USA Archery JOAD Stars Pin Awards for Young Archers, Part 1: Basics

Golden Gate JOAD archers Patrick and Katherine show their Stars Pin achievement awards.

Young archers at USA Archery Junior Olympic Development programs such as Golden Gate JOAD are eligible to earn awards from USA Archery. The awards serve as benchmarks for progress in archery and give a well-earned sense of accomplishment.

Golden Gate JOAD periodically offers optional achievement shoots for JOAD Stars Pin Awards during our regular sessions. All archers ages 8 through the year of their 20thbirthday are eligible to earn the first 4 awards, Green through White, and are eligible to earn the next 4 awards after they sign up to become members of USA Archery. All archers shoot for the awards at their own pace. There are no age or gender divisions. The pins must earned sequentially, no testing through. Separate awards can earned at indoor and outdoor distances and in each of the 3 bow categories, and there are separate lanyards to display the pins.

The rules can seem a bit complicated at first because of all the different options available, but the subset of rules that apply to beginning JOAD archery students are pretty straight forward once you get used to all the terms. Your local participating JOAD club will help make earning the awards fun and rewarding.

Bow Divisions

  • Novice”
    • This bow division includes all Golden Gate JOAD beginning JOAD students. “Novice” division is what is normally called “barebow”. It includes “any recurve, longbow or compound with no sight, stabilizer, peep or kisser button, and shot only with fingers (glove, tab or bare fingers).” (Includes NASP Genesis bows.)
    • These are the kind of bows all Golden Gate JOAD students are started on. Some people move on to other divisions, but “barebow” is also a style that many archers stay with, and is popular nationally and internationally with young and old alike.
  • Olympic
    • For Olympic-style recurve bows with sights, stabilizers, clickers and/or kisser buttons. This division allows all the accessories you see on bows used in the Olympic Games.
  • Compound
    • For compound bows (bows that use pulleys for extra mechanical advantage) with sights, stabilizers, peep and/or shot with a mechanical release.

There is no lanyard for Novice/Barebow yet, an oversight we hope USA Archery will take care of soon, so our Novice/Barebow archers are issued Olympic or Compound Lanyards depending on whether they shoot recurve or Genesis bows.

The scores needed to earn JOAD Stars Pin Awards are as follows:


Outdoor and Indoor

Archers are allowed to choose to skip the green pin, however any archer who hopes to earn a complete set of pins will need to start with the green pin. All pins must be earned in order, one at a time.

Outdoor Distances

Archers shoot 36 arrows at a large 122cm target from distance indicated for the pin they are shooting for. The score required is based on the distance for the pin they are earning and what bow division they are in.

All beginning Golden Gate JOAD students are in the Novice/Barebow division. This bow division currently has only 4 pins available in the Outdoor distances. Novice/Barebow shooters using recurves may then shoot in Recurve division, and Barebow shooters shooting Genesis bows may continue in Compound division. However, Novice/Barebow shooters will then be shooting at a disadvantage against scores made for bows with sights, stabilizers and other non-barebow accessories, so Novice/Barebow may wish to consider shooting with sights to earn pins above white until USA Archery/USA Archery JOAD Committee fix the Novice/Barebow division to fully include barebow.

For Olympic and Compound Yellow star and above, archers may choose to shoot either 60 or 70 meters. Separate scores are listed for the two distances.

All scoring is outer 10 ring.

Indoor Distances

Archers shoot 30 arrows. Any age can shoot any of the target distances or target size options available for their bow division. Once an archer starts shooting at the longer, 18 meter distance they should continue at that distance for subsequent pins. The bottom row is the 40 cm target optional for both Olympic, Compound and Novice. The criteria in the bottom row are those used at non-JOAD USA Archery competitions and this option allows JOAD archers to use them as qualifying rounds for Stars Pin Awards. However, the slight reduction in required score is not commensurate with the reduction target size, so there is no advantage or need to shoot this row at regular achievement shoots.

All beginning Golden Gate JOAD students are in the Novice/Barebow division. All pins are available for this bow division in the Indoor distances. However, Novice/Barebow shooters are required to shoot the same scores as Olympic division shooters using sights, stabilizers and clickers.

Qualification Rounds

The scores must be earned under tournament-like conditions. At our achievement shoots we guide students through the process.

  • Arrows are shot in ends of 3 or 6 depending on distance.
  • At the beginning of each end, archers are given 10 seconds to walk up and straddle the shooting line, and 2 minutes to shoot each end of 3 arrows or 4 minutes to shoot each end of 6 arrows.
  • No arrow may be touched until all arrows are scored by the archers—touching an arrow could move it or the target and change the score of arrows that are near the edges of scoring rings.
  • Double scoring is used. Two separate scorecards for each archer, scored by two different people–one of which can be the archer.

A sample score sheet for ends of 6 arrows. Competitions often shoot ends of 3 arrows at closer distances to avoid damaging arrows. At Golden Gate JOAD we often use ends of 6 arrows at our achievement shoots for efficiency.

The scores are written down from highest to lowest. Xs (the small ring inside the 10 ring) are written as “X” and count as 10. Misses are written as “M” and count as 0.

Xs don’t have any special value in scoring JOAD Stars Pin Awards. Their use on the sample scorecard is for fun and as practice for how they are scored in some competitions where they are used as tie breakers.

JOAD Archers are also eligible for the 6 Gold Pin, for archers who score 6 10s in a row . The 6 arrows can be in one 6 arrow end or in two consecutive 3 arrow ends.

So, those are the basics, and should be all you need to help you get young archers on their way to earning achievement awards. 🙂

There are more details in the 2011 JOAD Handbook–but be aware that there are some omissions, contradictions and known areas for improvement in the rules. We’ll cover that in Part 2. For more information on JOAD or JOAD Stars Pin Awards check USA Archery, or contact Golden Gate JOAD for details.

USA Archery also has an achievement program for adult archers. See our USA Archery Adult Achievement Program post for more information.

You can learn more about theStars Pin Award Program in the second post in this series: USA Archery JOAD Stars Pin Awards Part 2: Hoped for Fixes.