If you’ve been responsible for making lineups for roller derby, you know what a daunting task it can be. No tool can do everything a good coach can do, such as putting out certain pairings or deal with penalties, but a good tool can certainly help reduce mistakes even the best lineup tracker can make.
Introducing my roller derby Lineup Tracker Builder Tool. It is available on Google Drive as a Template.
Preview the template here and click the button “Use this template” to automatically save a copy to your Drive.
URL of the template: https://drive.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0AjUsGHum8n4kdEp0NDVDNjIyUl9XYUtoUGE4VEVRYVE
If you already know how to kick ass in spreadsheets, then simply make a copy of it in your own Google Drive, read the Documentation sheet and have fun. For those who need a tour, here’s a detailed instruction sheet.
After making a copy, be sure to name your sheet something that makes organizational sense. I actually have a folder in my Google Drive where I keep all the lineups I’ve created. Then I create a file name starting with the date in yyyymmdd format and usually our opponent (since we’re always the same and my folder is named ECDD lineups). For example, if Elm City is playing Central Vermont on May 11, 2013 I would name the file 20130511CentralVermont. By putting the date first and with the Year/Month/Day in that order, your files will automatically order themselves chronologically with your newest file at the bottom.
The first sheet (you might think of it as a page) you should visit is the Documentation sheet. This sheet has very specific instructions on how to use the tool so that you don’t always have to come back and find this blog post. The file may not open up on the Documentation sheet. There are four sheets: Period 1, Period 2, Stats, and Documentation. You’ll see the tabs to select sheets on the bottom of your screen. To get to the Documentation sheet, click on the word Documentation.
On the Documentation sheet, you will add your roster in the “Enter your roster HERE” table.
The names you have entered in the right column of the roster will be available to you in the Period 1 and Period 2 lineup sheets.
Different leagues use different names for their positions. For many years teams pretty much consistently used Jammer, Pivot, Blocker 1, Blocker 2, and Blocker 3. That is the default for this sheet. But if you want to change that, you can do so in the other table on the Documentation sheet.
For example, Elm City some times uses one special blocker position which we call either Blocker 3 or Swing. In some of the examples, you’ll see the lineups are marked J, P, B, B, B3. The allocated space for the position name is only 2 characters, so if you do change the notation, keep it short.
NOTE: At this time, if you want to use the Stats sheet effectively, the Jammer and Pivot must be in the first and second positions respectively. If you need to print your sheets out in a different order, I suggest you make additional sheets in your workbook and copy the calculated sheet cells then reorder them. Or get your lineup tracker to use them in this order. Changing the order is a future feature I’d like to add.
Selecting the Lineups
Select the sheet of the Period you want to work on by clicking on its tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet. Most people start with Period 1.
This spreadsheet uses a feature called “Data Validation” to allow you to select, from a pull down list, only the names you entered into the roster on the Documentation sheet. To choose a skater for a position, simply click on the down arrow in the right of each cell and select a skater from the list.
You can also start typing names and the spreadsheet will narrow down your list. For example if I selected this same cell and typed a “D”, I would instantly only have “Daisy” and “Duck” in my list. If I then typed a “u” only “Duck” would be available. I could then select “Duck” with my mouse or press the down arrow and Enter to put her name in that spot.
If you type a name that is NOT in your roster, Google Docs will put a hot pink triangle in the top right corner of the cell. Note: if you used Excel, data validation can be set to not allow this name at all. Google will let you put in an incorrect name, but none of the special features like stats calculations, jam counting, or duplicate checking will work.
One of the powerful features of the Lineup Tracker spreadsheet are formulas and formatting which double check your work and present important information.
As you select your skaters for each jam, the yellow highlight to the left of the skater cells will disappear (see Jam 5 above). If you do not want to intentionally skate short (and, yes, there are strategic reasons to put fewer than 5 skaters in a jam), make sure your lineups have no yellow highlights when your done.
If you select the same skater in a jam twice, the left side highlight will be red (see Jam 2 above). Simply select the instance of the skater you’d like to change – for example, I really need Daisy to jam that jam, so I’ll change the B3 instance to another skater.
Check your Work
The Stats sheet is there to help you look at your work. Most of you who have done lineups before have a general idea how often you want to play your skaters in various positions and compared to teammates. Using a lineup spreadsheet like the Lineup Tracker Building Tool takes the guesswork out of this task.
Experienced lineup makers have a sense for this, but if this is your first time, you probably know who should jam and that jammers will often play fewer jams than blockers because, generally, jamming is more exhausting than blocking. You may have newer skaters you want to play a little less than your experienced skaters. By checking the stats sheet while your working on your lineups and when you’re done, you can make sure Franny Fresh Meat doesn’t get more jams than Bertha Boutsalot.
There’s also another feature at the bottom of the Stats sheet from before I worked out the error tracking for blank cells on the Period sheets themselves. If you leave a cell or cells blank, it will let you know on the Stats sheet as well.
Once you’ve saved your own copy, you have the ability to share it with others. Simply click on the Share button at the top right of your screen and share as you see fit.
My co-captains live 60 miles away from me, so getting together before each of our bouts and scrimmages this year to discuss lineups would have been a lot of time in the car.
To share with specific people or Google Groups, add the email address of the person or group in the “Invite People” box. As you invite people or groups you will have the option to set their permission to “Is Owner”, “Can edit”, “Can comment”, or “Can View”. There can only be one owner. The owner has the ability to delete the document. If you’re leaving your league, you might want to change the ownership of documents to people who are staying on with the league. While lineups kind of have a limited shelf life, keeping them for historical reference can be helpful. Those who can edit can make changes, invite new people, comment, etc. Those who can comment are able to leave comments within the document but cannot change any of the content. The “can comment” setting is good for people who might be technically incompetent, or whom you want input from but want editorial control. Anyone who can view can also enter into chat while viewing concurrently with others. If you enter a chat in progress, you will not see anything which was entered in chat prior to joining. Chats are also not saved or archived.
There are a lot of other great features of using Google Drive and cloud computing in general. If you’d like to know more about how Google Drive can work for you and your league there are many resources available on the web.
The Lineup Tracker Builder Tool is formatted such that if you have no headers or footers on your sheet when you print, things will print out easy and evenly. Detailed instructions on how to do this, based on your browser type, are available in the right column of text on the Documentation sheet.
If you use my template, I’d really appreciate if you would rate it positively on Google. I’m also interested in direct feedback on features you’d like to see and other comments about the worksheet.