What is Archery: Complete Guide

Did you know that archery has remained a popular sport since the beginning of the Olympics? Derived from the Latin word “arcus”, meaning bow and arrows, the sport remains one of the oldest forms of sport.

Many budding archers today continue to question what is archery and learn the basics of the game. To learn everything there is to know about archery, check out the rest of our guide! From field archery to 3D archery, we’ve got you covered.

What is Archery?

Man and women practicing archery outdoor

The answer to the question, “what is archery” can be best explained as a sport or skill that involves shooting arrows with a bow at a target. While it was used primarily for hunting and warfare in the past, it’s mainly practiced as a recreational or competitive sport today. 

Archers use specialized equipment such as bows, arrows, and a quiver to hold the arrows. The goal is to hit a target, usually made of a circular board with concentric rings, with as much accuracy as possible.  

One of the most important things to remember when learning about what is archery is to understand that to ace the game, you not only need focus, skill, and physical strength but mental discipline and precision as well.

Archery can be practiced indoors or outdoors, and there are many different styles and techniques of archery.

Archery Rules and Regulations

Archery target in outdoor

Archery is a sport played indoors and outdoors and it has a few basic rules. These vary depending on where archery is being practiced. Enthusiasts must understand and follow these rules, which include: 

  • Safety first: Safety is the most crucial aspect to be aware of when figuring out what is archery. Always follow the archery safety guidelines and rules and use proper equipment.
  • Range rules: Each archery range has its own rules, and it is important to follow them. Some of the standard archery range rules include not walking past the shooting line, not touching another person’s equipment, and waiting until everyone has finished shooting before retrieving arrows.
  • Shooting techniques: There are several shooting techniques used in archery, such as the Mediterranean, Mongolian, or Korean styles. Regardless of the style, an essential aspect of learning what is archery is that archers should always stand perpendicular to the target. Keep your elbow straight, draw the bowstring back to the anchor point, and release the arrow smoothly.
  • Scoring: In target archery, the target is usually divided into several concentric circles, each with a different point value. Hitting the center of the target, known as the bullseye, earns the highest number of points.
  • Equipment rules: Learning to properly use the equipment is an essential aspect of learning what is archery. Archers must use equipment that meets the regulations set by the governing body of the competition or event they participate in. This includes bow, arrow, quiver, and other accessories.
  • Respect: Archery is a sport that requires respect for oneself, others, and the equipment. Archers should never shoot unsafely, disrespect the range or others, or damage the equipment.

The rules mentioned above are just some general rules of archery. However, more specific restrictions may apply depending on the type of archery being practiced.

As a beginner, you should learn the rules and regulations of the particular type of archery you are interested in and always practice safety and respect.

Important Archery Terms

aim at the bow

Whether you are practicing archery for hunting or as a recreational or competitive sport, part of learning what is archery includes understanding these basic terminologies and jargon. 

These include:

  • Quiver: A container used to hold the arrows.
  • Arrow nock: The slot at the end of the arrow where the bowstring is placed.
  • Bowstring: The string that connects the two ends of the bow and is used to launch the arrow.
  • Draw length: The distance from the bow grip to the nocking point when the bowstring is at full draw.
  • Anchor point: The point on the archer’s face where the bowstring is held before release.
  • Sight: A device used to aim the bow at the target.
  • Release: The act of letting go of the bowstring to launch the arrow.
  • Bullseye: The center of the target and the highest scoring area.
  • End: A set number of arrows shot before retrieving them from the target.
  • Fletching: The feather or plastic vanes on an arrow that stabilize the arrow in flight.
  • Arm guard: A protective device worn on the forearm to prevent the bowstring from hitting the arm.
  • Tab: A protective device worn on the fingers to prevent the bowstring from causing blisters or pain.
  • Compound bow: A modern type of bow that uses pulleys or cams to reduce the force required to hold the bowstring at full draw.

These are just some of the many terms used by experienced archers. As you continue to practice and learn more about what is archery, you will become familiar with additional terminology and jargon.


Despite being a low-intensity sport, archery is a game that requires both passion and patience. It is one of the few sports that can be enjoyed by both the young and the old. 

In this article, we aim to help you understand the basics of what is archery and provide a complete guide to help you get started with archery practice. However, like with all sports, it is essential to tread with caution and remember to practice safety first.

Good luck!

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

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