Category Archives: Competitions

Why bother keeping score?

When people first join the 2020 club, I usually give them the following recommendations:

  • Don’t worry about your score.
  • Keep score every couple of months.

Let me explain.

When to start scoring

When you first walk onto the range having just finished a course, whether that’s a 5-week course or the intensive weekend version, there’s a lot to remember—and a fair bit extra to learn. Suddenly, all of those excellent gold shots you made on the last day of the course disappear and your arrows are wending their way three targets to the left because you can’t remember which way to move your sight or what the hell we were talking about when we explained string pictures.  

Which is why I say: don’t worry about your score, especially for the first few sessions. Focus on remembering your stance and set-up and sequencing—that’s the order of steps that you take from planting your feet on the line to releasing your arrow. Focus on getting 3 arrows in more or less the same place on the correct target, and then on moving that group towards the gold.

Eventually, though, your arrows should all be hitting the target relatively consistently. It’s at this point you might consider scoring.

The phrase ‘keeping score’ carries a whiff of competitiveness, but scoring isn’t about beating other people unless you’re actually in a formal competition. Keeping score is about having a numerical value that tracks your progress as an archer. As such, I thoroughly recommend you score yourself every few months. Scoring every time you shoot is frankly boring and can be off-putting because any improvements are likely to be slight, if they’re there at all.

How to score

Scoring is easy. There are loads of different types of competition scoring in archery, but the 2020 club generally uses a standard GNAS Portsmouth round of 60 arrows on a 60cm target face, for a maximum possible score of 600 points. We cover how to score on our beginner courses, but as a refresher, see the following image of one of our Portsmouth scoresheets:

Each end of 3 or 6 arrows should be totalled in the ‘E/T’ (End Total) columns. End scores should be written from highest to lowest (ie, ‘10, 9, 8’ instead of ‘8, 10, 9’). The ‘H’ column tracks the number of hits on the target, the ‘G’ column counts the number of gold hits (the number of 10s), and the ‘IG’ column the number of inner golds (‘X’s). *

Scoring at the club

It is usually possible to do a full Portsmouth in a single club session, along with a couple of ends for practise. The rule is, though, is that you can’t discount any ends from your scoresheet once you’ve started: no sneakily discounting rubbish shots! You should also assign someone to be your target captain, who will make sure you’re not being too generous with arrows that aren’t quite touching the lines and who needs to check your maths at the end of the session. Just ask the nearest club member—they’re usually happy to help and they might ask you to return the favour!

If you want to submit your score to the club, you’ll need to commit to a full 60-arrow Portsmouth round at the full indoor distance and have a target captain sign your scoresheet. Your score will be listed on our internal leaderboard and we might send you a shiny badge if your score is high enough. However, if all you want to do is check your progress, you don’t need to be so strict. We have scoresheets for Half Portsmouths of 30 arrows—just enough to get a good numerical sample.

Scoring with different bows

Do remember that the type of bow and setup you use will dramatically change your scoring potential. Most people shoot either ‘Freestyle’ (recurve plus whatever attachments you like, including a sight) or Modern Recurve Barebow (recurve without a sight), but you might also want to keep score if you shoot traditional bows. Whichever style you choose, make sure you mark your scoresheet appropriately if you submit it to the club, as unmarked scoresheets are defaulted to ‘Freestyle’ on the leaderboards.

And, of course, make sure you keep score if you go and buy a new bow: the biggest jump in your personal best is very likely to be the day you stop using a club bow and buy something tailored to you.

Read this article for more information about scoresheets, competition scoring, and scoring etiquette.

* Note: A GNAS (Grand National Archery Society) Portsmouth round does not officially recognise the central circle on the target as ‘X’; it holds no more weight than the 10 ring. However, we at 2020 think that counting the number of ‘X’s you hit helps with tracking your progress as an archer, and as such we allow ‘X’s to be marked on submitted scoresheets.

What is a WA 1440 competition?

We were just about to hit send on a club newsletter telling people about the latest WA1440 competition and we suddenly thought, ‘What if I was a novice archer? Would I have any clue what a ‘WA’ (World Archery) or WRS (World Record Status) competition and what does 1440 even mean?’ So we wrote this just for you…….

