The First International Postal Match and Trans-Atlantic Differences

This is turning into a real year of firsts in British horseback archery.  After the roaring success that was the international match against Sweden, the last weekend in July saw the BHAA meeting to shoot our scores in the inaugural postal international.

The concept of a postal match will be familiar to those with a background in target archery.  To save everybody from having to travel to a given location, you each shoot the same round in your own country and compare the scores against others.  One significant barrier in the past has been the lack of a unified set of unchanging rules.  WHAF and EOCHA rules change, to a greater or lesser extent, year to year, and it can be difficult to know what they are at a given time.  The introduction of the rules agreed by the BHAA and MA3 last year and subsequently adopted to a greater or lesser extent by Holland, South Africa, Australia and Sweden gave us a chance to try out the postal concept.

In July, therefore, archers in Britain, Sweden, Holland and the US (including Americans, Australians and a Korean) shot a Korean 1-2-3 round (i.e. 2 runs each of single, double and triple shot, run over 90m to the standardised rules) and scores have been sent in (bar one or two that we still await).

I’m not going to spoil the surprise about results, which will be posted very soon on the BHAA Facebook page.  I will say, however, that we had somewhere close to 50 competitors with a wide range of scores and a good time had by all.

Regular readers will know that I love to over-analyse things.  True to form, there is one things that has emerged on closer inspection:  in America it seems that they run the serial shot first, then the double, then the single.  In Europe we do it the way that it is done in international (including Korean) competition: single then double then triple.

So what?  Well, the single shot is something that you can ride fast, earning yourself maximum speed points.  If, however, you try to ride the double and triple at that speed then good luck shooting all your arrows, unless you’re really good.  That’s why the Americans do the single last: you can go hell for leather without needing to slow your horse down for the subsequent double and triple.  This makes sense in terms of maximising your points but unfortunately it also throws a small spanner in the works of comparing international scores when the Europeans are consciously doing it the more challenging and traditional way.

I should have foreseen this: we did the American method at Bow Camp last year.  Ho hum, you live and learn!

I suspect that in the huge majority of cases there was little difference made.  Certainly the winner would not have been overhauled.  It will be interesting, nonetheless, to try in future all doing it one way or the other.  We may all learn something new.  Which is the whole point of life, after all…

9 thoughts on “The First International Postal Match and Trans-Atlantic Differences

  1. The Kassai School has been doing the competitions like this for 16 years now, but we have the same rules everywhere.

  2. Well, at least the Americans did the 2 shot in the proper sequence. Heres a question: If the Americans had shot lower scores, would their sequence of courses have been an issue?

    • It would still be an issue, yes. Nobody’s saying that the American way is wrong, simply that it isn’t how we do it everywhere else. The whole point of the postal format is to get everybody shooting the same event as though it were a regular competition but without having to travel as far. You wouldn’t expect to travel to Korea, for example, and discover that some people were doing their runs in a different order. Personally I prefer to do it this way and think that I probably score higher because I get the chance to settle into it with a nice easy single shot. I didn’t much like doing it the other way round at Bow Camp (and I daresay I’d like it even less without a practice run before each discipline). Each to his own. Except when each is supposed to be doing it the same way!

      You guys reverse the order because you believe it gives you an advantage. We do it the Korean way because it’s the traditional way and because we believe it gives an advantage. The point of this concept is that we should not be getting advantages that way. We should all be doing the same thing. That’s why, for example, we used FITA80 targets rather than the square Korean ones. For the sake of uniformity.

      It’ll be interesting to see how scores vary when you guys try it our way and we try it yours. I’m quite sure you guys will still outscore us. From what I can tell you are more experienced and train far more than we do. It’d be kind of odd if you didn’t beat us. I honestly don’t care who beats me. I have always followed my own coaching: I focus on my own score and let everybody else concentrate on theirs. I can control my score but I can’t control theirs. I just want to get the postal concept going, and that means all shooting the same course.

      On to September. Having finally cracked HA3 in Hungarian, I’m after a score of 48. Need to find that extra 1.03pts…

      • I understand the point(s) you have made. I do not think the results are in as in regards to the “advantage” of sequencing courses. Heres why: there were a lot of very low American scores. In my view, this “advantage” did not work for quite a few riders. Therefore any perceived advantage (in regards to sequence) is nothing more than a theory at best. I do agree that all riders should ride the same order of courses so that no one feels cheated, and any discrepancies can be minimised and/or eliminated entirely.

      • I suspect that the American way benefits the better competitors at the expense of the rest. If you can rate your horse well and can go straight into shooting quickly and accurately then your way allows you to make the most of that. If not then our way builds up slowly and lets you get your eye in before trying the triple. No evidence for that, just thinking aloud…

  3. One of the things we have noticed with our gang is that they score more points on the practice run than they do when the match starts. So, we discourage practice runs altogether. The Idea (or theory) is (generally) since you will shoot your best on your first run(s), then it is best to put the potentially highest scorable course first. As the results show, it doesn’t always work for everyone. And it may have only helped the more advanced riders. We’ve had our own competitions where the riders can run whatever sequence of the courses they want. In regards to myself, I don’t really have a preference as long as my horse is warmed up. Well, I hope I didn’t disclose any Top Secret team information here. I don’t want to face a serious drubbing this weekend while training! Ha!

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