COMPETITION is what makes archery a sport. Naturally, there are certain standards by which proficiency is measured. The oldest of these standard competitions in use to-day, and the leading competition too, is the famous old York Round. This old standard, set long ago by the leading archers of Great Britain in the heyday of archery, has been accepted for so long that it has become as unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians. It is the competition which best brings out the real ability of the archer. Certainly anyone who can shoot through the York Round with credit to himself is entitled to proclaim himself a finished archer.
The York Round calls for shooting at the standard 48-inch target as follows: 72 arrows at 100 yards, 48 arrows at 80 yards, 24 arrows at 60 yards; making a gross of arrows shot in the complete round.
The standard system of scoring is as follows: Gold, 9, red, 7, blue, 5, black, 3, white, 1. To tals are counted in two ways; that is, the hits are totaled and the score is totaled. For example, let us take the classic Double York Round world record made by Horace A. Ford away back in 1857, still a world's record at the time of writing this. The score is 245-1251, which means 245 hits with a total valuation of 1251. Analyzed, it means that out of 288 shots made at all distances, he got 245 hits, the average value of which was 5.106, which means the hits averaged in the blue ring with a few cutting the red. Archery scores are not so analyzed; but this gives the uninitiated a better idea of the scoring. The point is to understand what the possible score is. In the case of the Double York round were it humanly possible a perfect score would be 288-2592, or a hit with every shot and every arrow in the gold, each counting a 9.
An arrow which cuts two colors counts on the inner color.
It is customary for each archer to shoot three arrows, and then permit someone else to shoot in turn. And it is a rule that an arrow which has left the bow must count as a shot arrow unless the archer can reach it with his bow without moving from the shooting line.
The American Round, adopted in the early days of archery competitions in this country, is by far the most popular. It is especially attractive to beginners, being so much less difficult than the York Round. Something else to be said in its favor is, it places average archers on an equal footing. The longer ranges of the York Round make an archer so extend himself that the man in best physical condition reaps advantage from his athletic superiority.
With the weaker bow used at the shorter ranges of the American Round, and the smaller demand upon accuracy (the longer the shot the greater the test of accuracy) success is comparatively easy. And still, there always is opportunity for proficiency to excel, and this is as it should be. And when the archer tires of the shorter ranges, as he soon does once he acquires a good degree of accuracy, he has the York Round ahead of him. When he graduates to the York Round class, he thereafter is more often than not to be found pegging away at the 100 yard target.
The American Round calls for shooting 90 arrows at the standard target, as follows: 30 arrows at 60 yards, 30 at 50, and 30 at 40.