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November 24, 2010

National Ranking System and Team Selection Procedures

New National Ranking System and Team Selection Procedures 

Over the past year, USA Archery staff members have worked to design a new National Ranking System, and arrange Team Selection Procedures, to be implemented within the framework of the organization.  Both topics are important to our organization and have a direct impact on the goals and dreams of our members.  For this reason, I want to take some time to discuss the thoughts and ideas that went into both topics.

National Ranking System

For multiple years USA Archery has been operating on two ranking systems, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.  Having two ranking systems has caused considerable confusion regarding how the systems operated within the framework of USA Archery, and the impact of each system on our members.  The new National Ranking System (NRS) has been designed to minimize this confusion, and provides USA Archery members with a single ranking system that encompasses the three main components of an archery tournament which are necessary for success: Ranking Round Placement, Olympic Round Placement, and the archer's Average Arrow Placement.

The primary focus of the NRS is to identify archers who perform well in all three components of a given competition.  We feel the NRS rewards archers who are consistent, shoot high Ranking Round Scores and are capable of defeating opponents in Olympic Round competition.

There was a great deal of discussion regarding the total number of events to include in the rankings.  Historically, the number of events needed for ranking has been three or four.   After considering feedback from the Athlete Advisory Council, staff determined that four events should be used to determine ranking: U.S. National Target Championships, and three USAT Qualifier Series events (including U.S. National Indoor Championships).  By including the U.S. National Indoor Championships, archers from around the country will be able to compete regionally to earn one of their rankings for the NRS.

With any change there is uncertainty as to how the system will work once it is actually implemented.  However, have confidence in the promise of the NRS.  The system allows archers to compete and have their ranking based on the three main components of a competition. We have run "mock" results for 2010 using the new system, and this has offered USA Archery members and staff a chance to see how the system works to select the most consistent archers throughout the course of the year. 

Selection Procedures

What is the perfect way to select a team for international competition?  If you ask three people, you are likely to get three answers.  Each is valid and has merit. 

Such is the case with the Team Selection Procedures for the upcoming World Championships and Olympics, for able-bodied and disabled archers alike.  The year prior to the Olympics and Paralympics is a year filled with multiple events, all of which have major implications on quota spots for the 2012 Olympic and 2012 Paralympic Games.  Our ultimate goal is to secure our 2012 Olympic Games quota spots for the recurve men and women at the 2011 World Championships, and the quota spots for the seven events for the 2012 Paralympic Games. 

Many challenges were faced when building the 2011 Selection Procedures; the biggest challenge was balancing between international and domestic events.  USA Archery was encouraged by the U.S. Olympic Committee to make the World Championships Team Trials a two-event process, in order to identify the strongest team possible to qualify our quota spots for the 2012 Olympic Games. Additionally, there are the 2011 Pan American Games team trials to consider. We wanted to maximize the efficiency of our events and attempt to limit the amount of travel required of all of our athletes.  Out of this idea came the thought to combine the USAT Qualifier Series events with the trials events to minimize the times and days of travel necessary to participate in team trials.  Along with minimizing travel days, USA Archery plans to offer athlete travel support for the follow-up trials events for the World Team and Olympic Trials.      

Another factor in writing the procedures is the changing landscape of FITA competitions, specifically the changes made by the FITA Council.  In embracing FITA's initiatives, we want our athletes to experience the format of competition as many times as possible, and designed the Selection Procedures accordingly. 

The final consideration in creating the Selection Procedures was to maintain the three main components of an archery competition presented in the NRS.  An archer's Ranking Round Placement, Average Arrow Placement, and Win / Loss Bonuses rewards consistent archers and maintains continuity between the NRS and Selection Procedures.  We feel the current Selection Procedures will select the best, most consistent archer in each of the three main components.

Hopefully this information gives you some insight regarding the decisions made regarding the NRS and Team Selection Procedures.  We are excited for the 2011 Season and look forward to the continued success of our great athletes!

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