Archery Rules

Let’s take a look at the standard archery rules and procedures for a competition or match. Archery is an ancient sport that involves shooting arrows from a bow at a target. It requires focus, precision, consistency and control. There are different types of archery including target archery, field archery, 3D archery and bowhunting. Archery is governed by the World Archery Federation, which has laid out standard rules and regulations for the sport. Knowing the basic archery rules is important, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned archer.

Field and Equipment

An outdoor archery range has distinct shooting lines, target faces and safety zones. Standard field sizes are 30, 50, 60, 70 and 90 meters. The main equipment used in archery includes the bow (recurve, compound, longbow), arrows, arm guard, finger tab or release aid and quiver.

  • Bow – The modern competition bows are taking over the more traditional wooden bows. Recurve and compound bows with stabilizers are used in target archery.
  • Arrows – Arrows consist of a shaft, fletching, arrowhead, nock and pin. Only 12 arrows are allowed in a match.
  • Finger tab – Worn on the drawing hand to protect the fingers while shooting.
  • Arm guard – Worn on the bow arm to protect from string contact.
  • Quiver – Used to safely hold the arrows. Hip, bow and ground quivers are common.
  • Release aid – Mechanical release aids are used by compound archers.

Archery Rules : Gameplay Rules

  • Archers shoot in groups called ends. Standard ends consist of 3 or 6 arrow ends.
  • Only one archer can be on the shooting line at one time. Others must be behind the waiting line.
  • Arrow has to be shot using the bow’s draw strength. String walking is not allowed.
  • All arrows must be shot in one minute time limit.
  • Arrows must be scored and retrieved after all arrows are shot.
  • Archer cannot touch equipment or arrow when it is beyond the shooting line.

Scoring and Match Procedures

  • 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points are awarded depending on how close arrow is to the center.
  • X, 10 is given for hits inside the inner 10 ring. Inner 10 ring breaks any ties.
  • Hits outside the scoring area get miss score. Bouncers or glances also score zero.
  • Final score is total of all arrow scores. Higher total wins the match.
  • In competitions, archers shoot qualification and elimination rounds to reach the finals.
  • Finals matches have sets system scoring up to 5 sets of 3 arrows. Archer with 4 set points wins.
  • If tied, shoot-off is done to break the tie by shooting a single arrow closest to center.

Advanced Archery Rules and Strategies

Here are some key archery rules and strategies used by advanced archers:

  • Follow shot process – Stance, Nock, Set, Draw, Anchor, Aim, Release. Execute this shot sequence consistently.
  • Develop proper and repetitive form – From bow hand, anchor point, release and follow through.
  • Control breathing – Breath in while drawing the bow, breath out while releasing for stability.
  • Aim for 10 ring – Visualize and focus on hitting the 10-ring every time.
  • Minimize equipment errors – Use properly spined arrows, tuned bow, no damaged fletching etc.
  • Consider environmental factors – Wind, rain, sun glare etc impact the arrow trajectory. Account for these.
  • Analyze groupings – Study grouping of arrows on target to fine tune form and aim.
  • Strive for consistency – Work on getting consistency in your shots through proper technique and mindset.

10 Interesting Facts About Archery Rules

Archery has a rich history dating back thousands of years. While archery rules have evolved over time, many fundamentals remain the same. Here are 10 fascinating facts about the rules and regulations of archery competitions:

1. Standardized Rules

  • The World Archery Federation (WA) is the international governing body that has established standardized rules for archery.
  • WA rules help create consistency and fairness across local, regional and world championships.

2. Bow Classification

  • Archery rules classify bows into recurve, compound or traditional longbows.
  • Specific parameters like draw weight, sight pins, stabilizers etc. differ for each bow type.

3. Arrow Regulations

  • Only 12 arrows are allowed per archer in a tournament. Extra arrows will lead to disqualification.
  • Arrows need to be identical in material, weight and fletching for fair play.
  • Broken or damaged arrows can be replaced only after approval by judges.

4. Shooting Lines

  • Archers take turns shooting from the shooting line towards targets at fixed distances.
  • Other archers must wait behind a 3-meter waiting line for their turn.
  • This rule ensures safety and orderly conduct during competitions.

5. Scoring Zones

  • Target faces have 10 concentric scoring zones from the inner 10-ring to outer 1-ring.
  • Arrows closer to center score higher points of 10 to 1. Inner 10-ring scores X, 10.
  • Total score over all ends determines ranking and winners.

6. Shooting Ends

  • Arrows are shot in groups called ends. Common ends are 3 or 6 arrow ends.
  • A time limit of 2 minutes is allowed per 3 arrow end.
  • A whistle signals the start and end of each shooting end.

7. Qualification Rounds

  • Archers shoot a qualification round to determine seeding for elimination and finals.
  • 72 arrow round at 70m for recurve and compound archers.
  • This follows a set sequence of 36 arrows each at 70m, 60m, 50m and 30m.

8. Match Format

  • Head to head matches follow a sets system scoring format.
  • Each match has up to 5 sets of 3 arrow ends per set.
  • First to 6 set points wins the match. A tie is broken by a single arrow shoot-off.

9. Equipment Rules

  • Equipment like bowsights, stabilizers, arrows, tabs and quivers need to comply with WA standards.
  • Release aids are permitted only for compound archers. Traditional recurve archers use fingers.
  • Electronic communications devices, laser sights, are prohibited on the field.

10. Etiquette and Safety

  • Archers must exhibit proper conduct and etiquette on the range.
  • Rules are in place for safety like avoiding distractions, not drawing bow without arrow.
  • Judges can penalize or disqualify archers for unsafe behavior.

In conclusion, archery rules have evolved over centuries to make the sport fair, consistent and enjoyable for new and experienced archers alike. The rules cover all aspects from equipment to scoring procedures and etiquette


In conclusion, archery requires mastery of both physical skills and mental abilities. Knowing the standard rules and regulations levels the playing field for all participants. Developing good form, focus, precision, consistency and technical skills is key to becoming a successful archer. With regular practice of correct technique and concentration, one can gain proficiency in this exciting sport of archery whether shooting for recreation or competition.

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