THE ETIQUETTE OF A GOOD ARCHER

In addition to safety, archery etiquette is another important area that every new archer should master. As a novice archer you will be concentrating on achieving good technique but good etiquette is important too. Remember, “a good archer” should not be confused with an archer who is technically proficient at archery. A good archer is one who is polite, observes the rules and shoots in a safe and responsible manner. As a polite reminder we discuss below the rules of etiquette that we would ask all Herefordshire archers adhere to.

Isn’t it annoying when, just as you are about to release, a couple of archers behind the waiting line are chatting so loudly you cannot concentrate on your shot? A good archer does not talk in a loud voice whilst others are shooting.

Many archers, particularly in competitions, have their set routines and ways of preparing for the shoot. Often this includes remaining silent and even keeping away from fellow archers. A good archer does not talk to another competitor who obviously prefers to be silent.

We all know how frustrating a bad shot can be, or how exciting a good shot can be! But remember your neighbours are focussed on their shots and don’t want you distracting them. A good archer does not make any exclamation on the shooting that may disconcert a neighbour in the act of shooting.

A good archer does not make any exclamation on the shooting line that may disconcert a neighbour in the act of shooting

When shooting outdoors at distance, it is not unknown for the odd arrow to miss the target. However, a good archer does not go behind the target to retrieve his arrows before his score has been recorded.

Archery is a sport whereby you compete with yourself. Friendly competitions challenge us to raise our game but you should still remember that a good archer does not walk up and down the shooting line comparing scores.

Your archery equipment is an integral part of your archery life and you will come to see it as an extension of yourself [“become one with the bow” and all that zen – Ed] but you should remember that a good archer does not touch anyone else’s equipment without permission.

A good archer does not touch anyone else’s equipment without permission

Litter is bad. Anytime, anywhere. So, a good archer does not leave litter.

When calling scores a good archer does so in groups of three, for example, ‘7-7-5’ pause ‘5-5-3’. When it is your turn to be scorer (traditionally if you are turn C on the target) you will appreciate that pause!

If he breaks another’s arrows through his own carelessness, a good archer pays for it in cash on the spot.

Many people put a great deal of effort in behind the scenes for us to enjoy our shooting. The most visible is often the target captain (or field captain). They have worked hard to acquire the knowledge that makes them excellent in this position so a good archer thanks the target captain at the end of each round for work done on his behalf.

Having gone through your setup routine, you stand on the line, bow raised, arrow at full draw, your concentration focused on the centre of the gold, and then the archer next to you turns and shuffles off the line, possibly even muttering furiously to themselves about that last shot.  All your effort and concentration is lost. You come down, take a deep breath and start all over again. Don’t be that muttering archer. Just remember a good archer does not leave the shooting line if a neighbouring archer is at full draw.

A good archer does not leave the shooting line if a neighbouring archer is at full draw

Busy shooting lines are good to see but can be frustrating for archers waiting to take their turn on the line when first detail archers are slow to step back. A good archer only occupies the shooting line whilst actually shooting.

On a busy target face, it is often tempting to touch the nock of an arrow when looking to see what you’ve scored but in competition this can invalidate that whole end! Get into the habit of scoring without touching the arrows or the target face because a good archer does not touch the arrows in the target until after the score has been recorded.

A busy shooting line can quickly dwindle until only the last couple of archers remain. Even if you have finished shooting your arrows remain on the line as a courtesy to a lone fellow archer who is still shooting. A good archer does not leave the last archer on the line alone.