What is Archery Sports? How to Play, Terms, Olympic, Top players, etc.


Archery is the skill of Handling Bow to propel the Arrows. According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, it means shooting with Bows and Arrows, specifically at the Targets in Sports. The tradition of Archery has been passed from one generation to the next, ranging from its use for warfare and hunting to being a Sport at a commercial level. Many Tournaments had been Held, including Olympics, and many records have been made. Let’s take a look at different popular topics in Archery, one would love to know.

Archery Practice

The Origins of Archery

Undoubtedly, the earliest Archery simply included the use of basic one-piece traditional bows used for hunting. Pieces of evidence of Practice of Archery in its initial state have been found almost everywhere in the World, but who invented the Bow and arrows haven’t been crystal clear yet.

According to Wikipedia, the first use of Arrow is found out to be in Stellmoor, Ahrensburg Valley, and Germany. From the many Reindeer Skulls excavated from the site, some arrows were too discovered, having shafts and a flint Point. But due to its design/structure, people could not figure out that whether it’s an Arrow or just a Hand-made spear.

The Oldest Bow to be found out was from a Bog (wet muddy place) in Holmegård swamp in Denmark. The bows found in the Bog were a series of Bows made up from a single piece of wood and were dated back to around 20,000-9,500 BC.

Archery in Sports

Archery becomes an Official event in the Olympics firstly in 1900. And then, followed by 1904, 1908, and 1972. Back in that time, International rules had not been yet developed. But still, each Country hosting it had different rules from the others. The resulting Confusion had led to the elimination of Archery from the Olympics.

The Federation Internationale de Tir a l’Arc (FITA), founded in 1931, was the first International Governing Body for Archery. The organization implemented standardized rules for the Competition. In 1972, enough Countries have adopted the rules by FITA, and as seeing the confusion to be eliminated, Archery was readmitted to the Olympics, and since then, it has been a Permanent Sports program in the same.

Not only in the Olympics but there are many Huge tournaments ongoing on a Global Level. For instance, we can take look at The Vegas Shoot, Lancaster Archery Classic, and USA Archery Indoors National. These Tournaments have been a Crucial factor in the process of Bringing out the Underdogs, as not all of the audience can get entry in the Olympics.

Archery as a Career

Previously, Archery has not been that of professional sports as compared to football, tennis, etc. But each Day passing, a huge audience is taking up Archery as their career. Not only just holding a tag of Athlete, but they are also getting paid well through three different ways, mainly winning tournaments, salary by the Professional Teams, and Sponsorships.

But one should know that it’s not as Promising as other professional Sports. Unlike football, tennis, badminton, etc the chances of one succeeding in this field are probably low. This is because of the very little exposure to Archery as compared to other Sports. The number of people joining up Archery is Very low as compared to other Sports, which ultimately makes it unnoticeable for the Investors or the Sponsors, enough just to make a Bright future for Handful Archery Athletes. 

For the same reason, many people would question that if it’s not that promising as others, why should one take up Archery as their Career? Well, it’s all about Dedication. We see Archery is not something that is taught in the School or College Life, but rather it’s a passion, that makes one train hard for it, joining Specific Archery Institute. So, it means only for the ones who are ready to give their best dedication and focus in it. And that will ultimately lead one to get winning matches and thus getting salary and Sponsorships. As we all know, hard work and dedication never fail to return its outcome.

How to Play Archery

Let’s now talk about the way in which Archery should be played and its rules.


Archery involves the using of a Bow to shoot an Arrow on the Target, stationery, or in a Steady motion. There are a total of 10 concentric circles, representing different tracts on the circular Disk used as the Target. The Points to be added are decided on the area of the circular Disk the Arrow hits. The objective is to shoot the Target with the Arrow. The bowstring should be stretched after placing the back end of the arrow for the initial input force, which throws it towards the Target.


Let’s now move on to the three main Factors building up the Archery. 

