Vitaly Bogino, Alexander Kalinichenko, Ukraine

   Trends in performance in any sports have always been of interest to those concerned. Higher results achieved in any specific events reflect the level of progress in the theory and practice of this sport, archery including. We'll name the most essential factors bearing on the scoring performance as exhibited in archery:

  • Better quality of materials employed ( glass fiber plastic, carbon, ceramic limbs; magnesium, carbon handles; composite arrow shafts - glass fiber plastic-carbon-aluminium arrows; new fletching; new materials for strings; new rests and plungers; stabilizers from novel materials and of new design, etc.);

  • Progress in the theory or training and improvement methodology of archery;
  • The latest studies carried out in the areas of science related to sports (physiology, psychology, pharmacology, pedagogics etc.);
  • Amendments in competition procedure and rules ( those limiting shooting time; introducing sparring matches and related to establishing the champion at 70 m and 18 m distances, etc.);
  • Changes in weather conditions ( wind, precipitation, cold, heat );
  • Number and quality of international tournaments (optimum tournament schedules);
  • Optimum competition level in specific region;
  • Changes in socio-economic conditions in several countries ( collapse of the USSR; improvement of economic situation in South Korea);
  • Appearance of several sportsmen with extraordinary psycho-physiological features and outstanding coaches with absolutely new progressive views on archers' training methods.

This list is far from being exhaustive, but just enough to see that these factors are quite numerous.

  With a view to analyze dynamics trends in archery scoring performance, SUBISPART system has been developed in Ukraine under assistance of experts from UNESCO International Center of Information systems. This system is used in long-term analysis of sport results produced by the leading sportsmen of the world and provides for a continuous estimation of readiness level of various teams as juxtaposed to that demonstrated by the leading sportsmen and teams in the world. For instance, this system enables to study the performance of over 200 leading archers of the world as exhibited in over 30 prestigious tournaments over the last 7 years. This enables to assess potential capabilities of national teams in the international scene or analyze dynamics of record results and tendencies in world archery .

   We have subjected to a separate analysis of the scores produced over the last four World championships and XXV Olympic Games by the archers in Recurve division. To facilitate statistical analysis, the average arithmetic was calculated for three, eight, sixteen and thirty-two highest scores as produced at the above competitions, separately by men and women both in FITA round and at individual distances. For better appreciation Fig.1 present the scores produced at the World championships in graphic form, with trends in score variations over the last years being shown in bold line. To obtain the latter line, the data fixed has undergone double smoothing by a polynomial of one degree .

Fig. 1  "General average scores by all distances (144 arrows)"

   On this showing it may be inferred that archers' scoring performance both worldwide rather worsens than improves. This reduction is typical of all distances and relates to women's performance to a higher degree. For instance, Fig.1, 2, 3 reveals the decreasing tendency of the women's scoring performance over the last seven years . These may be assigned to weather conditions as reported to have been continuously worsening over the latest World championships. But here arises a reasonable question: "Why, then, do the men report a stable improvement in performance at the same 70 m distance?" Fig.3. Or furthermore: Fig.2 indicates the average scores produced by women at World championships falling while those produced by men gradually rising.

Fig. 2 "Dynamic general average scores (144 arrows) by rank"

All those wishing to join in this discussion and survey of the data obtained are welcome to do so.   
   In our turn we shall offer our own assumptions as to the trends revealed. In our view, a number of reasons attribute to the global variation in archers' scoring performance of late years, and among them the decision made by the FITA Congress directed to improving the spectacular aspect of archery competitions, and the new procedure for 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA) confining FITA NOR shooting to 70 m distance subject to dropping out.

  Evidently, this innovation has raised the value of this proper distance and hence average performance at 70 m distance has improved, which is especially true with men (Fig.3). NOR procedure introduced into the practice of major international tournaments, providing that the winner is defined by the maximum victories in sparring-matches and not the maximum scores in Qualification round - is another factor. This means, the highest priority is now given to abilities of athletes to demonstrate consistent and high quality "short shooting", to manage stresses and collect themselves to outvie individual athletes, as opposed to their ability to produce maximum scores in "smooth shooting".

Fig. 3  "Dynamic general average scores produced at
individual distances (36 arrows)"

  As one of the reasons of general falling scoring can be considered all more increasing popularity division of compound. Possible this phenomena is a reason to natural emigrations archers from the division Olympic (recurve) in the class compound as well as that that in the class recurve comes a smaller amount of beginners.
  Another factor underlying the lower performance scores, with women in particular, is the collapse of the USSR. The once powerful national women's team of the USSR left the stage, and making competition less intense.
  Finally (again, just in our own opinion), a challenging success of South Korean archers has been the major "disturber" of the archery community of late years.

  Let us consider the issue together and have a look as far back as middle 80-s. Seoul (South Korea) was awaiting 1988 Olympic Games. Naturally, the national team was given a definite task: to provide a 100% successful showing of Korean archers in these Olympic Games. An appropriate program was most likely developed with all relevant resources allocated. Skilled experts were involved in the preparation and execution of this program. This program was supported with appropriate funding (needed to provide modern facilities and carry out all planned activities, to motivate all persons concerned, to complete scientific studies) and provide high moral and psychological support from the State.
  This program gave positive outputs and brought forth a triumph of Korean archers in 1988 Olympic Games. Korean women-archers showed themselves especially good. Korean representatives managed to considerably surpass all world records for women. After archers had got rid of worshipping-of-record-score awe, that is being intimidated by results gained by famous opponents, their performance began to improve. Referring to bicycle sports terminology, it means that the main bunch started chasing the leader.

  As it has been observed in the theory of sports, coaches take twice as long spell of time to yield international level results with men than with women. Here lies an explanation of the paradox that women were the first to achieve high and consistent results during the above program. Another assumption is that the better results yielded by the said program with regard to women were due to better women's suggestibility and controllability .
  A slight worsening of scoring performance reported of late years may be accounted to the fact that the initiators of the program have quit and the enthusiasm of its executors has somewhat reduced.

  We'd like to emphasize once more that the above inferences are merely our own judgments and we shall be grateful to learn any statements challenging our explanations as to trends in modern archery.

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This page last updated Monday, April, 24, 2000
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by the Lviv Archery Federation.