It is generally believed that the bow an arrow was invented to be used in game hunting. However, the effectiveness of the weapon soon elevated it to a tool of warfare. The English used highly trained long bowmen to defeat the French during the Hundred Years war. This victory led to the elevation of archery to a position of respect in the British army. Young boys were trained with small bows from a very young age in order to develop the needed prowess to use the difficult bows in combat. This need for skilled archers led to the invention of the archery competition. These competitions, first held in the sixteenth century, were originally intended to encourage the young boys to become skillful with a bow and arrow.
The tradition of the archery competition lives on. It is a popular sport around the globe. The most common type of archery competition is called “Target Archery.” In a Target Archery competition, participants stand at a predetermined distance from targets. The competition is judged by each archer’s accuracy in hitting the targets. Archery is such a respected event, that it has been an Olympic Sport since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the Olympics, archers compete both individually and in teams to win the coveted Olympic medals.
There are a wide variety of archery competitions – some indoor, some outdoor. Usually, indoor competitors shoot targets from eighteen to twenty five meters. Outdoor competitions may shoot arrows from as far as ninety meters away. Most commonly though, targets are shot at from several different distances and the standard in the Olympics is seventy meters.
The officials presiding over the competition give the archers the command to shoot. The archers then have a predetermined amount of time in which to fire arrows at the targets. This firing time is called an “end,” and each end can consist of as little as three or as many as six arrows fired at the targets. When the time for the end has finished, lights and officials will announce that it is now time for archers to “score and retrieve.” During this phase of the competition, archers approach their targets to score the accuracy of their hits and retrieve all arrows fired. Competitions are very regimented and participants are required to strictly follow all rules and announcements in order to ensure safety.
Targets feature a series of ten colored rings, each with an individual point value from one point to ten points. In the scoring phase, archers evaluate their accuracy and score by their ability to direct their arrows successfully into these rings. To prevent cheating, archers usually share a target with a competitor. Each archer will record their own score, and the score of the other archer sharing their target. This ensures that confusion, cheating, or mistakes will not alter the scoring of the archery competition. Holes created in the targets are also marked to ensure proper record keeping. In addition, there is a strict rule prohibiting any arrows being removed during the scoring phase of the archery competition. Any removal of arrows prior to the retrieval phase will result in immediate disqualification for the archer.
Although target competitions are the most common, there are also many other popular varieties of archery competitions; including field archery, flight archery, and clout archery. No matter what type of competition you enter, expect to have an enjoyable and challenging experience. The archery competition has a long tradition, and this sport is only growing more popular.