In my book ‘Rebuilding Blocks’ I compare the relationship between the Inkastare and the First Blaster as the relationship between the pitcher and catcher in baseball. In kubb, as in baseball, communication between these roles is integral for success. The tighter the Inkastare throws – and the fewer options they leave for the defenders – the more field kubbs the First Blaster can topple with a single baton. The more field kubbs toppled with the first baton – the more progress that can be made on the baseline. This metric – First Baton Efficiency, the percentage of field kubbs toppled with the first baton – is a measure of how well the Inkastare and the First Blaster work together.

At the 2015 U.S. National Kubb Championship we at Planet Kubb wanted to see which of the eight teams playing on Sunday had the highest 1BE – and if this statistic could be quickly calculated for eight teams in real-time.

I’d like to thank Jim Bernard, Jesse Fraim, Brian Ramsey for helping me record every kubb inkast and every baton thrown in the Quarter Final round. As I received the scoresheets, I quickly added up the Is and the Fs, double checking and triple checking the math. At the beginning of Sunday’s award program, I presented the traveling Nyland Sack Trophy to Kubbitz for a 47.12% 1BE. Yes, that means they toppled slightly less than 50% of the available field kubbs with the first baton. Wow.

But remember, this is the Quarterfinals at the U.S. Nationals.

1. Kubbitz – 47.12% (41f/87i)

2. Furor Celtica – 45.71% (16f/35i)

3. Ringers – 45.45% (30f/66i)

4. Kubbsicles – 44.12% (15f/34i)

5. Damage – 42.86% (15f/35i)

6. X-Kubbed – 40.9% (36f/88i)

7. Ona Orth – 38.71% (24f/62i)

8. King Pin – 37.93% (11f/29i)

Yes, just 9.2% separated these eight teams’ performances with their first baton, 3% separate the top 4. That’s far tighter than I was anticipating. Here’s where I think the 1BE metric is really interesting – Kubbitz finished 1.41% ahead of Furor Celtica but did so by inkasting and toppling 2.5x the field kubbs. Kubbitz & X-Kubbed had more kubbs inkast in game 1 (and then again in game 2) than Furor Celtica and Kubbsicles had in their entire match.

Congrats again to Kubbitz for consistently making progress with the first baton across 3 long games.

And yes, we’re now taking suggestions for the kubb statistic Planet Kubb should highlight at the 2016 U.S. National Kubb Championship.

Special thanks to Dobbie for reviewing game state a few days later and highlighting where clarifications and corrections were needed to more clearly communicate the play.

Is 1BE intended to be the ratio of field kubbs toppled to the number of field kubbs in play, or only the number of field kubbs drilled in that turn? Are kubbs left in play from prior turns intentionally omitted from the calculation?

Kubbs remaining from previous turns are not counted in the inkast, they could be included in the numerator. Yes, this means there’s is a theoretical chance the percentage could be higher than 100. In practicality having a field kubb remaining indicates a deficiency in overall efficiency @ 6 batons. Overcoming that deficiency with a single baton would be quite impressive.

Would you consider a metric in 2016 that indicated how well a team plays the ‘defensive’ role? It’s a part of the game that sometimes gets lost to offense (inkasting and baton throwing), but serves as a game changer in many situations. I have always been a big fan of defensive sports/teams, so calculating the team with the best defense (kubb raising and punishment kubb placement) would intrigue me so.

Would this be some sort of inverted efficiency score? How could you find the team with the best defense?

Perhaps the delta between the average field efficiency of team A’s opponents when facing other teams (not team A) vs. field efficiency against Team A.

The question becomes, can you do that calculation expeditiously on Sunday?

Dobbie, you bring up a question I’ve been increasingly wondering about; is there a way to illustrate & compare all the possible combinations of raise a given grouping of field kubbs. Competitive play necessitates being decisive, what’s the venue for exploring the available options?

All possible option comparison seems unlikely, but I think there’s a way to illustrate and compare the effectiveness of inkasting by the percentage of “forced” options and “choice” options.

As an example, if an inkastare throws 8 kubbs in and 4 our forced (elevated, leaning, on line, or obstructed on one end), you could say that inkastare was at 50% “choice”. The lower number, the less defensive options the opponent has, which would equate to a higher performance in that role.

But documenting this activity would be near-impossible without overhead cameras above each basket, and painted/chalked lines to help determine in/out forces.

This is an indicator I use in practice, and I’m always trying to push for less choices in my groups.

Hard to measure, but distance between raised Kubbs, or number groups is the only defensive metric that comes to mind. Not easily measured without stopping the game or an overhead photograph.

To Dan’s point…..

In Spring Grove they did a side-game where they measured the circumference of a group. I thought it was quite a good way to measure. The only thing I would have done differently is measured distance between the left and right kubbs (x) and distance between the front and back kubbs (y).

I firmly believe that leaving distance “laterally” should be weighted differently than leaving distance “vertically (front to back).

So perhaps you could measure x and y, add a 1.5 weighting to x and a 1.0 weighting to y to get a group rating (GR).

If x is 10 cm and y is 12 your group rating would be:

(10×1.5)+(12×1.0) = 27 GR

And maybe another group at x is 5 cm and y is 16 would be:

(5×1.5)+(16×1.0) = 23.5

…as an example