Improve Your Game – How to shoot Clout
Clout archery has grown massively over the last 20 years, mainly due to archers taking it seriously. There’s so much to achieve, as Peter Gregory explains.
My name is Peter Gregory, and I’ve been involved with the growth of clout for 30 years. I often laugh to myself when I go to target or field competitions and talk to my shooting party about clout being my favourite discipline. This is normally when someone says, “Oh right, that’s where you shoot into the clouds and watch it fall from the sky”. And that’s usually followed by me missing the target with my next end of arrows! So, I’m writing this introduction to clout, to help bring knowledge to the archery community.
The biggest problems that arise are whether the archer can actually practice clout on their own ground and if they know how to shoot it safely?
As with all clout entry forms, there is a clause asking entrants to sign saying they have received tuition on clout shooting. It’s a bit chicken or egg if you can’t shoot at your club – how can you gain knowledge? Well, what the form is actually checking is simply whether you know how to shoot clout safely. This can be done on the day by somebody who knows what to advise that person (it can be done verbally as well as demonstrated).
I’m often asked: “Pete, how do you get so many of your members to come and shoot clout?”
My answer is that we encourage our members, from the moment they join Goldcrest Archers, to discover how much fun they can have from a day’s clout shooting. Whether it’s a club clout shoot or entering the National Clout Championships, everybody seems to be friendly and helpful, ready to offer help to newcomers. It all seems a lot more relaxed, but please don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of very serious archers on the line and rightfully so, many wanting to break the national records.
Times have changed now for clout archers, so much so that even longbow archers are using spotting scopes to see their arrows in the target. That’s how good they have become.
Over the years the rules and regulations have changed massively, all for the better. There’s so much you can gain from shooting clout. So please, whether you are a regular clout archer or someone who only shoots a couple of clouts a year, try to encourage others to come along to try this great sport of ours. Even if you come last in the competition, there’s so much you can personally achieve.
Clout archery has its own classification scheme and Tassel Award badges (similar to Roses, Stars and Arrowheads). There is also a ranking system, all of which are run through the Northern Counties Archery Society. There are national records for imperial and metric rounds, run by Archery GB.
There are also County Records you can try and break, normally several for the Juniors as there are so many age groups and bow styles. A 3 clout end badge for longbow archers and a 6 clout end badge for all disciplines are also up for grabs. Imperial badges are claimed through Archery GB and metric badges through Northern Counties, run by Andrew Neal.
Currently, there are almost 60 clout tournaments up and down the UK, so there will be one near you. With the outdoor season fast approaching, give it a go. You never know, you could be the next national champion!
All of the information is out there. Check out the full list of Tassel events on the NCAS website, as well as clout tournaments on Facebook.
Save the date
On 3 May, I’m hosting a clout coaching day for anyone wishing to gain more knowledge on how to shoot clout and try to tighten your groups. It will be held at Thirsk Bowmen’s ground – details for this can be found on the Durham and Northumberland website.
So come along and give it a go! It’s a great way to get into clout, and remember, most Northern Counties’ clouts are now free for Juniors.
Peter Gregory aka Mr Clout