Everything you need to know to run and develop an archery club. Whether you?re a new or established archery club, the effective running of both the administrative and the practical sides of your club is necessary in maintaining and developing your club successfully. Your club will need to raise funds, keep track of membership, hold lessons, and attend and run archery events.
Whether you’re a new or established archery club, the effective running of both the administrative and the practical sides of your club is necessary in maintaining and developing your club successfully. Your club will need to raise funds, keep track of membership, hold lessons, and attend and run archery events.
Like most sports clubs, archery clubs rely on dedicated volunteers. Getting and keeping volunteers depends greatly on the ability to be flexible and to shape the job to suit the resources and capability of the individual. It is a good idea to have job descriptions for every role.
To start with, your club will need a Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary. As your club grows, the officer roles within your committee will grow, too.
The club secretary usually has the overall responsibility for record keeping. This is particularly important where there are legal implications, such as lease and rental agreements. As the club grows, some of the record keeping will pass to other officers; for example, a Records Officer for keeping track of the shooting records of members.
Archery GB identifies the Club Secretary as the formal representative of the club for a number of purposes, including receiving official notices and distributing information to members.
As well as having a monthly club meeting with your officers and any interested club members, your club will need to hold an Annual General Meeting. AGMs are a great opportunity to hold a social event, however the AGM is also when your club will:
Unless your club is a limited liability company, club officers and members should be aware that they are liable for the debts of the club.
At each committee meeting the Treasurer can show the receipts and payments since the last meeting and for the year to date under headings agreed by the committee and showing an up-to-date balance. The Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that the accounts are audited in plenty of time and presented at the AGM.
A new club has quite different financial problems from a well-established club. It is more dependent upon income from subscriptions and usually has not acquired any of the capital equipment needed to run a club.
Start-up costs can be reduced by seeking grants and by using second hand equipment. As well as a club annual subscription fee, one way of increasing initial income is to charge a shooting fee every time that an individual shoots.
Once the club is established, other income can come from running open events.
Your club members will be members of Archery GB. Archery GB has annual membership fees, payable by all members. Your club is responsible for keeping Archery GB up to date with the details of your members.
The Archery GB membership year starts on 1 October and ends on 30 September of the following year. For the purposes of initial subscriptions, a new member is anyone who has not paid membership fees for more than 18 months even if they were a member of Archery GB at an earlier time. Conversely, anyone who paid a membership subscription during the last year cannot be treated as a new member. New members who join mid-year will only pay for the months that they are members, until the start of the new membership year.
Prior to the new membership year, clubs are sent notification to update their members’ details and inform Archery GB of any new members.
The current membership subscription fees and Payment Summary & Membership Update forms are available at the bottom of this page.
Membership cards are sent directly to individuals. To provide proof of membership and in advance of the arrival of their membership card, when club members have paid their fees clubs should issue them with an Archery GB subscription fees receipt.
To comply with the insurance regulations clubs are required to confirm that they will comply by the Archery GB Safeguarding Children, Young People & Vulnerable Adults Policy.
Once you have an established club, make sure you have a strong communication link with your members. A regular newsletter, email, or website are great ways to give details of club events and recording any achievements. A website can also be used for promoting your club to prospective members.
As well as running a website, publicity in newspapers and on radio and television is an effective form of promotion. Local newspapers and television companies are often eager to accept local news stories. Posters and flyers can draw the attention of potential members to your club. Consider designs aimed at getting the attention of adults as well as ones aimed at reaching children and parents.
Keep in mind that promotion is not just an advertising campaign. It should also create a positive general public awareness of your organisation and its activities.
Before starting your promotional campaign, make sure that your organisation can cope with the likely demand. If a large number of people suddenly apply to attend the next beginner’s course, are you able to deal with this increase?
A popular method of promotion are the “have-a-go” sessions. You could receive invitations to run these and other taster sessions for various organisations or at local fetes etc. This is one way of recruiting new members to your club. The normal rules of shooting must be applied when you are judging whether the area identified for the event is suitable and safe.
Archery GB is the body that is recognised by World Archery and World Archery Europe, Sport England and the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Association (BPA), among others, as regulating the sport of archery in the United Kingdom.
Your club is part of Archery GB, and has rules and guidelines set out by Archery GB that it needs to adhere to. Archery GB maintains the Rules of Shooting and your club must conduct its shooting in accordance with these rules.
Archery GB is divided into County Associations and Regions.
The role of your club in the County Association will depend upon what has been agreed between clubs in the County, but you can normally expect a place on the County committee and will be required to play your part in running and supporting County events.
In England, there are six Regional Societies - Northern Counties, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Grand Western, and the Southern Counties. For the purposes of English team selection alone, the English Regions also support and manage a body called the Archery England.
