Target Archery

Target archery is the most popular form of archery, in which members shoot at stationary circular targets at varying distances.

All types of bow - longbow, barebow, recurve and compound - can be used. In Great Britain, Imperial rounds, measured in yards, are still used for a lot of tournaments and these have slightly different rules to FITA (metric) rounds, which are used internationally. Archers are divided into seniors and juniors, with juniors being those under the age of 18.


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Archery tournaments may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor rounds are normally shot at one distance, whereas outdoor tournaments normally consist of several distances. Since archery involves the use of equipment that is basically a weapon, much attention is paid to order and safety. All competitors must wait for the command to start shooting and are not allowed to collect arrows while other people are shooting. These rules apply to all forms of target archery. Other rules, or points of etiquette, include:

▪ The command Fast means stop shooting immediately and return the unshot arrow to the quiver. It is used when an unexpected situation arises on the Archery field.

▪ Do not distract another archer when they are shooting. If an archer is at full draw, wait before taking your place on the shooting line.

▪ If an archer damages another archer's arrows (or other equipment), they must offer to pay for any damages.

FITA Rounds

For FITA rounds, standard indoor distances are 18m and 25m. Outdoor distances range from 30m to 90m for senior archers, with juniors being able to shoot closer distances. In the Olympic Games, 70m is used.

Competition is divided into ends. An archer shoots either 3 or 6 arrows per end, depending on the type of round. After each end, the competitors walk to the target to score and retrieve their arrows. There are 20 ends of 3 arrows in a standard round of indoor competition (i.e. the FITA 18 or the FITA 25).

Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows. For indoor competition, under FITA rules this is 2 minutes for 3 arrows. Signaling devices such as lights and flags inform the archers when time is up.

Imperial Rounds

For Imperial rounds, the standard indoor distance is 20 yd), with 5 dozen arrows being shot in a round known as a Portsmouth round. Outdoor distances range from 40 yd to 100 yd, for seniors, and 10 yd to 80 yd for juniors.

The tournament is divided into ends. An archer shoots either 3 arrows per end (indoors) or 6 arrows per end (outdoors). After each end, the competitors walk to the target to score and retrieve their arrows.

At all record status tournaments, archers must adhere to the GNAS dress code, which consists of wearing dark green and white clothing, or 'club colours'. Club colours are those which are unique to a club and registered on the GNAS shooting colour register.

In a tournament, awards are normally split into categories according to sex and, for juniors, age. All registered GNAS archers also have an indoor and an outdoor classification, and classification awards may also be presented - this allows archers to only shoot against those of the same ability.