Levels of Competition

Archery GB Levels of Competition, competitions & events. Starting to compete is an exciting if daunting prospect - Here’s your guide to archery competitions, competitions and events in the UK. Scoring, rounds, levels, awards, equipment guide and what happens on the day.

Starting to compete is an exciting if daunting prospect - Here’s your guide to archery competitions

Levels of competition - each competition has a level or standard attached to it. The following types of competition can be registered with Archery GB, along with non – record status events. To register an event you must be set up as an event admin on the membership portal for your club, just request access from your club secretary.

World record status competitions

World Record Status (WRS): This is the highest level of competition and is the most strictly controlled. The only rounds that can achieve WRS are World Archery Rounds. Shooting in these competitions gives you the opportunity to claim World, European and National Records as well as World Archery Performance Awards. 

These competitions will have at least one National Judge present and will be controlled using traffic lights, whistles and occasionally countdown clocks to let you know when to shoot.

  • These competitions are endorsed by the area/region and Archery GB. World, European and UK records may be claimed for target and flight.
  • World Archery Target awards; WA Star, WA Silver Star and WA Target may be claimed.
  • Archery GB Six Gold and Three Gold badges may be claimed.
  • Scores for target and flight Classifications may be obtained.

UK record status competitions

The rounds shot can be either Archery GB or World Archery. At these events you have the opportunity to shoot National Records and some of these competitions also have Rose Award status.

These competitions will have at least one Regional Judge present.

  • These competitions are endorsed by Archery GB.
  • UK records may be claimed for target, flight and clout.
  • Archery GB Six Gold, Three Gold and Six Clout Gold Imperial badges may be claimed.
  • Archery GB Rose badges may be claimed if the competition has been granted Rose status.
  • Clout Tassel awards may be claimed from Northern Counties Archery Society.  The event must be Tassel status but not necessarily UK record status.
  • Scores for target and flight Classifications may be obtained.

UK record status field competitions

These are the most relaxed type of competitions and are the first place many archers start to compete. Archery GB or World Archery rounds can be shot. Some rules such as dress regulations are not used at Non-record Status events. 

These competitions will have a Judge in charge of them (although there is no minimum level of Judge required), or will be run by an experienced archer.

  • These competitions are endorsed by Archery GB. Area/region endorse Arrowhead status competitions.
  • UK field records may be claimed.
  • World Archery Arrowhead awards can be claimed if the competition has been granted Arrowhead status.
  • Scores for field Classifications may be obtained.

Archers at a competition

Rounds in archery competitions

Competitions are organised so that you shoot a set number of arrows at specified distances, at a specified size of target face, this is known as a ‘round’. For example:

A New Western round consists of shooting:

  •  4 dozen arrows at 100 yards
  •  and 4 dozen arrows at 80 yards
  •  on a 122cm target face

A Junior Western round consists of shooting:

  •  4 dozen arrows at 40 yards
  •  and 4 dozen arrows at 30 yards
  •  on a 122cm target face

There are a great number of different rounds, of varying distances and number of arrows. This can be a little confusing to begin with, but you will soon get used to them. Your club coach or fellow members will help you choose a round suitable for you.

The types of rounds are split into Archery GB and World Archery Rounds.

Archery GB rounds (imperial)

These traditional British rounds tend to use 5 zone scoring and are governed by the Archery GB Rules of Shooting. Most people find these more relaxed and are often the first competitions that archers enter. These rounds fall into ‘families’, which are a group of different rounds that take place on the same field, at the same time, and have the same number of arrows, however with different distances. This means that you can choose the round that best suits your ability, age and gender.

You can choose whichever round you prefer and it doesn’t matter if you shoot a round that is for a different age group, gender or if as an adult you want to shoot a junior round (although you may not be eligible for any competition awards).

World Archery rounds (metric)

These are rounds shot using the World Archery Rules of Shooting, and use 10 zone scoring. These rounds are shot all over the world and some are used at the Olympics and World Championships. These are a little more formal as there are stricter regulations, such as timings, but are straight forward to adapt to.

Indoor competitions

All scoring indoors is 10 zone scoring, although Xs are not used. At these events, everyone shoots the same distance; 30 metres, 25 metres or 18 metres. Indoors, the 10 and 9 zones depend on the bowstyle. For compound archers only the very inner 10 is scored as 10, the other two gold areas are scored 9. For non-compound archers, only the outer gold is scored 9, the central two areas are scored as 10.

Scoring in archery competitions

In target archery, there are two scoring methods: 5 Zone (‘Archery GB’) and 10 Zone (‘World Archery’). Both methods use the same target face but have different scoring zones. In both scoring methods, an arrow that is touching a line separating zones (a ‘line cutter’), scores the value of the higher scoring zone.

