The Different Types of Archery Practised Today

Anthony Cote
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Target Archery (Indoor and Outdoor)

Indoor archery is shooting at static, paper targets usually set at 12 or 18 meters. There are three disciplines:

  • Olympic events
  • World cup and trophy event
  • Indoor league games

In all events, Archery is practiced from the kneeling, standing or sitting position. There are variations in all disciplines including the number of arrows in the target face and the type of target face ( card-face or full face), in the case of Olympic and World Cup events. The target face in Indoor league games is always made of paper.

Indoor Archery is a competitive and recreational sport.


O Two Olympic disciplines (50% handicap, target face with black, yellow, orange and red face).

O Indoor Leagues (Non-Olympic)


O Target Practice

Recreational lessons

O Tournaments

Incentive programs

Olympic Archery

Archery has been an event at every Olympics, with the exception of the 1896 Olympics. That's a span of 112 years! Even though that is quite a long time, many have forgotten that archery has been a sport in the Olympics. In fact some sports that have disappeared from the Olympic schedule have been taken out just after a handful of years.

It is most probable that the Olympic Games will not be able to satisfy everyone and this will cause the event to be taken out of the Olympics. This is because of the increasing amount of viewers who prefer other events.

The primary reason Olympic archery will continue to be a part of the games though, is that it is more recognized as a sport of skill, rather than a sport of chance. This makes it appealing to most spectators, and also helps many spectators watch their countries competitors. The fact that most of the Olympic events are done with a ranking ladder helps the sport as well.

The good news for people who enjoy the Olympics is that they will see archery as an Olympic sport for a long time to come. The better news is that you can be a part of the Olympics today. You can practice and gain skills and become very good at Olympic archery and later in life you can become a part of the Olympics.

Field Archery

Field archery involves shooting at the smallest of targets at great distances. The sport is a lot more relaxed than the other types and can involve a lot of fun.

The very best at field archery are accurate within one quarter of an inch at over 2,000 yards and they are able to shoot within 100 grains.

Field archery takes place in an open area where people go to enjoy their time. The sports can intrigue the interest of children as they don’t require training and one does not need to be a very experienced of expert to participate, hence the youths will surely love to learn the same.

Field archery allows people to enjoy the company of their peers as one engages in the fun.

The sport is widely practiced in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Korea, Mexico, and many more countries.

Field archery is the most commonly practiced sport around the world.

3D Archery

The Global Archery Federation (FITA) is the world governing body of the Olympic Archery. FITA is the governing body for target archery competitions around the world. Since 1987 FITA has been running the Indoor Archery World Tour, which is an indoor 3D archery competition. In 2010, Outdoor 3D Archery was included in the World Archery Federation (WA) competitions.

3D archery targets are similar to other archery targets, but they are specially designed to be used outdoors. 3D archery targets are life-size and are made of materials that provide the same kind of resistance as an animal's body. These targets are designed to encourage archers to train for hunting. The minimum acceptable score for a 3D archery target is called the “bow kill” and it is the minimum score needed to create enough damage to kill a living animal.

Since it is an outdoor game, there are additional rules and safety precautions:

This way, anyone who has an animal that can be used for a 3D archery target has the opportunity to practice hunting techniques.

Dead animal are not used for practice only; in some cases, they are used to help reduce the population of animals that are too common in an area. Also, they are used to teach new archers how a shooting in actual hunting would be carried out.

Flight Archery

This is where archers have a series of targets at different distances and they are able to adjust the range dynamic at each stage by adjusting the length of their bowstrings as well as changing their posture during the shooting process. The process of flight archery is a fairly technical one and there are specific details that have to be respected and controlled in order to be found worthy at the end of the process.

The Archers are not allowed to move or touch their arrows before the silence command has been issued. They are also not able to remove their arrows before the archer has completed their shot. The archers are also required to complete their shot before the arrow has touched the ground as well as while the period for their approach to the target has not ended.