A WA1440 is a metric round (as opposed to Imperial) where you shoot 3x dozen arrows (36) at 90m, followed by 3x dozen arrows at each of the following distances: 70m, 50m and 30m.

36x arrows at each distance gives a total of 144 arrows shot… each arrow is worth a maximum ten points and – therefore – a maximum score of 1440 points can be achieved.

The ladies 1440 (also known as a Metric 1) is 3x dozen (36 arrows) shot at 70m, 60m, 50m and 30m.

The longer distances (90m and 70m for men and 70m and 60m for women) are shot at a 122cm target face, the shorter distances (50m and 30m for both) are shot at an 80cm target face.


This round uses the world archery rules of shooting and uses 10 zone scoring (generally speaking, probably the one you’re used to!).

There is a really comprehensive guide to Scoring and Tournaments on the Archery GB website here :[14276].pdf


What do I need to know to go to a 1440 competition?

  • You need to be a member of Archery GB (previously called GNAS or Grand National Archery Society) this can be organised through your club and costs approximately £40. This will get you your own insurance for shooting at any other Archery GB / GNAS club, and it will get you on the mailing list for the regular Archery UK magazine which has details of other competitions.
  • You need to wear green or white and it has to be the specific green prescribed by Archery GB (covered in the Rules of Shooting Point 307 ‘a’ – you can read more here) or club colours (2020 Archery club colours are navy blue shirt and black trousers). Footwear must be completely enclosed (Rules of Shooting 307 ‘b’ in case you were wondering).

You must have practiced in advance at these distances and, as a rough indication, you’ll need to be shooting a bow which has at least 30+ lb limbs to reach 70m accurately.

Club Member Richard P’s Competitive Weekend of Archery!

It was a busy weekend for a few 2020 Archers over the weekend of 1st / 2nd March as we went along to two separate competitions on two consecutive days! The King’s Cup, hosted by the Chessington Bowmen, was on Saturday 1st March. This is a world record status FITA 18 event (60 arrows at a 40cm target 18m away) and a group of regular 2020 shooters went along to take part. Some of us were representing 2020 (Me, Roger, Kim and Jeff) and some shot for their other regular club Sutton Bowmen (Bryn, Trent and Tim).


The venue at Chessington is great as it has loads of space, it’s nicely heated and the club has a very friendly atmosphere. All was going well as we arrived – we had a little chat and got ourselves registered. Then as I started to put my bow together disaster struck! I hadn’t packed my sight! This was going to make my shooting a little difficult as I am rubbish at barebow. Fortunately with so many generous 2020 shooters around I was able to borrow a sight from Bryn and the organisers allowed me to move my session so I could shoot later.


It was also a stroke of good luck that in a World Archery round you are allowed two rounds of two minutes to shoot as many sighters as you can. This meant that I was able to set up the new sight and get a sight mark…. and hope for the best! In the end I managed a score of 509 which I was pleased with as this qualified me for a FITA target award for breaking 500! It also secured me a 10th place overall.


Roger and Tim had a bit of a nightmare by their usual standards, but I think that most people were reasonably happy with their scores.


Richard Parker (10th) – 509


Trent Rosenbaum (21st) – 476


Bryn Bache (24th) – 471


Kim Li – (25th) – 470


Jeffrey Chan – (32nd) – 449


Roger Huggins – (33rd) – 449


Tim Tilford – (5th) – 324 (Barebow)


The following day – Sunday 2nd – brought the Southern Counties and Sussex Indoor Championship which was held at the K2 in Crawley. This is a really impressive venue with 66 targets (!!) set up. They were even selling event t-shirts! This time the round that we were shooting was a Portsmouth – the more familiar round for indoor club shooters.


There were just the three of us this time myself, Kim and Jeff once again representing 2020 – and this time we were also representing the County of London! Jeff gave us a bit of a scare as he arrived just in time due to some issue with the trains. I was hoping that would be the only excitement today…


The organisers kindly put us together on adjacent targets and on the same detail so we could chat between ends. We were interspersed amongst a group of archers from Hillingdon – all decked out in green. They were a very friendly bunch which was great. It seems that Kim and I and are getting known on the competition circuit as a couple of the Judges came over to have a chat with us.


