Crowded Shooting Line, any solutions?

Ok, had a bit of a rubbish evening last night on one of our first nights shooting outside. I'm relatively new to the sport, just a year in and still struggling with the etiquette of it all. We had 4 targets put out, 40, 60, 80 and 100yards.

The experts were shooting 80, 100 and getting themselves ready for up and coming competitions and the rest were on the lower distances. I'm on 60 at the moment and plugging away trying to get my 252. Just bought a scope which really helped last week see where arrows are falling. I set up the scope and there were 3 of us on the target no problem.

Next end, two more people choose to shoot at 60 which I quickly realised was going to be too many for me and my scope to fit it. I removed it and packed it away.

It's worth pointing out that I absolutely hate getting in the way of others, I'm always the last to join the line and let others get there first. I suppose i'm looking at the pecking order, those that have been doing it for years have priority, seems like the best way to not ruffle any feathers.

So one of the experts asked me why I removed my scope, I said there wasn't enough room and I was fine.

Next end there are 5 of us on the same target and i'm at the end facing a long bow, this was awkward as the tip of their bow kept hovering a foot away from my face, I moved back and that left me at a really bad angle to shoot and starting to get in the way of the 40 target shooters.

Anyway, to cut a long story shot, next end I moved to 40, there was just not enough room for 5 people on the 60.

Next thing I know, one of the experts has had a word about the fact that i've had to move targets with the other archers and asked them to bunch up some more.

This was really embarrassing even though they were being really kind and looking out for me and then rest of the line.

There was some general grumbling and I finished my last end at 40. I left feeling very embarrassed because I was just trying to get out of the way really and let the others shoot.

My question is this, do others have problems with crowded shooting lines, is it ok to ask people to move up tighter, not stick their bow in your face etc? I don't want to annoy anyone, but seem to have done it by letting others go first. Also what is the maximum number of people on a target that is comfortable to shoot?

Yes I know I should get to the line first and claim my spot but I'm really not that kind of person.

Any target etiquette advice would be welcomed, still new at this game and just want to fit in.
 


Timid Toad

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It is tricky, yes. When (if) you compete you'll get 80cm for you, your scope and kit. And you'll need to get on and off the line very promptly. So If the longbow is in your face, tell them. It's their problem, not yours. Don't be embarrassed. If one of the experienced archers has noticed, it's because they think you are in the right, not because you are being a primadona. So have a little confidence. Why not ask for an extra target at your distance next time, if it looks like there will be a lot of you shooting? You all pay the same money to join the club/nightly fees.
 


Rik

Supporter
Supporter
Ettiquette...
You may get a range of answers on this, but here's my take.
If you've got more than 4 people shooting at a target, you really need another target out or a second line. Getting another target may be left to the people who turn up last, depending on your club customs. People may try to squeeze 5 or 6 archers onto a target, but really they should only do that with two lines, unless there is a ton of space and some don't mind shooting off at a bit of an angle.

Regardless of that:
A scope should not interfere with other people shooting, so that's probably a good call. But in the same vein the behaviour of an archer must not interfere with someone else shooting. If they have a habit which causes interference (swinging the bow sideways in a confined space for example) they should be asked, politely, to stop.

Grumbling: people will grumble, no matter what you do. Some more than others. Sometimes it's not really grumbling (shouldn't be from most archers - they know the score), it's just banter. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference...

<edit> just an after thought... If you feel uncomfortable with the space, others may too. A quick question along the lines of "we've got x people on 60, do we need another boss? " might galvanise people to act. Sometimes it just needs a trigger.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I think it is a good sign that one of the experts noticed the situation and was giving you some help, and advising others of your "plight".
Was it the same expert who helped on each occasion.... or are there two experts who are keeping an eye on things?
This sort of thing is almost always "tricky".
It might be worth having a chat to the expert (or experts) and see what they have to say. They are clearly aware of what is happening, and will have " inside" knowledge of what the club expects its members to do in these situations. I don't mean "expects" in the sense that everyone has a set of rules they are expected to obey. I mean, the experts know what usually happens and how 5 on one boss is normally resolved, or accepted.
Also, the longbow limb in the other archer's space can be awkward. It will have happened before, to other archers, and the experts will know what other members normally do about it.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
more than 1 detail?