Clout Archery

Clout archery (also sometimes called clout shooting) originated in the West of England, in and around Bristol, from the later 14th century to the 16th century. The sport derived from the use of the longbow in hunting, when an archer would attempt to kill game shooting arrows into a group or “clout” of animals to be retrieved afterwards. The earliest documentary evidence for clout archery comes from 1390. The archer shoots at a target (in competition in force, and in past times also distance), and the archers are judged on a points scale by number of arrows shot at the target, or “painted” on the target (maximum 6 arrows). Crews (teams of archers) shoot in the traditional way of shooting for the centre. This is similar to the military practice of grouping shots by a platoon in the centre at targets, which is according to rank of military importance.

Ski Archery

Ski archery was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and has been an official sport in the World Olympians Association since its inception. To qualify for the Olympics, competitors must have been a member of their national Olympic team in the year prior to the event, and participated in a minimum of three competitions.

Archers are equipped with the same range-style target faces as in other forms of archery, and when the target face is set to 20 meters, the archer shoots from a distance of 50 meters. At the Oympic level, only the top three competitors are actualy eligible for medals.

Run Archery/Arcathlon

The Arc is a bow of 20-60 pounds draw weight and a short arrow called a Stem.The Arczine (which is pronounced “ark” zine) is the line that connects the bow to the projectile. The stem is made from a bamboo type of wood. Stems come is assorted lengths, the longest being 180 cm, and in weights of 4-6 ounces.The Arc is designed with little or no equipment, as it is a working class sport, meaning that it is designed to compete by people with jobs and people with families, etc. In the 8th Century, the Arc was used by a group of people called the Poles, who were a rebel group. It is believed by many that the Arc originated from the Poles in this region.

Traditional Archery – ‘Trad’

Traditional or longbow archery is based on using wooden bows made from the stave/splicing method and shooting arrows made of natural materials. The techniques and methods of shooting has changed little over the last 600 years, although contemporary natural material arrows have considerably more mass to shoot than those used by the archers of yore and it is this mass that develops the speed to achieve the very high bow poundage of modern longbow archers. The bow as described above has a draw weight in excess of 100lbs.

The target face for traditional archery is a braced face (short distance) eliminating virtually all straight-flight arrows, therefore no point attached to the arrowhead is permitted; so different types of blunt nocks have evolved.

Traditional archers are free to use any method of shooting, including pull-through and Morino methods. Although it is possible (but less likely) for such methods to cause injury, their use is not contrary to the British Longbow Society’s Code of Practice. Whatever the method of shooting, a traditional bowman is obliged to shoot a traditional bow, stringing it with a fingerbow, tab and nock.

Crossbow Archery

Crossbow archery is a competitive field sport in which archers use crossbows instead of traditional bows. The sport has roots dating back to the 10th century.

The crossbow is shot using a finger to draw it back and a trigger to release the bolt. The compound crossbow offers more power and accuracy than the traditional, but not as much as the recurve bow.


Halberds are European pole-arms that have a spearhead mounted on a long shaft. They were popular as battlefield weapons in the Medieval period.

In halberdier archery, archers must shoot at a target while holding their weapon.

Mounted Archery

Mounted archery includes both bare-back archery and archery from the saddle. The archer rides at full gallop and shoots arrows while controlling his horse at the same time.

Shooting from horseback was a common battle tactic in the Middle Ages. Faced with a swarm of enemy soldiers, knights would shoot arrows and sling stones at their attackers. When the enemy closed in for the kill, the knights would gallop away.

Mounted archery survives today as a competitive activity. Competing archers ride their horses through an obstacle course while attempting to score points.


Bowhunting is the act of hunting using a bow and arrow. Bowhunting has been used for thousands of years. Early bows were made of wood and were used for hunting and fishing. Archery has been an Olympic event since 1900.

Bowfishing is a form of recreational fishing. Instead of using a rod and reel, wire, or a spear, archers use a crossbow and arrow to catch their trophy fish.

Compound bows are most safely shot by using a bow sight in order to more accurately track the targets. A bow sight is a specialised sight that helps the archer to correctly aim the arrow.

Crossbow have become popular in recent years. Crossbows (including recurve crossbows) are more powerful and accurate than standard bows, and they can be much more powerful than regular bows.

Archery is a very popular sport that is enjoyed by all ages. The sport continues to grow, and every region of the United States has places to enjoy and shoot. Archery has always been a popular sport that is enjoyed by the young and old alike.