So off we went! Everything seemed to be going well and with one end to go I was on 523. I knew that if I could shoot 27 or more it would be a personal best for a competition. So, I walked up to the target for the last three arrows of the day trying to clear my mind in order not to pressure myself.


The first arrow looked to be a 10, then, releasing the second arrow, the bow kicks strangely in my hand. This was followed by a loud ‘clunk!’ My longrod has parted company with the rest of my bow..! Thankfully it didn’t result in anything less than an 8. Also thankfully, I am able to declare an equipment failure. The clock is stopped to allow me to put my bow back together and shoot my last arrow, I have 26 seconds left on the clock.


Once the stabiliser is securely screwed back into place I trot back to the line (now on my lonesome) and shoot my last arrow – a 9! Leaving me with a joint competition personal best of 550.


We are all happy with our scores (Kim hadn’t shot for two weeks so it took him a while to get into the swing of things). There were 114 Southern County entrants overall to help you make sense of the rankings.


Richard Parker (47th) – 550


Kim Li – (89th) – 501


Jeffrey Chan – (97th) – 479


I hadn’t realised that the three highest scores for shooters from the County of London would be entered as a team score but they were – and we came 8th out of 10. Not brilliant but I don’t think there were many County of London shooters as mine was the best score.


The indoor season for competitions is drawing to a close now but I would encourage all club members to think about competing when they can. It’s another great way to track your progress, the atmosphere is usually very relaxed (despite the rules and regulations) and where else will you find so many new archery fans to chat with?




2020 Archery First Handicap Competition of 2014!


Competition Date: Sunday 9th March, 2014

Start time – session 1: 12 noon in the Sports Hall, Downside Centre

Start time – session 2: 2pm in the Sports Hall, Downside Centre


These are competition only slots. Everyone shooting will be required to join in the competition shoot (even if you don’t have a handicap you can still join in and record your first competition score).


The broad premise is that everyone who wants to take part will shoot a Portsmouth round – all starting at the same time with 6 sighters.


If you take part your score on the day will be added to the allowance for your current registered handicap (as listed on the 2020 Archery website:


The final rankings will then be decided by the highest total.


What is the handicap system in archery?

It’s basically a way of tracking your progress over a period of time. Handicaps in archery are recorded between June of one year and June of the next, and as handicaps can only get better not worse in any one year, your handicap should be gradually getting lower (1 is the perfect handicap). Handicaps ‘reset’ in June of each year so if you’ve, for example, sustained an injury and your scores have been getting lower and lower your ‘good’ pre-injury handicap will last until June. Once June has passed the next 3 scores you put in will form your starting handicap for the next year.


In golf you can define a handicap as “a measure of the performer’s current ability over an entire round of golf, signified by a number. The lower the number, the better the golfer is.” In archery we use a similar system – at our club we usually only shoot one or two rounds but many archery clubs will shoot many different rounds over the course of a year (up to 100 yards outdoors). You can click here for a pdf of common rounds shot in the UK. The handicap (1 to 100) is generated by averaging the highest three scores achieved on any given round in a given year, and then checking this against the Archery GB handicap tables. An average score of 500 on a Portsmouth round will give a handicap of 50 – mid way through the table.


A nice nuance of the system also allows for 2 or more ‘players’ to compete against each other despite a difference in current scoring performance. This is done by providing an extra ‘allowance’ for your handicap when shooting a given round.


Example as follows:


The Average of Johnny’s top three scores are 526 and he has a handicap of 43.

If you have a handicap of 43 you will get 922 points added to your score.

Johnny shoots a Portsmouth score of 523, giving him a total of 1445.


The Average of Cathy’s top three scores are 429 and she therefore has a handicap of 60.

If you have a handicap of 60 you will get 1024 points added to your score.

She shoots a Portsmouth score of 435, giving her a total score of 1459.


The Average of Trev’s top three scores are 553 and he has a handicap of 31.

If you have a handicap of 31 you will get 881 points added to your score.

Trev shoots a Portsmouth score of 540, giving him a total score of 1421.


Final rankings:

1st) Cathy – 1459

2nd) Johnny – 1445

3rd) Trev – 1421


So, what this basically means is that if you’ve had a splendid day and increased your personal best by 30 points.. no matter whether you’re usually shooting 560, 490 or 380.. if you’ve done really well you get credit. If we don’t use the handicap system then the top people on the leaderboard will win every time even if they have a horrible shoot (compared to their usual performance) on the day.


