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Hobbies & Leisure

A historical background of this world-renowned sport

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Set your sights on a new sport.

Is your understanding of archery not quite on target? Then, youre missing out on a lot. This solo sport has been around for ages, and competitive archery remains a major event in the summer Olympics. Brush up on the basics with:

Illustrated anatomies of the bow, arrow, target, and playing field The rules, equipment, strategies, and techniques of competitive archery

What is Archery?
Archery, the art of using a bow to shoot arrows at a target, is one of the oldest precision sports still practiced today. Its origins date back to prehistoric times when the bow and arrow were used to hunt. Today, competitive archery is enjoyed in many different forms, including: Bowhunting: Hunting game animals Field archery: Shooting at targets in woodlands and rough terrain Target archery: Shooting at targets in a competitive arena Though bowhunting is by far the most popular form of archery in the United States, target archery is the only discipline featured in Olympic competition. This Quamut guide focuses on using the recurve bow for outdoor target archery and is intended as a guide for understanding the basics of archery competition.

Archery Equipment
The appropriate equipment is essential for success in outdoor target archery. Though equipment styles and brands may vary among archers, the fundamentals of the bow and arrow remain constant among all competitors.

Arrows are typically made from aluminum or carbon. Aluminum arrows tend to be heavier and are favored for indoor target archery competitions, whereas lightweight carbon is the material of choice for outdoor target archery, where shooting distances can reach up to 90 m. The length of arrows depends on the the individual archers draw lengththe distance from the riser to the archers anchor point, or the place where the string contacts the archers face. Though the material and length of arrows can vary from one archer to another, all arrows must possess the following elements for optimal flight:

History of Archery
The earliest records of archery can be traced back 15,000 years to the Aurignacians, who inhabited the area now known as Toulouse, France. In other parts of the world, ancient Egyptians and Asiatic tribes used the bow and arrow as far back as 5000 BCE. Though initially a hunting tool, the utility of the bow and arrow in battle was soon made apparent: a team of archers could easily lay waste to massive military formations. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Mongol leader Genghis Khan united disparate Mongolian tribes and conquered China by using short, explosively powerful Mongolian bows. Beginning in the 17th century, after the invention of the firearm, archery became a primarily recreational activity. In 1900, the sport was recognized as an official event in the modern Olympic Games. The event was featured only three more timesin the 1904, 1908, and 1920 gamesbut was eliminated from the program in 1920. International archery rules had not yet been developed, and each country used its own competition format, causing much confusion among teams. In 1931, the international governing body of archery, Federation Internationale de Tir a lArc (FITA), was founded by seven countries to establish standardized rules for archery competition. In 1972, the sport was reintroduced into the Olympic program using FITA-approved rules.





Nock: A U-shaped attachment at the end of the arrow, the nock fits the arrow onto the bowstring and holds it in place. Fletching: These feathers or vanes are attached to the end of the arrow. Usually made from plastic, the three vanes cause the arrow to spin, keeping it more stable and on course as it flies toward the target. Shaft: This is the long, middle section of the arrow to which the nock, fletching, and pile attach. The shaft can be made of aluminum or carbon, with carbon being the standard type used in outdoor target shooting. Pile: This is the bullet-shaped tip of the arrow that penetrates the target. Also known as the tip or point, the pile is normally weighted to give the arrow the right amount of bend and speed once its released.

Object of Archery
The object of archery is more complex than just shooting at a target. In fact, the best archers do not focus on aim but on repetition. If correct technique is used, the archer will control every movement in the shooting sequence perfectly, from nocking the arrow (placing the arrow on the string) to releasing the shot, and then be able to repeat those exact movements in every shot. The result will be arrows that land in the same area of the target. This is known as a group. Once an archer has mastered grouping his arrows consistently at a given distance, he can easily adjust the sightthe device that allows him to visually pinpoint his targetso that the arrows group in the center of the target.



bow string riser


reverse view

clicker grip




Recurve Bow
The most widely recognized modern bow is the recurve bow, or recurve, which is the only type of bow that is allowed in Olympic competition. A recurve bow is characterized by its curved limbs. The tips of the limbs point toward the target when the bow is unstrung. When the string is pulled back, pressure is evenly distributed to both of the limbs, which curve from the force. Recurves can have draw weightsthe force required to pull the bowstring back to full drawthat are in excess of 40 pounds. The heavier the bow, the easier it becomes for archers to reach further distances, as the arrows can cut through the air at higher speeds and with less wind interference. To accommodate the strain a shots force has on the bow itself, the recurve employs several different components that maximize stability and increase accuracy: Riser: The middle section of the bow. It holds and supports all other equipment. The riser is essentially the bows foundation, on which the limbs, sight, clicker, and stabilizer attach.