Archery is a sport of accuracy. There is nothing like the thrill of nailing a bullseye. Archery ranges are growing in popularity and are found in parks, private properties, and even stadiums. For many years, archery was only practiced by hunters using bows and arrows to hunt their prey.

Para Archery

Competitive Para-Archery is often referred to as Modern Olympic Para-Archery. It is contested at the Paralympic Games and the World Para-Archery Championships. In 2016, Paralympic Para-Archery had its first female world champion in NNCW and indoor world champion in W1/W2 Joan Rigol.

There Are 5 Paralympic Events Contested at the World Para-Archery Championships and the Paralympic Games;

CM1/W1 Women's Recurve – disability category W1 and W2. The athlete is permitted to hold an optional or prosthetic arm support while aiming. This event was introduced to the Paralympic programme at Athens 2004.

CM2/W2 Men's Recurve – disability category W1 and W2. The athlete is permitted to hold an optional or prosthetic arm support while aiming. This event was introduced to the Paralympic programme at Athens 2004.

PDM1/W1 Women's Compound – disability category W1 and W2. This is a new event introduced at the 2010 Games.

PDM2/W2 Men's Compound – disability category W1 and W2. This is a new event introduced at the 2010 Games.

W1/W2 Women's Barebow – disability category W1 and W2. This is a new event introduced at the 2010 Games.

Mounted Archery

Mounted archery, also known as trick or circus archery, is the trick taking of shooting an arrow at a target while sitting with a horse. The main thing about this sport is that the person shooting the arrow should hit the bull’s eye at least nine times out of ten. It is considered more of a sport than that of hunting because the would-be hunter does not sit on top of the horse and instead, the horse is standing with the rider with his feet firmly placed on the ground.

Various styles of this sporting activity are seen around the globe, the most common ones being those practiced by the Mongolians and the Italians. The tradition of this sport may be traced to the fifteenth century but it comes with the existence of a rather advanced and organized training system.

The number one benefit of mounted archery is that it improves the endurance and quick reflexes of the rider. Also, this activity requires the archer to be trained in horseback riding as well.

Many people in the era of the middle ages had access to horses and this sport used to be practiced regularly by kings, queens and soldiers. It is said that the first battle shots were fired through the use of mounted archery by the Parthians.


Archery tag is quickly growing in popularity. It is a fun and safe take on a classic game of tag and requires less equipment to play than most traditional archery sports. Archery tag is played like the original game of tag. Teams take turns playing one another and score one point for each kill.

Don't be fooled by the name; unlike paintball, a hit is not made by marking the player with paint. Instead, a player is "tagged" by having the arrow make contact with their clothing. This makes the sport safe and avoids the need for protective clothing and face protection.

The game is as fast-moving as paintball, but does not require the same protective gear. Archery tag is a great sport to take up as a team or an individual. It is safe enough to let anyone have a go, and easy enough for beginners to enjoy.

Conventional archery – The American Modified Traditional Target Archery (AMTA) game is an Olympic sport, where players aim at a 10-ring, a 9-ring, and the 8-ring, which together form a bullseye. The distance from the archers to the target is fixed at 70 metres. The sport is popular with both men and women.


Kyudo, Japanese archery is the Way of the Bow. It is practiced in a variety of styles, with families practicing their own interpretations. All are characterized by smooth and powerful execution of technique. Directions for practice vary from family to family, but all evolve from many thousands of years of traditional practice.

Unlike some of the other forms of archery practiced in Japan, (Kyu Kyu, Kyudo, Kyudokan and Kyudo) which are restricted to certain types of archers, anyone, regardless of gender or age can participate in Kyudo regardless of physical capability or previous experience.

The archer stands at a distance of about 6 meters from the target, which is ringed by straw bales and covered with a wooden panel. The archer stands with their back facing the target. Before shooting, the archer performs a short ceremony known as the Kokyu-Sho (breathing exercise). This consists of deep yet soft inhalations and exhalations done slowly and smoothly. The rhythm is controlled by counting out loud. Afterwards, the archer performs the Reiho (ritual), which consists of bowing and kneeling before each shot.