Phew. Lots of info!


So, I love handicap comps! We’re trying to implement at least 4 each year – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. This one will be the inaugural Spring handicap shoot.


It’s mainly for fun but there will be some prizes!


Please come and support us!


£10 each to enter or use a pre-paid shoot if you’re on programme.




1st) 2020 Archery club hoodie + month of free shooting

2nd) 2020 Archery t-shirt + 3 free shoots

3rd) 2020 Archery water bottle + 1 free shoot


Best of luck!


2020 Archery Team


Team 2020 Archery at The European Archery Festival 2014

This piece is by 2020 Archery Club Member Kim Li – huge thanks to Kim for writing this account of his experience at the European Archery Festival.


Friday 24 January 2014 – Day One 


7.30am – It’s an early start today as I have to pick up Roger and Sarah from the station for a three hour drive to Telford. Sarah’s just texted to say they are running late as Roger has forgotten his ID so the day is already off to a good start…! Half way into the journey I have a sudden panic attack. Did I pack all my documents? I know I have my GNAS card and photo ID on me but what about my entry ticket? Do I turn around? Not likely. Professor Sarah wisely points out that we can check at a service station. 20 mins later my worries are gone. I packed it after all. I’m already a nervous wreck and I haven’t even arrived at the venue yet!


12.30pm – Wahay! Mr SATNAV has not let us down. We arrive at our hotels and the International Centre in one piece. We’ve plumped for the hotels which are right next door to the venue. Sarah and Roger are in the International which is about a 4 minute walk from the venue. I’m another minute down the road in the Holiday Inn. The rooms are pricier but it’s so much more convenient. And the hotels are very well kitted out. There’s a bar, restaurant, gym and pool. I can see I’m gonna like it here.  However, check-in isn’t until 2pm. So, what do three young archers do at their first competition? They go shopping at the trade fair! Bring on the new kit!


OMG!  We’ve just seen the targets and the shooting line.  The targets look so small and miles away.  What have we got ourselves into?  Maybe entering the competition wasn’t a smart move.


12.45pm – New finger tab acquired.  Hello Fivics!


12.50pm – Bump into Claire Conner and Richard Poole.  They are busy getting some arrows downrange in the practice area. They are scheduled to be first in our group of intrepid archers to shoot in the competition.  Claire looks relaxed.  Richard … well I don’t think relaxed is the word I’d use.  Only two nights ago we found out that Richard had been assigned the target face between Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski.  No pressure there then!


Hey look it’s Fadil, another 2020 member.  He’s not here to shoot but has made the journey to support us.  Good man!  We do our best to persuade him to buy some gear.  I think he’s got his eye on the KG Archery stand …


13.00pm – Brady Ellison!  The man himself has arrived … we’re all staring at him!  Ladies and Gents, we’re in the presence of an Olympian and World Champion! We also spot Aida Roman of Mexico.  Sarah is due to shoot right next to her!  No pressure Professor!


As Claire and Richard go off to the main hall others from 2020 start to arrive.  Trent, Karine, Akos and others all arrive with various levels of nervousness and trepidation.  Well, maybe not Karine.  She’s done this thing before. My first and only foray into the food offerings of the International Centre leaves me … hungry.  Next time I’m bringing a stove and a wok!


2.00pm – Claire and Richard shoot their first arrows whilst we check into our rooms.  I must admit, I like the Holiday Inn.  The rooms are very well fitted out and the facilities in the hotel are top notch.  There’s even a spa and pool!


2.05pm – Danielle Brown!  I swear I’ve just spotted Danielle Brown in the reception area getting a beverage from Costa.


2.08pm – Rick van der Ven!  On the way to the hotel we bump into Rick van der Ven in the car park.  He seems to be in a hurry to get to the practice range.  Both me and Roger are showing unheard of levels of excitement at the Dutch archer’s presence.  Such a moment necessitated a fist bump!


I return back to the main hall to catch Claire and Richard finish their sighting rounds and start scoring.

Richard and Brady Ellison

That’s Richard sandwiched between 2 archery legends!


