chasing?
WHY THE POINT BONANZA OF SPRING SERIES
RACING MIGHT BE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
BY CLAIRE ABBE AND DAVE WALLER
Who doesn’t love spring series racing? You can finally ditch the puffy parka for a
fleece and sunglasses on the chairlift; you can take advantage of a season of excel-
lent training; and, with hope, you can nab a low-point result.
Another “wow” factor for many athletes is the chance to compete against world-class
athletes who are tired from a season of racing, but are still willing to give back to the
sport by competing in spring series races. In this super-charged environment, ath-
letes, coaches and parents focus on preparing athletes for what are hopefully top-level
performances and results.
But for some, spring series racing is a “point bonanza” during which athletes score
big results that significantly lower their seed points. Athletes scour the race programs
across the country looking for low-penalty races. For this reason, race organizers fran-
tically contact elite athletes attempting to lure them to their race.
“Point chasing,” as it is commonly called, is ill advised, according to USSA officials.
Entering a low-penalty race does not guarantee that the athlete will score a result — in
fact, some such races are the most difficult at which to score a result.
“Coaches and athletes should work together to develop a racer-management plan
that balances training and racing activity,” says Walt Evans, the director of competi-
tion for USSA. “Competition is the opportunity for racers to validate their training and
test their skills. When the racer-management plan is tossed out to point-chase, the
athlete’s skill development progression will be stalled. This is unfortunate, as it will of-
ten frustrate the athlete and they may experience a competition-performance plateau,
which could result in the athlete leaving the sport.”
Occasionally, the top racers perform below their ability and seed level, enabling the
rest of the field to score better results. One top athlete having a bad day is not a con-
Spring fever can backfire.