About Archery


Archery can be a hobby or a competitive sport, a means to relax or a vehicle to meet people. This article sets out to describe the main forms of archery. While target archery is mainly competitive, its’ sibling, field archery is a mix of competition and pure fun.


This is the type of archery people generally think of it, it’s what you see on the TV coverage of the Olympics. Big, round, multi-coloured targets in long rows, set at long distance, being accurately bombarded by a line of archers. The Olympic competitions are shot at 70m but other competitions are shot at up to 90m. Sometimes a competition can be a mixture of distances. There are different combinations of distances, number of arrows shot and the sizes of the target faces for each distance. Each combination is given name and some are more common than others.

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This type of competition can be shot at all levels and some tournaments are just for older archers. Club competitions are going to be at distances to suit the abilities of the archers. It takes a lot of training to consistently hit the centre of the target face at 70m and it’s something that takes time to build up to in terms of skill and the bow weight needed.
This type of competition takes place outdoors due to the distances needed. This brings into play the effects of wind and rain so this is a true test of an archer’s all-round ability.

The other form of target archery is indoor shooting. Usually done at 18m, it can also be done at 25m. The target face is smaller but the elements of the weather are eliminated. This makes it easier in one respect but it becomes a real matter of concentration, consistent repetition and mental strength instead. The distances being shorter means that weaker bows and heavier arrows are often used. It’s a great way to get started in competition.

Shooting line

This is an indoor competition. The bow types being used are compound, Olympic recurve and barebow.


It’s an amusing fact that while target archery is most often done in a field, field archery is more often done in a wood.

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The surroundings do vary but it’s often a wood-setting and often constitutes a pleasant walk out in the fresh air in a natural environment. Field archery takes place throughout the year so you’ve a chance to be competing amongst the wild garlic, the bluebells or the fallen leaves.


Field archery takes the skills of target archery and adds to them the demands of distance judgement; coping with uneven footing and the challenges of shooting up and down at all angles.

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While fewer arrows are shot during a day, the archer must walk around the course carrying his equipment, food and clothes.


That’s because this form of archery is like golf in that you go around the course in a group from target to target, shooting each target as you meet it.

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While different organisations have differing formulas for what constitutes a course, World Archery, as an example, use a course of 24 targets with three arrows shot at each one. Distances are from 5m up to 60m and target sizes are appropriate to distance with some overlap. The course may be all marked/given distance or unmarked or a mixture. A two day competition will likely be unmarked the first day and marked the second.

Different abilities and equipment is catered for by having different coloured pegs set out for each target. You shoot the one that suits you or that your equipment suits.

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This is a very social and relaxing form of archery as there’s much chit-chat in between targets being shot. It’s not unusual for families to go around together or for parent-child combo’s to form a shooting group.

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 It’s widely accepted to be addictive……………….. and sometimes tiring…..