Your First Tournament

Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:50
(2 votes)

Whether you are competitive or just shoot for pleasure, shooting in a tournament is a great experience and can be a lot of fun, but it can seem a daunting prospect at first. This guide to what to expect at your first tournament will hopefully help to dispell any fears you may have. The vast majority of tournaments are pretty relaxed events where beginners are very welcome. The only tournaments that are a little bit more formal are ones that have UK or World Record Status and even in these tournaments you will find a mix of elite, intermediate and beginners. All are welcome.

Why Should You Do It?

Firstly it’s good fun.  You get to meet other archers and see different styles & equipment.  There are always beginners at comps so you will not be the only one there.  You can get a score which can count towards your classification and handicap and then try to improve on it the next time – so it is a great way to see your progress.

Where/When Should You Go?

Our calendar has dates of lots of local and national tournaments and we often email about local tournaments. Arundown runs several annual tournaments and they are only a few miles away in Angmering.  We also hold friendly tournaments within the club.

Arrive at least 30 mins early so you have time to set up your bow.

Who Should You Go With?

It is almost always more fun to go with other members of the club – if you are entering a tournament put a message on the forum so other likeminded archers can go with you.  You could even share lifts to keep the costs down.

What Do You Need To Take?

Some places are more relaxed than others, but there are a few rules and helpful tips.  You can check out the full dress code rules here – but mainly you can’t wear blue denim, olive drab or camouflage clothes or ripped clothes and they shouldn’t have slogans on them.

  • You must bring your Archery GB card (or receipt) to show you have paid your membership.
  • Most venues have a snack stall but it’s always a good idea to take food & drink.
  • A pen to write your scores with!
  • If it’s outdoor, then often a chair and maybe an umbrella or suncream!
  • Your bow & arrows etc and spare equipment in case of damage.

What Happens On The Day?

field layoutOn arrival you must register with the organiser who will then tell you which boss you are on. You should then locate that boss and set-up your bow.

You will notice that often there will be three lines on the ground. The first line is the Shooting Line. You may only be on this line when it is your turn to shoot. The second line is the Waiting Line. All archers when not on the shooting line must wait behind this line. No equipment other than the equipment you are shooting with can be placed in front of the waiting line. The third line is the Equipment line. All other equipment, bags, cases, coats etc must be stored behind this line.

After you have set up and before the tournament starts there will be an Assembly where the judges will tell you the rules and explain the order of events.

When the tournament starts there will be one whistle to announce that archers may approach the shooting line. This will be followed shortly by a second whistle to announce that you can start shooting. When everyone has shot (or after 2 minutes if it is a timed round) there will be three whistles to denote that you can score and collect arrows.


All arrows must be scored before any arrow is pulled. Do not touch the arrows but instead point to them when calling the scores. Always start at the highest score and work your way out calling them in sets of 3 e.g. “9,7,7” and then “7,5,5”. If the tournament has Record Status or if the judges have told you to do so, mark the arrows on the target face with two short lines either side of the shaft and then pull them out. This is so that if an arrow bounces out the judges can tell where it hit by finding the unmarked hole. If you make a mistake when scoring, simply raise your arm and a judge will come over and make the correction. Do not make the correction yourself.

Shooting In Details

Often there will be so many archers in a tournament that you will need to shoot in details. Typically there would be 4 archers on a boss. Detail A would be archers 1 & 2 and Detail B would be archers 3 & 4. On the first end Detail A would shoot first followed by Detail B and then both details score and collect. On the next end Detail B would shoot first followed by Detail A and so on. Swapping the shooting order means that everyone gets the chance to shoot at a clean target face.

Rebounding Arrows & Hangers

If you shoot an arrow and it bounces out of the boss you should continue to shoot your remaining arrows. Then take two steps back and raise your bow above your head to signal the judge who will then tell you what to do. If you or anyone else on your boss shoot an arrow that then falls so that it is hanging in the target face all archers must stop shooting immediately and raise your hand to signal the judge who will then tell you what to do.

Read 4507 times Last modified on Friday, 17 February 2017 22:29
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