Rather than sit up in the stands I decide to hover behind the coaching line and provide moral or logistical support wherever I can.  Both shooters seem OK.  Richard is doing an exceptional job despite his position.


5.50pm – The next session starts.  Sarah, Roger, Trent, Akos and Bryn are all up for their moment of glory.  Again I hover on the coaching line to add my support.  Bryn is first to flag me down, about half way through the session.  He needs chocolate.  Unfortunately I am not in my usual archery setup so I have none to hand.  A quick visit to the food hall results in water and kitkats for those who need it.  Then Akos throws a polite come hither at me.  He needs a pen to mark his arrows.  Again, my casual spectator setup doesn’t include a pen.  In an unusual moment of clarity I decide to visit the expo stands.  Surely one of them has a pot of pens to give away as a freebie … nope.  Not a single one.  We have wristbands and t-shirts but no pens.  Luckily Bow International save the day and kindly donate a biro.


Wow, Brady Ellison has come down to watch and support some archers.  I find myself standing next to him … AWESOME!  I even get to exchange a few words with him.

Brady and Kim

I sneak in a cheeky photo op with the big man himself!


9.00pm – The final arrow of the night is shot.  I’m not there to see it as I am at the station waiting for my beloved Ceri to arrive.  The weather has moved on from slight drizzle to heavy rain.  Just another day in Telford then.


That’s more than 3 hours for 60 arrows.  I’m beginning to feel concerned as it usually takes me 2 hours at most to shoot my 60.  And I know my own endurance levels will only last for two hours.  Thank God I’m not shooting today and I have until tomorrow afternoon to gather my energy.  I think I’m gonna need it.


9.30pm – Dinner at the Beefeater is not what we hope for.  With beef in their name you kinda hope that they know what they are doing.  Turns out we were wrong.  A handful of rib-eyes turn up looking … microwaved.  There’s no hint of heat on them and they look greyer than the sky earlier today.  Sarah and Karine are vocal about their discontent and we manage to get both meals refunded.  The beers are flowing thank god.  We won’t be back here tomorrow night.


Saturday 25 January 2014 – Day Two


8.00am – It’s early and Richard Parker, James and Jeff should be on the line getting in their four sighter rounds.  I am still asleep so I miss most of their arrows. I only get a chance to see Richard during the second half of the shoot.  Seems fatigue and timing has hit the silver fox (his own words).  It’s not going well.


10.00am After a nice hot bath and a filling breakfast I am ready for my turn on the line.  Ceri is curious about how I will do (it’s her first time seeing me shoot arrows and she is intrigued by the kit).


10.30am – I manage to shoot 18 arrows on the practice range and my kit is inspected by the judges.  All is good.  Time to control my nerves for the qualification round. A few 2020 members pop over to wish me luck.  I’m now a nervous wreck.


12.00am – Here goes nothing.  I’ve got my bib and my number is attached to my quiver, I’m ready to shoot some arrows.

kim li

Boy I’ve got my anchor sorted!

I’m shooting next to Josh from Scotland and someone who is waaaay too young to be left alone with a pointy stick (little did I know… ).  Josh takes up the paper scoring duties and I get to play with the electronic scoring device.  My first shot feels strangely natural and hits the target.  Maybe it’s all gonna be alright on the night…. ?


28 arrows in and I’m feeling pretty good.  I haven’t missed yet.  I’m on target to beating my PB and maybe beat Roger!  I’ve got plenty of water and chocs in my belt and nerves don’t seem to be an issue.  I’ve got Ceri and Sarah cheering me on.  What else could a man need?  Refocus, arrow 29 is ready to fly. I adopt the freedom stance (my own name for my rather wide stance). Arrow 29 is nocked and lined up. I draw back and take aim ….




I don’t believe it.  My first miss!  Calm down and reset for arrow 30.


I adopt the freedom stance again … Arrow 30 is nocked and lined up… I draw back and take aim ….




Phew.  I can live with one miss.  So I end my first 30 arrows with 245.  That’s higher than I have ever shot.  With a bit of luck I might be able to nudged 500!


