Archery has a great history of measuring one’s accuracy. Scoring has evolved over the years to be one of the fairest in any sport, all because of very basic procedures.

The Procedure

After registering for a tournament you will be assigned to a target, usually with 3 other archers. Normally you are also assigned as A, B, C, or D; if not, you and the others on your target will agree on who takes each of these positions.

  • The A archer is normally the ‘captain’ and calls the arrows. This is important, so the person is normally the most experienced in the group.
  • The B and C archers are the scorers. They record the arrow values that are called by the A archer.
  • The D archer is the observer and watches to ensure that the arrows are called, recorded and added correctly. On completion of the scoring of a particular end, the D archer normally marks the arrow holes.

All of the archers on a particular target are responsible to ensure that the scores are recorded fairly and accurately. To this end, when calling the arrows, the A archer ensures that everyone is aware of where all the arrows are.

If an arrow is in doubt, it is the responsibility of the 4 archers to agree with that value before the value is recorded. If there is any doubt, a judge should be called — however, when you call a judge you abrogate your ability to call the arrow value. If 3 of the archers on the target think an arrow is a value, then normally the 4th archer agrees.

Judges should not be called if all the archers on the target agree to the arrow’s value. That is not to say that you have to follow the group’s opinion — if you disagree with the value of the arrow, then calling the judge is your right. Judges are there to ensure the tournament is run fairly and efficiently, so ask the judge if you have any questions at any time!

The B and C archers record the arrow values as called. To ensure accuracy, the scores are totalled and a running total is also kept. After the arrows are called, one of the scorers calls out the total they have calculated (for example 52). The other scorer verbally agrees, the score is added to the previous total, and one of the scorers calls out the new total (for example 105). The A and D archers wait for this before calling the next archer’s arrows.

This may sound complicated, but it prevents scores being written on the wrong card, or an arrow not recorded correctly.

Ends are normally shot with 3 or 6 arrows. Calling is usually grouped by 3s, so when calling arrows, the A archer might say “George has 10, 10, 9. (pause) 8, 8, 7.” If the caller knows the total, they may declare it as well, but this is not required.

At the end of each distance, the B and C archers add the scores to ensure they are the same and accurate. They may ask the A and D archers for assistance.

When the tournament is completed, all of the archers on that target get together. The B and C archers add the end totals together to get the grand total. When they agree, they sign the card and then hand it to the owner, who verifies the score and also signs the card (by the rules, the card must be signed by the archer and at least one scorer). The archer is then responsible for turning the card into the organizers.

Finer Points

  • At tournaments, most archers will want to call or watch (A or D); don’t be intimidated.
  • When you are good at math, it is often less painful to take one of the scoring roles.
  • Take your time! If at any time you’re unsure that what is happening is correct, ask.
  • Ties are broken by the number of target hits, then 10s, then 9s, and if there is still a tie, the archers are declared equal. There is no need to total the 10s and 9s unless there is a tie. However, tournament organizers may ask that they be recorded.
  • Scores may be recorded in ink or in pencil, but erasers are not to be used. If a mistake is made in an arrow value (not totals/subtotals), you make a line through that value and then write the correct value above that. Then the other archers on the target initial that change.
    • This not required for changes to totals. Scorers are only responsible for recording arrow values, while the archer is responsible for ensuring the addition is correct.
  • This should be a fun time for all, so if someone is having difficulty, ask if you can help!
  • This is a very simple process and once understood, will help you feel much more comfortable at a tournament.