2013 Ontario IFAA Indoor Field Championships

IPOD FEB 2013 278

From January 19th-27th Ontario held it is first of two annual indoor provincial championships, the indoor Field Championships. This annual tournament is hosted by many sites across the province with mail-in scoring. Since indoor tournaments do not have varying weather conditions, you can facilitate a larger target population and multiple host clubs as long as you employ provincial level judges.

This tournament consists of two rounds of 6 ends, with five arrows per end. The target is a 5 ring IFAA target with a white center and four blue rings. The center white is worth 5 points and contains an inner X ring used for tiebreakers. Scoring is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  You can choose to shoot a single spot, or a 5 spot with only the 4, 5 rings. This a good option for consistent archers who want to avoid breaking arrows, similar to selecting a 3-spot in a FITA tournament.

nfaa-blue-face-numberedThese indoor championships follow IFAA rules which are slightly different from FITA rules. The most significant in my opinion is the scoring.  I will not explain all of them however two of the differences are the shorter distances for younger archers and age divisions. To start peewee and pre-cub archers, like my little brother Cole, are able to compete at 10 yards (8M) instead of 20 yards (18M) which is better suited for their poundage. Next the age division you compete under is determined by your age on the tournament date rather than how old you will be at the end of the year.

Personally I enjoy the field championships and I find it a great way to start a season and benchmark your shooting status at the beginning of the season.  Next year, if you have an opportunity, I would strongly recommend you sign-up for an indoor field championship; you will not be disappointed, it’s a lot of fun.

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Scoring

Eventually, all target archers need to learn and understand how to score an end, a round and a tournament.  Target archery has a number of types of target depending on the governing body (FITA, IFAA, NFAA etc…) and the types of tournament you are participating in.  There is the standard multi-coloured 10-ring target that is synonymous with Olympic archery however there is also 5-ring field targets, 2D and 3D animal targets, clout targets or flags and even novelty target such as dartboards.

Aside from novelty targets and flags, archery targets are basically comprised with a series a rings. Although 2D and 3D animals targets are fashioned typically in rings based on the animals “kill zones”, all archery targets are comprised of a series of concentric circles were the higher scores are achieved closer to the center.

When scoring, typically for official tournaments you are required to have at least two scorers and one caller. The caller will read out the scores for each archer in descending order such as 10-9-9-6-3-1. The value of each ring will depend on the type of competition and the rules governing the tournament. For simplicity, I will cover just the basic scoring for FITA Target and IFAA Field targets.

FITA Target

The FITA Target is the most commonly known archery target and is used in the Olympics. Also called a 10-ring, the target face is comprised of five colours including Gold, Red, Blue, Black and White.  The highest value are the inner gold rings worth 10 and 9 points respectively followed by red ( 8-7 points ), blue ( 6-5 points ), black ( 4-3 points ) and white ( 2-1 points ).  If an archer misses the target or is outside the 1 ring it is scored a miss or “M” and worth zero points. However any arrow “inside” of another arrow, called a “robin hood” is scored with the same value.

The number of arrows shot are dependent the type of tournament and whether they held indoor or outdoor. Typically indoor tournaments are 60 arrows and outdoors are 72, 144, or 288 arrows. During tournaments, archers shoot within a time limit, two minutes for 3 arrows ends or 4 minutes for 6 arrows ends. If an arrow is shot before or after the time limit, the highest value arrow is scored as a miss.

When scoring, the caller determines if an arrow is between two lines to call the score. However if an arrow is “touching” a higher value line, the higher value is awarded. In the center 10-ring, is an additional ring called the X ring. For recurve archers, an X and 10 are worth 10 points and the number of X’s are tallied and used for a tie-breaker.  For most compound archers the X ring is worth 10 points and the 10 ring is worth 9 points along with the 9 ring.

IFAA Field (5-ring) Target

A Field Target is traditionally comprised of two colours, blue rings and a white center and governed by IFAA international or NFAA in the United States. The inner white ring is worth 5 points and the remaining 4 blue rings are worth 4, 3, 2 and 1 point respectively as you move further away from the center. Similar to the FITA Target, with the inner white is an additional X-ring that is worth 5 points for both recurve and compound archers and is used for tie-breakers.  Conversely, arrows must touch the next ring to be scored as the higher value, simply touching the line is not sufficient.

The number of arrows shot are also dependent on the type of tournament and whether they are held indoor or outdoor. Typically indoor tournaments are a single day 60 arrow event and outdoor tournaments are 120 arrows shot over two days.

One of the side benefits to archery is it gives younger archers a chance to practice their math skills. Often experienced archers do not want to score because they do not want to know how they are doing throughout the match. So, if you plan to participate in any type of tournament you should practice scoring while practising at home and avoid the stress of learning to score during a tournament.  For experienced archers,  they NEED to remember scoring can be difficult for young archers still developing their math skills. While they are totaling the scores, you may be very anxious to know the end results, however you may be putting undo pressure on young archers causing mistakes if you are hovering over them.

Practice can be Fun

In the seasons between indoor and outdoor, it is time to practice. In an individual sport like archery, practicing can be boring, for target archers we are spending a lot time doing the same thing over and over again.  It can be hard to track your progress since all athletes experience growth and development like the NASDAQ industry average with lots of peaks and valleys.

Practicing is an absolute must if any athlete wants to improve however you can help yourself keep focused and motivated by changing things up, working towards the future and adding a little fun.

Different Distances

It is always a good idea to practice all the distances that you need to compete in for a tournament; however, there are several reasons why an archer should practice at longer distances. First, practicing to shoot longer distances will automatically improve shorter distances.  Second, it helps develop strength and endurance since you need to hold your arm up higher and longer. Lastly, especially for younger archers, it prepares you for the future, since every older age category moves further and further back.

Change Targets

For target archers, the smaller the grouping of arrows the better. You can help develop tighter groups by shooting at smaller target faces. Indoors, try a 3 spot target or 5 spot field face for target practice. Try novelty target faces or make your own target using an old catalogue. To this day, my favourite is to shoot balloons, much like a carnival. You can set up different sizes and shapes. Small balloons are great for accuracy and long thin ones help with groupings since you often need 3 arrows to pin and pop the balloon.

Noise

In most individual sports, like archery, athletes practice by themselves which allows them to focus without distractions, however tournaments are rarely completely quiet. A lot of archers end up shooting lower scores simply because of the noise, so why not have some practice with noise and distractions. Invite friends over to shoot with you, play loud music or have friends TRY to “safely” distract you while shooting. Since you cannot predict or avoid distractions at a tournament; prepare for it.

Scoring

A lot of young archers get stressed out at tournaments when they have to score OR when they are score watching. When you are young and still developing your math skills, it can be very stressful to keep score with everyone looking over you.When you are at home, practice quickly adding scores together to become good at it. Score watching is can be very stressful no matter your age or experience, sometimes you get caught up in the score for each end, how far behind you might be, or even focusing on one bad arrow.  Practice focusing on consistency and grouping ; ignore the score because if the group is good you can always move your sight.

By keeping focused, practicing, keeping it fresh and fun and being prepared for all types of tournaments you can enjoy the sport for the long term and reach your goals with a smile on your face.