Taking a shot at competition archery is one of the best ways to improve your mental and physical skills. Not only does it help you learn to focus under pressure, but you might also find a new drive to compete. Plus, you’ll meet a group of people who share your archery passions.
If you’ve never tried a tournament and even the suggestion makes you nervous, remember, archery is mainly about competing against yourself. Especially for beginning archers, tournaments are about building the abilities to improve. Most tournaments have a relaxed atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. Other archers will go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome and offer helpful tips and advice.
Once you’re ready to give tournaments a shot, the next step is to find one. Here’s where to look:
State Archery Associations
Most states have a target-archery association. These groups organize and govern local tournaments. USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association have their own state associations. The best way to find state associations is through searching the internet. Most have websites and/or social media pages. They will maintain a list of local tournaments, as well as their rules and other information.
National Archery Associations
There are several national archery associations, and each one keeps tabs on events it sanctions. The following national organizations host tournaments: USA Archery, Archery Shooters Association, International Bowhunting Organization and National Field Archery Association.
Local Archery Clubs
Archery clubs are one of the best resources for new archers. The relaxed and social setting is fun and informative. Clubs typically meet on a set schedule, like weekly or monthly, to shoot arrows, swap stories, discuss gear and more. They welcome archers of all ages and disciplines. Club members will be in the know about nearby archery tournaments. Most also host their own indoor and outdoor tournaments throughout the year. Be sure to check out club websites and social media pages for all the info.
Before your first tournament, it’s not a bad idea to chat with club members about what to expect at a tournament. They’ll be able to discuss gear, rules and format and answer any other questions you might have. Talking it through beforehand and knowing some friendly faces during the competition will make the experience go smoother.
Online tournaments were growing in popularity even before the pandemic shut down in-person events. Virtual tournaments provide many of the same benefits, but they’re often easier to access. Rules vary but you can typically shoot from home, or at a nearby range or archery shop. The best place to search for an online tournament is…online.
Your Favorite Archery Shop
Archery shops are a one-stop shop for tournament information. They will have details about all the local, regional and statewide tournaments. Shops also host leagues and tournaments. Most tournaments require registration in advance, so be sure to plan. Participants might also be required to join the state or national sanctioning organization. Fees, rules and scoring will vary. The pros at the archery shop will be able to answer any questions you have and give you advice on how to prep.
Archery tournaments are a year-round opportunity to improve skills, make new friends and expand your interests. There’s so much variety in the types and locations of tournaments that even seasoned archers never get bored. Whether you’re competing against yourself or a friend or trying to get on the podium, tournaments are for everyone.