This is a short guide to help you teach MITs (Marshals in Training) to become Target Archery Marshals. The amount of training needed will differ from MIT to MIT depending on their previous experience. I would suggest at least 3 to 5 training sessions for an experienced archer and as many as required for someone starting out.
All Target Archery Marshals are officers of the SCA and shall maintain membership as required and must own a complete set of archery equipment but that is not a requirement for MITs. They can start their training and sort out equipment and SCA membership before they become a full marshal.
Remember, the Target Archery Marshal MUST be present for all activities. An MIT can only assist with the running of the line and inspections until they are made a marshal themselves.
The basic areas to cover are:
- Knowledge of the rules
- Range layout
- Equipment inspections
- Running the line
- Collecting and scoring
- Teaching beginners
- Submitting score sheets
Knowledge of the rules
A target archery marshal must be familiar with the rules for archery and thrown weapons at both the Society and Drachenwald levels. Thrown weapons marshals must be familiar with the thrown weapons rules from the Society and from Drachenwald.
The marshal must also be familiar with the rules for entry into the Drachenwald Company of Archers, and the rules for the main shoots (Royal round, Inter Kingdom Archery Competition [IKAC], Drachenwald round, and Portsmouth round).
Target archery, and thrown weapons, rules can be found on the archery and thrown weapons page on the Drachenwald web site: https://drachenwald.sca.org/offices/archery-thrown-marshal
Knowledge of local laws
Make sure they are also aware of the current mundane legal requirements for archery for the country that they are in. For example, you need a gun licence to keep a crossbow in Ireland.
They should be able to set up an archery range by themselves but start with getting them to help you with the setup. Explain why it’s laid out the way it is, about the safety zone and how it is affected by having a large wall or hill behind the target or even a dead space which you can’t see into from the shooting line.
A variety of different types of bows, arrows, and thrown weapons are used within Drachenwald. The marshal should be able to assess the safety of a specific piece of equipment for use. When training, describe the checks that you carry out and the methods of inspection you use to discover defects and safety issues. Allow the marshal in training to repeat the inspection as you observe and ask them to describe the steps they take. Also ask them to describe the action to take on finding a defect, such as a crack in bow or arrows, missing fletching, arrows of different length, twisting of the bow limbs, damaged or worn string serving, etc.
Running the line
To start with, teach them the commands they need to know and have them assist on the far side of the line from you after you explain what you are looking out for. Once you are happy, have them give the commands and you assist them (remember that you are still the one in charge but let them do as much of the work as you feel safe for them to do).
Collecting and scoring
Remind them about the importance of watching out for arrows in the ground and having everyone stand well clear when pulling arrows. This is where a lot of MITs make mistakes because they get wrapped up on what is happening with the scores and start paying less attention to the archers around them so keep a close eye.
Get them to record scores for you as you call out the scores and then have them do both. Make sure they always record scores in order of highest scoring arrow to lowest and record each arrow’s score and not just the end totals.
Teaching the beginner
Start by teaching them as if they were a beginner themselves so they can see what they need to do and then swap places. Ask them lots of questions, for example which side does the arrow go onto the bow for a left handed archer as well as for a right handed one, what about arrows with 4 fletching, what to do if my bow string is hitting my arm, etc.
The areas you should cover should include but are not limited to:
- The ‘Hold’ command
- Eye dominance
- Archery stance
- How to grip a bow
- Nocking an arrow
- How to grip the string
- Drawing the bow & anchor point
- Release & follow through
- Scoring your arrows
- Collecting your arrows
All Marshals must report at least once a quarter. Talk them through how to do a report and who to report to (local captain of archers if you have one, if not to your regional archery marshal and send a copy to local seneschal (forms on kingdom website)).
Submitting score sheets
Show them where to get the score sheets on the kingdom website and make sure they can fill them in OK. Also get them to send in some completed score sheets (marking them if they are just test ones or duplicates of ones already sent in). They should submit all score sheets in excel format and send to their regional target archery marshal.
At the end of their period of training when you think that they are ready to become a full marshal, an Authorizing Target Archery Marshal will test them. This test will involve detailed questions on the rules, practical demonstration of setting up and running a shoot and how to teach a beginner. Contact your regional or kingdom Archery Marshal to arrange the test.
When the Authorizing Target Archery Marshal warrants a Target Archery Marshal, a report must be submitted to the Captain General of Archers. The form for this is available from the Kingdom website under the Target Archery section. Please follow the instructions on the form.