Somehow I wrote this in July, 2015 a few days after running the TSAA State Field Championship and never posted it. In reading it now, seems to be valid, so better late than never:
Just finished running another tournament that included a number of young archers, and seeing a problem over and over again with the scorecards of these fine young archers. But I am prompted to write because of an incident at a World Championship competition in Copenhagen 2015.
A top US compound archer who has been around for many years (I was honored to be an assistant team leader on a trip with him to the Dominican Republic years ago) managed to shoot extremely well in difficult cold, windy conditions. At these events scoring is by BOTH electronic and paper means. The relevant World Archery rule:
Article 14.4.1: “One paper scorecard and one electronic scorecard are used, the sum total of the paper scorecard will be used for the final result unless the sum total reflected on the scorecard is greater than the actual score (in which case the lower actual score is used).”
The archer shot a good score, something like a 342. On his scorecard, after a long and hard day, he mistakenly wrote a final score of 242, and he signed it and turned it in. He accidentally cheated himself of 100 points and a caused a huge negative impact on his standing, and ultimately, on Team USA. I am sure he felt worse for his two team mates that got “taken out” of a medal match than he did about doing that to himself.
ANYWAY, the WA properly applied the rule, (not saying the rule itself is “proper”, that’s another argument for another blog post) and the archer fell to 115th position, a disaster for not only himself but for his teammates, who were then taken out of the running as a team. A very cold, hard lesson. It’s likely he was simply very tired, and made a mental slip that could happen “to anyone”. He’s an excellent sportsman, father, and generally well-respected and regarded individual. And he certainly knows how to add and has been filling out scorecards for literally decades. But it leads me to THIS point.
My point here is that at every event I have directed, MANY scorecards turned in by youth (and some adults) are well, just plain pathetic. Instructors and coaches (and through the parents as well) need to teach archers how to properly write on a scorecard. Pen, not pencil. Black or blue ink, not pink, silver, gold, yellow or purple inks/gels or blunt sharpie! Legibility is the goal!
At TSAA local and even state level events, as archers turn in their cards, we inspect them for completion, signatures, and such, and WE REFUSE THEM when there is a discrepancy or a lack of a signature. In golf, such is grounds for disqualification from the event (it’s as though you never shot the tournament!). We do this as a courtesy (giving the archer a second chance), because well, it ain’t the world championships. Sometimes, though, I wonder if we should teach kids the hard lessons at an earlier time, like the one example above.
They/YOU/we also need to teach beginning archers how to add UP the 3 or 6 arrows. If the archers are scoring routinely above 7 pts per arrow, then they need to teach the archers how to add DOWN and subtract from 60 the points they didn’t get to determine what they did get. (it’s actually faster).
Archers MUST learn that after the last arrow is shot, the bow is put down, and the scorecards get tallied, there is a REASON why TWO scorecards are maintained, and why each scorer, at every end, adds the arrows separately, and then verbally confirms the total against the number the other scorer got separately, for the end.
Once you have actually taught HOW to write scores to your archers, you need to drive home the lesson. A good teaching example is for you, the coach, walking up to 4 archers at a target full of their arrows during a mock tournament, you examine the score sheets and for each of the scorers with sloppy work, pulling a couple of their arrows OUT of the target and dropping them to the ground, and telling (all) the archers that due to a math error or an illegible number THEY DIDN’T CATCH DURING SCORING that those arrows won’t count in their final scores, and ask “how do you feel about that?”, to drive the point home. You could/should have the entire club gather round so everyone gets the message.
Archers who are on the bale but NOT doing the scoring need to insist on each scorer adding separately and then verifying – if you are not one of the two scorers on your target, you better be watching over your scores! Often I have witnessed (as an archer’s rep or as a judge) the scorer who is weaker in math skills simply wait for the other scorer to announce the tally, which he then writes down on his clipboard a number without a clue as to whether it is accurate!
Make sure your archer is equipped to do the math, and to stand up for herself when the scorer is NOT doing it right.
See to it your archers understand if they are shooting for score, they need to get what they earn, and not settle for a point less.
And before they sign the card after the shooting is all done, double-check the math and THEN look at the final numbers, and ask, “Does this make sense”?
And remember there are several methods for math on scoring. If the archer scores mainly red/gold, it’s often easier to track the difference(subtract from 10) between the arrows and 10 to add that sum. If they score less on average, it is often easier to simply add UP the arrow scores.
IE: Let’s say that for a typical 6 arrow end, the archer’s arrows are:
10 10 9 9 9 8 ,
So ONE way to tally them is to say, 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 5, 5 from 60 is 55. Here, you first figure out the “less than ten” points you for each arrow, then add up the points you did NOT GET, and take that from a perfect score of 60. You can also work up from zero, of course, that is to say, go “10 + 10 is 20, plus 9 is 29, plus 9 is 38, plus 9 is 47, plus 8 is 55”.
Another way to build up the missed arrow points for the above example (which I find most comfortable) is to say mentally for the 10 10 9 9 9 8, 1,2,3,5; 55 as I add the difference on each arrow to a running sum in my head. Takes very little practice and it fits the way my head works. THERE IS NO ONE PERFECT WAY!
With a lower-scoring end, let’s say: 10 6 6 5 4 2 , SO it becomes more work to add up the “missed points” and subtract from 60, than it is to simply add them up (10 + 6 = 16, plus 6 = 22, plus 5 = 27, plus 4 = 31, plus 2 = 33). Though yes, you could also say: 4, 8, 13, 19, 27, from 60 = 33.
Some will pair up arrows, esp. if they are smaller numbers:
16 + 11 + 6 = 33 (10 + 6, 6 + 5, 4+2) .
If the arrows are all the same: 9 9 9 9 9 9 , then 6 from 60 = 54, just as saying 6 * 9 = 54 .
9 9 9 8 8 8 = 3 * 9 + 3 * 8 , 27 + 24 = 51
So you can see there are many ways to add up 6 numbers (and I am not going to go anywhere near ‘COMMON CORE’ !!). So please, coaches, TEACH your archers how to fill out a score card properly, and the lesson you teach MAY prevent the loss of a medal a decade letter on the international stage. And make life easier for those who are running the tournament….
A final PS: In my opinion WA has made a mistake in the setting of this rule.
I was taught that Judges are a part of the sport in order to facilitate everyone getting a fair opportunity to compete. NOT to penalize someone in a situation where no other archer is diminished or harmed. As one wiseguy elite archer tweeted, “From here on out, I’ll just write 360 and 30 Xs, and THEY can figure out what the score actually is”. You see, the rule allows for the score to be LOWERED to the accurate value if the archer makes a math error, but NOT to be raised if, yes, the archer makes a math error. I feel this is less than fair, less than optimal, and while I can understand the concept, it does not make it equitable. Regardless, the rule is as rule says and they have to follow the rule until they change the rule in the proper manner. I bet and hope it gets changed at the next rules overhaul session.