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May 27, 2011

Outdoor Tournaments - What to Expect This Season

FITA "World Archery" refined rules and procedures in 2010 and implemented changes that took effect April 1, 2011.  New rules were applied for the Arizona and Gator Cups.  The rules changes primarily effect compound archers but affect recurve archers too. 

USA Archery (USAA) has standardized all of its national events, including the USAT Qualifier Series, Easton JOAD Nationals and the National Target Championships. Much of outdoor tournament procedures are the same as for indoors as described in the February 2011  "Getting Ready for U.S. National Indoor Championships: Rules and Procedures" Bob Blog.

However, it's important to know how outdoors differs from indoors.  The walk is longer, sun screen and shade are a must and drinking plenty of fluids is essential.  Many will want to bring their own cooler with snacks and favorite beverages.  Outdoor rounds are longer and there is the chance of "weather" (rain gear) and that wind thing.  

Ordinarily at national events, personal coaches may be with the archers during practice but must retire to outside the competitors area during the ranking round.   During the individual elimination rounds an archer may have one coach in the competitors area up to the waiting line.

The USA Archery dress code is always observed at sanctioned events, including all national competitions. For more information on the dress code, click here

Electronic score entry was implemented in 2010 and continues in 2011.  The system utilizes a handheld terminal at the targets.  After scoring officially using the paper score cards, archers are to enter their scores via the handheld device.  Typically there is an archer that has used the system before and can quickly teach the others.  If not, the USA Archery scoring team is available to provide instruction before scoring begins. Hint:  Archers have learned to check the handheld terminal display to verify the running total with the paper score card.  

The results system includes lengthy cabling and many electronic components.  Please take care to avoid disrupting the circuitry which delays the tourney.

Many top USAA events include the use of score flip cards during match competition.  Archers are asked to "flip" the at-target "scoreboards".  Compound and team round match archers display cumulative score.  Recurve individual match archers display end arrow point values and match set points.

Current rules reinforce that it is the archer's responsibility to submit a complete and accurate score card including correct arithmetic and all figures in all spaces.  The tournament hosts are not obligated to complete incorrect score cards.  Tournaments progress promptly when archers check and double check and submit complete and accurate score cards.

Rule and format updates:

For 2011 recurve division archers will continue to use the four-distance FITA or the 70 meter round for ranking.   In 2011 USAA events will also conduct the new compound 72 arrow, 50 meter ranking round on a 80 centimeter target face.  Many national events will have both recurve and compound archers shooting 144 arrows for a qualification round, i.e., a full FITA round for the recurve archers, and two 72-arrow, 50 meter rounds for the compounds.

Also new this year is the use the individual 80 cm target face with 6 ring scoring - used for the compound round and the two short FITA distances for recurve archers.  Many national tournaments will use six arrow ends for the qualification round.  Timing continues to be 10 seconds to the line and four minutes for a six arrow end.

Senior and Junior recurve individual elimination and team rounds take place at 70 meters; juniors and seniors are typically combined for the elimination rounds.  Cadet and Masters class recurve individual elimination and team rounds, when offered, take place at 60 meters. 

Individual recurve elimination matches are conducted on a 122 cm, 10 ring target face using three arrow sets, for a maximum of five sets. An archer receives two set points for winning a set, one set point for a tied set, and zero points for a loss. The first archer to reach six set points wins the match. 

Compound 50 meter individual elimination matches are determined by the total arrow cumulative score value of five ends of three arrows each, for a maximum of 150 points, using the same target face as the compound 50 meter ranking round. 

All shoot offs for entry into the elimination round and matches are now "one arrow shoot offs".  Each archers (or team member) shoots one arrow.   The tie is broken by score.  If the shoot off arrows are a tie score, the archer's (or team's) arrow that is closest to the middle wins the match.

Team rounds:  If you've never shot a team round before, be sure to ask how the format works. Three archer team rounds continue to utilize the time limit of 2 minutes per end.  Each team will have each team member shoot two arrows per end, in any order. Each team round consists of four ends. 

The mixed team round, consisting of one male and one female archer per team, has proven to be a fun and exciting match to watch! Like the more traditional same gender team round, the mixed team round is decided by total cumulative arrow value score over four ends of two arrows per team member per end, this time in a one minute and 20 second time frame.

Mixed team rounds have a maximum possible score of 160 points, while the team round has a max possible score of 240.

The rule changes allows compound and recurve competition to look and feel different, yet take place under the same timing control.

Rules for all formats can be found by clicking here.

Rules changes require archers, coaches, judges and tournament staff to stay up to date and current.  It may take some time for experienced archers and officials to become accustomed to the differences between compound and recurve competition formats.  Those with tournament rules questions can visit with a tournament judge.  At the end of the day, the archers, spectators, families and friends have a more interactive event to enjoy!


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