  1. Firstly, let’s talk about Bows. Many World Archery Competition allows the participants to make use of Recurved Bow or the Compound Ones. But that’s not the same Case for the Olympics. For the Olympics Archery, the Participants can only use a Recurved Bow. For men, these bows have an average draw weight of around 48.5 pounds. On the other hand, a Women’s bow draws an average of 33 pounds. These bows are generally 70-inch takedown recurves, meaning that the limbs can be removed from the riser.
  2. Secondly, let’s consider the Archery Targets. The Target is a Five colored circular Disk with a diameter of 122 centimeters. Divided into sections, there are ten score rings, each with 12.2 cm width. Each Colour represents two rings. The most inner color Gold (center) accounts for 10 or 9 points. Red rings are worth 8 or 7 points. Then comes the blue rings, scoring for 6 or 5 points. Black scores for a total of 4 or 3 points. And finally, white rings, which account for 2 or 1 point.
  3. One question that many are interested in in the Archery is how far is the target from the Archer? Well, it depends on which tournament or Competition the archers’ playing on. Different Competition has their different rules, one of them being the range. Considering the Olympics, the distance between the Archers and the Targets is 70 meters (77 yards). Other Indoor Archery Sports generally have a distance ranging from 18 meters to 25 meters ( 22 -27 yards).


Now, knowing all the basic concepts of Archery, let’s now talk about how it is really played in Tournaments/Competitions. The Archers need to take a firm perpendicular Standing Position, holding their Bows firmly with one hand while the other hand takes up the task of holding and pulling the arrow and String at the same time. Archers are allotted a span of 20 seconds to shoot each Target. 

Talking about the total Targets, Each Archer is given a shot at 72 targets. Not in a row, but in Groups. There are a total of 12 groups, each consisting of 6 Arrows until one shoots all the 72 arrows (12 groups × 6 Arrows in each = 72 arrows in total). Each Target can provide a maximum of 10 points score, and as there are 72 targets in total, the maximum number of points one can Score is 72 × 10, that is 720 points. Which is thereby named 720 rounds, aka Olympics Round. The Whistle Command in Archery is used to signal the Starting and Ending of the time allotted to shoot at a Target. Disobeying the command can result in disqualification or a Zero point Outcome.

Coming to the Shooting by The Archer, their Shot decides their Score. Within the Given time, an Archer needs to calculate an expected Trajectory path of the Arrow hitting the target and then releasing the arrow he/she aimed towards the target. Points are decided as per their Arrow hitting the specific area, as mentioned above.

Lastly, these Competitions are based on a Knockout/Elimination concept. After Every Archer shot his/her target, their points are calculated in Total, which is generally three sets of six arrows each, the one with the Least points is eliminated. Considering Other Competitions than Olympics, as there are a huge number of Competitors, elimination is generally done in a group of 6-7 people each time.

Rules to be known

There are some rules implemented by the officials which are a must for Every Archer knowing it. Let’s take a look into it. 

  1. All the Archers must adhere to the official rules made in terms of the equipment they use, with the main emphasis being on them not to use any additional accessories that would give them an unfair advantage in the Competition.
  2. Athletes must not raise the Bow arm until the Whistler’s Command is given, and if not followed, would result in penalties in the outcome of Points Forfeits.
  3. Archer cannot reshoot the Arrow again under any circumstances. Though, it can be considered not to have been shot if it falls from the bow or misfires, or even if the target falls or misplaced. Extra time will be allotted in such a Case.
  4. Sometimes the arrow rebounds or does get embedded on the Target. But that doesn’t result in a fail. According to the rules, Archer will still get the Points-based to Mark the Arrow made while hitting the Target.
  5. If equipment provided to the Athletes is damaged or Malfunctioning, appeals can be made at the very same moment to the Judge for replacing or fixing it.
  6. Mistakenly, while Shooting, if the Arrow hurts some other Person out of their way, penalties are imposed on the Archer, not just points reduction, but rather elimination from the Whole even and also Payment, if any Serious injuries take Place.

