What is a Handicap?
The handicap system provides a way of comparing scores in different rounds. For instance archers scoring, say, 935 in a York, 881 in a Windsor and 764 in a Western have all shot to a handicap of 35 so have done equally well. Archers are awarded a handicap based on scores they have made in standard rounds recognised by the GNAS.
Are the handicaps the same for indoor rounds and outdoor rounds?
No, they are completely separate systems and you can have a handicap in either or both. Your indoor handicap will probably be different to your outdoor handicap and neither will affect the other. That said, the way the two handicaps work is exactly the same.
How do I get a Handicap?
You must shoot and score three of the recognised rounds and hand the completed score sheets to the club records officer. This can be in competitions or league matches or just in practice on club nights, so long as another archer can sign to verify each score. It is a good idea to get together with other novice archers on a club night and agree to shoot a round together. Younger juniors should have an adult scoring for them.
Once you have submitted three scores the records officer will work out the handicap rating for each score and the average value, rounded up, will become your first handicap.
How do I improve my handicap?
Each time you shoot and score a round, submit it to the records officer and he will calculate the handicap for that score. If it is less than your current handicap, your new handicap will be the average of the two numbers, rounded up to the next whole number if necessary. Otherwise your current handicap will stay the same. Handicap Tables
Can my handicap ever get worse?
Yes, but only at the annual re-assessment. Once a year (1st January for Outdoor handicaps and 1st July for Indoor) the records officer will recalculate your handicap based on the average of the handicap ratings of your best 3 scores in the previous 12 months.
Can I work out my own handicap?
Yes, but only for your own purposes - your official handicap is the one worked out by the records officer. Tables for calculating handicaps are in the Handicap Tables section of the GNAS Rules of Shooting (tables 5 - 12).
What is a handicap shoot?
Many competitions and league shoots have a handicap adjusted element. This is designed to put novices and experienced archers on an equal footing. Tables 16 - 23 in the Handicap section of the GNAS Rules of Shooting are used to add an allowance to your score (known as your 'made score') to give your handicap adjusted score. The allowance is different for each handicap level and is calculated so that if you score exactly the score expected for your current handicap then your handicap adjusted score will be 1440 (the maximum score for a 12 dozen round using 10-zone scoring).
Improving novices often win the handicap adjusted medals at competitions as they are the archers who are most likely to beat their handicap scores by a large margin. This is why it is important to the club that novices with handicaps take part in the league shoots as there are usually handicap adjusted teams and improving novices are the archers most likely to make it into these teams.
Can I use my handicap to see how well my practice sessions are going?
Certainly! Tables 13 - 15 in the Handicap section of the GNAS Rules of Shooting give scores for 2 dozen (5-zone scoring) and 3 dozen (10-zone scoring) at each distance for each handicap level. A useful thing to do is to calculate what score you should get at each end to equal or just beat your handicap and use this to gauge how well you are shooting. This is also a good way to spot if you need to put in more practice at a particular distance.
Are handicaps the same for recurve, longbow and compound?
Handicaps for the different disciplines are calculated from the same tables, but if you shoot more than one discipline you can have a separate handicap for each.