Limbs: Curved sections from the tips to the riser. Limbs are the powerhouse of the bow, bending with each draw and holding large amounts of draw weight or resistance. The length and draw weight of limbs vary depending on the archers size and strength. Stabilizer: The weighted rod that attaches to the riser to reduce the vibration of the bow when a shot is released. Maximum stability is key so that the archer can mimic each shot as accurately as possible. V-bar: The V-shaped rod that counterbalances the stabilizer, sight, and any other frontal weights. The V-bar gives the bow extra stability with each shot. Sight: An adjustable device that contains a circle and pinor sometimes crosshairs to help the archer aim. Bowstring: A single cord made up of several Kevlar or Dacron strings, which are very strong fibers. Clicker: A spring-loaded or magnetized lever attached to the riser that indicates to archers when the optimal draw length has been reached. Once the tip of an arrow passes the pin, the archer hears a click and immediately releases the shot.

The information contained in this and every Quamut guide is intended only for the general interest of its readers and should not be used as a basis for making medical, investment, legal or other important decisions. Though Quamut makes efforts to create accurate guides, editorial and research mistakes can occur. Quamut cannot, therefore, guarantee the accuracy of its guides. We disclaim all warranties, including warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, and must advise you to use our guides at your own risk. Quamut and its employees are not liable for loss of any nature resulting from the use of or reliance upon our charts and the information found therein.
Copyright 2008 Quamut All rights reserved. Quamut is a registered trademark of Barnes & Noble, Inc. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States Writer: In-Young Chang

Photo Credits: Page 1: AA World Travel Library/Alamy; Page 3: Emily Heller/Quamut (all photos). Illustrations by Precision Graphics.

Additional Equipment
At the very least, archers need a bow and arrow to shoot, but thats not enough to shoot safely and accurately. The following are some additional equipment that archers of any level will require: Finger tab: This piece of leather or other durable synthetic material protects the string fingersthe three fingers that hold the stringas they release the bowstring.

Archery targets, also known as target faces, consist of 10 10 points 9 points concentric circles with colors that distinguish points valued 8 points 7 points 110. For example, white indi6 points cates a score of 1 or 2, black 5 points indicates 3 or 4, blue indicates 4 points 3 points 5 or 6, and so on. The score 2 points 1 point that a shot earns depends on where the arrow lands on the target. Scores range from an X, for an arrow in the inner 10-ring, to 1, for an arrow in the outermost circle. Arrows that miss the scoring rings on the target receive a score of 0.

Target Faces
finger tab
Finger sling: This string or sling rests the bow in the archers hand. Proper technique calls for the archer not to grip the bow but to apply pressure to the handle. Since the archer never really holds the bow, the finger sling holds the bow for the archer while also assisting in the shots follow-through and accuracy, as it catches the bow after the archer releases the arrow. In outdoor FITA competitions, two targets of differing sizes are used. For the two longest distances (90 m and 70 m for men; 70 m and 60 m for women), a target face with a diameter of 122 cm is used. At the two shorter distances of 50 m and 30 m, which are the same for both men and women, an 80 cm face is used. In Olympic competition, both men and women shoot at the 122 cm target face at 70 m.

Archery Competition Formats

FITA recognizes several disciplines of archery, each of which requires different distances, rules, and equipment. This section explains two forms of outdoor competition: FITA competition: The outdoor target archery format thats named after the organization and used in most international tournaments. Olympic competition: The FITA-approved competition held during the Olympic Games. Outdoor target archery in any competition is shot on a flat, open field. Lines are clearly demarcated to indicate distances, the shooting line, and the waiting line, also known as the 1 m line. Archers stay at the waiting line until an official gives the signal to approach the shooting line. On the officials next signal, archers are allowed to nock their arrows and prepare to shoot. On the final signal, archers may release their shots.

finger sling

Chest guard: This nylon or mesh strap is worn around the bow-arm side of the chest. A chest guard keeps loose clothing from getting caught in the bowstring and protects the archers chest against the strings release force.

1 m shooting line

30 m

50 m

60 m

70 m

90 m

chest guard
Arm guard: Made from leather or plastic, this protective guard is worn on the inside of the bow arm. An arm guard keeps the bowstring from coming into contact with the forearm when the bow string is released.

110 m

FITA Competition
In FITA competitions, or FITAs, a total of 144 arrows are shot at 4 distances.

FITA Individual Competition

Individual competition in FITAs is broken down into two stages:

arm guard

The qualification round The elimination round

Quiver: A modern quiver, which can hold 2530 arrows, hangs from the archers belt and normally has additional pockets for equipment that the archer may need while shooting.

