The Tockington 200 seems to have taken root within the club so that many of you are getting the idea of shooting to get a specific score. Others, like me, are just shooting for pleasure. Both groups of archers have a very important place in the life of any club.
For those who have got used to shooting the Tockington 200, maybe you would like to consider the next stage, moving on to getting an official handicap and classification. This is a system run by Archery GB, also known as the Grand National Archery Society. To get a handicap you have to shoot specific rounds and get specific scores. The rounds have some names such as York, Hereford, St George, Albion, National and so on. The feature of all of these rounds is that you shoot a given number of arrows at a series of distances, starting with the longest and then coming in to progressively shorter distances. For example, the York round, which is the men's championship round, consists of 72 arrows at 100 yards, 48 arrows at 80 yards and 24 arrows at 60 yards. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you go anywhere near that round. It's shot over a full day, starting at 10.00 in the morning and finishing at about 17.00 in the afternoon. I'm thinking of rounds like the Short National (48 arrows at 50 yards and 24 at 40 yards) or the Short Warwick (24 arrows at 50 yards and 24 at 40 yards). Both of these rounds, particularly the Warwick, can be comfortably shot in an evening. There are other variants on these rounds that you can shoot as you get more ambitious and more experienced.
So, how do you get a handicap? Well for the selected round you shoot it three times take the average score and then look the score up in the Handicap Tables that lists scores and handicaps. The lowest handicap number closest to your average score gives you your handicap. You keep the scores as you keep shooting and as they improve, so you move up the handicap tables. For each round, and GNAS recognises 70, there is a specific score for each handicap level.
So, you've got your handicap and you're moving nicely up the handicap table. At certain scores and hence handicaps you qualify for a classification. These go 3rd, 2nd, 1st class, Bowman, Master Bowman and top of the tree Grand Master Bowman. There are a range of scores and handicaps between each classification and there are restrictions on what classifications you can achieve in each round.
That's how the system works so perhaps you'd like to give it some thought. You can always talk to me about it at a club evening. Don't forget, getting a handicap and classification is entirely up to you. There's no pressure on you to get them. Just enjoy your archery!