Is there any Age Limit for one Entering into Archery?

Well, Yes. One can start practicing Archery in institutes at any age, no matter even if he/she is just 8or maybe even less than that. But for one to enter Official Tournaments such as Olympics or the Vegas Shoot, One needs to be at least be above 16. There’s no upper limit for one to enter Any Tournament. That means even a 70 years old person can compete with other Competitors. All that matters is good eyesight and Strength to Use Bow to shoot the Targets.

Most Decorated Players in the History

There have been Many Legends that have made heavy records in Archery that are still hard to be tackled. Let’s take a Look at Some of the Most Iconic Archers in the History

1. Kim Soo Nyung (South Korea)

Whenever it comes to the Best Archers in the World, One Country that Stands the Most is Korea. Both, Men and Female Koreans Have left their Mark in my International Events. About 17 Korean Women Have won Gold Medals In the Olympics. But one Name, which Stands Out Alone is Kim Soo-Nyung. With Accounting for a total of Four Gold Medals, a Silver and a Bronze, Kim is one of those Supreme Archers in the Competition of Olympics in Archery.

Starting Practicing at the Age of Nine, Kim made it to the National team at 16 through Her achievement of setting a world record for 30 meters and winning the Individual Gold Medal at the international ‘COQ France’ Event, a forerunner of the Archery World Cup.

2. Darrell Pace (USA)

Darrell Pace, USA’s greatest Target Archer, holds a Unique record of holding the Individual Men’s title twice, firstly in 1976, followed by in 1984. After owning the U.S National Championship in 1973, he made a new record of 1316 points in a 1440 round (points) and won his first World Archery Championship in Switzerland in the Same Year. His Name accounts for Holding Two Gold Medals and One Silver Medal in Olympics.

3. Park Sung-Hyun (South Korea)

Park Sung-Hyun is considered as one of the greatest Olympics Archer of the 21st Century. She owned a total of 3 Gold Medals and a Silver one from Just Two games, that’s the Olympics of 2004 and 2008. She was introduced to the World in the Year 2001 when she won the World Archery Championship in Beijing, and Team World Title in the later two Years. Making her debut in the Olympics of 2004 held in Athens, she Made a World Record in the ranking Round with 682, a record which was about to last for 11 years for sure.

4. Hubert Van Innis (Belgium)

The Unsung Hero, Hubert Van Innis, has won a total of 6 Gold Medals and 3 Silver Medals in Just appearing Two times In the Olympics, with a 20 years Gap (firstly in the Olympics of 1900 and then Directly into the Olympics of 1920). This Archer has an Inspiring Career, winning the World Championships in 1963, despite being a 67 years Old Man. Not only he Stopped there, but continued His Archery in his 80s and 90s as well, but Passed out at 95.

5. Yun Mi-Jin (South Korea)

 In her School life, every Teacher and Student named Her ‘Pishri’, which roughly Translates ‘a Sleepy Person’. But who Knew the Future that Yun Mi-Jin would Go on to Sydney to Dominate the 2000 Olympics Games, where She won a Gold medal in each, Individual and Team Archery event. She Also Accounts for Holding the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens in a Team Event. In 2002, She took an Asian Games Team title and one Year Later, became the Individual World Archery Champion in New York, before Holding another Olympics Gold with Her Name in 2004.

Overall, Archery is a Great Sport to increase one’s Skills in various sections. Also, it must be Played with the Maximum Protection as it may lead to Serious injuries on improper handling. Various Rules are needed to be followed so as to maintain its Conductivity. One must have Knowledge about every single factor making Up the Concept of Archery. It’s not a simple thing that can be Mastered in few Days, but Rather takes up Years just to Learn to Play it Better. Because if we see the Archers Acquiring the top Position, we may notice that almost everyone Started practicing in their Childhood, and mastered it in many Years of Training. As being said, ‘Practice makes a Man Perfect’, this is All one needs, ‘PRACTICE & PATIENCE’!