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The Relative Importance of Performance Factors in Korean Archery

Kim, Han-Byul1; Kim, Sae-Hyung2; So, Wi-Young3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 1211–1219
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000687
Original Research
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Kim, H-B, Kim, S-H, and So, W-Y. The relative importance of performance factors in Korean archery. J Strength Cond Res 29(5): 1211–1219, 2015—This study explored the factors affecting archery performance by calculating their relative importance in Korean archery. This study used the Delphi technique and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). After reviewing the literature and collecting data on performance factors in archery, the importance of factors affecting archery performance was calculated by holding meetings with experts (20 archery experts) and conducting confirmatory factor analysis (463 archers) and the AHP (36 archery experts). Performance factors were divided into mental, skill, and fitness categories. Fitness factors affecting performance included “drawing a bow without an arrow,” “lower-body weight training,” and “upper-body weight training.” Skill factors affecting performance included “extending by maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming,” “shooting skill over a regular clicker time,” “maintaining pace and direction at release,” and “drawing skill by maintaining left and right shoulder balance.” Mental factors affecting performance were “confidence,” “concentration,” “emotion control,” and “positive thinking.” “Confidence” was identified as the most important factor among the 11 subfactors. The performance factors identified in this study and their relative importance in determining successful performance can be used in training for optimal archery performance worldwide.

1Department of Sport Psychology, Korea National Sport University, Seoul, Korea;

2Department of Measurement and Evaluation for Physical Education, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea; and

3College of Humanities and Arts, Korea National University of Transportation, Chungju-si, Korea

Address correspondence to Wi-Young So, wowso@ut.ac.kr.

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Introduction

Korea has led the world in the sport of archery for 30 years. From the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where Korean women archers participated for the first time, to the 2012 London Olympics, Korean archery has been top-ranked worldwide; the Korean women's team has won a gold medal in the last 7 Olympics (28 years), and the men have won a gold medal in 3 successive Olympics (26). China, Japan, and European countries study Korean archery training methods and even visit Korea because of this success (33).

Recently, Korean archery coaches and players have traveled to many countries to teach top athletes. Korean archery is the best in the world for many reasons; unlimited intranational competition and worse-case scenario training. This method involves training in a manipulated often extreme environment, such as one with strong winds, excessive or distracting noise (e.g., audience or shutter sounds of reporters' cameras), and the annoying behaviors and noise of rival teams and fans. Worse-case scenario training prepares players to overcome severe environmental conditions and concentrate on their matches (23). Additional reasons for Korea's strength in archery include a passion to (a) challenge the domination in sports by advanced countries, such as the United States and several countries in Europe, (b) use new training methods, including diving and bungee jumping, (c) design and develop the Korean bow, and (d) prepare for the next competition as soon as one is finished (19,33).

Performance can be defined as “comprehensive competition ability” demonstrated by individuals and teams in and out of the competition arena; the components of performance have been repeatedly discussed in sports and sport sciences. In general, performance is decided by the combination of physical, mechanical, physiological, and psychological factors (7,9,32), and the components and subcomponents of these factors differ across events. The relative importance of these components can also differ. Jackson (12) reported that components of performance should meet the situational requirement for optimum performance in competition, and Jung (17) and Yun and Lee (37) insisted that a systematic classification of the subfactors of performance was a basis for scientific training, leading to maximal performance.

Few studies have analyzed the factors influencing archery performance comprehensively and multi-dimensionally even though their identification deserves priority because they could improve athletic performance. For this reason, it is meaningful to explore the subfactors of performance and to calculate the relative importance of these factors for Korean archery athletes. The aim of this study was to add basic data related to the factors affecting archery performance and to provide meaningful information for directors (administrative) and players. We also examined the content and construct validity of our factors and determined their relative importance. Based on the results of this study, field players and directors should be able to monitor a team's condition and plan improvements of themselves or their team based on information about their performance factors.

