Standardized Scoring Rounds
The NFAA Indoor Round, sometimes called a 300 Round, is a great way for traditional archers to evaluate their archery skills. It consists of a total of 60 arrows shot from 20 yards at a blue 5-ring NFAA target and can be shot indoors or outdoors.
Good archery is about consistency, so using a method to objectively measure your consistency is a key to calculating your skill and tracking your progress. Former US Olympic archer and trad shooter John Magera recommends the 300 round to trad archers as a test of accuracy. Without a standardized scoring round, people naturally tend to remember the hits and forget misses, and recall their best groups and not their worst or true average.
“Traditional” archery, or “trad Shooting”, is broad term that means different things to different people, but in the US it generally refers to shooting a conventional recurve or longbow without accessories such as sights, stabilizer rods and other modern bits and pieces that make Olympic-style recurve bows and compound bows (bows that use pulleys for mechanically advantage) so distinctive and aid in accuracy. Trad shooting has an elegant simplicity compared to some of the more technical bow set ups and yet is still challenging. Many trad shooters eschew competitive paper target shooting, and so don’t consider shooting standardized target rounds. Even so, a standardized target round is still a great benchmark for skill in traditional archery.
Why the NFAA Indoor Round
Golden Gate JOAD is a USA Archery club. We teach barebow to all of our new students and we use half FITA 18 Indoor Rounds (30 arrows from 18 meters at a 5 color 40 cm 10 ring FITA target) for all of our bow divisions at our Adult Achievement Shoots. So why am I specifically recommending the competing NFAA 300 Round as an alternative for trad archers? Well, a number of reasons:
- 5 ring NFAA scoring is simpler that 10 ring FITA scoring.
- The NFAA 300 round seems to be more popular with US trad shooters so there are more trad shooters to compare your scores to.
So, what is a very good NFAA 300 score? 2004 US Olympic Archer John Magera:
I and my fellow Olympic recurve archers, with our full blown FITA rigs [Olympic-style recurves with sights, stabilizer rods and such-gh] will generally score in the 295-300 range on that NFAA face, with about 40-50 X’s. My personal best in competition was a 299 with 42 x’s…
As for the top “traditional” recurve and longbow shooters [bows without sights or other tech gimicks-gh], they will be in the 260-275 range. That’s mighty fine shooting…
Now those are top scores. Magera adds that he reached the 270s with his target barebow rig and shot in the 240s with his trad huntng rig–scores he considers an accomplishment, even for former Olympic Archer. For most, scoring between 220-240 will be an achievement, and getting past that first 200 will be a good start.
How to Shoot an NFAA Indoor Round
For keeping track of your own progress, the rules are simple; just shoot a total of 60 arrows from 20 yards at a standard 40cm blue NFAA 5 ring target. The scoring is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 from the white spot out.
The inner “X” ring still counts as 5. The number of “X’s” you hit is sometimes used to break ties. Any arrow that touches a ring, even from the outside, counts for the higher value.
You can buy the standard NFAA 40 cm indoor targets at local archery shops or on-line at various retailers. For practice, you can make your own: 4cm diameter X ring, 8 cm 5 ring, 16 cm 4 ring, 24 cm 3 ring, 32 cm 2 ring and a 40 cm 1 ring. The targets are pretty inexpensive, though, so I’d say buying them is the way to go.
In competitions, or leagues, the 300 round is shoot in 4 minute ends of 5 arrows. If you are practicing for competition, you should shoot your ends that way. However, trad shooters are often individualistic, so if you have your own number of arrows you prefer to shoot at a time, 1, 3, 5, 6, 12, 60 or what not, go for it. The round is still useful for objective scoring. Just remember, no cheating. Once you start shooting, all arrows 1-60 count, no do overs, no in-between “practice arrows”. 🙂 Counting that low scoring “flyer” you might be temped to leave out is key to measuring your true consistency.
Notes – Defining Terms
It isn’t possible to give a definitive definition of “traditional” archery since there are so many traditions in archery. In the US, the term is often used in the broad sense, referring to shooting conventional bows, bows that don’t use pulleys. Saying “traditional” is easier than saying “conventional bows” (the term formerly used by the Archery Trade Association), “bows without pulleys” or “non-compound bows” (the term currently used by the Archery Trade Association). After all, why should traditional bows be defined by what they are not? “Traditional” is a handy term that seems to be obvious in its meaning. Unfortunately, that is only half true. The term is handy, but the “obviousness” is very subjective. The term “traditional” is also used by some in a much stricter sense of only referring to one-piece, all wood bows or wood and fiberglass bows shot without any accessories other than a leather glove or tab and shooting wooden arrows. People can get very passionate their preferred definition of “traditional” archery.
The multiple definitions of the term “traditional” are compounded by the use of the term as a bow division in various archery organizations, which often have their own very detailed definitions of the term as a competitive class specific to the own organization.
Barebow is a broader category than traditional, and definitions vary by person and by the rules of competitive barebow divisions of various archery organizations. Barebow is generally a bow shot with fingers (as opposed to a mechanical release) and without a sight. However, unlike traditional, barebow division may allow stabilizer rods, arrow rests, plungers, specific types of clickers, and even compound bows, depending on the organization.