**What is a handicap and how to get one?**

An archery handicap is a number between 0 and 100 which indicates the ability of an archer. The lower the handicap the better the archer. Every archer can have one outdoor handicap and a separate indoor handicap for each bow style they shoot. Handicap tables are produced by AGB which give a handicap for every possible score for every round irrespective of the archer’s age, gender or the bow style used. *The handicap tables can be purchased from AGB (currently £14.50) ~ our Records Officer has a copy.*

The key thing to remember about handicaps is that they are easy to get ~ all you have to do is record scores for some rounds and pass them to our Records Officer ~ Jon Towers. He'll do the rest. In fact sending him your score is essential because **only a handicap formally issued by club records officers can be used if entering a handicap shoot! You cannot create a handicap for yourself.**

The archery handicap system has four uses:

- It helps archers to monitor their progress.
- It enables scores to be compared between different rounds.
- It enables archers of different abilities to compete on equal terms. That's what our Winter Knockout aims to do.
- It enables archers to assess their performance/progress when shooting a round they have never done before by comparing their score with what the Handicap Table says it should be.

**Calculating Your Handicap**

Calculating a handicap is the same for both indoors and outdoors and requires the use of the AGB Handicap tables **~ remember only one worked out and issued by the Records Officer is valid**. All handicaps are quoted in round numbers. *(N.B. there are different handicaps for indoors and out)*

To work out a handicap rating for a given round you look up the relevant table and check your score in the column for that round (or the next lower score if not exact) and look across the table to the handicap column for that score. See examples below. An alternative is to use Archers Mate ~an on line aid which can be found from the link on our Links Page.

1. Score for a National round of 133 gives a handicap of 70.

2. Score for a Warwick round of 157 gives a handicap of 64.

3. Score for a Short Warwick of 170 gives a handicap of 69.

An archer might have recorded some scores but may not yet have a handicap. In this case, the initial handicap is the average of the handicaps for the first three rounds recorded. The average must be rounded up to the nearest whole number. For example:

- If an archer shoots 3 outdoor rounds with handicaps of 64, 70 and 69, as above, then the initial handicap is 68 (being the average of those three handicaps).

As the season continues, the archer improves his scores (at least that's what we hope) and thus his established handicap comes down. N.B this only happens where the handicap score achieved is at least two handicap points better than the established handicap. For example:

- An archer has a handicap of 68, then shoots a round handicap rated at 70: the overall handicap doesn’t change and stays at 68 (being better than 70). He next shoots a round with a handicap rate of 67 which, although better than the current 68 handicap, is not better by 2 points so the handicap stays at 68. At long last, and much to everyone’s relief, he shoots a round for a 66 handicap rating. This is 2 points better than his current 68 so the two are averaged at 67.
- Similarly an archer with a handicap of 68 shoots a round with a handicap rating of 61 which is more than 2 points better and averaged together (and rounded up) becomes a 65 handicap.

**End of the Archery Season and Handicap Improvement**

At the end of an archery season (1st January for Outdoors, 1st July for Indoors), each archer’s handicap is re-calculated. If the archer has shot at least three rounds in the previous season then the new handicap is the average of the best three rounds in the previous season, rounded up to the nearest round number. The only way an archer’s handicap can go up is if the average handicap of the best three rounds in a season is higher than the average handicap of the best three rounds in the previous season.

**Handicaps in Competition**

Handicaps can be used to enable archers of all standards to compete equally against each other. This is achieved by adding a certain number of points (allowance) onto an archers score at the end of the round. The lower an archer’s handicap, the fewer points get added to his score. The winner is the archer with the most points after the handicap has been taken into account. The number of points to be added is included in the AGB handicap tables.

By way of example, a handicap of 23 on a National round gets an allowance of 817 points to be added to the actual score achieved by the archer. So in a handicap competition an archer with a handicap of 23 and an actual score of 623 gets a final score of 623 + 817 giving 1440. **N.B. the addition (allowance) given is designed so that if every archer shoots to their handicap all the scores will be more or less the same.**

Some archers may not have completed 3 qualifying rounds to achieve a handicap. In this instance, a temporary handicap can be worked out by using the first 2 dozen score of a 5 zone scoring round, or the first 3 dozen score of a 10 zone scoring round on a 122cm face using GNAS tables 13 & 14. However, this method cannot be used for handicap reduction.