On Your Rate of Improvement

QandA logoI got a note from a student who had attended a recent tournament and noted that his score had improved substantially over his score from the previous year but in talking with other archers found that their scores had been about the same. The question was “Why?” Why hadn’t they improved from a year of practice?

* * *

The fact that this archer had had a big jump in score indicates where he was on the progress chart, a typical “S” curve. We start out with low performance and then increase rapidly with practice, then we plateau. Think about the common 300 Round we shoot so much indoors. If we were to score 100/300 our first time out, then when we get to a score of 200/300 we will have made a 100 percent improvement. But what is left, getting from 200/300 to 300 now only amounts to a 50% improvement. When you get to a score of 290/300, only a 3% improvement can be made. So, if one practices well, progress in round scores occurs fast, then slower, then plateaus.

Where the plateau is is an indicator of the quality of your effort. Those that plateau with lower scores either didn’t have the guidance needed or with good guidance, failed to execute that advice. So, common scores of 150/300 on that round, indicate a great deal of improvement is available but is not being made. Obviously these scores are going to be different for traditional archers and compound archers, etc. because of their equipment choices, so these “scores” are offered up as “for instances” not real benchmarks. If you want real benchmarks look up the record scores for your area in your style and age group, etc. and use those as indicators of what is possible.

Everybody plateaus. Everybody. Once you have then the real work begins because the amount of work needed per percent score improvement goes up … way up. This is a manifestation of the famous “80:20 Law,” also called the Pareto Law, which says that the first 20% of the effort produces 80% of the outcome while the final 20% of the outcome requires 80% of the effort.

S Curve

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