FITA Qualification Round

FITA tournaments begin with a qualification round, in which archers shoot 36 arrows at four different distances. Men shoot at targets that are 90 m, 70 m, 50 m, and 30 m away, and women shoot at targets that are 70 m, 60 m, 50 m, and 30 m away. At the two furthest distances (90 m and 70 m for men, 70 m and 60 m for women), archers shoot 6 ends, or rounds, of 6 arrows within 4 minutes. At 50 m and 30 m, both male and female archers shoot 12 ends of 3 arrows within 2 minutes.

FITA Elimination Round

After the full FITA is completed, scores are tallied up, and the top 64 men and top 64 women in each division advance to the elimination round. Archers are ranked by their FITA score and seeded for the single-elimination bracket. The elimination round is a single-elimination, match-play style of competition in which the top-ranked archer is matched up against the lowest-ranked archer (1st vs. 64th, 2nd vs. 63rd, and so on). The only distance used in the elimination round is 70 m for both men and

women. Archers shoot 2 ends of 6 arrows each for a total of 12 arrows. Competing archers shoot on the same target at the same time. The archer with the higher total score advances to the next round. In the quarterfinals, the eight winning archers shoot 4 ends of 3 arrows for a total of 12 arrows. Losers of the quarterfinals are eliminated, and winners advance to the semifinals. The losers of the semifinals are matched up together to shoot in the bronze medal match, while the two most winning archers shoot for the gold medal. The loser of the gold-medal match is awarded the silver medal.

Olympic Qualification Round
Male and female athletes begin their Olympic competition with a 72-arrow qualification round, all shot at 70 m. Olympic participants are limited to 64 men and 64 women, all of whom represent countries that qualified at FITA World Championships and other Olympicqualifying events. They shoot 6 arrows per end within a 4-minute time limit for 12 ends (for a total of 72 arrows).

Olympic Individual Elimination

After the qualification round is complete, archers are seeded according to their rankings for the individual elimination competition. The top-ranked archer shoots against the lowestranked archer (1st vs. 64th, 2nd vs. 63rd, and so on) during the head-to-head match play at 70 m. Archers shoot 4 ends of 3 arrows, for a total of 12 arrows per elimination match. The highest scoring archers continue through the elimination bracket until the last two undefeated archers are matched up for the gold medal match. Those who lose in the semifinals are paired to shoot for the bronze medal match.

FITA Team Round

The team round is shot at 70 m for both men and women and consists of 3 archers to a team. Teams are seeded based on the sum of the archers scores in the FITA qualification round. Similar to the individual elimination format, the top-ranked team is matched up against the lowest-ranked team (1st vs. 16th, 2nd vs. 15th, and so on). Each archer shoots 2 arrows per end for a total of 6 arrows within a time limit of 2 minutes. Archers may shoot their arrows in any order, but only one archer may be on the line at a time. The remaining two archers must stay behind the waiting line. During the finals, teams shoot alternately in a 24-arrow match. The first team shoots 3 arrows within a one-minute time limit, with each archer on the three-person team shooting only 1 arrow per rotation. After the first team shoots its end, the second team follows the same shooting format. The winner of the match is determined after 4 ends of 6 arrows (24 arrows total) have been shot. As with the individual elimination, all losers of the matches are eliminated except for those competing in the semifinals. Those teams who lost in the semifinals compete for the bronze medal, while the remaining two undefeated teams compete for the gold medal. The losers of the gold-medal match are awarded the silver medal.

Olympic Team Round

The Olympic team round consists of teams of three archers each, all of the same gender and from the same country. Each team competes against another team in a head-to-head match play style of competition. Teams are ranked according to the sum of the three archers individual qualification round scores and are then seeded against another team (1st vs. 16th, 2nd vs. 15th, and so on). The team shoots 6 arrows per end within a 2-minute time limit, with each archer shooting no more than 2 arrows apiece. Teams shoot 4 ends of 6 arrows for a total of 24 arrows per match. Unlike the individual rounds, where archers are called to the shooting line and are then signaled that their allotted shooting time has begun, all archers in the team round must remain behind the 1 m line. Only when the 2-minute time limit for the round has commenced can the archers step beyond the waiting line and approach the shooting line to shoot their arrows. Only one archer at a time is permitted beyond the 1 m line. In all matches leading up to the finals, archers may shoot their arrows in any sequence. In the finals, however, each team shoots 3 arrows at a time, and then alternates with the opposing team. The team with the highest score continues through the brackets, while the loser is eliminated. The last two undefeated teams compete in the final gold medal-match, while the losers of the semifinal matches compete for the bronze medal.

Olympic Competition
Rules for Olympic competition are derived from FITA rules but tailored specifically for the Olympic Games.

Olympic Individual Competition

In the Olympics, individual competition is broken into two stages: The qualification round (which is similar to that held in a FITA) The elimination round