What-a-thrill, Head-2-Head

If we watch archery competitions on the telly, we (nearly) always see two archers competing against each other. One shoots an arrow, and then the other replies back.

Shooting a Head-2-Head down in Corus

They alternate, they shoot 3 arrows each, and then they call the scores.

Well, that’s what it’s called a Head-2-Head, and it’s a fundamental part of the practice, in becoming comfortable during a competition.

We thought about calling the BBC and WorldArchery down at the club…But then in the end, a simple couple of scoreboards turned out to do the job. Less faff, flipping numbers (hey, I can say that, it’s not swearing!!!) and after all, who wants to get on television?

For a standard H2H, the rules start very very easy:

  • you don’t have much time to shoot
  • it’s all pressure
  • loads, literally, loads loads loads of fun

If you then want to know a bit more, generally this is how it works for outdoors…

Styles and distances

  • Recuve shoot an Olympic round (122cm at 70mt)
  • Barebow shoot an Barebow match (122cm at 50mt)
  • Compound shoot an Compound match (80cm 6 zones at 50mt)


  • You shoot a maximum of 5 ends
  • You shoot a total of 3 arrows (ideally, alternating) per end
  • You have only 20 seconds to shoot an arrow
  • Your 20 seconds starts when the other archer has shot him/her arrow


Compound here, scores slightly differently. While Recurve and Barebow play a “sets” game, where you try to win 3 out of 5 sets, compound run on the total scored after 5 ends.

  • Recurve & Barebow: at each round, the best score gets 2 points, 1 point each for a draw – the first who gets to 6 or 7 wins
  • Compound: who scores the most after 5 ends, wins

In case of a tie: 1 arrow shoot off decides the winner – who scores the most, or in case of same score, the closest arrow to the center wins.

Head to Head final results – compound match (yet, archers working on their technique…)

…and so we played the game. It was fun, definitely (at least for me, putting aside the joy of shooting to act as a Director of Shooting).
I can’t thank enough the volunteers that worked their way through the timed experience.

So you know how it works now, the scoreboards are at the club and you just need to practice.
Practice, practice and little bit more of practice.

Wanna see some real examples?

Barebow match
The most bizarre John Demmer the III (a myth)

Compound match
Our nation pride and glory Ella Gibson

Olympic Round (recurve)
The British rising star Penny Healey (17 years old)

Needless to say, there is nothing more elegant and beautiful on this planet than a properly executed form.


Full H2H Rules here

See you on the line,