The Rules of Archery

Archery, a hunting method that was primitively used to kill animals and birds, and even used as a weapon in battles has now become a great emerging sport. It progressed worldwide primacy in the 1970s. Though the first tournament occurred in 1902, due to negligence of higher authorities it was excluded in 1908. Although, the induction of high-level tournaments started after the 1970s when people revealed a keen interest in this wonderful sport. And now at this time, it has earned extreme significance, including international tournaments with skilled and professional competitors. But the sport is not as simple as it seems. Like other games, it also has certain, indestructible rules that one not ought to break.

Before understanding the rules and principles of Archery we must know the word archery properly.

The word Archery is derived from the Latin term Arcus which means bow.  It is a competitive shooting game played by skillful shooters with bows and arrows as necessary equipment.

Vogbel 50" Takedown Recurve Bow and Arrows Set


Types of Bows and Arrows

The Rules of Archery

The bow:

A bow must fulfill these requirements of international Archery.

  1. Any instrument having a grip, limbs and bowstring can be allowed as a bow.
  2. The bow mainly comprises a semi-rigid arc with a highly tensile bowstring which has to be stretched while shooting the arrow.

All categories of bows include three major parts i.e.

  • Riser/Grip: The riser as shown in the picture is the centre of the bow. The shooter grips the Riser firmly and applies force on it in opposite direction to the arrow. In the reaction which arrow shoots far away with remarkable force.
  • Limbs: Limbs are the two sides of a bow that includes the upper limb and lower limb with which the bowstring is attached. When a shooter applies force on a string these limbs bent towards the arrow.
  • Bowstring: Bowwstring keeps the arrow in its adequate position so that the arrow takes more energy to shoot.

archery tips

Including simple to advance there are many types of bows used in archery from ancient times till today.

  • Recurve Bow
  • Long Bow
  • Compound Bow

Let us explore these bows one by one.

Recurve Bow:

The most traditional and used bow is the recurve bow. As mentioned above, having curves of limbs provide extra force to the arrow. This is the only type of bow that is permitted in the Olympics. Manufacture of these bows can include fiberglass, wood/carbon, and composite riser.

The Longbow:

As the name is exploring the whole structure of the bow. The longbows are long enough to be the size of their operator. The most primitive type of Bow that only contains a wooden arc with no curve on limbs. The bow is a huge and extensively hard one to utilize. As it is difficult to operate only master or skillful shooters use them for hunting.

Compound bow:

Hunters usually search for this advanced technological bow as it has some extraordinary features that provide the arrow with more power with minimum effort. It has a combination of pulleys, cables, and cams that suppose the archer to focus on the target precisely. This provides extreme accuracy and minimizes the chance of prey escape.


Several arrows can be used in Archery unless they match the international archery definition of the arrow. i.e.

  1. An arrow with a shaft having a pointed tip, nocks, and fletching which has a maximum diameter of 9.3mm and cannot extend 22cm in length.
  2. Can be used in competition.

We classify arrows according to their texture or the material used in them these includes:

  • Aluminum arrows
  • Wooden arrows
  • Carbon arrows
  • Aluminum Carbon

The Rules of Archery

The Rules of Archery

Some basic general rules you need to know in this regard.

General Rules

  • Archery tournaments include two categories i.e. Indoor archery and outdoor archery. Both have the same as well as different rules.
  • Archers of age under 14 are restricted to be accompanied without an adult guide.
  • Each team comprises 4 players standing on the opposite side of the field. Their objective is to score maximum as compared to their opponents.
  • The time is limited for each shoot, the archer must shoot within that specific time.
  • There are certain boundary lines, and all players are bound to remain within that particular lines.
  • After a signal from the referee (whistle) players rush towards their neutral zone, and collect their arrows in the quiver after that they return to the action zone.
  • Once the archery began it will stop after all shoots of the player. In rare cases (if the player is injured or he/she has safety issues) player can ask for timeouts so that team will rescue the injured one.
  • Players are bound to respect the decision of the referee and the honorable judges. Any violence, abuse, or unethical behavior will be tolerated during the tournament. Under no circumstances archers are permitted to knock arrows out of the air.

Archers classification

A minor archer can’t compete with a senior or master archer. To avoid such inconvenience archers are classified as:

Cadet: The category contains the minor competitors having no experience in this field. It includes teenagers of age 17 and below 17. Newbies are welcomed in this section and competition occurs between them

Junior: The group comprises youngsters of age 18 to 20 years. Somehow experience they get previously from the cadet group. After that, they are promoted to the OPEN category.

Open: Adult group that contains competitors of age 21 to 49.

Master: They are mature and advanced shooters aged 50 and above. People at this age are usually experts and most of them become instructors for their juniors.

Equipage rules:

Rules for equipment are as follows;

Defensive Accessories;

No limitations in this regard. Players are allowed to use safety equipment as much as they need but keep in mind that equipment should never give illegal benefit to the player. So, you are allowed to wear gloves, glasses, clickers, and many more.

