Shooting Etiquette at the
Line Shooting Etiquette at the Line

Archers who try shooting to their full potential in competition can put themselves in delicate situations. They can get overstimulated, for example, which can distract nearby archers and drop their scores from 10 to 8.

Yes, archers should train to ignore and overcome distractions, but every competitor should be courteous to nearby archers on the shooting line.

Archers can cause major distractions when stepping on and off the shooting line. Although it’s not an official rule, archers must be mindful of those around them and what they’re doing, especially when anyone is at full draw. When archers finish shooting their end, it’s common courtesy to look around to ensure archers beside them aren’t at full draw, which leaves them vulnerable to distractions.

The space you take up extends to your equipment, not just your physical stance. Photo Credit: World Archery

There’s no regulation in the World Archery rule book that lets archers reshoot an arrow if they’re bumped or touched while at full draw. In field archery, however, an archer can reshoot an arrow if disturbed while at full draw and has witnesses. Nobody wants an archer to lose points because somebody knocked their quiver or elbow while they tried shooting.

Archers must also be aware of how much space they’re occupying on the shooting line. Most competitions allow specific amounts of space for each archer on the line, and that space includes the archer and their gear, such as scope, tripod, arrows and side rods. Each archer must stay inside their shooting lane and not cross into a neighbor’s space.

Archers also cannot cross into another competitor’s lane during their shot process. Some archers take their shot set-up routines to extremes and cross lanes with their front rod before reaching full draw. That can cause a hazard, especially if the adjacent archer is at full draw and gets tapped by a swinging stabilizer. After shooting, some archers follow through in ways that cross their shooting lane and hit the archer next to them. Good shooting-line etiquette requires archers to remain aware of how much space they take up on the shooting line, and how much space their shot process requires.

Coaches are allowed to provide feedback to the archers, as long as the archer responds nonverbally. Photo Credit: World Archery

Likewise, archers who compete with their coach nearby must be aware of when they can get coaching advice on the shooting line. Coaches can give advice and feedback to archers on the line, but World Archery rules forbid archers from answering their coach. To avoid distracting competitors, archer can only nod, shake their head, or use other silent ways to communicate with their coach. In some ways, it resembles communications between a catcher and pitcher in baseball.

Those are just a few vital aspects of shooting-line etiquette. Archers must always think of other competitors before doing something that could be disruptive. Archery is a close community of competitors who share common goals and passions. Mutual respect on and off the shooting line ensures everyone competes fairly.

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