What Style of Archery is Best for You?

What Style of Archery is Best for You?

Are you interested in archery but don’t know where to start? Things can be quite intimidating for a beginner archer because there are lots of styles, terms, and phrases that you will probably hear for the first time as you grab your first bow and arrow. So, what style of archery is best for you?

Archery is for everyone because it can be a liberating personalized experience. Kids, teens, adults, and elders, regardless of their fitness level, can learn how to shoot the arrow accurately with continuous practice.

In this article, you’ll find all the needed information about the various styles that you can experiment with until you find your favorite archery discipline This way, you’ll be able to master archery while creating a style that suits you.

What are the Different Styles of Archery?

Archery is an ancient practice that people used in war and peace times. Today, it’s one of the most popular sports that you can practice. Here are the top styles that you can experiment with if you’re interested in archery.

Field Archery

This is a common archery style where an archer shoots targets on a multi-target course that measures around 50 yards. The course is set on various terrains like woods, fields, and forests to give the archers an immersive experience as they use the bow and arrow. The land should have up, down, and cross slopes to test the archer’s ability.

Recurve bows, compound bows, and barebows can be used in field archery. The fieldcraft is related to how the targets are set at unmarked distances with different levels of light, dark, and shadow.

In field archery, the archers usually shoot at targets that feature 4 black circles and 2 yellow circles in the middle. The score is calculated based on the ring the archer hits, starting from 6 points for the most inner one until it reaches 1 point for the most outer one. Archers compete individually or in teams.

Target Archery

This is one of the most popular archery styles and is practiced in more than 150 countries. Archers can shoot at indoor or outdoor targets that are set up to 90 meters. The targets have 10 rings each and are made up of 5 different colors.

Recurve and compound bows are used in target archery. In the Olympics, recurve bows are allowed while compound bows are used in the World Games. Both types of bows are used in the Paralympic Games.

Recurve bow archers aim at targets set 70 meters away in the outdoor competitions, while compound bow archers aim at targets set 50 meters away. The target size is smaller in the case of a compound bow, and there are 6 rings in three different colors. In indoor competitions, recurve and compound bow archers shoot at targets that are set 18 meters away.

Archers can compete individually or in teams. In individual competitions, archers are divided according to gender and bow style.

In group competitions, archers can form teams and mixed teams. Teams are made up of three archers who use the same bow style. Mixed teams are made up of two archers who shoot the same bow style but are of different genders.

Traditional Archery

This style will pop up in your head when you think of the word “archery.” Traditional archery is the use of the bow and arrow to shoot at different targets. People who practice traditional archery are hardcore archers that think of this practice as a way of life, and not just a sport or a hobby.

Different types of bows are used, but the main two types are recurve bows and longbows. Recurve bows are designed to deliver more speed.

It’s an excellent practice, especially for a beginner, because you can start experimenting with it regardless of the bow style or material. Longbows are either American longbows or English longbows.

Other types of bows include the composite bow, Mongol bow, self-bow, and takedown bow. People have been practicing traditional archery as a sport for centuries, and some archers still prefer to make their own bows. Archers usually group in closed communities that you can join if you want to become one.


Although the tools used today are quite different from those used by our ancestors, bowhunting remains one of the most rewarding ways to hunt game animals. Archeologists found tools including bows and arrows that were used thousands of years ago, where bowhunting was one of the ways humans secured food for themselves, their families, and their tribes.

In the 1920s, the sport became quite popular in the US when a tribesman shared his knowledge of bowhunting with an American man, Saxton Pope, who wrote a book about it with his associate’s help.

Bowhunting has several principles that include challenge, practice, discipline, primitive, skill, patience, perseverance, outdoorsmanship, and craftsmanship. Recurve bows, recurve bows, and longbows are used in bowhunting.

Judging distance is one of the most critical aspects of bowhunting and can be determined based on your bow, arrow, and physical strength. Archers should position the arrow in the bow, draw the bow while anchoring it, and then release it while maintaining position.


This is a thrilling skill that combines the perks of fishing with bowhunting. In some way, it can be considered as a unique type of bowhunting where you catch fish, and no other game animals.

It’s a versatile practice as you can fish in shallow or deep waters, in the day or at night. You can use a longbow, recurve bow, or compound bow. You also need a reel and an arrow with a unique arrowhead.

The arrows used don’t have fletchings because they’re not designed to travel as far. The arrowheads should be barbed or have a spring system to penetrate through the scales of the fish and stay in place.

The reel is attached to the bow, and the fishing line is usually piled within a bottle. Some reels have a float that allows you to track the fish after it has been shot.