5 Zone: Archery GB (imperial)

The target is divided into 5 coloured scoring zones and points (9, 7, 5, 3, 1) are allocated depending on which colour the arrow lands in. This method is used for Archery GB rounds using imperial distances, i.e. distances measured in yards.

10 Zone: World Archery (metric)

The target is divided into 10 scoring zones, whereby each coloured area is split into two parts, the inner and outer ring. This method is used for World Archery rounds using metric distances, i.e. distances measured in metres, and for most indoor rounds. 

Scores are recorded on a score sheet with the highest scoring arrow recorded first, for example “9-7- 1”. An arrow that does not score is called a miss and is marked ‘M’ on the score sheet. 

Outdoor arrows are shot in ‘ends’ of six or three arrows (depending on the round or distance being shot). Once all arrows have been scored and all archers accept the recorded values they can be removed from the target face. 

Once written down, the arrow values can only be changed by a judge, and then only before the arrows have been removed from the target. 

Indoor arrows are generally shot in groups of three with every six arrows shot being called an end.

Archer scoring

Scoring at a competition

At a competition, once everyone has shot their end of arrows, there will be 3 blasts on the whistle from the Judge to indicate that the archers can go forward to score and collect their arrows. Only archers are able to walk to the targets. If someone else wants to walk to the targets they must ask the Judge’s permission first.

Make sure you do not touch the target face until all the scoring has been completed, otherwise any line cutters will be scored at the lowest value.

All the archers should gather in front of their target first before going to look for missing arrows yet. The person who is doing the scoring will then call the name of the first archer on the score sheet.

Scores should be called out in groups of three, starting with the highest score, for example 9, 9, 7 pause 5, 5, 3. The scorer should call back what you have said to confirm.

If you make a mistake when calling out your arrows or they are written down incorrectly, then call for a Judge who will come and ask for the scores to be recalled and then correct the score sheet, do not alter it yourself. (You can alter the adding up yourself, just not the actual arrow values).

When you call your arrows, make sure you indicate to them, but do not touch them. If the shaft of the arrow is touching a dividing line between two scores (a line cutter), then it scores the highest score. If you don’t agree on a line cutter, then say so, no one will mind. A Judge is called who will look at it with a magnifying glass and give a final decision.

You may also want to record your score in your own score pad for future reference and also to help you double check the scorers adding up. 

The score sheet will probably be passed between a couple of archers, as the scorer is not allowed to record their own scores. Alternatively, there may be two identical score sheets with two people doing the scoring (double scoring).

Once everyone on the target has scored then the arrows can be pulled and any missed arrows can be picked up from behind the target.

Help your target companions pull the arrows and look for any lost arrows. If it is a World Archery round then the arrow holes will need to have a small mark put against them in case of bouncers or ‘pass-throughs’.

How to find an archery competition, competition or event in the UK

Any archer can enter a World Record Status, UK Record Status or Non-Record Status competition. Most clubs will have a notice board where local competitions are advertised. All World and UK Record Status competitions can be found in the competition diary on the Archery GB website, and are also listed (along with some non-record status competitions) in Archery UK magazine, which each member receives quarterly.

Other places to look are on Regional, County and club websites. Some clubs have established competition diaries on their websites which list competitions of varying level all around the country.

Once you have chosen your competition, you need to read and complete the entry form, and return this with your competition fee to the organiser. Some clubs will also help make your entry by entering members into competitions en masse. If your club does this, make sure you see the entry form as this will tell you vital information, such as what level/status the competition is, start time and location etc.

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Awards in archery competitions

Most competitions have their own medals, trophies or certificates, and details of these can be found on the entry form. Normally the competition will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd, depending on the number of entries in each category.

There may also be additional prizes, for example best gold or worst white. The best - gold - and worst - white will usually be judged on one random end of shooting and you won’t know which end until you’ve shot it!

Six Gold End Awards

The Six Gold End Badge is an Archery GB award given to people who get six golds at one of the two longest shooting distances. For example, for men it is achievable at 100 yards, 80 yards, 90 metres or 70 metres. (There is also a Three Gold End Award which is available to Longbow archers at the same distance). If you get a Six (or Three) Gold End, then ask the Organiser for a claim form, complete it and send it to the Archery GB Membership Services office.

Archery GB Rose Awards

These can only be claimed for York, Hereford, or Bristol competition rounds, which have ‘Rose Status’ as indicated on the entry form. Rose Awards are used for shooting certain scores(for recurve and compound archers), and range from White level for a score over 800 to Purple level for a score over 1250. 

