Want to become a judge? – By Adam Trott29th January 2021
I often get asked why I decided to become a judge. The answers often vary, from saying that I’ve always been interested in that side of competitions, to “I just like telling people what to do, and getting free coffee and food for doing it.”
The main reason why I became a judge, however, was so that I could be on hand at university competitions if I was ever needed to step in and help out. Although the free tea, coffee and food really is a nice perk.
I was ‘umming and arring’ for a while before finally deciding to proceed with becoming a judge, and ultimately took the plunge after talking to a few judgey friends. To clarify, these are friends who are judges, however, they do enjoy a good gossip too…
As I was under the age of 30 when I applied (21), I was able to go down the Youth Judge training route. The great things about this is that national competitions normally have one or two judging spaces reserved specifically for Youth Judges, meaning you get exposure to judging at some of the bigger competitions with elite athletes. The only drawback to being a Youth Judge is that you can’t be the Chair of Judges (COJ) at a competition – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that if the proverbial hits the fan, you don’t have to worry about dealing with it; you can just sit back and watch the carnage from a safe distance (popcorn is sometimes also provided).
When I decided to apply, I was encouraged to attend a judging conference at Lilleshall, which a Candidate Judge – someone who has not qualified as a judge yet – must attend in order to qualify. You can attend a conference at any time within the Candidate timeframe, meaning that you can go to the conference before judging at any competitions, like I did, or judge some shoots and then attend.
The conference consisted of a full day of training, specifically for Candidates, provided by two highly experienced Archery GB judges. Throughout the day, you go over everything from judging procedures, the differences between different shooting styles and tournaments, to calling arrow values; everything you need to know to be a competent, new judge. You also get provided with a judging starter pack and a free lunch – win-win!
At the end of the day, you are given a written test to complete, which you need to pass in order to progress as a judge. Don’t be worried about it though; as long as you pay attention throughout the day, it’s likely you will pass with flying colours. Heck, even I scored 92% on the paper!
Following that, you need a certain amount of ‘judging days’ to fully qualify, but the number of days you need to do is very manageable in the timeframe that you’re given to do them in. At all of these competitions, you’ll be helped by a whole team of great judges, who no doubt will quickly become great friends.
Judging is an excellent way to see the competitive side of our sport from the other side of the fence, to meet more people from all walks of life, and to give back to the sport whilst being supported by a great team of already-qualified judges.
For more information on becoming a judge and what a judge does (you don’t have to take my word for it), Archery GB has put together a very handy guide which can be found here.
In the meantime, stay healthy and shoot strong (or potentially judge strong?)