if theres 5 of you on a target, 3 of you shoot, then the other 2.
or if theres 4 of you on a target and someone else comes "can I shoot on here with you guys" then you say "come with me and we'll get another boss out"

at my club we have a blackboard with a grid showing 4 shooting spaces on each target. when you arrive you put your initials on the board in the target position that you want to shoot in. If you want to change target position, you rub your initials out and find a different empty space.
This means if you arrive early and help set up, you get the pick of target positions (the board is wiped clean once the range is setup and those who helped setup get first pick) but if you arrive late, (a) you get whats left but (b) the board helps you see easily where there are spaces.
we're all expected to respect the space of our neighbours
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I like that idea,Ben.
It seems to me it makes things easier than just letting archers set up with no guidelines. The chalkboard is good, too. Were you there when the idea was first implemented? Was it a smooth introduction?
 


Whitehart

Well-known member
Just get more targets out - that is a perennial problem at clubs, rather than get another target out they all try and squeeze on the same one - once I saw 8 people shooting - some were so far of an angle to the centre line they must have been shooting 53 yards instead of 50!!!!

How many were there at the end to put the targets away :)
 


ben tarrow

Active member
I like that idea,Ben.
It seems to me it makes things easier than just letting archers set up with no guidelines. The chalkboard is good, too. Were you there when the idea was first implemented? Was it a smooth introduction?
It was my chalkboard Geoff.
I got fed up of being asked to look at something for someone, then returning to shoot 10 minutes later to discover that someone had taken my place on the shooting line.
It was a smooth transition. Members were just told "this is whats going to happen if you want to shoot"
Most of them could see the advantages
 


ben tarrow

Active member
Just get more targets out - that is a perennial problem at clubs, rather than get another target out they all try and squeeze on the same one - once I saw 8 people shooting - some were so far of an angle to the centre line they must have been shooting 53 yards instead of 50!!!!

How many were there at the end to put the targets away :)
Sounds like a sensible solution unless you're at a club where target kidnapping is common place. ie you put up a boss and by the time you've picked up your bow you discover 6 people shooting at it, so you go get another boss etc etc then at 15 minutes to the end, they all disappear like mist on a summer morning leaving you to put away both bosses
 


Corax67

Well-known member
Sounds like a sensible solution unless you're at a club where target kidnapping is common place. ie you put up a boss and by the time you've picked up your bow you discover 6 people shooting at it, so you go get another boss etc etc then at 15 minutes to the end, they all disappear like mist on a summer morning leaving you to put away both bosses


Pull a stunt like that at our club and you wouldn’t be shooting more than one end before finding yourself in the car park.

Our club operates max 4 per boss so we just put out multiple targets at the popular distances and if we are suddenly swamped then extras go out - average Saturday session is 2x100, 2x80, 3x60, 3x50. We also have 2x50, 2x40, 30 & 20 on our second (beginner/improver) line. With the exception of a small number of members who cannot set up/take down targets (age, health) then everyone is taught from beginners course what to do and what is expected of them & it works.

No member should feel cramped, uncomfortable or crowded out at a target - everyone pays the same fees and deserves the same level of respect and courtesy on the line. Good luck getting this sorted.


