The current rule really count distance more the accuracy. The precision score should count more.As you may or may not know, we on the national rules committees at Science Olympiad begin work about this time every year on updating the rules for next year. We have a general policy of trying to make at least one significant change to each returning event (not all events return every year - they rotate in and out every so often), as well as trying to correct issues that required clarifications or FAQs.
The day after Nationals we (the national event supervisors, state directors, etc. etc.) always have a big meeting where we hash out issues face to face and try to come up with a near final version of the new rules. While many of us (myself included) are former competitors, in general we don't get direct input from current competitors during this process, although we do get some input from some coaches who happen to be involved at the national level.
Thus, as the Physical Sciences Committee chair, I've decided to try an experiment this year. Storm the Castle is tentatively scheduled to return next year (2011-2012 season). What specific changes would you make to the rules? I'm open to all suggestions (small and large), but can't promise we'll actually implement any of them. Feel free to post ideas here or send me a PM if you'd like.
I will use an example. Two teams can both shoot the same projectile about 20m using the same counterweight.
Team one chooses to place the target at 20 m and overshoots by 0.5 m getting a score of 19.5m
Team two chooses to place the target at 30 m and undershoots by 9.5m (the same overall 20.5 as team one) and get a score of 20.5 m.
Both teams shot the same distance bu tthe team that came closer gets a lower score. There is no real advantage to trying to come close. Even if team one would have landed in the castle they would have gotten a 10% bonus oand scored 22.
But another team that shot 22m at a 30 m target (missing by 8m ) would get the same score.
If distance is the main thing then get rid of the farce accuracy score.
It gets worse. You get a lower score if you don't put your target as far as possible.
Team A sets the target at 10 m. Their shot lands goes 10 m, but is 3 m to the left of the target. Measured from the center of target to where the ball lands. They get a score of 10 - 3 = 7
Team B sets a target at 14 m. Their ball lands in the same spot as team A. Because you will measure a diagonal, their accuracy score would be 5. a^2+b^2=c^2. 3^2 +4^2 = 5^2. 14-5=9. Team B would bet a better score than Team A simply because of the target placement.
Your score will improve the further you can get the target away from where your shot lands.
A simple change would be to double the accuracy penalty. LS = TD - 2 x A.