The use of informal but reliable standards
The Fraternity of Saint George is among a growing number of archery companies that are conscious of the need to maintain the high standard of shooting, but to do so without undue formality. An easily calculated measurement of the shooting challenge posed to its Longbowmen and women has now for some time been used by the Fraternity. Many of its members have not even been aware of it.
The successor sport to shooting at the Marks, Golf, offers its adherents a set of standards. The par of the course, its yardage and the par of the individual golfer.
Reliable but informal
Provided it is reliable but informal, a set of standards enables the individual archer to monitor his or her progress at the Marks. It also enables him or her to measure the challenge posed by the shoot itself. Other than raw scores, shoots at the Marks have not previously had any other comparisons. For the organisers and participants of such events, a reliable standard measure alongside the raw score can become an important contributor to the enjoyment and challenge of the Mark. For the Fraternity of Saint George this information has been a key element contributing to the success of its shoots.
An outline of the Fraternity’s approach
The level of difficulty of each day’s shoot is measured against the Saint George Benchmark (SGB) of 3 points per Mark. If there are 15 Marks shot during a day’s shoot, the Saint George Benchmark is 45 points.
The ability of the participating archers, is calculated by taking the average of the points gained by the prize-winners; first, second and third, for each category; men, women and juniors (raw scores that have to be calculated anyway). This is called the Average Scored Benchmark or ASB.
The ASB is then compared to the SGB. Over time and given the Fraternity’s tradition of well defined score measurements, this has turned out to be a very reliable gauge of a particular shoot’s difficulty. The so-called Shoot Challenge (SC) of a given shoot is expressed as a percentage of the ASB over the SGB.
The ASB has another advantage. It gives an important second set of indicators. Prize-winners measure themselves not just on the raw score achieved, they can also measure themselves in terms of their Individual Scored Benchmark (ISB); i.e. the percentage each individual achieved over the ASB.
The Master Archer steps forward
In one of the Fraternity’s shoots there had been a particularly high scoring first prize among the men. However, the shoot itself was easier than the one that followed it. The latter shoot therefore, led to a first prize with a much lower raw score. Nevertheless, the percentage by which the winner's Individual Scored Benchmark outscored the Average Scored Benchmark was markedly higher. The conclusion; despite a lower raw score he was in fact much the better archer. Use of the Saint George Benchmark, the Average Scored Benchmark, the Shoot Challenge and the Individual Scored Benchmark means that such information is now clearly identified.