3D Archery

3D archery is all about creating a real-life simulation for archers who shoot at 3D models of game animals. The course is very much like a hiking trail with different terrains and obstacles to make it more appealing to archers of all levels. Different types of bows can be used.

This is an excellent archery style that you can practice with a group of fellow archers. It’s also a crucial practice for avid hunters who can shoot at small and big fake animal targets that are set in a way that would mimic every possible scenario an archer would encounter in real life.

Mounted Archery

This is where the archer carries a bow and shoots an arrow while being mounted on the back of a horse or any other riding animal. Often called horse archery, statues and other ancient artifacts show how archers who went on the back of their horses in times of peace and war used their arrows to shoot their targets accurately.

It’s a challenging sport because the archer will be moving at high speed. However, it’s quite appealing, especially to adrenaline lovers. Recurve bows are used because they’re compact enough, while compound bows can be accidentally shot, and can harm your horse.

Clout Archery

This is a fun yet challenging type of archery where the archers shoot at targets that have been laid flat on the ground. As a result, it may appear like the sky is raining arrows. However, it’s quite safe because all archers are shooting in the same direction, and it’s unlikely that there will be anyone standing next to a target.

There should be a significant overshoot space to avoid damaging any nearby property. Clout archers shoot from a long distance and can use recurve or compound bows.

Flight Archery

In this type of archery, the archers aim to shoot for the longest distance without any weight to accuracy. Archers can use heavy draw bows or foot bows. The arrows must be as light as possible to make sure that they will travel for the longest distance.

Olympics Archery

In the Summer Olympics, archers use recurve bows to shoot at targets placed about 70 meters away. The targets are made of 10 rings separated into 5 colors and are 122 cm in diameter.

The inner color is yellow or gold and scores 10 or 9 points. Archers shoot 72 arrows, and the total score is used to rank athletes from 1 to 64.

The matches are based on the set system, where every set is made up of three arrows. When an archer scores highest using all three sets, he receives two set points. The first archer to score 6 set points is the winner.

In team competitions, the team should be from the same country and of the same gender. There will be 3 archers in each team, and the sets are made up of 6 arrows. The first team to score 5 set points is the winner.

Ski Archery

This sport originated a few centuries ago and became a recognized discipline in the 1990s. Ski archery is a winter sport where the archers ski on a course that runs for 12 kilometers for men and 8 kilometers for women while carrying their recurve bows and arrows in a backpack. Archers shoot from a kneeling position at targets that are placed 18 meters away.

Run Archery

This is a discipline that combines running with shooting arrows. Archers run while aiming at targets that are placed 20 meters away. Each archer has to use three arrows, and it doesn’t matter where the target is hit. If an archer misses a target, he will have to run a penalty loop.

The archer should carry the bow at all times, but the arrows can be in a back quiver or left at the shooting range. All types of bows are allowed, except for the compound bow.


This is an integral part of the Paralympic Games, where archers with various physical impairments can shoot their arrows using assistive devices. It’s quite popular at national, continental, and world levels ever since its introduction in the Paralympic Games in 1960.

Para-archery is divided into open, W1, and visually impaired categories, but the visually impaired category isn’t currently available in the Paralympic games. Archers can use recurve or compound bows.

Kyudo Archery

This is the Japanese martial art of archery, and the word Kyudo in Japanese means “the way of the bow.” It’s one of the oldest martial arts in Japan and has been quite popular in war, hunting, games, and court ceremonies.

Traditionally, Kyudo was a ritualistic practice as it combines principles from Zen Buddhism and Shinto faith. Until now, you must follow the rituals of the ancient tradition, so it’s a continuous learning process.

Archers use the Yumi bow, which is exceptionally tall and is usually made of bamboo, wood, and leather. Some archers prefer to use bows that are made of laminated wood because they’re more durable. They also wear a glove on the right hand.

Popinjay Archery

In this discipline, archers shoot at vertical rather horizontal targets, and as a result, it’s also known as pole archery. It’s an ancient sport in Scotland and is popular in different parts of Europe, including Belgium and Germany.

Archers use flat tipped arrows to shoot at artificial targets, which are also called “birds.” In Canada and the USA, there are popinjay clubs where archers shoot at horizontal targets, but these are less common. Archers usually use the recurve bow.

Wrap Up

With all these disciplines, you definitely now believe that archery can be for everyone. Regardless of your preferences or style, you can always find the right discipline that fits your character.

All types of archery focus on discipline and patience, as you can’t become a seasoned archer overnight. However, with the right training and guidance from a certified instructor, you can definitely sense the improvement as you become more attached to your bow and arrows.

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