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Methods

Experimental Approach to the Problem

The study sample consisted of 3 different groups of participants. The Delphi survey was conducted with 20 archery experts recommended by ex-archery players, including professors specializing in archery, the national team coach, and a professional team coach with more than 15 years of teaching experience. We selected 463 Korean archers (men: 220, women: 243) through purposive sampling to test the construct validity of the 3 factors (fitness, skill, and mental elements) and 36 additional archery experts, including professors specializing in archery and the national team coach for the analysis hierarchy process (APH) test. The participant characteristics are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Table 1

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Subjects

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Seoul Women's University (IRB-2013A-6) and conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. All participants provided informed consent before the study began. If a participant was younger than 18 years, a parent or guardian also provided informed consent before the study began.

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Procedures

The researchers conducted the Delphi survey of the archery experts by meeting directly with them, explaining the purpose of the study in detail, and eliciting their opinions. The researchers also met directly the archery players at a stadium and conducted the Delphi survey there from August to September 2013. During this period, 3 major competitions were scheduled (the 40th Middle and High School Association President Archery Competition, the 24th Korean Industry Federation President Archery Competition, and the 45th National Men's and Women's All-around Championship) (Table 2).

Table 2

Table 2

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Statistical Analyses

Delphi Survey: Content Validity

In the first Delphi survey, 27 open questions, selected from a literature review, were organized into 3 factors (fitness, 7; skill, 10; and mental, 10) based on the content outlines of tests developed by professors specializing in archery. In the second Delphi survey, the results of the first survey were shared with the participants, and the importance of each item was re-examined through a series of closed-end questions (important or unimportant). Three factors (1 each for fitness, skill, and mental factors) that were regarded as unimportant by 50% of the experts were eliminated. Finally, the third Delphi survey used a 7-point Likert scale (ranging from 1 = absolutely unimportant to 7 = very important) to measure the responses to the second survey. Because the panel of archery experts who responded to this 7-point scale included 20 persons, items with a content validity ratio (CVR) less than 0.42, a mean less than 5.0, and a median less than 5.0 were eliminated (14,28). The equation for the CVR is as follows: (nN/2)/(N/2), where n is the frequency of an “important” rating of a particular item and N is the frequency of the total panel. For example, if 15 of 20 panel members rated an item as 5 (slightly important), the CVR was 0.75, which satisfied the criterion of 0.42. Thus, the 3 factors with a total of 17 items (5, fitness; 6, skill; 6, mental) identified in the third Delphi survey were used for analysis in this study.

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Delphi Survey: Convergent and Discriminant Validity

This study assessed convergent and discriminant validity to examine the determinant factors in Korean archery performance through the Delphi technique. Convergent validity establishes that the scale measures an identical concept on another valid scale, and discriminant validity examines the degree of difference from a nonidentical concept. Construct reliability (CR) and average variance extracted (AVE) are used to examine convergent and discriminant validity (34). The 2 models were as follows:

To be specific, convergent reliability requires more than 0.70 of CR or more than 0.50 of the AVE to satisfy convergent validity (6). The AVE of 2 potential variables should be higher than coefficient of determination between 2 variables to satisfy discriminant validity. For example, in the case of a 0.40 AVE in a fitness variable and a 0.50 of AVE in a skill variable, if the coefficient of determination between the fitness and skill variables is 0.50, this item satisfies discriminant validity because the AVE of the 2 variables (0.40, 0.50) is higher than the coefficient of determination (0.25). Construct validity of a scale is satisfied if convergent validity and discriminant validity are established (1). AMOS 20.0 statistical software (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) was used to examine the construct validity (convergent and discriminant validity); significance was set at 0.05.

This study analyzed the degree of importance of the factor items and used the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) on the determinant variable identified in the Delphi survey. Construct validity was assessed to understand the relative importance of the performance factors in Korean archery. Specifically, the order of priority (the weighted value) was determined by performing pairwise comparisons using AHP and EC-2000 (Expert Choice; Arlington, VA, USA).