The ‘Code of Conduct - Archery Demonstration’ and the ‘Code of Practice - Have a Go’ documents set out the requirements which must be followed to comply with the insurance requirements.
Sport England Clubmatters offers support for club officials on things such as marketing, finances, club management and club people.
The following are important dates for your club diary:
Encouraging members to wear club uniform can boost club spirit. A number of commercial companies manufacture garments such as polo shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters and track bottoms on which your club name and a standard archery logo or a specially designed club logo can be printed or embroidered. Recognised dress is plain dark green and/or white. Any colour garments may be worn apart from blue denim or olive drab. Further guidance is described in the Rules of Shooting.
Most clubs find that it is helpful to their development and growth to provide some social activities in addition to the normal archery programme.
A Christmas or summer-end fun shoot with prizes for fancy dress and decorated bows can be a good opportunity to present club prizes and awards and to bring into the circle family members who are not archers.
Clubs are often started by a few people who are already skilled in archery, but you may find you need help with coaching. Assistance with the coaching of club archers and with the training of Assistant Coaches and Coaches in a new club will come initially from the County Coaching Organiser and you should make sure that you receive details of the County Coaching programme.
Once your club has become self-sustaining, you may want to develop coaches of your own. Coaching encourages participation. Coaches and coaching develop talent and improve the satisfaction and fulfilment of archers. Session Coach/Level 1 courses taking place across the UK are now being advertised on the Archery GB website.
Having safe facilities and the correct equipment is vital to being able to run archery sessions safely.
Archery is both an outdoor and an indoor sport. An archery range needs a minimum space to be suitable for archery, whether shooting indoors or out. A variety of types of building can be used temporarily or permanently by your club. Archery equipment can be swiftly set up and taken down if you are renting space in a multi-use building.
Whatever equipment you are buying initially, consult someone with experience. There are plenty of lower priced practice bows and aluminium arrows in the archery catalogues, but your new members should be discouraged from purchasing bows and arrows of their own until they have achieved reasonable competence using the club practice equipment.
Target stands can be made, but they do need to be substantial since target bosses are getting heavier all the time. You may be able to purchase a few second-hand bosses from a neighbouring club or your County Association. A used boss that is no longer good enough to use at a tournament will give decent service to beginners shooting relatively low weight bows and may in any case be significantly damaged only in the centre.
Your club will need to establish rules that meet your specific needs. These may include arrangements for setting up and putting away equipment, erecting safety boundaries, and posting warning flags and possibly lookouts, if there is a public right of way involved. The rules should also cover things such as dealing with lost arrows and the control of shooting. Your club rules can be incorporated into a booklet so that they can be issued to all members of the club, as well as be posted on your notice board.
Once you have your facilities, equipment, coaches, and rules in place, and your range has been assessed and registered, your club will be ready to start holding training sessions and hosting and attending competitions.
New archers will start by shooting at short distances, but as their skills and ambitions develop, they will want to stretch themselves and move to longer distances. Enabling this to happen in a controlled way will maintain interest and avoid the despondency that can result from setting up a target boss at too long a distance and missing it continually.
Coaching is a key way to improve archers - try out the Boost Archery scheme. Plus many clubs operate improvement schemes that depend upon the archer being encouraged to reach a certain score at a short distance before moving on to the next longer distance.
When your archers’ confidence in their skills starts to pick up, encourage and support them to attend competitions. You can hold competitions for your members only, to help new archers learn what it is like to shoot in a competition.
Help your new archers to take the first hesitant steps into open competitions by assisting them with the entry form. Take them along as part of a club group and give them support before the start and during breaks.
Your club can also enter postal “league” competitions, in which you can enter club teams to shoot against other club teams of similar capability. The events are conducted over a period of weeks; your results are posted to the organiser who in turn publishes regular results tables. League “champions” are awarded with badges and other prizes at the end of the series.
As well as travelling to competitions, your club can organise “open” shoots and organise “friendlies” with other clubs. To gain experience of tournament organisation, offer to help with events being run in your County. Assistance is always required and there is nothing like actually doing something under someone else’s wing to give you the confidence to do it yourself.
Archery GB has a handicap system which allows archers of varying levels of ability to compete with each other on an equal footing in handicap events and provides an objective measure of the improvement of the performance of individuals.
Once the club is established you may want to appoint a Records Officer to look after handicaps and other score based issues.
Running alongside the handicap scheme is a structure of classifications that enables every archer to receive regular recognition of improvement in performance.
There are numerous shooting awards that your archers can gain. Generally, it is up to individual archers to claim the various awards that are available. They will usually do this on the day of a tournament using forms provided by the tournament organiser. If your club is hosting a tournament, you will need to provide these forms. Some awards are available for attainments on club target days or achieved partly on club target days and in these cases the Club Secretary or appointed person must sign the claim form to certify that the appropriate conditions were met.