You are supposed to use a thumb ring that is made up of leather, which will provide you with a perfect grip on the string.

All these will never affect the performance of your archery but provide you with protection.

The arrows and the bows:

The Arrows And The Bows


Worldwide the standard number of arrows a player can keep with him/her is 3 to 6 arrows for shooting. The standard diameter of the shaft of the arrow must be 9.3 mm.

All players must use the same nature of arrows. Either it is made of fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. All archers will acquire one of them.

The arrow must contain the name of its operator for identification.

Archers are allowed to replace the arrow or other equipment by appealing to the judge if the equipment is damaged or broken.

In Olympics, only recurve bow is allowed to be used. Other competition also uses compound or wooden.

All players must use the same bows in each competition. No space for the electronic gadget to enhance the performance of shooting.


All Olympics archery games have the same nature of the target. It includes several rings on it. Each ring has a distinctive score from the other. Score increases as we move outer towards the inner ring. It includes 1 score to 10 scores.

The outer two rings are colored white, then the inner two are colored black and the innermost circles are blue and red followed by the two last gold circles in the center.

Equipage rules

The whole diameter of the target is 122cm. If the archer failed to shoot on target he/she will get no score.

Distance of the target to archer:

All players shoot from a certain same distance from the target. The distance can be changed from competition to competition.

In Olympics, the standard has been fixed that is 70 meters away from the player and 1.3 meters above the ground.

While in indoor archery, the target is very few meters away which is 18.3 meters.

Sign of whistles:

The competition starts in a very professional manner. Players need to focus on whistles instead of words. These whistles allowed to know a player when to shoot and when to stop shooting.

  • It begins with the two whistles that indicate the players’ to approach the line. So, after approaching he waits for the second whistle.
  • The second whistle declares that it is time to start shooting without wasting the time.
  • Then finally sound of three whistles listens which permits the competitor to stop shooting and pull the arrows back from the target.

Scoring Rules:

If an arrow is misfired accidentally, it will also consider a shot. If the player extends the hand and grabs the arrow before shooting then it will not consider a shot.

If the arrow remains within 3 meters after the shot, the archer is still allowed reshot that arrow.

Release of the arrow before or after time will not be considered moreover it will eliminate the highest scored arrow.

Each player has 2 minutes to release 6 arrows on target. In exceptional cases, more time will be allotted to the archer.

If the arrow is embedded in a previously fired arrow then the score of the former arrow will be considered.

Read More Post: Using Bleats And Antlers May Just Give You A Shot

The End Rule:

Each round of archery is known as “An END”. The shooting of six arrows completes an End. Rounds can be of more than one. After each end player is allowed to pull his/her arrows.

The number of arrows in one round depends on the tournament.

Difference between End and Round:

The end is the specific number of arrows that you can shoot before pulling back your arrows to the quiver from the target. Meanwhile, round means the total number of arrows you are permitted to shoot.


Like other games in archery, one winner must be decided. However, in some cases event of tie occurs. There are several tactics to break these ties.

If by chance two or more archers got the same score then they were allotted a tiebreaker shot.

Each player has 40 seconds for the tiebreaker shot. The one whose arrow is nearer to the center is declared the winner of the tournament.

Essential rules:

Handmade Wooden Bow and Arrow Set


There are some essential rules you need to know before competing at the national or international level.

  • Always examine every piece of equipment before going to the tournament.
  • Only shoot your lane target.
  • Stand in the center of your target before shooting the arrow.
  • Always stand in the same shooting line with other competitors.
  • Never point your arrow towards the sky or any other person. Always point them towards the target.
  • Never do a dry fire. Always shoot the bow with your arrow.
  • Never run in range while going for pulling back the arrows.
  • Always give your fellow competitor enough space, so that no one will disturb you and your equipment.
  • Don’t care about here and there, just concentrate on whistle sounds.
  • Before retrieving the arrows ask clear and wait for the response of the referee then move from your space.
  • If your arrow drops down mistakenly then leave it until you are asked to get your arrow back.
  • You must ensure while pulling back the arrows that no one is behind you.
  • Never misbehave or abuse your fellow archers.

By implementing these essential rules you will enjoy a better archery tournament with a great performance.


I hope the article proves to be informative and knowledgeable for you. Archery is such a good recreational game that was once not a game but a weapon. But now due to advancements in technology and the weapon field. It restricts to mere a tournament or a game. Every year people from all over the country come to watch the archery tournament moreover 140 countries take part in this game. The government of different countries supports the champions and honoured them with various medals and cash prizes that always encourage their morals.

Read Related Post: What You Should Know About Hunting In Extreme Weather

Related Links:

  • /By Wikipedia
  • /By Wikipedia
  • /By Wikipedia
  • /By Wikipedia


  • /By Wikihow
  • /By Wikihow
  • /By Wikihow