Different Types of Archery Competition

Different Types of Archery Competition Your Way to Success

With a sport or skill that has been around for thousands of years, nearly every country in the world has its own type of “archery” or use of bow and arrow to shoot a target.

I have been practicing Archery since I was very little, and my knowledge of this world has also vastly increased over time. Did you know that during competitions, archers typically engrave their initials on their arrows?

That being said, I have also participated in many local and annual archery competitions, and from that, I can tell you there are many different types of archery competition that I don’t have much knowledge about.

But the ones I do, I have shared my thoughts and knowledge about them below.

Types of Archery Competitions

Some of the competitions below don’t have a reward, while most do have varied archery competition prize money for the winner. Also, most of them are outdoor Archery.

Target Archery

Target archery is the basic Archery that everyone knows it by. Most archery competitions near me are just a variation of target archery. It uses a simple bow and arrow to typically shoot at the target face.

The target range for an outdoor competition can go as high as 230 feet or 70 meters. And for indoor competition, the range can be up to 60 feet or 18 meters. Archers can use any type of bow for the competition. Traditional archery competitions mostly use target archery style of shooting.

Types of Archery Competition

Olympic Archery

Archery has been a part of the Olympics since the summer Olympics held in 1900. And ever since, one of the archery competition rules is to use no other type of bow except a recurve bow.

Apart from that, the archers are allowed to use extra bow accessories and devices such as clickers, sights, and stabilizers.

Its typical target range is 70 meters or 230 feet, the same as target archery. It is because the Olympics archery style is target archery. Yes, the simple target shooting competition took a new name and level of competition, that is, the Olympics.

Through multiple rounds and hundreds of shots, two teams of archers representing two different countries will, at last, compete to win the gold medal.

Field Archery

Field archery is a very common archery style and uses mainly recurve bows and compound bows.

As the name implies, it typically takes place in a wide field or sometimes a forest. The target faces are spread in different areas throughout the archery field. This makes field archery a bit more complex as the archery competition distance varies from target to target.

Moreover, the distance is also not stated, so the archers have to estimate and aim. As a result, it takes more skill as an archer to do this type of Archery.

There are both team events and individual field archery competitions. For team events they typically consist of three members, and they each have to use a different type of bow: compound, recurve, and barebow.

3D Archery

3D Archery is like Archery for hunting without targeting real animals. The targets for this type of Archery are 3D models of animals like deer, boars, etc. these targets are scattered around like field archery, except it takes place in really cold or harsh winter.

The reason is that 3D Archery is supposed to stimulate the archers of a true hunting experience.

In 3D archery competitions, the targets or the 3D animal models have marks on them. These marks represent the areas hunters shoot to bring down the real animal, which here is the 3D model.

Bringing down each animal has a different score, and the scores are decided by the person hosting the competition.

Types of Archery Competition

Flight Archery

In-flight Archery, you have to shoot the arrow high up for it to travel the furthest distance possible. And in competitions, archers determine whose arrow traveled the furthest distance to win.

Archers basically use the same form of Archery, standing up and just shoot the bow at an angle high up. But there is a different style used by many, which involves you sitting on the ground and using a foot bow.

For this, you have to sit on the ground, use your feet to hold the foot bow as you use both your hands to draw and shoot the arrow high up.

Clout Archery

Clout archery is another way of competitive bow shooting that uses distance rather than a specific target face; however, the goal isn’t reaching the most distance.

It is kind of similar to golf. A flag will be placed a few meters away from the archers, and they will shoot the arrow flight archery style to see whose arrow lands the closest to the flag.

Because of this, clout archery requires a lot of ground space to play, suitably a large open field. The closer your arrow lands next to the flag, the more points you will get.

Ski Archery

Ski archery goes back to the 16th century where it was first done in Norway. However, even though its origin is very old, it was recognized as a type of Archery not until the late 1900s, specifically in the year 1991.

It is a mixture of skiing and field archery. The archers ski to their targets, carrying their bow and arrow strapped to their back and shoot. These targets are typically 18 meters away from them, and the entire ski course is around 5 to 7 miles long.

There are no points given if you hit the target, but if you miss, you get a penalty for skiing 350 meters. The archer who finishes the entire ski course first is the winner.

Run Archery

Run Archery is basically the same as ski archery, except it takes place on an open field or a forest where there is enough room to run.

