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The inner six
We have been testing the waters last season for a change in the rules which we called 'the inner six'. The current problem especially in the compound division is that scores are extremely tight together. The proposal we discussed with archers and stakeholders is to count the 'X' as six points.

There are a few options to improve the current competition in field archery. One proposal is to lengthen the distance, for instance on the 60 and 80 centimeter face. The drawback of this option is that those further ranged targets pose a problem in some courses, both for getting the extra length in front of the target, as well as the enlarged safety range it would pose for the setup of such long ranged targets in a field. Extra space is needed not only in front of the target, but also behind the target and the common sense driven 7 degrees safety radius from the peg in the direction of the target.

Another option is to introduce additional 50 and 70 centimeter targets to the competition. The idea behind this change is that it would be much harder to recognize the correct face size and thus harder to range the distance to it. That might be true for beginning field archers, but we reckon hardened field archers would find out ways to overcome this issue, simply by experience or by other means. In our opinion beginning archers would be extremely challenged by such a change, while the current 'pain' is in the top of the competition. Introducing 50 and 70 centimeter faces (although we applaud the challenge it brings) would merely hinder new archers to enter our sport instead of solving the close scores in the top of the results list.

A third option we picked up was to put faces very much like the target faces into a field. We agree that would most certainly help to solve the problem, but setting up a field using the target archery colored faces would pose a problem for course builders. It is much harder to trick archers using the light in a forested area whilst using a multicolored target face. Low light or bright light conditions oppose a better challenge on a black and yellow colored face then a regular target face. It would surprise us if that would not be the case; isn't the target face specifically designed to give the best opportunity to aim for the gold?

And hence our proposal to choose for a less dramatic change in the rules: using the X for a better score: six points. And to avoid confusion, it seems wise to us to introduce this change in all divisions. It would result into a nice challenge at the five meter bunny for barebow archers to score 18 points instead of the relatively easy 15 points at that target. Or a more interesting target when shooting recurve and facing a 60 centimeter face at about 20 meter distance. And it would most definitely add a larger variety in the scores in the top region of the compound division.

Let us take the Pre World field in Wales as an example: Chris White shot 717 points with 101 x-s, Dave Cousins 716 points with 105 x-s and Jari Haavisto 716 with 103 x-s. So, the numbers one, two and three in the 'old' system, only one point apart, Dave and Jari ending second and third since they dropped 4 points, and Chris only three. However, when we would count the X as six, the score would be: Dave Cousins 821, Jari Haavisto 819 and Chris White ending third with 818. So, there are two points between numbers one and two, and three points between number one and three. And the extra x-s paid off in this scenario: Dave and Jari hit the gold better than Chris at this competition and are being rewarded for it. It also shows that dropping a point is not the end of the world in this scenario, and consistent and good shooting can make up for it.

All archers we spoke to agreed a change that would prevent the tight scores in the top of the results list is in order. Most people also agreed the inner six would be the preferable method of obtaining that goal. The good news is, is that we informally received word a rule change is seriously considered regarding this inner six proposal. I better start practicing at the five meter bunny this winter...




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