This page is to help you understand what is involved in a competition, what you need to know and do and what you need to think about if you want to shoot one!
So you want to shoot a competition?
I clearly remember my first classification shoot – I did not have a clue what to do or what to expect so I thought it might be useful to some of you that have not shot a Classification round or a Competition if I we put a few words together on this!
For the purpose of this review we will use Fonmon as the course in question.
Fonmon can and does get very muddy and slippery in the winter – it can and does get very hot in the summer.
So – things to check the day before the shoot.
Ensure you have your Classification card and Membership card in your bowbag or quiver. You may not be allowed to shoot if you don’t have these.
What is the weather going to be like? check the link on the web site front page !
The weather will determine your clothing, BUT always wear long trousers as the nettles / brambles are fierce from April on.
Always wear stout foot wear – not trainers, walking type boots or wellies if really muddy. They will keep your feet dry and support your ankles, the paths are not even or flat and the last thing you want to do is twist your ankle it is not easy to get off the course on one leg!
Clothing with no lose bobbles etc that can get caught up in the bow string, if you have long hair, tie it back. Dont wrap spare tops around your waist – they will catch when you shoot.
If it is raining, lightweight waterproofs – not heavy jackets as they will get in the way of your shot.
A hat to keep the sun off your head, or the rain, but you may need to remember to take it off to shoot !
Remember you need to shoot as well as you can and not be so padded out that you can’t draw the bow with good form.
Okay so clothing sorted now what?
Food and drink, remember a full shoot can last from 10am to 5pm, there are no shops at Fonmon course! If the shoot is a competition the entry form and information sheet will tell you if there is any catering. If the shoot is a Classification round then what you bring is what you eat and drink!
Many archers carry a small rucksack to put food, drink and waterproofs in, fine so long as you remember to take it off to shoot! Some archers have small pouch type bags on the belt they have their quiver on and keep food and drink in it – your choice, remember once you start the shoot you have to carry it around to the mid point at least.
Toilets, unless you are told that there will be toilets provided in the competition information – there are NO toilets at Fonmon.
Okay so that’s the basics – now the shoot.
If it is a Classification shoot there will be a Classification officer or Senior Archer running the shoot. There needs to be a minimum of three archers for the shoot to go ahead.
On arrival – always be there in plenty of time so you have your bow set up and are ready for the shoot on time. DO Warm up exercises and practice ends if possible.
Hand you classification card to the person running the shoot, they will give you two scorecards. Fill them both in! Name, Date, Venue, Style, Class, Round, oh, and they will want paying as well!
Once you have been put into groups, minimum 3 archers, two will be nominated to score – they will each need one of your score cards. You will then be told a target number to start on – after this follow your group and remember – No loud talking when people are shooting, act as you would want everyone else to act when you are shooting. NEVER take shortcuts. Most of all, enjoy the shoot.
Often the groups will have agreed a start time and will shoot a practice end or two on the first target – listen if they do and make sure you know if the end you are shooting is a practice or a real scoring end!
If it is a formal Competition there will be a Tournament officer who will have arranged everything – you will have to register at a central point, there may be practice butts set up for you to check you bow set up on and you may have to have a bow check carried out, listen to what is being said by the organisers, make sure you know what group you are in and what target you are starting on.
Then the same rules apply – scorecards, target groups etc.
There are a few things you need to know about the actual shoot whether it is a Classification round or a Competition.
Each group will agree the shoot order and if at all possible you shoot in groups of two, one on the left and one on the right of the peg.
Each target will have an information board before the first peg – check the board for what you are shooting – Hunter, Field or Animal round, Adult, Junior or Cub – this will tell you the distance to shoot. The pegs are colour coded and marked with the distance. Make sure you shoot from the correct peg. Field shots are from White Pegs for adults and some Junior shots, Hunter shots are from Red Pegs for adults and some Junior shots, Animal pegs are Yellow for adults and some Junior shots, other junior pegs are blue, all cub pegs are Black.
If you shoot first on the left side of the peg then you shoot the lower target left side if there are multiple targets on the butt. If you shoot in the second group you shoot the top target on the side you are standing at the peg. If you shoot on the right side you shoot that side target. If there is only one target – Shoot it!
There is one change to this – on a ‘Fan’ shot where there are four pegs at the same distance – the information board will tell you it is a Fan shot you shoot the first two arrows on the target on the same side of the centre that you are standing – then the last two on the other target – so two on the left and two on the right.
Another that is a bit different is the Hunter shoot where on some targets you will shoot two arrows at one distance and then two arrows at the second distance, in both Field and Hunter there are ‘walk up’ shots where you shoot one arrow at each distance – REMEMBER to walk to the next peg before shooting the next arrow or you lose the points!
Once you have shot the first 14 targets or in some cases when you get to either target 14 or 28 no matter what target you started on you change the order you shoot in your group, so if you shot first on the left side you now shoot last on the right side and vice versa.
NEVER even touch the arrows until the scorers confirm you can remove them, failure to do this may lose you points as they will discount any that were either moved or taken out of the target before they have agreed the score between them and confirmed they can be removed.
If you are not scoring on the cards it is usual for you to call out the scores so the scorers can record them – you need to make sure you are correct on the score, always start with the highest – eg. 5,5,4,3 or 5,4,4, blank/miss – take your time to make sure you get it correct. If you are in any doubt because the arrow may or may not have broken a line ask the scorer to confirm. Once all the arrows have been scored and agreed it is polite to ask if the other archers want you to pull out the arrows – some prefer to do this themselves but otherwise it is your role to pull the arrows and hand them to the archers.
Once you have shot all 28 ends, the scores are added up and you have to sign the cards as the archer or/and as scorer. At this point is it normal to shake hands with all the archers in your group and thank them for their company. The cards then get handed to the Classification officer to add the scores to your Classification card or to the Tournament officer if it is a Competition. Then it is waiting to see who won!
All that remains it to pick up your medal / trophy, pack your bow away and return home to tell everyone how great it was and claim that Welsh record.
Participation in Competitions – Course Ettiquette and code of conduct
After the Welsh and Open a number of comments were fed back by various archers on the skill and behaviour of some of the junior / cub archers during the competition.
May I remind all – Mobile phones are not to be used on the course during a shoot unless in an emergency or as agreed with all archers in the group, if they are used they are only to be used when no-one in the group is shooting.
Under no circumstances is a bow to be pointed at anyone and drawn with or without an arrow nocked. Any archer doing this will immediately be disqualified and not allowed to shoot in any future competition until the club coaches confirm the archer is safe.
No archer should shoot a competition if they are not competent or do not have sight marks for the distances they are shooting.
Any archer who wants to shoot a competition and is not sure as to the requirements please ask the advice of a coach or instructor before registering for the shoot.
In any future class round or competition any archer who is not abiding by the code of conduct will be asked to leave the course.
Please ensure you familiarise yourself with the code of conduct and good etiquette before deciding to attend a shoot.