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Results

Delphi Survey

The archery specialists in the first Delphi survey identified 3 factors with 27 items of importance to performance. Table 3 presents the 3 factors and the 27 items.

Table 3

Table 3

At first, this study included cardiorespiratory endurance, shoulder flexibility, grip strength, and muscular strength as factors. However, it was decided at the expert meeting that the training methods for these 4 items were more appropriate because they represent the reinforcement of fitness for archery. Therefore, we made revisions to the fitness training method item. Details are shown in Table 3. Most Korean coaches and players consider “drawing a bow without an arrow” to be fitness training and because this is thought to be very effective, players spend a good deal of time performing this movement. However, there is little information on how this movement improves archery skills or strengthens archery-related muscles, and there is no research to support this assumption.

In the second Delphi survey, more than 50% of experts selected 1 item in each of the factors as unimportant; these were “closed-eye foot balance” from the fitness factor, “maintaining a direction and tension after shot” from the skill factor, and “self-talk before shooting” from the mental factor.

In the third Delphi survey, 1 item related to fitness (long-distance running) showed a mean of 4.65 and CVR of 0.40, which did not meet the inclusion criteria. Among the skill variables, 3 items (“stance with constant place and foot angle,” mean = 5.45 and CVR = 0.40; “full anchoring,” mean = 4.85 and CVR = 0.40; and “aiming off confidently regardless of rain or wind,” mean = 5.60 and CVR = 0.40) were eliminated.

All items had medians greater than 5.00, but mean values less than 5.00 and CVRs less than 0.42 were found for 1 item in the fitness factor, 3 items in the skill factor, and 3 items in the mental factor. The final list of important items identified by the Delphi survey numbered 17 (5 items in the fitness factor, 6 in the skill factor, and 6 in the mental factor).

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Construct Validity

Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted for the 17 items identified using the Delphi technique. Items with less than 0.50 factor loadings were eliminated to improve goodness of fit. As a result, 2 items in the fitness factor, 2 items in the skill factor, and 1 item in the mental factor were eliminated from the model. The factor loadings and goodness of fit of the model are shown in Figure 1 and Table 4.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Table 4

Table 4

In this study, the goodness-of-fit index and root mean square error of approximation were 0.94 and 0.08, respectively. In addition, the comparative fit index and non-normed fit index (the Tucker-Lewis Index) were 0.94 and 0.91, respectively. Unlike the optimum value, all goodness-of-fit indices were satisfied.

Three, 4, and 4 items in fitness, skill, and mental factors, respectively, were greater than 0.50 of the path coefficient. Construct validity is calculated to verify convergent validity and discriminant validity. Analyses of convergent validity (considering interfactor correlation levels) and discriminant validity (considering between-factor correlations, i.e., fitness, skill, and mental) were conducted to examine construct validity. Construct reliability and AVE were calculated to examine convergent and discriminant validity. Table 5 shows the results of the construct validity analyses.

Table 5

Table 5

In the fitness factor, 3 items were greater than 0.50 of the standardized coefficient. All items in the skill and mental factors had greater than 0.50 of the standardized coefficients, 0.831 and 0.891 of CR, and 0.552 and 0.63 of AVE, respectively. Thus, these items satisfied convergent validity. Table 6 shows the results of discriminant validity testing between the categories. The examination of discriminant validity revealed that the AVEs of fitness and skill, fitness and mental, and skill and mental were higher than the associated coefficients of determination. Thus, discriminant validity of fitness, skill, and mental factors was satisfied.

Table 6

Table 6

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Analysis Hierarchy Process

The APH was conducted with 36 archery experts to examine the relative performance of the 3 factors, including the 11 items that satisfied construct validity (3, 4, and 4 items of the fitness, skill, and mental factors, respectively). Of the collected questionnaires, 28 were analyzed (8 questionnaires with values greater than 0.10 on the inconsistency index were excluded).

