One of the more daunting tasks facing those teams chosen/selected/voluntold to head up a major (Level II or III) match face is staffing the match. Without a solid staffing plan, matches just do not run very well, if at all.
Generally, this is a cooperative effort between the Match Director(s) and Range Master(s). Match Directors are usually more local to the match than the Range Masters simple because there are only so many Range Masters in the country and so getting a certified Range Master for your match often means they have to travel.
As of this writing, there are around 30 active certified Range Masters in the US. This number ebbs and flows over time as certifications are achieved and dropped. For as long as I have been an RM (since 2007) the number has remained fairly constant between 25 and 35. Unlike an RO or CRO, an RM has to work to retain their certification and as lives get busy or willingness to travel fades, certifications can lapse. It happens.
But for the purposes of this article, let’s assume the RM is in place and focus on the CROs and ROs you need to make your match a success.
For a Level II (State or Sectional) match, most of your staff will likely be fairly local. You may attract a few folks from out of the area looking to help out and gain major match experience but the majority will be fairly local. If you find you don’t have a big local talent pool it might be time to hold a Level I NROI Seminar (RO) and/or a Level II NROI Seminar (CRO) to build that talent pool up. Those are super easy to schedule and host and you will reap the benefits for years to come. For more information about scheduling a seminar see https://uspsa.org/nroi_seminar/information
For Level III (Area) matches your staffing needs are likely larger than for the Level II match so you will need to bring in some outside talent. The good news is that Level III matches attract outside talent more readily than Level II matches and as long as you build your budget accordingly and can offer some compensation to the ROs you shouldn’t have much problem filling your staff list.
So, how many staff do you need? For a Level II match you can, if you need to, roll with a single static CRO on each stage and then mix and match to be sure you have certified ROs on each squad to help out. This model does work. Avoid, at all costs, the notion of using embedded CROs. There is too much room for error with this model and stages will get tossed right and left because different people interpret stage procedure differently leading to competitive equity issues. I got sucked into trying this model once very early in my RM career and vowed to never do it again; It was not a good experience.
For static staff on each stage you generally will need a minimum of two certified staff (CRO and RO) for every Short course or Speed Shoot, and three on every Medium course or Long course. If the stage is spread out and/or has lots of gadgets and props that need to be reset then increase your staffing accordingly. The right amount of staff goes a long way toward staying on schedule and being able to absorb the inevitably reshoots, weather delays, and other weird things that happen. If you staff your match on the edge, don’t be too surprised if things go wrong and your schedule falls off the cliff.
Now it is just simple math to figure out what you need for staffing. Be sure to add in a few extras because as the match draws closer life can happen and you will have a few folks have to withdraw. Be prepared for this and it isn’t a big deal.
The RM is generally going to want to make the selections for who is a CRO and who is an RO. They will base this on recommendations from the MD and others, their own knowledge of individuals on the staff list, and the RO Work Record. The CRO position is one of the biggest factors in making or breaking a match so it is natural that the RM will want to be certain their CROs are solid.
Not every RO working a match has to be certified. Non-certified folks can help with running the scoring device, supervising reset, squad management, etc. But if you find yourself having to use a lot of uncertified staff; it’s probably time for a class. A Level III match can get a half-price NROI Seminar. More details can be found at https://uspsa.org/pages/nroi/seminar
Staffing a match isn’t overly difficult, but it does take some time and diligence to get it done properly. A solid staff generally means a smooth match; and that’s what we all want to see.
See you on the ranges!