Handicaps And Classifications Webinar

Jack Atkinson and Mark Roberts


Who are we?

Jack Atkinson

Mark Roberts

  • Archer of 30+ Years
  • Children active in archery
  • Club and county records officer
  • Data scientist and software engineer
  • Author of archerygeekery.co.uk

Who are we?

  • Volunteers
    • Individuals who want to improve the sport
    • Offering own time and expertise
    • Not paid by ArcheryGB
      • Cannot comment on AGB policy
  • Also produced the Barebow Rose Awards
  • Handicap updates are work by Jack Atkinson
  • Classifications updates are work by Mark Roberts, Jack Atkinson, and Marc Tamlyn

Who is this presentation for?

  • Records officers to be able to answer questions from members.
  • Archers wanting a deeper understanding of how the whole scheme fits together.
  • Anyone who wants to understand reasoning behind the updates.

Why Update?

Why update the classifications?

  • Increased standards
  • Anomalous features
  • New age groups
  • New rounds
  • Suitability for archery today

Why update the classifications? - Increased standards

  • Archers are shooting higher scores than when the thresholds were set.

Why update the classifications? - Anomalous features

  • Old thresholds were slaved to statistics leading to:
    • Anomalous features
      • Example: Old ladies longbow Hereford scores

        Category 3rd 2nd 1st B MB GMB
        Adult 39 124 173 280 359 447
        Under 18 76 124 212 306 388 -

Why update the classifications? -
New age groups and rounds

  • In 2022 ArcheryGB introduced new age groups
    • Align better with World Archery
    • Support junior development
    • Include a 50+ and U21 category
  • New rounds introduced did not appear in the tables:
    • WA50 Barebow, Metric 122/80, Vegas 300, etc.

Why update the classifications? - Suitability

How Suitable is the scheme for target archery in the UK today?

  • Intended to drive progression
    • Starting at 50m (gents) is inaccessible to the newest archers
    • 1st class/bowman purgatory
  • Comparisons
    • Standards have changed non-uniformly
    • Previous percentile statements are no longer true
  • Rounds and tournaments
    • Many clubs have seen a decrease in target days
    • There are many 720 events in addition to York/Hereford/Bristol and WA1440 events

Why update the handicaps?

  • Poor comparison between indoors and outdoors
    • Indoor handicaps typically higher
  • Poor behaviour long distance
    • Harder than it should be for low HC archers
    • Easier than it should be for high HC archers
    • Due to the excess dispersion factor
  • Improvements of -1 don’t show
  • Classifications are built around handicaps - need to fix this to fix the classifications!

The new systems

Handicaps - What hasn’t changed

Process is still the same:

  • Shoot a score
  • Look up handicap
  • After 3 scores get a handicap
  • After each successive score update
  • At the end of the year average best three to start the new year
  • Separate indoor and outdoor

Handicaps - New features


  • Develop a functional fit using data from many competitions:
    • Domestic -> World class
    • All bowstyles


  • Better distance scaling
  • Better in/out comparison using appropriate arrow diameters
  • Wider range (0-150) allowing increased granularity
  • Potential for negative handicaps to serve scores over 1400/700
  • Round down instead of up

Classifications - a summary

What hasn’t changed

  • Go out, shoot rounds
  • Look up the classification for your score in the tables
  • Once you have shot enough at a given level claim a classification

An example classification table

  • Now grouped by category
  • Highlighted “suggested” rounds
  • Bold age-appropriate round

What has changed

  • Number of rounds -> Number of arrows
  • Prestige rounds
  • Age categories
  • Score standards
  • The journey

What has changed - Number of arrows


  • Shoot 3 rounds for a classification
  • Complex restrictions on which rounds can be used for which classifications


  • Shoot a fixed number of arrows
  • All rounds (of appropriate distance) eligible for all classifications

What has changed - Prestige Rounds

  • Prominent rounds that override all other requirements.
  • All classifications always available on these rounds
  • Important rounds in UK and international archery:
    • York/Hereford/Bristol
    • WA 1440 and Metrics
    • International competition round - WA 720
  • MB tier scores must be shot at these events (UKRS or WRS)

What has changed - Age categories

  • Tables now reflect the AGB/WA categories

  • Note in-particular the inclusion of 50+ and Under 21

  • Junior break point at U15/U16 - new categories

  • New rounds have also been included, and easy to add more in future

What has changed - Score standards

The entry point has become easier to achieve

  • Archer tier is now accessible to all
  • Bowman tier requires a “competitive” setting 1
    • This could be a target day, postal league, club competition etc.
  • Master Bowman tier requires UKRS or WRS event