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Importance of Performance, Fitness, Skill, and Mental Factors

The inconsistency index was less than 0.10, which demonstrates consistency in the hierarchy process for all the following groups. As shown in Table 7, the analysis of importance revealed that mental (0.479), skill (0.344), and fitness (0.177) factors were important, in that order, to performance in archers. Three fitness items, 4 skill items, and 4 mental items are presented in the order of their importance in Table 7.

Table 7

Table 7

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Integration of Importance of the Performance Factors

The importance of the factor items is shown in order in Table 8. The inconsistency index was also less than 0.10 in the integration.

Table 8

Table 8

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Discussion

The aim of this study was to identify the factors that affect archery performance and examine the relative importance of these factors. Using the Delphi technique, 3 factors (fitness, skill, and mental) were identified. The components of performance and their order of importance depend on the event or sport. It has been reported that soccer performance is affected by fitness, skill, mental elements, and strategy (27), whereas squash performance is affected by fitness, mental stability, skill, and strategy (13,31). These results are similar to ours, except for the presence of strategy. Strategy is not an important element of archery; the assignment of first, second, and third positions in a team match is the only strategy commonly used, and many experts believe that strategies cannot be applied to archery. Thus, fitness, skill, and mental factors are the determinants of archery performance.

In terms of relative importance, it was found that mental, skill, and fitness factors were important for archery performance, in that order. This indicates that archery experts believe that the mindset of a player is the most important factor in a match. As archery athletes with more than 5 years of experience already possess the fitness and skill to compete in matches, the mental factor of performance is emphasized (16). An unstable psychological condition can make the body stiff and hamper performance skills that were mastered with effort through training. Other studies also have emphasized psychological factors (5,10,11,29,36). It has been reported in several studies that an unstable psychological condition can induce the tension in the body of an archery player (18,26,33).

For the fitness factor, drawing a bow without an arrow, lower-body weight training (low body-oriented circuit training), and upper-body weight training (shoulder, arm, and back-oriented circuit training) were important, in that order. According to our experts, “drawing a bow without an arrow” was the item most relevant to archery-related strength. This action consists of “set drawing” and “constant drawing,” which reveals the weakest element of extension. For example, when extension time is prolonged and exceeds the archer's average extension time, the left shoulder begins to tilt, and over time, the bowstring drops below the nose. In windy conditions, a longer extension time results in more errors, and “drawing a bow without an arrow” can help alleviate this situation. Thus, a player can reinforce fitness and improve a weak skill by practicing this action. Regarding weight training, the reason lower-body weight training is more important than upper-body is its effect on body stability. An unstable lower body can affect the entire body, which is a serious problem because it is difficult to concentrate on the target when unstable. In addition, players and coaches believe that upper-body strength training occurs during “drawing a bow without an arrow” and skill training (25).

The analysis of the importance of skill factors revealed that the “extending skill by maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming” and “shooting skill over a regular clicker time” were rated as twice as important as “maintaining pace and direction at release” and “drawing skill by maintaining left and right shoulder balance.”

“Extending by maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming” is the period immediately before shooting, and steady extension is associated with a steady clicker time. A longer clicker time leads to increased exhaustion and can have a negative effect on the archer's mental condition. Thus, the extension skill was rated as the most important of the archery skill factors. “Extending and maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming” leads to “shooting skill over a regular clicker time,” and both of these skills affect “maintaining pace and direction at release.” Our experts rated “extending and maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming” as the most important skill and this finding supports the findings of previous studies on the importance of extension (15,22,24,35). Kim (23) and Yi et al. (35) concluded that left-right shoulder balance should be maintained, and even the horizontal, vertical, and angular speed pattern of the shoulder joint should be stable for perfect extending based on the results of their study of excellent players.

