Modelling Archery Awards Ceremony Structures

I have been to a lot of competitions, and sat through a lot of awards ceremonies. On one hand, those awards ceremonies are a great celebration of the achievements of the day, but on the other hand can be a tedious and time-consuming barrier between the end of the competition and an often long journey home. Sometimes, multiple competitions are overlaid on the same event, for example an open competition and a county competition, which often leads to a nearly identical second iteration of the ceremony, often doubling its length. Some tournaments (I’m looking at you GNAM 😉 ), have multiple overlapping events and categories that can lead to a whole afternoon of presentations…

Across the country, I’ve seen several different strategies for arranging the awards ceremonies that all have different advantages and disadvantages, so in true Archery Geekery style, I thought I’d do a short post examining each of those strategies and see which ones are best.

The Different Strategies

When I talk about different strategies for organising an award ceremony, I’m really talking about how the awards are announced. There are three different ways that I’ve seen this done –

  1. Single award at a time – In this approach, the award winner is called out, they walk up, their medal is presented, they might pause for a photo, and then they return back.
  2. Whole category at a time – In this approach a whole category is called out at once, with the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place archers announced with no pause for applause, who then all come to the front (maybe even onto a podium), and then medals are presented, maybe a pause for photos, before all walking back.
  3. A Hybrid Approach – A whole category is presented at a time as in the previous scenario, but a pause for applause is allowed after each archer is announced.

There are some other minor factors that we will examine later, but the choice of these 3 scenarios is by far the biggest factor in determining how quickly and efficiently the ceremony will last.

So, with a few simple assumptions about how long each of the different stages of the process take, we can model each scenario.

Timing Assumptions

Let’s assume to following average times for the different parts of the process. These are approximate timings, but all roughly the right order of magnitude.

StageAverage Time (seconds)
Category Announcement – The time taken to announce the next category to be awarded e.g. “Now we have the awards for Recurve Under 18 Men shooting a WA60m round”6
Archer Announcement– The time taken for the archers details to be announced. For example a phrase like “In 3rd place, from Robin Hood Archery Club, with a score of 1,439, Jane Bloggs”8
Approach – the time taken for the archer to walk from wherever they’re sitting, to come up to where the medals are being presented.20
Presentation – the time take for a medal to be physically presented to the archer10
Photo time – At many awards ceremonies, archers will pause to have their photo taken10
Applause time – In some scenarios, there is a pause for applause. In others, applause happens in parallel with Approach.6

Scenario timings

Using those timing assumptions, we can calculate the approximate length of an award ceremony using each of the different scenarios. For this example, we’ll assume there are 35 different categories (a reasonable assumption for a medium-large tournament), and that we’re awarding 3 medals in each category.

ScenarioTime (minutes)
Single award at a time87.5
Category at a time49

There’s no big surprise in the results. Awarding a single archer at a time is the slowest. Awarding a whole category at once is much quicker (although not the 3 times quicker that might naively be expected). These times are probably an over-estimate, as they assume 3 medals in every category, which is not the case in some of the more niche bowstyles and age-group combinations, but nevertheless the relative size of the different scenarios is probably still correct. If we look at the timeline of events in each category, we can see why there’s such a big discrepancy.

Here we can see the single scenario just repeating the same pattern 3 times over, whilst the other scenarios take a more efficient “batching” approach, with common things like presentation and photos only happening once, and the approach time happens in parallel for all but the last person announced.

Other Considerations

Whilst the scenarios above are the most significant factor in determining award ceremony efficiency, there are a few other things that have an impact, which are worth considering when you plan your ceremony.

  • Should you read out scores or not? In some announcements, each archer’s score is read out as they are called up. Costs 3-4 seconds, but that will add 5-6 minutes to the overall ceremony length. Consider whether the audience really needs to hear every score, or whether maybe they only need to hear when they are particularly close or noteworthy.
  • Consider how you might handle overlapping events more efficiently. If, for example, you’re running a County competition on top of an open competition, and you notice that the final standings for a category are the same in both, maybe award both sets of medals at the same time for that category?
  • Consider improving access for medal winners. Normally, there’s a freeform huddle around the ceremony area, which means that medal winners might have to pick their way through a crowd to get to the front. Consider creating some open paths through the audience area to speed things up. This is a good idea anyway to help those with mobility issues.
  • Can some awards be done earlier in the day? If you’re doing head-to-head matches that complete earlier for some categories, it might be worth doing impromptu medal ceremonies for those categories rather than forcing those people to stay until everyone else has finished. That will also shorten the ceremony for those who do have to stay to the end.


The only real conclusion here is that you should consciously think about how you want to structure your award ceremony to give the best experience for your tournament attendees. Every situation is different, and all of the scenarios above are valid some of the time. Getting this wrong can affect your club’s reputation – there are some clubs that I dread going to, or just don’t bother staying for the awards ceremony, because I know that if I do I’ll be hanging around for 1-2 hours before a long drive home. Whilst this desire to grab medals quickly and leave as soon as possible might sound a bit grumpy, the fact is that there are not so many local tournaments as there were pre-Covid, so people are having to travel further and further. The difference between a 20 minute medal ceremony and a 60 minute one might be enough to put people off, especially given that most competitions are on Sundays and people will have work/school commitments in the morning.






One response to “Modelling Archery Awards Ceremony Structures”

  1. James Screech avatar
    James Screech

    As well as the medal’s there is usually an overly long delay before the start of the raffle and the raffle draw taking a long time. OK, some of this time is needed to correlate all the scores, but not all of it.

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