Archery is perhaps one of the most inclusive sports there is, all Archers regardless of age, gender or disability are all able to compete with one another on a level playing field. So even if you are new to the sport you could find yourself on the shooting line beating far more experienced archers.

On this page we will explain what the handicap system is, how it works and how to even calculate your own handicap.

Learning to calculate your own handicap is an important skill that all archers should master as it is how we keep track of our progress.

So what do you need to know to calculate your handicap? Well the first thing you need to understand is that you may end up with 2 handicaps – an indoor and an outdoor handicap – but don’t panic the systems work in exactly the same way.

To get a handicap you have to shoot and complete 3 recognised scored rounds – these don’t all have to be the same round , for example if you are indoors you may wish to shoot a Portsmouth one week, a Worcester the next and then a Fita 25. After each round is shot you will have a score for that round what you have to do then is look up the handicap rating for your score.

It is important to understand that their are different tables for different genders, different age groups and different bow types so you need to make sure you use the correct table when calculating your handicap rating.

Ok, so you’ve got your score what now? You either need to get your hands on a set of handicap tables – ask around at your club, its more than likely that someone will have a copy in their bag, alternatively there is a great website you can use called Archers Mate . This website allows you to input some basic data [round shot, gender, age, bow type and score ] and then gives you your handicap rating for that round – It also gives you your classification rating but we’ll cover that on another page.

Once you have the handicap rating for each of the 3 rounds you’ve shot all you need to do is work out the average of the 3 scores. For example if you get handicaps of 52, 48, & 50 what you do is add the 3 scores together [52+48+50 = 150], you then take the total and divide it by 3 and the resulting figure becomes your starting handicap e.g 150/3 = 50. So in this example my handicap would be 50. Your clubs record officer will also calculate your handicap and his/her official record is the handicap that you should work too, but it never hurts to keep your own records.

But wait the fun doesn’t stop there. As I mentioned before the handicap system is how we monitor our progress, the good news is handicaps can’t get worse, they can only get better,  each time you shoot a round that is better than your current handicap you take your new handicap rating and add it to your existing handicap, you then divide this new total by 2 and this becomes your new handicap. E.g if I shoot a score that gets me a handicap of 46 I add this to my existing handicap of 50 [46+50 = 96 ] and then I divide it by 2 [96/2 =  48] and the resulting figure becomes by new handicap. If the resulting figure is a .5 then you need to round up to the next whole number to find your handicap.

Remember a lot of tournaments will award prizes for handicap bettering shoots, but to be in the running to take one of these prizes first you need your handicap – so get scoring some rounds!

But don’t be in a massive hurry to bring your handicap down, remember it cannot go back up , take your time and let your skills develop over time and your handicap will follow.