Karl
 


TimGriff6

Member
I'd second what Karl said. At our club we would not have any truck with someone turning up and camping on a boss without asking but no-one does it anyway. If one of us disappears off to do something and leaves a space, the request to fill it would be met with a polite refusal and an explanation. Generally speaking, when we arrive, we see if someone shooting has space on the boss and might ask to join them but otherwise put our own boss out at the distance we want to shoot and unless someone joins and wants to stay later, we put it away. If our friends are 3 up on a boss we would probably ask to join them but if there are 4 we probably wouldn't. If we get beginners or less experienced archers turn up, we help them and sometimes will shoot with them to show them the ropes and give them some company. That does seem to stop the people who can't nock an arrow with the bow held vertical - it's a simple skill to learn.
If I found myself in a club like yours, I'd ask a member of the committee whether they are ok with that behaviour and if they are I'd leave and find a friendly club. I cannot believe how badly some people can behave but I don't have the energy to fight them.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
TimGriff6
I think your club sounds as if everyone is very friendly and doesn't really need rules or guidelines. At the same time, it sounds as if it is running to a pattern that is understood by all. What a great place to shoot!
I would guess, though, that it is not an accident that it works so well, and with so little disruption. The part you mention about the beginners, and how they are helped, seems to me to be the key to keeping things running sweetly. Lucky beginners, to have found such a club.
I would add , that sometimes, poor behaviour is the result of not knowing what is expected. The unwritten rules don't get mentioned and the beginners are left floundering. What can happen in cases like that, is the beginners end up together shooting a short distance with little help as more experienced archers are on longer distances on separate bosses. That creates a gap between those that know what to do and those that are trying to find out; without "disturbing the guys in the distance". Without wanting to; the club ends up needing to "have a few words about an issue" that they feel uncomfortable about, and don't know how to get things put right without sounding too bossy or too formal.
I believe that your club's way of having experienced archers shooting on the same bosses with the new archers, is the nicest way for beginners to learn the ropes and the most effective way to teach them.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
TimGriff6
I think your club sounds as if everyone is very friendly and doesn't really need rules or guidelines. At the same time, it sounds as if it is running to a pattern that is understood by all. What a great place to shoot!
I would guess, though, that it is not an accident that it works so well, and with so little disruption. The part you mention about the beginners, and how they are helped, seems to me to be the key to keeping things running sweetly. Lucky beginners, to have found such a club.
I would add , that sometimes, poor behaviour is the result of not knowing what is expected. The unwritten rules don't get mentioned and the beginners are left floundering. What can happen in cases like that, is the beginners end up together shooting a short distance with little help as more experienced archers are on longer distances on separate bosses. That creates a gap between those that know what to do and those that are trying to find out; without "disturbing the guys in the distance". Without wanting to; the club ends up needing to "have a few words about an issue" that they feel uncomfortable about, and don't know how to get things put right without sounding too bossy or too formal.
I believe that your club's way of having experienced archers shooting on the same bosses with the new archers, is the nicest way for beginners to learn the ropes and the most effective way to teach them.
Youve hit our nail on the head geoff
Even indoors, the beginners shoot at one end of the hall, the novices tend to congregate on the next few bosses and the most experienced archers tend to migrate to the other end of the hall.
Subsequently I get the experienced archers complaining that they can see the novices doing such and such the other side of the hall.
So as we go outdoors in the next couple of weeks, how do I persuade the experienced archers to come down from their 70m ivory towers and shoot 20,30 or 40m with the lesser mortal novices?
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi Ben,
I think we have been down this road before,
I seem to remember we were talking about getting helpers for the beginners courses.
I asked the archers I coach, if they would mind helping ME because I really wanted some help, their help in particular. People I could trust/communicate with, if you see what I mean.
Once they agreed they would like to help, the next hurdle was, they felt they didn't know enough to help others. I showed them what help they would need to give, and it was so straight forward they felt better and said yes and turned up each session . They even said how much they enjoyed helping and how much they had learned about their own shooting. Having watched mistakes in others they understood better what I had been trying to point out in their shooting.
So, I would ask the most likely individuals if they would be willing to help you with the beginners going outdoors. OR you might want to ask all the archers, so no one feels " He never asked me". I asked the archers I coached because they are a distinct group and they were all asked at one time. Explain that new archers need someone on their target who knows how to adjust the sights, or stop arrows falling off their rest etc( or other issues the experts have pointed out indoors perhaps) It's more a matter of demonstrating to the experts, that you can't do it all on your own and its unfair if you help some but not all. It might be a matter of putting one expert on each beginner target; or possibly spread out the beginners and put one beginner on with a target of three experienced archers. If that decision was left for them to think about, or decide upon, it might help to smooth the way. They will feel they are part of deciding how things get done,yes? Another tempter for the experts would be to get them to go on a target with beginners at a distance that is a bit longer than the beginners are used to. That way, the beginners really will need encouragement as well as good advice.
It might help if your idea was seen as a way to reduce the trouble that can be caused when beginners are left together with no help..... worse than indoors!!!
A limit of " it should only need to be done once or twice" might help them so they don't think it's the whole summer season they are giving up for you.
Is there likely to be a committee meeting where this could be discussed, as an idea that can be repeated at each new outdoor season?
 