What has changed - The Journey

Improved accessibility for archers across all categories

  • Increased number of classifications
    • expanded range for both the newest and the highest performing archers
    • more steps across the centre
  • New distances - Archer 3rd Class now starts at 30m for all
  • Spacing between classifications
    • Consistent handicap steps for classifications, ages, and genders
      • No anomalies
      • Predictable progression in class and age
      • Juniors align below U15 and split at U16
      • Steps fitted to data from UK competitions
    • Easiest demonstrated by the new classification bands image

Accessibility in a digital age

The new handicaps and classifications have been designed for accessibility:

  • No copyright restrictions
  • Tables fully available as pdfs online
  • Data fully available for constructing apps/spreadsheets
    • We are happy to provide assistance
  • Improved layout for ease of use

Where to find information:

  • AGB Website
  • Resources -> Classifications and handicaps


A more accessible scheme updated for today’s archery:

  • Starts at 30m for the newest archers
  • Entry point is informal
  • More classifications to provide stepping stones to progress
  • Open source with digital resources


FAQ Resources


  • Will there be new badges?
  • When are badges out?
  • How much will they cost?
  • Who will sell them?

We have not been involved with new badges.

  • ArcheryGB have produced new badge designs and are finalising details with suppliers/vendors.

As an intermediate step or for clubs with large stock we suggest using 1/2/3 badges for the archer tier, then combining a 1/2/3 badge with a bowman badge for the bowman tier.

What is a “Competitive event”

  • This appears to have been the source of much confusion.
  • Definitive wording is provided in SAP7 5)e)iii):
    “Standards: All scores must be shot under Archery GB Rules of Shooting, at a meeting organised by Archery GB or a body affiliated to Archery GB, or at any associated club target day (Rules of shooting - Rule 313).”
  • This has always been the case for all classification scores 1
  • It is, in fact, now easier to access the lowest classifications
  • All Archer and Bowman claims are dealt with by clubs
    • Clubs should apply the spirit of the rules as they see appropriate
      • Target days, postal shoots, internal competitions etc.
    • The bowman requirements are intended to encourage a competitive environment

Age groups

  • I think 50 is too low/high for the category, it should be x?
    • This is set by World Archery and out of our control
    • If you think there should be more categories consider campaigning.
  • Can I hold multiple classifications for different ages?
    • Yes, if over 50 you can hold classifications for Adult and 50+
      If a junior you can hold classifications for higher age groups
      Use the tables appropriate to each
  • Can I use one score towards multiple classifications?
    • Yes
  • Can I claim Rose Awards/WA Stars from my appropriate 50+ round?
    • Yes for Rose Awards - e.g. Bristol 2 and above for 50+ ladies.
      WA Stars/Targets are governed by WA - 50+ and Cadets claim Silver Stars/Targets.
      Crosses/Leeks/Daffodils/Knots/Thistles are up to the home nation.

Age groups

  • What should I put on an entry form?
    • For classifications and handicaps it does not matter if you enter as 50+/Adult/U21 etc.
      Other details are left to the tournament organiser.
      It is expected that the 50+ category will shoot the age-appropriate rounds.
  • What happens to National Ranking?
    • At the moment only the ‘Adult’ categories have a national ranking.
      This could change depending on uptake of 50+.

You missed me out!

We have plans to update classifications across the board for as many disciplines as we can.

Please remember that we are three volunteers with day jobs and personal lives.

  • Para and VI categories.
    • Assistance in collecting data and developing classifications welcomed
  • Other bowstyles
    • AFB and traditional treated as barebow for now
      Assistance in collecting data and developing classifications welcomed.
  • Why do longbows have to shoot 70m when barebows get 50m?
    • 70m is the official 720 round for longbows.
      If this changes then the classifications will reflect this.


  • Which rounds are available for handicaps?
    • Any in tables 1 and 2 of the handicap tables
      Not Frostbites or distances - though these are useful for comparing performance
  • How do I convert my old handicap?
    • You don’t, this is a new system
  • How do I award the handicap improvement medal?
  • I can’t get the excel calculator to work.


If you are a club records officer and want help navigating and administering the systems Mark has a series at ArcheryGeekery:

  1. Club Records Officer - The Basics
  2. Club Records
  3. Handicaps
  4. Classifications


These slides, including all links, can be found at:

They are based on a longer written article currently in progress.