The LockDown Knockdown International archery competition has been nothing but innovation since it was premiered a month ago. Now in its second outing, the recurvers got to strut their stuff this time but were thrown a bit of a curve ball when they got to experience the new indoor face being trialed. In the main, its a normal 40cm triple Vegas face but with one significant modification, one of the triples has a small white circle worth 12 points and its not in the centre!
The 12 point dot sits at the six oclock position on the line separating the 7 and 8 rings. Its just 15mm across (and you thought the 20mm X ring was small!). As can be seen from the above triple face, the dot is only on one of the faces. In addition you have to announce you are shooting for the 12 ring so no happy accidents just because you got sloppy and dropped your bow arm!
Obviously this is a complete departure from our usual put the arrow in the middle of a series of concentric circles and borrows a little from the kill zones on 3D targets. The diagram to the left shows ASA (Archery Shooters Association) scoring zones for 3D models with the 14 ring being well away from the much larger 10/12 point scoring areas. You have to take a risk to shoot for 14 points with significant loss of points if you fail. This new 12 point white dot seems to be following the same philosophy. Shoot for 9/10 with less risk OR go for 12 forcing your opponent to have to risk the 12pt dot to keep up if you succeed with the penalty of only scoring a 7/8 if you fail. Also if you consider the way the faces are shot in head to head, being first or second and order of targets shot could bring in mind games and tactics never seen before in archery. I suspect the white dot face would ALWAYS be shot last in case you needed to go for that hail mary to win or tie the end.
One thing does worry me a little about this new target. Just how visible is that dot? Could this be construed as discrimination against slightly myopic archers? Competitions are there to test archery skill, not eyesight. Take Korean archer Im Dong Hyun. His eyesight is terrible yet he was at one time the No 1 male recurve archer in the world. Could he deal with this 12 point dot? There may need to be quite a bit of work done on this before it is rolled out beyond the top echelons.
So having thought about this a little over a nice malt last night, I suspect this white dot scoring zone will be the preserve of compounders, international competitors and recurve archers of A ranking. If it is implemented into regular competition for mere mortals, its going to be insanely hard to hit and may be a bad idea to attempt unless its a desperate attempt to catch up. I dont think it will ever be a pre-emptive thing i.e. going for the lead in arrow 1 or 2. The risk of gifting the advantage to your opponent is too great if you fail. Admittedly if you hit that shot … the ramifications might be a lot more than just scoring 12 points. It could shake up your opponents mental game completely. So if implemented this is going to significantly alter the already tense indoor head to head competition format. Mind games will be very much to the fore and shooting second has never had so much potential advantage. This could make 4D chess look tame in comparison given that shooting a perfect 30 may no longer be a winning end as Mr Ellison found out (see below).
Here is the first 12 point ever in WA target archery shot by Steve Wijler to steal the end from Brady Ellison with a 31 – 30 score!!!! (Bit unfair though! When I claimed I shot a 31 point, 3 arrow end a few years ago .. I got shouted at! ;o)
Current competition videos can be found in this World Archery’s YouTube playlist starting at video 46 for the recurve competition with the new face AND watch this video from WA explaining the new face.
Editors note: I mocked up a 40cm inner with 15mm dot added and looked at it down my bow sight (iris valve gehmann sight pin) at 18m. Trying to stay steady on that dot is murder. Without the concentric circles to give you reference, the dot (which is so very small) floats around in your sight pin like a demented bumblebee with a sugar rush. My respect for the shot noted above just went ballistic!