How to Understand Archery

This article is about understanding archery. It will therefore cover various types of archery and how to score in Archery


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    Learn archery history. Archery bows were first developed in the late Paleolithic era, the arrows were made of pine with a long shaft ended with a sharpened flint point.
    • The development of firearms rendered bows obsolete in warfare. Despite the high social status, ongoing utility, and widespread pleasure of archery in Korea, England, China, Japan, Turkey, Armenia, America, Egypt, India and elsewhere, almost every culture that gained access to even early firearms used them widely, to the relative neglect of archery. Early firearms were vastly inferior in rate-of-fire, and were very susceptible to wet weather. However, they had longer effective range and were tactically superior in the common situation of soldiers shooting at each other from behind obstructions.
    • They also required significantly less training to use properly, in particular penetrating steel armor without any need to develop special musculature. Armies equipped with guns could thus provide superior firepower by sheer weight of numbers, and highly-trained archers became almost obsolete on the battlefield.
    • However, archers are still effective and have seen action even in the 21st century. Traditional archery remains in use for sport, and for hunting in many areas.
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    Learn about target archery. Modern competitive target archery is often governed by the International Archery Federation, abbreviated FITA (Federation Internationale de Tir à l'Arc). Olympic rules are derived from FITA rules:
    • Target archery competitions may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor distances are 18 m and 25 m. Outdoor distances range from 30 m to 90 m. Competition is divided into ends of 3 or 6 arrows. After each end, the competitors walk to the target to score and retrieve their arrows.
    • Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows.
    • Targets are marked with 10 evenly spaced concentric rings, which have score values from 1 through 10 assigned to them. In addition, there is an inner 10 ring, sometimes called the X ring. This becomes the 10 ring at indoor compound competitions. Outdoors, it serves as a tiebreaker with the archer scoring the most X's winning. Archers score each end by summing the scores for their arrows. Line breakers, an arrow just touching a scoring boundary line, will be awarded the higher score.
    • Different rounds and distances use different size target faces. These range from 40 cm (18 m FITA Indoor) to 122 cm (70 m and 90 m FITA, used in Olympic competition).
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    Learn about field archery. Field archery involves shooting at targets of varying (and sometimes unmarked) distance, often in rough terrain.
    • Field rounds are at 'even' distances up to 80 yards (some of the shortest are measured in feet instead), using targets with a black bulls eye (5 points), a white center (4) ring, and black outer (3) ring. Hunter rounds use 'uneven' distances up to 70 yards (64 m), and although scoring is identical to a field round, the target has an all-black face with a white bulls eye.
    • Children and youth positions for these two rounds are closer, no more than 30 and 50 yards (46 m), respectively. Animal rounds use life-size 2D animal targets with 'uneven' distances reminiscent of the hunter round.
    • The rules and scoring are also significantly different. The archer begins at the first station of the target and shoots his first arrow. If it hits, he does not have to shoot again. If it misses, he advances to station two and shoots a second arrow, then to station three for a third if needed. Scoring areas are vital (20, 16, or 12) and non-vital (18, 14, or 10) with points awarded depending on which arrow scored first. Again, children and youth shoot from reduced range.
    • One goal of field archery is to improve the technique required for bowhunting in a more realistic outdoor setting, but without introducing the complication and guesswork of unknown distances. As with golf, fatigue can be an issue as the athlete walks the distance between targets across sometimes rough terrain.
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    Learn about 3D archery. 3D archery is a subset of field archery focusing on shooting at life-size models of game and is popular with hunters. It is most common to see unmarked distances in 3D archery, as the goal is to accurately recreate a hunting environment for competition.
    • Though the goal is hunting practice, hunting broadheads are not used, as they would tear up the foam targets too much. Normal target or field tips, of the same weight as the intended broadhead, are used instead.
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    Learn about clout archery. Similar to target archery, except that the archer attempts to drop arrows at long range (180 yards/165 m for the men and 140 yards/128 m for women; there are shorter distances for juniors depending on age) into a group of concentric circular scoring zones on the ground surrounding a marker flag. How to score:
    • Standard Target Faces which are made in different sizes are generally of five colours: gold, red, blue, black and white.
    • Each coloured circle is divided by a central line, this format is used by both G.N.A.S. and F.I.T.A. Depending on the type of round being shot the colours can have different scoring values.


  • One of the most important factors that can make you a good archer is your level of concentration and the exact moment you release the arrow toward the target. If you work on your concentration and release, your success rate will go way up.
  • Choose your bow size and style by what you are using it for, not how it looks. If you're a bird or rabbit hunter, you're going to want a lighter more accurate bow, but if you're just shooting targets, something larger and heavier that can shoot a good distance will do the job.


  • Always follow the rules and health and safety of Archery.

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Categories: Archery