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December 13, 2010

Why Not Become a Judge?

Tournaments are a major part of target archery.  Judges are a key part of tournament staff.  Judges are needed to conduct fair, efficient and effective events.  Think of judges as "tournament facilitators" as opposed to "rule enforcers."  Becoming a USAA judge is great way for an archer's friends and family, especially parents, to participate and help support their archer and the sport.  Many JOAD parents find judging to be a great way to be close to the action.  Many retired archers become judges. To get started, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old, and be a member of USAA for at least one year (or otherwise show reasonable familiarity with USAA tournaments and target archery).
  • Complete the USAA judge candidate application form, a brief test to show basic familiarity with the FITA rule books, and submit both with the application and fee.  New judges receive a guide book and judge shirt.
Most begin judging by "shadowing" a more experienced official.  A magnifying glass is the first essential tool to acquire, along with a red pen and perhaps a whistle and a stop watch.  The best way to learn is to judge events.  Most opportunities present themselves as club, local and state tourneys.   Events often "pay officials" to cover an expense which is a nice way to be paid to stay busy. Judge seminars are offered from time to time to teach proper technique.  USA Archery is hosting a Judge Seminar in January of 2011.  


With more judging comes the collection of more equipment: your own rule book, bow scale, calipers, extra judge shirts, red and yellow cards´┐Ż USAA judges are asked to keep their contact information current and complete regularly distributed case studies.  Judges are also invited to sign up to officiate at national events where per diem funding is often provided.  Judging a national event is a great way to learn from more experienced judges. Judge advancement takes place as experience is gained along with passage of a series of tests.  


Judge Levels are: 

  • Judge Candidate
  • Regional Judge
  • National Judge
  • Continental Judge
  • International Judge Candidate
  • International Judge

Continental and International Judges are invited to take part in various international events, including World Ranking Events, the World Archery Championships, World Cup events, the Pan Am Games and the Olympic Games.  Judges often become tournament organizers, and are also ideal Tournament Jury of Appeal members.


Target archers need tournaments to compete.  Tournaments need judges to conduct meaningful events.  Helping to conduct a quality event helps to make what the archers do important.


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