5.30pm – 30 arrows later and it’s all over.  I don’t bother looking at my final score.  I know I missed 6 times.  I haven’t performed as well as I had hoped but that’s the reason I’m here. Where else will I get the opportunity to learn what it’s really like on the world archery stage?  Today has shown me that endurance also plays a key part in your performance.  I need to be able to last more than 2 hours and where necessary adapt my shooting when things go wrong.  Lessons identified.  Lessons learnt.


So it’s back to my room for a shower to relax and then drinks at the bar in the Holiday Inn.  The silver fox – with James and Jeff in tow – turns up for a few drinks too.  Eventually the whole gang is in the bar chatting about the day’s events and archery in general.  Somewhere in the conversation we learn that Brady Elllison has been knocked out of the competition and ranks 5th in the final scores.  That’s a bit scary given he’s just set a new world record with 593 in the qualification round.  But that’s not important now, we’re all a bit dejected and down after realizing that not a single 2020 member shot within their abilities.


9.00pm – A quick trip back to the International Centre through the cold night leaves us in shock.  The men’s recurve second chance shoot is tomorrow morning at 7.30am!  OMG!  That’s the final smack in the face.  Someone has a rather dark sense of humour in Archery GB and Telford.


10.30pm – Well that’s an early night I guess.  See you all at 6am!


Saturday 26 January 2014 – Day Three


6.00am – There’s no way in hell anyone should be up at 6am and contemplating shooting arrows.  Even if it is only 15 arrows.  But that is exactly what I’m doing.  Having not made the top 32 cut-off for the qualifications round I have automatically been entered into the Second Chance competition. If I can score well with my next 15 arrows I might be in with a chance of getting some of the goodies in the prize fund.


6.30am – I’ve trudged my way to the main hall thinking of nothing but wanting to go home.  It’s early, dark and cold.  My beloved Ceri is still snuggled up in bed.  We didn’t really see the need for her to be there as this’ll all be over in about 30mins.




Entering the main hall I see just about every archer who didn’t make the top 32.  I thought this would be a nice quiet affair.  Boy was I wrong.  I might as well make the most of this experience.  We’ve all travelled many miles to get here so why waste it?  I guess I better man up and string up!


9.30am – I’ve shot my last arrow for the competition.  And I must admit, I had more fun shooting in the Second Chance competition that in the qualification round.  Most of the archers were there to have fun.  The targets were unfamiliar (a triangular Vegas three spot with all three targets overlapping) and most shooters didn’t really stand a chance (I saw some county champions there).  So the arrows were flying and so were the jokes.  Good times.

last arrows

Here’s me shooting my last arrows. The guy on my left ended up with no arrows with a full set of vanes. Hell he was shooting a bareshaft! 


9.45am – Last chance to support the team.  Karine is still setting up whilst Claire is ready to shoot her first round of sighters.  Karine waves me over and needs a bow stringer.  She’s left her kit bag in the bag area and has only just realized her string is on upside down.  Fortunately, I’ve just completed my shoot and have everything on me. One red bow stringer to the rescue!


10.30am – Myself, Ceri, Claire and Richard Poole settle down to our last breakfast in Telford.  We chat about our experiences and what is happening in the archery world next week.  Of course I don’t miss one final chance to rib Richard about his position on the line between two Olympians.


12.00pm  – Checked out and homeward bound. I didn’t feel like queuing up and watching the finals, ArcheryTV will be showing that later on and they have better seats than me.


It was a pleasure to come and shoot at Telford.  Archery GB came up trumps when they managed to steal the competition and host it in the UK.  Where else will shooters of all ages and abilities get to shoot against the world’s greatest? I may not have shot my best but I’m not complaining.  Next time (whenever that will be) I’ll be back…

Mark : First Competition Norwich Stafford Part 2

If you missed my last post, let me bring you up to speed… We’re in Norwich shooting a Stafford; this is my first competitive shoot and all’s going well. 

I found out about the tournament in the directory at the back of the Archery GB magazine, which brings me to a very important point : if you want to shoot competitively you must be a member of Archery GB (often still referred to as GNAS). If you aren’t a member then you won’t get past the stage of filling in the tournament entry form. It doesn’t cost much to join and you can do it through the club (just send an email in to the office). As well as enabling you to shoot at competitions it also means you can shoot at other clubs, assuming they allow guests (and you ask nicely!). Perfect if you ever spend lengths of time away from home and want to keep up your practice.