“Confidence (believe in my skill)” was the most important item of the mental factors in this study and the belief that a task will be accomplished successfully (2), can have a significant effect on performance (3,4). If an athlete begins to doubt his or her skill, confidence decreases, resulting in a negative effect on performance. Kim (20) and Kim and Kim (21) reported that golf players lost confidence in their performance when their skills were pointed out during a match. This finding indicates that for a player to trust in his or her ability to perform well, even in any circumstance is very important. Previous studies of elite athletes support this finding (18,19,33). The next important mental factor was “concentrating on the match”; this is not surprising because many scholars regard concentration as essential to performance (8,30). There are many distracting factors in archery, such as noise from the crowd, cameras, and unfamiliar locations. Thus, players and coaches believe that the ability to maintain concentration among these potential distractors is important.

Finally, in this analysis of fitness, skill, and mental factors, “confidence (believe in my skill)” was rated overwhelmingly more important than the other factors. Confidence helps prevent the intrusion of unnecessary and distracting thoughts and anxiety, thereby providing an optimal environment for a match. In fact, in the process of conducting this study, we learned that many players and coaches believed that confidence could mask inadequate skills and fitness.

In Korea, many directors continue to focus mainly on fitness and skills in training. A minority of archers receive mental training or psychology consultations. Currently, the only groups that receive psychology consultations are the national team, several teams in which the coaches consider mental factors important, and players with individual needs. Even though directors recognize the importance of psychological skill, they do not know how to train to improve it, resulting in a lack of psychological training. Actually, players have improved their ability to maintain and control their psychological functioning rather than their ability to improve this performance factor by systematic psychological training.

The sports psychology consultant certification system was introduced to Korea only 10 years ago. Institutional resources, such as manpower and budget, have not yet been established to supply sports psychology consultants. Therefore, this system is offered only for specific events and to players that are supported by the government.

In the present study, psychological and skill factors were the top-ranked ones affecting performance, and these findings have a number of implications for training methods. The following measures are needed to improve the performance of players: (a) the establishment of system-wide resources to support actual consultation in the sports field, (b) education of coaches and directors about the importance and effectiveness of psychological training, and (c) more diverse approaches to encourage and reinforce the skills to improve the psychological factor of the players.

It is interesting to note that “drawing a bow without an arrow” in the fitness factor was ranked fifth among all of the factors. As mentioned above, Korean coaches and players spend a good deal of practice time performing this action. However, there is a lack of well-designed scientific study of this action; the results of such studies would be interesting and could add valuable information.

The highlights of this study's findings are as follows. “Confidence” was identified as the most important factor among the 11 subfactors. The fitness factors affecting performance included “drawing a bow without an arrow,” “lower-body weight training,” and “upper-body weight training.” The skill factors affecting performance were “extending by maintaining left and right shoulder balance during aiming,” “shooting skill over a regular clicker time,” “maintaining pace and direction at release,” and “drawing skill by maintaining left and right shoulder balance.” The mental factors affecting performance included “confidence,” “concentration,” “emotion control,” and “positive thinking.”

In conclusion, future studies should focus on factors other than the 11 in our study, such as conducting an analysis of the “drawing a bow without an arrow” movement, and further studies of the mental factor. Although the AHP combined the opinions of our experts, the results of this study can hardly be regarded as absolute. Additional studies including more experts are needed. Furthermore, qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and participant observation could add meaningful results to the study of factors influencing athletic performance. The performance factors identified in this study and their relative importance in determining successful performance can be used in training toward optimal archery performance worldwide.

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Practical Applications

This study was designed to provide basic data to guide archery players and directors on the sports field. Based on the results of the study, archery players and coaches on the field might check a team's conditions and make necessary adjustments to improve performance at an individual and team level. Through our analysis of performance factors, players, coaches, and directors can refer to “expert opinions” that were collected as part of this study. They can use this information to determine the most important factor affecting an athlete's performance. They use this information to select the most appropriate training methods to address the performance factor and evaluate its effectiveness.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a special research grant from Seoul Women's University (2014).

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Keywords:

hierarchical importance; analytic hierarchy process; Delphi technique

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