First Tournament Survival Guide

Competition Survival Guide For Your First Tournament

Tips for ensuring your first tournament is an enjoyable experience.

How Long Does a Tournament Take – How Early Do I need to be ?

It depends how many arrows are being shot and at what distances – it takes a lot longer to walk 90m and back than it does 50m and back.

Typically it takes on average about 20 minutes to shoot the mandatory 3 practice ends at the longest distance.  For a say, 120 arrow round, it will take in the order of 180 minutes shooting scoring and arrow retrieving time to shoot the round, with a 15 minute break for each of the 4 ends resuting in a total time of 4 hours and 5 minutes for the event.

The advertised start time is thetime the first practice end starts.  If you turn up during practice you MAY be allows to join in at the organiser’s discretion, but once the first scoring end starts you will have missed out.  You can’t join in and catch up.

Accordingly, in order to sign on for the event, set up your phone for scoring, set up your equipment and get it inspected, you need to be there at least 40 minutes before the advertised start time.

Equipment Checks

Bows, arrows, fingertabs and release aids are checked by judges for compliance with World Archery and Archery Australia rules.  Make sure your equipment complies with the rules.  The most common non compliance failures are:

All Bow Types

  1. Failure to have your arrows marked with your initials on the shaft of the arrow.  If you have arrow wraps initalling on the wrap is acceptable, but initialling the vanes is not.  If you don’t have arrow wraps marking the black shaft with a white liquid paper correction pen is acceptable.  This is important as you may end up shooting with someone with identical arrows, nocks and vanes.
  2. Non identical arrows – all arrows must be of the same type, and have identical wraps, vanes and nocks.


  1. Draw weight too heavy – the limit is 60 lbs measured anywhere through the draw.

Shooting with Timers

Unlike as is often the case at the club, tournaments are timed events.

You get a 10 second warning before shooting commences and you have 4 minutes to shoot 6 arrows – that’s 40 seconds per arrow – so there is plenty of time and 40 seconds is a lot more than it takes you to shoot when there are no clocks around.

SO DO NOT RUSH AND USE ALL THE TIME YOU ARE ALLOWED – you don’t get more points for finishing early.  There are a lot of arrows to shoot so rest between shots and don’t wear yourself out.  If it is windy – wait for and shoot in the lulls between gusts.  The shooting sequence is as follows:

  1. Prior to shooting all equipment (other than spotting scopes) must be behind the equipment line.  All archers must also be behind that line.  Until that is the case the shooting sequence will not commence and non-complying archers will be warned by judges.  The equipment line is usually 5m behind the shooting line as depicted in the diagram below from the Archery Australia Rulebook:

    At Newcastle City Archers we simply do not have the room for the luxury of a 5m gap between shooting line and equipment line.  Acordingly at tournaments held at Newcastle City Archers the rear edge of the concrete shooting area is the equipment line as depicted in the photograph below:

  2. Two beeps will start the timers counting down from 4:10.  You have 10 seconds to get up to the shooting line and get ready to shoot.  You are not allowed to put an arrow in the bow until you are on the shooting line.  You may put an arrow in the bow immediately on getting to the line but you are not allowed to draw until the signal to start shooting.  You must stand with a foot on each side of the shooting line.
  3. When the timer ticks over 4.00, a single beep will signal the start of shooting.  When you have finished shooting your 6 arrows you must walk off the shooting line and retire behind the equipment line.  Be careful not to interefere with archer next to you when you do so.
  4. If you misfire, but the arrow lands with a part of the arrow still inside the 3m line, the arrow does not count and you may shoot an extra arrow.  Any arrow clearing the 3m line that doesn’t reach the target counts as a miss and cannot be reshot.
  5. When everyone has completed shooting, or the timer reaches 0.00 there will be 3 beeps to signal the shooting has finished and you can go forward to score and collect arrows. If it is the last end of the tournament it is traditional for all archers to applaud as you walk forward.  If you shoot ater the first of the 3 beeps the judge will deduct your highest scoring arrow from your score.
  6. After scoring is completed you must return behind the equipment line.


In tournaments the “double scoring” system is used.  Two archers record the scores independently and results are compared, and discrepancies are corrected BEFORE THE ARROWS ARE REMOVED FROM THE TARGET.  Most tournaments use a combined paper scoring – electronic scoring system, where one archer scores on paper and the other enters the score into the Archers Diary electronic scoring system.  You will need to work out between you who is scoring electronically and who is paper scoring before the tournament commences.

Electronic Scoring

The system is accessed by the following address: You should have this set up as a bookmark or on the homescreen of you mobile device before arriving at the range.

On accessing the system a screen like that below will appear:


Select “Login to Event” and the following screen will appear 


This shows all events and flights that are current for the day across Australia – make sure you are acessing the right event.  The passcode is to prevent cheating and will be provided by the tournament organisers.  After entering this information you will get something like the next screen:


Select the archers you are scoring for.  You will then be prompted for the scoring order (ie which archer scored first, second, etc), and then you are then ready to score when the time comes.

The scoring screen is a coloured numeric keypad where the colours correspond to the colours on the target face.  It is very simple to use.  Before saving the score you must check to make sure the scores are the same as the paper score being recorded.  Corrections can be made by touching the score to be corrected and re-entering it.  When the paper score matches the electronic score, save the score.

Paper Scoresheets

Depending on the round a paper scoresheet looks like this 120 arrow round scoresheet:


The form is largely self explanatory.  If you have any questions, ask a fellow shooter or a judge.  Scores are recorded in descending order, that is :

X  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 M         (M means miss)

It is important that X’s are recorded as X’s and not 10’s as they are used to separate ties.

Scoring Sequence 

Scoring takes place in the following sequence:

  1. Approach the target face.  WITHOUT TOUCHING THE ARROWS  one archer calls the scores (typically you would call the other archers arrows).  Each archer scores (either electronically, or on paper as the case may be).  If a judge sees you touching arrows you will be cautioned and repeated offences are punishable by disqualification.
  2. If you disagree with a score for any of your arrows – call a judge to adjudicate and point out the arrow WITHOUT TOUCHING IT.  The judge will tell you the score for the arrow.  Don’t be afraid to call the judge – benefit of any doubt goes in favour of the archer claiming the higher score.
  3. When 6 arrows are scored, compare the two recorded scores and totals.  Any discrepancies must be indentified and corrected, and the correction must be initialled by a judge BEFORE THE ARROWS ARE PULLED FROM THE TARGET.  Corrections must be a simple cross through the incorrect number – which must remain legible – and writing a new number next to itDo not scribble out the number so it can’t be read, or write the correction over the top of the incorrect number.
  4. When scoring is completed you must mark your arrow holes on the target BEFORE PULLING THE ARROWS.  This involves marking the target face with a pen or pencil with a lines into the arrow hole.  The reason for this is that if any arrows bounce out of the target you are awarded the score of any unmarked hole (or the lowest score of unmarked holes if there are more than one.  Below is a photograph of a marked target face.  No. 1 is what happens if you use only a single line and another arrow lands nearby – it is not clear which hole is marked.  With No. 2 the hole is not clearly marked.  Ensure you use the two line approach of no. 3.
  5. Pull the arrows and return to the shooting line.