The tournament directory lists all the UKRS and WRS shoots that are going on around the country, along with some other open club competitions. If you shoot regularly at 2020 you are probably familiar with the Portsmouth round, but there are other indoor rounds you can shoot too. Don’t let this phase you; they are all similarly structured and of similar difficulty. 

The Stafford round is 6dz arrows shot in ends of three arrows at a distance of 30m at an 80cm target. It feels very similar to a Portsmouth, as the increased distance is countered by a larger target face. It is not a particularly common round as it’s difficult to find a large enough indoor space to comfortably shoot it, so many of the competitors were using their sighter ends to coarsely set their sights rather than fine tuning a sight mark worked out previously. I didn’t want to take that chance, so I had been practicing shooting at 30m for a few weeks beforehand at (often in sub-zero temperatures – how’s that for dedication/idiocy!) and had worked out my sight marks.

There are a few pieces of etiquette that you should be familiar with before shooting at a tournament and although we shoot safely and respectfully at 2020 we don’t always follow rules that are standard at many clubs. A couple rules you’d be wise to be aware of:

  • Do not step up to or back from the line if the archer in front or behind of you is at full draw, it’s distracting.
  • If you are the penultimate archer to finish shooting your arrows, stay on the line until the last archer has finished shooting. You don’t leave someone up there by themselves. Even if you have to stand there looking like a plum for 30 seconds.

Other points of etiquette are relaxed. For example, we frown a little bit if you stand on the line at 2020 adjusting your sight as it slows the session down, but in a competitive shoot each end is timed. You generally have two minutes to shoot your three arrows, so if you want to spend some of that time adjusting your sight that’s up to you.

Although the experience was new and there were a few things to learn I’m pleased to report that I had a good shoot. I scored 623/720, a little lower than my practice average, but still placing me 6th out of 15 in the Gents Recurve and leaving me with an itch to scratch… that evening I entered another four tournaments!

Full results can be found here: 

Mark : First Competition! Norwich Stafford

It’s a wintery afternoon on 13th January 2013 and I’m wandering around a near deserted college campus somewhere on the outskirts of Norwich. The sports hall, the venue for the Norfolk Bowmen UKRS (UK Record Status) Stafford, is proving to be difficult to find. I feel okay about this because as soon as I do find it I’m in unknown territory – the elusive world of the archery tournament.

My quest to find the sports hall left me plenty of time to ponder the bigger questions in life: How will I know what to do? What if I don’t know the etiquette? Why does Rule 307 make me feel like I’m back a school? What on earth is a Lady Paramount?

Ah, found the entrance! Deep breath. Here’s what I found out….
  • It’s similar to shooting at the club. There are loads of people with bows, a few familiar faces (some of the staff from Clickers in Norwich) and a lot of less familiar faces. But we’re all here to do the same thing.
  • It’s really well organised and the judges are here to help. I arrived at the end of the first session, found a judge and blurted out, “This is my first tournament, what do I do?”. 
“Don’t panic!”, came the wisened reply, “Set up your bow and we’ll explain everything”. Which they did, immediately prior to our two ends of sighters.
  • Although the signalling system is different to the one used at 2020, it only takes a couple of ends to get used to it. In short: 

    • *bleep bleep* first detail to the shooting line 
*bleep* first detail shoot

    • *bleep bleep* second detail to the shooting line
*bleep* second detail shoot

    • *bleep bleep bleep* safe to score and collect your arrows

    • The process then repeats, but if you were on the first detail for the first end you swap to second detail for the second end and so forth. That way, everyone gets to shoot at a blank target face an equal number of times.

If there are four people on a target (A,B,C,D), archer C tends to write the scores, but this can be negotiated. You call your arrows in turn, highest value to lowest, pointing at each one as you call it (but don’t touch any of the arrows or the target face until scoring has finished!). If you aren’t the scorer you should pull your fair share of arrows once the scores have been taken, not just your own arrows.

And so it goes until the end of the round.

I was lucky enough to be on a target with three friendly and more experienced archers so I took the opportunity to ask lots of the questions. In my next post I’ll let you know what I found out about etiquette and preparation.

p.s. the Lady Paramount (or Lord Paramount) appears to be the chief judge. This wasn’t overly clear. I think they should have to wear a special hat or something.