You need to achieve the score shooting the round that is appropriate to your age and gender. If you achieve a score, complete the claim form with the Organiser, who will submit it to Archery GB on your behalf with a copy of the score sheet and the competition results.

FITA Star Awards

As with Rose Awards these are awarded for shooting a certain score at World Record Status competitions. They are achievable for recurve, compound, senior, master or cadet rounds. Full details of the scores can be found in the World Archery Rules of Shooting.

For FITA Star rounds they range from White level for a score of 1000 to Purple level for a score of 1400.

Archer's quiver

Preparing for your first archery competition

Packing for a competition is a bit like packing for a holiday! Here’s a list of shooting and personal equipment you will need, and some handy suggestions for when you start to compete more regularly.

  1. Bow
  2. Arrows: Take a minimum of 8 including spares. All arrows must be nocked and fletched in the same way and must have your name or initials on the shaft to identify them.
  3. Spare nocks: The nock is most susceptible to damage on an arrow, so make sure you have some spares that match the nocks already on your arrows. Some archers also take spare nocks in a different colour, just in case another archer shooting on the same target to them, has similar colour fletches and nocks.
  4. Spare string: Make sure your spare string has been ‘shot in’ and has the nocking place in the same place as your current string.
  5. Spare tab/release aid: Just in case your current one breaks, you drop it and can't find it (or leave it in the tea tent!).
  6. Bow stand: You will need somewhere to leave your bow when collecting arrows and the floor is not the best place!
  7. Allen keys: Always handy to have a set in imperial and metric sizes.
  8. Towel: A small hand or bar towel is always a good idea so you can wipe your bow and handle down if it rains, or to wipe your arrows if you happen to miss the target.
  9. Scoring equipment: Including pens, calculator, arrow puller and score pad.
  10. Other: Over time you will collect all sorts of useful pieces in your bow case, such as screwdrivers, spare fletches, glue, scissors, floss, razor blade, pliers, arrow puller.
  11. Shoes: You need to wear footwear that covers the entire foot and it must be worn all the time whilst on the field, so no sandals or crocs. You will be on your feet all day and doing a lot of walking, so make sure they are comfortable and if possible waterproof.
  12. Dress regulations: For Record Status events the dress regulations have to be followed. This is set out in the Rules of Shooting and generally means:
    • Tops that cover the front and back of the body (i.e. not strapless)
    • Any colour clothing, except for blue denim, olive drab and camouflage patterns
    • Plain or archery related clothing
  1. Wet weather clothes: including waterproof clothing and shoes. Make sure loose sleeves are taped up so not to get in the way of the string.
  2. Hat, sunglasses, sun cream: Try shooting with your hat and sunglasses on before the competition to make sure they don’t get in the way of the string or affect your vision.
  3. Tent or shelter: Small pop up tents provide shelter to you and your equipment.
  4. Chair: A camping chair is ideal to use at break times. Not all indoor venues have seating.
  5. Umbrella: particularly helpful to keep the rain of your score sheet.
  6. Food and Drink: competitions venues often provide catering, or at least tea and coffee, however as you are out all day, make sure you stay hydrated and can get an energy boost when you need it.
  7. Binoculars: For when you start shooting long distances!
  8. Archery GB membership card: Only Archery GB members are eligible to shoot in affiliated competitions.

At the competition - arrival and registration

Aim to arrive one hour before the start of the event. This will give you time to find out where you’re shooting, set up your equipment, and meet your fellow archers.

When you arrive the first thing to do is to find the ‘booking in tent’ and tell the organiser who you are so they can check your Archery GB Membership card and confirm which target you are shooting on.

Archers warming up

Equipment set up

You can then set your equipment up. If you have a tent or a shelter make sure you set it up behind the tent line. There will normally be two lines marked behind the shooting line, the first is the waiting line, the second is the tent line. Be considerate of others and make sure there is room for people to pass between the tents. You can then put your bow between the waiting line and the tent line.

Introduce yourself to your fellow archers and if possible decide whether you want to score or pull the arrows. For your first few shoots you might want to just help pull the arrows and observe the scoring until you feel confident. Most archers are very friendly and will happily guide you through your first few competitions. If you do happen to come across someone who seems unfriendly, don’t worry, some people are very focused and don’t like to chat during the competition, so don’t take it personally.

This is also a good time to sort out where you are going to stand, put foot markers down if you use them, and to sort out where people want to place their telescopes. The normal positions on the line when shooting two details, are A and B in the first detail, then C and D in the second. However, if you all agree you can change your shooting position. If there is only one detail then the three of you will be on the line at once.

Just before shooting starts there will be an assembly, the time of this is normally on the entry form, so just before this time, make sure you have done your warm up exercises and are ready to shoot!