Corax67

Well-known member
Youve hit our nail on the head geoff
Even indoors, the beginners shoot at one end of the hall, the novices tend to congregate on the next few bosses and the most experienced archers tend to migrate to the other end of the hall.
Subsequently I get the experienced archers complaining that they can see the novices doing such and such the other side of the hall.
So as we go outdoors in the next couple of weeks, how do I persuade the experienced archers to come down from their 70m ivory towers and shoot 20,30 or 40m with the lesser mortal novices?
The question to ask is why the experienced archers are sticking to 70m week in/week out - in all probability they are competitive archers who are working on their form, scores or handicaps and if this is the case then they have no incentive to come down in distance so they aren’t going to put themselves in a position where they will pass on their knowledge to the improvers. To get them to move down in distance you need to offer them a carrot - they may ask “why should I sacrifice my session when I am paying to shoot and have worked hard to get to the level I am at?” and you need to find an answer which will be tricky.

Our situation is a bit different - we aren’t a particularly competition driven group of archers so once the guys have reached 100yd shooting (80yds for the lasses) they look to bang in their three 1st class or Bowman qualifier scores (whatever they aspire to) for the year and then the rest of the season is fun shooting so there is a natural migration of experienced archers up and down the line pinging at different ranges in a variety of rounds for a bit of friendly club record chasing and that means they end up in the mix with the improvers and naturally work with them if they see issues or get asked about concerns.

Because so many longbow comps around us in Kent shoot Westerns or Two-Way Westerns then club Bowman and MB longbow archers are always pinging around on the 60yd bosses for a bit of practice and are happy to help & support plus we’ve coaches who aren’t actively coaching shooting on both our lines who will drop in in case of complete meltdowns.

There is also an atmosphere on our lines of not wanting to see another archer fail so if anything people are more likely to have a gentle word if they spot someone struggling before there becomes a point where the archer feels compelled to ask risking perceived embarrassment on their part.

Don't get me wrong we aren’t perfect and we do lose archers to other local clubs when they feel the need to move on to more structured and competition driven sessions with advanced coaching but likewise we have a tendency to acquire archers who have struggled in that environment and respond to a gentler learning curve.

Hope you crack this nut Ben.





Karl
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi Karl, yes, chasing scores for competitive archers can become the reason they shoot.Sometimes, though, it needs drawing to their attention, that there are other things that also need to happen.
I think there is an incentive for them to come down and shoot with newer archers. They are paying the same amount to join the club as everyone else; not MORE than anyone else. So the same ethos applies to them.... the club is there to serve all archers. No members are paid to do extra duties that no one else wants to do. I would say that all members should give something back to the club,other than membership fees.Their incentive is to have an opportunity to use their expertise for the benefit of others who need their help. How did they gain their expertise? Were they all self taught; or was Ben there to help them when they were lower down the pecking order?
Having said that, much depends on what routines have been established over the years. I believe that setting up routines is a good way to get what a club needs. When routines are in place, it is much easier to bring new members into the routine, than trying to establish something from the start; no matter how well intentioned the routine is. Routines are just simple events that happen regularly, and are known to take place. 252 scheme is one example. A fun shoot at ....... some special date each year, is another.
I set up follow up lessons for new members after the beginners course. It offers them a chance to get better at shooting and feel more confident when joining a shooting line of experienced archers.
Most beginners turn up to those sessions, so it is an ideal chance to establish what the club expects, in a less formal setting. It also introduces them to the coaching sessions that run all year round; and establishes, in some of them, the idea of setting aside time for working on form, with no score sheet to try to please.
A club that has "us and them" members can develop with absolutely no effort. It almost creates itself by default. We accept that or reject it. Accepting is easy, but painful in the long term.
 


KidCurry

Well-known member
For years my club set the longest distance on the right coming down to the shortest distance on the left of the field. This generally puts the better archers at the other end of the line to the new archers. We lost our club ground last year and now shoot in a new club. They put the targets out pretty much at random. Although not as pretty as a nicely set out field the advantage is that I may now have a new archer standing right in front of me on the line and can give advice without loosing any of my shooting time.
 


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