The targets are set at different areas of the course, and the archer carrying their bow and arrow runs to hit as many targets they come across before reaching the finish line.

And just like ski archery, there is a penalty loop if you miss the target and the archer who finishes the course first wins.


Bowhunting or bow hunting dates back thousands of years, and many indigenous people still use it as a means of hunting animals. Basically, it is the hunting of animals by the use of Archery.

Hunters or archers bow hunting can use any type of bow, but most commonly now they use compound bows. It is also the only few archery types with moving targets, but you can play archery competition fable if you don’t want to kill animals.

Types of Archery Competition


If you understood what bow hunting is, then you can already tell what bow fishing is. It is the practice of fishing by Archery.

Archers tie their bow fishing arrow end to their bowstring using a string before fishing. After locating and targeting the fish, they shoot and pull back the shot arrow using the string. If they hit successfully, they got a fish. They usually target shooting the fish in the head.

You can use any type of bow. Archer’s bow fishing typically uses a compound or recurve bow. Some even use a barebow.

Crossbow Archery

It is still in debate whether crossbow is a type of Archery due to the bow’s complex nature. The bow does use a bow and arrow to shoot, but it has gears that do a lot of the work, even drawing and holding the arrow in place.

So all you have to do is hold the crossbow towards the target, aim and release the arrow from the mechanism. As a result, some people call it “the machine rifle of archery,” and it is clear why. It is mostly used for hunting purposes.

Indoor Archery

Indoor Archery takes place inside a building or enclosed space, with the target being at a short distance away. It uses target faces and follows the same discipline as target archery.

There are three targets together arranged vertically on top of the other and are placed at 18 meters distance from the archers. Compound, recurve, and barebow are the most common archery competition bows for this sport.

From 1991 to 2018, World Archery actually organized world championship competitions for indoor Archery, known as the World Archery Indoor Championships. Now there is Indoor Archery World Series held annually and is open to all kinds of archers.

Para Archery

Para archery is the type of Archery for people with visual and physical disabilities. It uses the same disciplines as target archery, and the archers are allowed to use assistive devices according to their needs, such as mouth tabs, wheelchairs, release aids, custom draws, etc.

Archers with such disabilities can compete in a compound and recurve bow tournament categories, but along with that, there is also a W1 category for archers that have a severe visual or physical impairment.

Moreover, using assistive devices, classified para archers can compete with archers of able-bodies in any target archery contest.

There is World Archery Para Championships held every two years by World Archery. The first of it was held in 1998 by International Paralympic Committee.

Mounted Archery

Mounted Archery is not a popular type of Archery as it requires a highly trained mount and also great archery skills. It is also called horseback archery, and you might have seen it in historical movies and shows where military men or Vikings shoot arrows while riding a horse; that is basically it.

So you can see as it is not very practical and you need to be highly trained in both Archery and horse riding to be fit to do this. And not to mention a trained horse.

Archers using this type of Archery mostly use a recurve bow.

Archery Tag

Archery tag is similar to playing tag, but with a bow and arrow; however, the arrow tips are covered with foam to prevent injuries.

The archers typically wear a helmet to protect themselves during events. This type of Archery is also called battle archery or combat archery.


Kyudo is the Japanese martial art of archery, and it translates to the “way of the bow.” It goes back to the pre-historical time in Japan and is now practiced worldwide by thousands of people.

In Kyudo, archers don’t use a typical recurve, compound, or barebow but a Yumi. Yumi means “bow” in Japanese, but since only Kyudo uses it and it originates from Japan, people call it the Japanese bow.

The way a Yumi is different from other bows is mainly its height. A Yumi is over two meters tall! It is also generally quite heavy, and with a draw weight of nearly 20 kilograms, so archers always wear a three-fingered glove.

All Kyudo archers also have a specific uniform that they have to wear when practicing.

Moreover, every kyudo archer needs to draw the bowstring with their right hand and hold the bow with their left.

During Kyudo archery tournaments, you are given four arrows each round. Every hit on the target is given a “maru” or circle mark, and misses are given a “batsu” or X mark on the scoreboard. It follows the target archery style, and hitting all four arrows on the target is the goal.

Final Words

Archery is truly a form of art, and no matter how much it changes from region to region or with time, it requires time and perseverance to learn. So I hope you enjoyed learning about all the different types of archery competitions, and they piqued your interest.

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