Archery GB has several annual awards for achievement for which your club may make nominations and/or is entitled to vote. The winner of each of these awards is announced at the Annual General Meeting. An invitation to make nominations for the awards is displayed on our website and in e-zines and Archery UK.
Every club is different. Clubs differ in many ways – size, objectives, ethos and culture.
Club development is often an overused word and some clubs shy away from it as they think it involves paperwork, bureaucracy and red tape, when in reality, starting a junior section, running a new tournament, finding facilities and qualifying as a coach are all club development activities.
Club development is not policy; it’s a choice. Not all of the information will be relevant for your club, so ‘cherry pick’ the information you need and only do what your club can realistically achieve.
Remember, an individual will struggle to do everything. You need commitment from the whole club.
ontarget is Archery GB’s club development tool - a free service that clubs can sign up to with the aim of developing your club for the benefit of your members, surrounding communities and archery as a sport.
By engaging fully with ontarget and the development pathway, clubs can enable better retention of members, reduced rate of churn and a positive, exciting atmosphere generated from within the club that provides for an improved quality of experience for everyone involved. In short – the right activities, for the right people at the right time.
It’s free to join ontarget and the process couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is complete the application form available in the Club’s Profile of the Membership Portal (Sport80). Find the Attributes tab and there will be an option to add ontarget as an attribute. You will need access to the Club Profile to do this.
In order to understand where you want to go and how you will get there, it is useful to have a plan. It doesn’t matter whether it is a one-pager or a short novel, a plan will quickly show that you know what you want to do, when you want to do it, and why you need it. A plan does not have to be long and complicated. It should simply answer the questions:
Having an action plan will help you decide what activities the club can do now, and which activities require additional funding. For example, if your action plan details that you need to train/increase the number of Session Coach/Level 1 coaches in order to provide coaching sessions to members and to go into schools, then you can use the plan to apply to relevant funding organisations to contribute towards the costs of the coaching courses.
Some common principles exist that will help you produce a realistic, achievable and meaningful plan:
A simple development plan can also open up potential funding opportunities that will allow you to ensure you have the finances to put the plan into action.
The planning process can be broken down into six stages:
Your members should contribute to the plan, have access to it and ultimately feel responsible for it. Consider sending electronic copies to all relevant local organisations for example your County, local SDO and Active Partnership/Sports Council. Keep it up to date and relevant in case you need to make a funding application or come across a potential sponsor.
There are common barriers to taking part in any sport - the increasing cost of taking part, changes in lifestyle and changes in society as a whole. This can require clubs to adopt new ways of not just attracting but retaining members in order to survive.
Identifying and addressing barriers to retention will make your club more welcoming and mean you’re more able to cater for your members’ needs. And why wouldn’t you want to adopt new activities or change things? The potential benefits of having more members attend practice sessions outweigh the negatives, and they can and will have beneficial knock-on effects in other areas.
Look at the numbers - who is and isn’t turning up? A great start is to conduct a member’s survey. This could be a formal questionnaire, structured verbal discussions, or you can simply send an email to any members who don’t regularly attend to ask why they’re not coming along.
What could your club do to make attendance more likely? It’s also important to understand the characteristics and motives for those who do attend regularly, as this may influence what action you take and could be useful in future recruitment drives.
An important part of being a club is to ensure members feel they are part of it, that they know what’s happening and that there’s a strong club identity.
Depending on the way a club is structured, changes in membership numbers may have financial implications. Aside from that, it’s likely to affect club spirit, communication, organisation and general development of the club and its members.
Clubs know that there is a churn of archers who drop out after the first 1.5-2 years of the sport, but why is this? Most comments regarding this issue from those people who leave, point to a lack of coaching opportunities. Archers complete a beginners course where they benefit from coaching but when they join clubs, they’re often left to fend for themselves.
Offering some form of continuous coaching is engaging and something for members to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be every week, but some planned allocated time shows the club is organised and wants to give back to its members.
Another issue is getting those newer members into competitions when they feel ready. There are a number of clubs having great success with getting their members into external competitions, by introducing competition into their club environment right from the beginners’ course. This encourages archers to participate at club level competition. They become used to that atmosphere early on, so going to external shoots, once they are ready, isn’t so daunting.
The journey is long and varied, but these are all stages of what we hope is a long journey for people entering our sport. At every step of the way there can be a fall in numbers and we must ask why, so that we can improve, and create a better offer. If you have been in the sport for any length of time, at all these stages and more, you have had a reason and experience to want to continue.
Why not look at your own experiences and compare that to your current club’s offer?
Research has told us that some archers leave the sport because they didn’t receive any coaching beyond the beginner’s course.
