this sport life


< back to the list of sports


Archery is a varied sport suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It consists of hitting a round target with an arrow, which is released from a bow.

There are several different types of archery, the most popular of which are explained below.

Archery darts
Archery golf
Clout shooting
Field archery
Flight shooting
Target archery


Archery darts

See also Darts.

This is an interesting competition between darts players and archers. The archery darts face has a diameter (distance across) of 80 centimetres (2 feet 6 inches) and is marked like a normal darts board.

The shooting takes place over 13.7 metres (15 yards) from the archers. The darts players throw from their normal distance at a normal darts board.

The objective is to score more points than the opponent(s).

Archery golf

See also Golf.

This takes place on an ordinary golf course, against golfers. The archer will shoot an arrow from the tee, then another arrow from wherever the previous arrow landed.

To hole out, the archer must hit a 10 centimetre (4 inch) diameter disc placed level with the hole and on the green area.

Each shot for golfers and archers counts as a stroke. As in regular golf, the aim is to 'hole out' with fewer strokes than the opponent.

Clout shooting

This is an ancient form of archery derived from military target practice. It takes place over a maximum distance of 165 metres (180 yards) for men, and 128 metres (140 yards) for women.

There is a small flagstick with the flag (the flag is called the clout) being placed as close to the ground as possible. The competitors are the specified distance away from this flag as detailed above. There is a circular area marked around the clout with a radius of 3.66 metres (12 feet).

The idea is to get the arrows to land within this circle, as close to the clout as possible. The scoring is as follows.

Arrows entering the ground up to 46 centimetres (18 inches) away from the clout score 5 points.

Up to 91 centimetres (3 feet) score 4 points.

Up to 1.83 metres (6 feet) score 3 points.

Up to 2.74 metres (9 feet) score 2 points.

Up to 3.66 metres (12 feet) score 1 point.

Field archery

A field archery course is laid out over rough ground and the targets are set up at non-specified distances within certain limits set by the rules.

Flight shooting

The objective here is to shoot the arrows as far as possible. Top archers can attain distances of several hundred metres.

Target archery

This is the most popular type of archery. It takes place indoors and outdoors.

A set number of arrows are shot across a specified distance. It is common practice to shoot six non-scoring arrows to assist with sighting and warming up. These must be shot in groups of three arrows at a time.

There are different types of archery round with different rules for each. This round is known as a York round.

72 arrows (six dozen) at 91 metres (100 yards), then
48 arrows (four dozen) at 73 metres (80 yards), then
24 arrows (two dozen) at 55 metres (60 yards).

The York round is usually for men. The women's equivalent of this is called a Hereford round, and is as follows.

72 arrows (six dozen) at 73 metres (80 yards), then
48 arrows (four dozen) at 55 metres (60 yards), then
24 arrows (two dozen) at 46 metres (50 yards).

The lowest round it is possible to shoot is 30 arrows over 17 metres (18 yards).


Each colour on the target is divided into two by a thin black ring, in international archery. The British rules do not have the colours divided into two - there are just the five colours. The two versions are scored as follows.

Metric scoring system
Colour Score
Inner gold 10 points
Outer gold 9 points
Inner red 8 points
Outer red 7 points
Inner blue 6 points
Outer blue 5 points
Inner black 4 points
Outer black 3 points
Inner white 2 points
Outer white 1 point

British scoring system
Colour Score
Gold 9 points
Red 7 points
Blue 5 points
Black 3 points
White 1 points



Arrows can be made of wood, aluminium alloy, glass-fibre-tube, or carbon fibre. The arrow is made in several parts. The tip of the arrow is called the pyle. This is a Saxon word. The actual length of the arrow is called the shaft, and the feathers or other brightly-coloured protrusions at non-pointed end are called the fletchings.

These are usually feathers, or more recently, plastic. This gives the arrow more direction on its flight. Between the pyle and the fletchings are little rings around the shaft, called cresting. At the other end of the arrow, the end which is placed on the bowstring, there is a notch, for the string to go into. This is called the nock, or arrow nock.

Arm guard

This is a piece of leather or plastic which is strapped or tied along the inside of the forearm. It is sometimes (incorrectly) called a bracer. The purpose of the arm guard is to protect the arm from injury as the bowstring snaps back after the arrow has been released.


All bows have the same basic setup - a handle, an upper and lower limb,each with a groove at the end, where the bowstring is attached to. There are several main types of bow.

The longbow is made of wood. The composite bow is made of laminated wood and fibreglass strips glued together. Some bows are one-piece, or take-down, which means the upper and lower limbs can be detached and provide the archers with greater flexibility.

The crossbow is a composite bow used like a rifle. It is more limited in its accuracy. The compound bow has a handle similar to the composite bow, but has is short and powerful. It is a very versatile bow.


Bowstings are usually made of synthetic materials. Most bowstrings have a loop at either end to fit onto the nocks of the bow. The centre of the bowstring has another thread wound around it for a short distance, called the serving. On this is a mark to show the archer where to place the arrow nock when preparing to shoot. This is called the nocking point.

Finger tab

This looks like a little glove-type pad that only covers the three or four fingers used to pull the bowstring. It prevents the fingers from being chafed as the string is pulled, and also allows the bowstring to slide off the fingers freely.


The quiver is the place where arrows are kept on the person. It is like a bag or pouch that is often worn across the back or around the waist so that arrows are in easy reach. There is also a ground quiver which is a metal frame which stands on a tripod, which also holds the bow and arrows not in use on the shooting range.

Notes about bows

One of the most important factors when understanding bows is to know the draw weight. This is defined as the amount of effort required to pull the bow back to its draw length - when the bowstring is pulled back as far as it will go.

An example draw weight could be 17 kilograms (38 pounds) at 46 centimetres (26 inches). This means you will be pulling the equivalent of a 17 kilogram weight back 46 centimetres.

- - -

back to list of sports


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Original Source