So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and have a go at one of the many National Competitions available? Or maybe you’re just considering it at this stage? Either way, good on you! I know that competing isn’t for everyone and that lots of archers are happy to concentrate purely on Club shooting and that’s absolutely fine. If so, you guys can probably stop reading at this point if you want to!
For those keen to give competitive archery a try, then here is a basic guide to what you need to do to enter and a few pieces of etiquette so you won’t feel out of your depth. But the main thing to remember is: IT IS FUN, and the majority of archers who try it, are hooked.
So what do you need to do next? Well, firstly you should decide whether you’d like to compete indoors or out. Both have their pros and cons.
Outdoor competitions are of course affected by weather and in Scotland, that usually means rain. Wind is also a huge factor, but on a perfect sunny day, outdoor archery can be fantastic.
Because there is more room for bosses in a Field, these competitions are less likely to fill up, so there’s more chance of having your entry form accepted.
There is also a greater variety of shooting distances available outdoors and many competitions (Bannockburn for example), allow archers to enter at any distance, regardless of age and sex. This means, for example, if you’re a male adult you don’t have to shoot 100 yards or 90 metres if that’s outwith your shooting range or ability.
Many competitions are held over two days (Saturday & Sunday), although prizes are usually awarded for individual days as well as combined.
Many seasoned outdoor archers also like to invest in a tent – yes, you read that correctly – as it can be a long day and it’s handy to have somewhere to keep your equipment, picnic, etc while also sheltering from the sun, or more frequently, the rain. There is even a Tent Line on the Field, located behind the Shooting Line where you can pitch up.
A variety of outdoor clothing is also a good idea, as I have returned home from an outdoor competition in the past, both soaked to the skin and sunburned. Ah, the Scottish weather!
Indoor competitions take part throughout the winter months and are not subject to the weather (other than trying to drive to them!). You know that the conditions will be the same every time, but with less room, some of the more popular competitions can fill up quickly unless you’re quick.
There is less of a choice in distances Indoors, with most competitions being either Portsmouth (20 yards) or WA18 (18m), although occasionally 25m is offered as part of a WA Combined, depending on the size of the hall. As a reminder of the various Indoor Shooting Rounds, you can view them all here.
No tent is required, but as many Indoor competitions are held in school games halls, there are sometimes no refreshment facilities, so best to bring a packed lunch if you’re going to be shooting all day. The Entry Forms will usually keep you right if there is a cafe on the premises.
Competitions tend to take part on a Sunday, either in the morning or afternoon and if you’re feeling lucky, you can usually enter both sessions if they’re not a Double event or a Combined, in which case you’d be shooting all day with a break for lunch.
There’s also less clothing required, although some sports halls are similar to ours in that they can be excessively hot while others can be quite cool.
It can also be quite crowded and personal around the Waiting Line with 4 archers usually allocated to each boss, so remember to have a shower that morning!
The form will ask for your name, Club, Archery GB number, contact details, whether you’re left or right handed and your handicap (if you have one). If you have a handicap then please fill it in, as many tournaments offer handicap prizes, so you may be in with a shout! You may also be asked for your Class, which is only relevant once you’ve shot enough competitive scores, so if it’s your first time, leave it blank.
Most Clubs will acknowledge receipt of your form, but some don’t, so I tend to ask for acknowledgement, written in bold letters on the Form. Sometimes, a Target List will appear on the SAA Competitions Page a week or so prior to the competition, (or the more organised events will email you in advance) detailing which target face you will be shooting on. Again, some don’t do this and you find out on the day when you check in. If you’re in any doubt about anything in relation to your application, you can contact the organiser, whose details will be on the entry form.
Article by Ian MacDonald