Archery 101: Preparing for your 1st competition

Competitions are often the best way to determine your progress as an archer. Tournaments are also a great opportunity to meet and shoot with archers of all levels, learn from others on the shooting line and a chance to flex your competitive muscles! Shoots are available to archers of all abilities and experience levels, so even novices can take part and start to engage in the competitive world of the sport.

1. Choose one

At the start of the season, research available local competitions and decide what you want to participate in. Some tournaments will offer novice categories catering for beginning archers. For your first competition, it’s better not do stretch yourself to the limit of your ability. Choose a distance that you are comfortable shooting so you can focus on enjoying the event rather than stressing over your performance.

Make sure you know the dates for entry opening – and send in your entry as early as possible to ensure you get a space.

2. Get ready

Make sure you know the distance(s) you will shoot at so that you have appropriate sight marks. In your training, practise in competition conditions, whether that be timed or a scored round. Make sure your equipment conforms to any rules that may be in place for the shoot – and ask an experienced archer or coach from your club or range to go through the rules of the event with you. Organise travel or accommodation in advance.

3. The night before

The night before your competition, ensure you eat well and get an early night. This will leave you refreshed and ready to go in the morning. Pack your equipment, and, if you are shooting outdoors, check the weather forecast. Make sure you are prepared if the weather takes a bad turn.

4. Remember to pack

It’s almost a given that you’ll wish you brought something extra during the tournament. These items are either essential or always come in useful:

  • food and drinks: Ensure you stay hydrated and keep your energy up throughout
  • Clothing that is not only suitable for the weather conditions, but that conforms to the shooting rules of the day (for example, some shoots will not allow blue denim)
  • competition entry tickets, membership cards and identification
  • spares of items like nocks and fletchings – and Make sure you know how to replace them!
  • A pen! You’ll need this for scoring
  • Spare arrows; make sure they are marked with numbers and initials
5. On the day

Get there early, with time for assembly and to setup. Check the target list to figure out where you are shooting. Pay attention in the assembly for information about details, timing and rotations. When scoring, take care to check you are writing them down correctly and you sign your scoresheet appropriately at the end. If in doubt about anything at all, ask a judge.

Be respectful to other archers, but most of all, have fun! Everyone is there because they enjoy what they do and want to improve, so go out there, meet new people, and get shooting.