Having a strategy to develop volunteers (who don’t grow on trees - you will need to create an environment that is welcoming and inviting to volunteers) will be an important factor in having capacity and capability to organise the club in this way.
If there’s not enough support to help members develop, then the solutions may be long term, however some of the ideas below are focused on what can be organised now, and do not include increasing the numbers and quality of coaches.
Organise workshops using experienced members:
Not everyone at your club will want to take part in competitions, but nearly everyone wants to improve and progress.
So if your members’ survey comes back with: “Practice sessions were boring, nothing really happened, it’s always the same.” “The same few faces turned up!” Then it really is time to do something!
Members probably do want some form of competition and things they could try to achieve. Most will not be motivated to just turn up and just shoot arrows. They should want something structured, fun to do and that was organised for them.
Archery is a wonderful sport, creating opportunities to be social with like-minded individuals. However, a club needs to work hard at both providing archery activities and down-time where members can relax with friends.
Have you heard any of these comments before?
Successful clubs use a range of social activities to achieve increased levels of participation at practice sessions. Try:
The key is working at getting those that may not have attended to take those first steps and then facilitate their ‘integration’ at the event.
Every archery club would like its own facility - however it isn’t always possible. There are many things a club can, and should, do before too much focused shifts to quite often an unachievable goal.
You may have said or heard this “If everyone turned up then we’d have a problem indoors!” Well, if every archer turned up, then every club could probably afford a bigger venue.
Finding venues is hard but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Large clubs can afford large venues or even their own facility, but growing clubs need to adapt and see the opportunity in every facility offered if that is what it takes.
Archery GB’s facilities audits always highlight that the better facilities were always those shared by archery clubs with other sports. So - access is limited, what could you do?
If your facilities are not great, access is limited, the field too small - you may find that whilst attendance during the Summer is fine, very often during the Winter the story is very different.
There is no doubt that regularly available and good facilities help with attendance levels, so if these are factors we need to either get more out of what we have or find new affordable venues.
Along with encouraging clubs to think about development and sustainability, Archery GB is asking clubs to think about Succession Planning. Often with new committee members taking up positions and other roles at the club being filled, there is a substantial amount of time where the club ends up less effective. This occurs because the members who are new to the roles have to learn what the roles entail, gain log in details or access to records, and all the tasks and extras that come with the title.
Through a handover period, it’s important to communicate not only what the job role entails, but also what the person who has stepped down was working on. If the club is in the middle of delivering a project, that person needs to leave detailed information of where the project is up to and how the person’s job has been involved, up to the point of stepping down. Hopefully this will reduce that period of time and not delay the club’s development.
We are advising that clubs look at all their positions and make notes as to how to fulfil those roles. This should aid in the decrease in time it takes to get a new person up to speed and fulfilling that role as required.
The network of organisations supporting and regulating sport in your area can be very complicated, but it is worth your while to find out how it works, what the functions and relationships of the various bodies are and which, if any of them, it would be worthwhile for your club to join. Your county association will be able to give you guidance initially.
Organisations you may find helpful include:
Local authority recreation and leisure departments are involved in the provision and management of sports facilities and can provide information on local sports centres and other facilities. Maintaining relationships with Local and County Councillors, and even your MP, may help you as a club and they often have funds to support local organisations.
Your local Sports Development Officer is a handy person to know. Appointed to work across a geographical area or with a particular section of the community (e.g. young people or ethnic minorities) or with a particular sport (though you are unlikely to find one specialising in a minority sport such as archery). They can keep you in touch with local initiatives and will often play a part in putting together the local authority development strategy for sport and sports facilities.
Your local leisure facilities may still be Council-owned if not Council run, may have facilities for hiring.
Many local authorities also have appointed a staff member to deal with grants or funding and they may be able to advise you on a range of issues concerned with grants and the provision of funding related to grants.
Youth and Community Officers normally work for the local authority, but some are appointed by charitable organisations. Sport is only one part of their remit but they can provide a route into local initiatives that may help your recruitment of young people into archery.
These are voluntary bodies that still exist in some English and Scottish local authority areas to act as consultative and representative bodies for amateur sport. Membership is usually open to local clubs and sometimes the local authority provides some funding for the purposes of development and thus they can be a source of funding for development purposes.
School sport has undergone many changes in the past few years. Some schools retain the Partnership Development Managers and School Sports Coordinators, many now have School Games Organisers. Whatever system is in place, it is good to get to know the relevant people and to ensure that they know what archery can do for their pupils, and what your club can do for them.
Active Partnerships are local networks of Local Authorities, NGBs, Clubs, Schools and School Sport Partnerships, Primary Care Trusts and other local agencies committed to working together to increase participation in sport and physical activity. Among other things, many APs (and Local Authorities) organise workshops, create funding guides and are sometimes gatekeepers for Sport England funding.