When it is time for assembly the Judge or organiser will call you all to gather, usually signalled by a whistle and you meet towards the middle of the field. The organiser will introduce themselves, the Judges and any invited guests before going through the practicalities of the competition. The Judge will briefly describe the important rules for the competition, such as whether it is 5 or 10 Zone scoring, how many ‘sighters’ or practice arrows you have etc.


You will start shooting after the assembly has finished. If you have any questions or are unsure of anything, ask the Judge, and they will be more than happy to answer your questions.

You will start with either sighters or practice arrows, before scoring begins. Sighters are shot at Archery GB rounds. Usually consists of 1 end of 6 arrows (outdoors) and 2 ends of 3 arrows (indoors). This is the only chance you will have to warm up during the competition. If you decide to shoot two sessions of an indoor Archery GB competition you will only be able to have sighters at the first session.

Practice arrows are shot at World Archery Rounds. You will get approximately 45 minutes of practice which tends to be 3 ends if shooting in two details outdoors; or if indoors 2 ends of practice. During practice you can shoot as many arrows as you want. This is the only chance you will have to warm up during the competition. If you decide to shoot 2 sessions of an indoor World Archery competition you will be able to have practice before both sessions.

If you are unlucky enough to have an equipment failure, then let a Judge know straight away. If you are on the shooting line, then step back from the line and attract the Judges attention. The Judge will then come over and help you with the situation, and then once you have fixed the problem they will explain how to make up any arrows that have not been shot whilst you were repairing the problem. You cannot re-shoot any arrows that have been shot, even if they were a bad shot due to the equipment failure.


Don’t be concerned if you have a bouncer, just stop shooting and call a Judge who will talk you through what needs to be done. In an Archery GB Round, finish shooting the rest of your arrows, then step off the line and attract the attention of the Judge. The Judge will then come over to you and ask for a spare arrow, which they will then mark or identify in some way. Once everyone on your target has finished shooting then you can go and shoot this arrow. The Judge will then walk to the target with you when you go to score, and check that the arrow was in fact a bouncer. If it was not actually a bouncer then the score of the extra arrow is ignored, if the bouncer bounced off another arrow then you get the score of that arrow and the extra arrow is ignored, and if it is a proper bouncer then you score the value of the extra arrow.

In a World Archery Round, stop shooting straight away and stop anyone else shooting on the same target as well. Step back from the line and attract the Judges attention. The Judge will then ask you how many arrows you have left to shoot. Once everyone else has finished shooting the Judges will stop the shoot and you and the Judge will walk to the target. Once the Judge has checked the arrow is a bouncer they will then look for an unmarked hole. You will score the value of the unmarked hole that the bouncer made. If there is more than one unmarked hole you score the value of the lowest unmarked hole, and if the arrow bounced off another arrow then you score the value of that arrow. You will then return to the line and shoot your remaining arrows. The Judge will then come with you to assist with the scoring.


You are allowed to take photographs, but competitions do have a photographer register which you will need to complete. If you are taking photos, then make sure the flash is turned off, and don’t go in front of the waiting line unless you have asked the Judge’s permission.


Avoid causing distractions on the shooting line. Do not walk on or off the line when someone is at full draw and try not to make any comments whilst on the shooting line, even if you miss.

If your arrow seems to have passed through the boss or is hanging down the front of the target face then stop everyone on your target shooting and attract the attention of a Judge who will guide you through what to do.

Broken arrows can sometimes cause problems. If you hit another arrow in the target, or if you step on a missed arrow that is buried under ground and break it, it is an accident and you are not expected to pay for a replacement. But if you break someone’s arrow by being careless, such as not looking where you are going, then the polite thing to do is offer to replace it for the archer.

Do not touch anyone else’s bow or equipment without permission. When waiting behind the waiting line don’t start talking loudly to anyone. Make sure your mobile phone is turned off or onto silent. If the targets need moving during the competition, then offer your help to do this. But don’t try to do it alone.

If you have any problems, or are unsure of what to do then ask a fellow archer or a Judge. The Judges are there to help and to try and make sure you have the best day possible.

Finishing the competition

At the end of the competition you will be asked to check your score sheet carefully. Make sure that all the adding up is correct, and complete ALL the total boxes, including the number of ‘hits’ and ‘golds’. Once you are happy with it, sign it. You will get the score that you sign for. You can then pack away your equipment. You may want to leave your seat out so you have somewhere to sit during the presentation. If you think you are eligible for a World Archery or Archery GB award, then ask the Organiser for a claim form.

The most important thing to remember about competing...

…is to enjoy yourself! Spending a day competing in a sport you love with other like minded archers is a day well spent, however your scorecard looks at the end of it.

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