How to Learn Archery – A Complete Guide

Archery is unique from other sporting activities. Although it isn’t considered the most physically taxing sport, it is popular for being a social activity that all ages can enjoy.

Archery is a relaxing hobby in its own right, but it is mainly considered a competition sport, which adds to its appeal. However, while it may look easy, how to learn archery requires an attention to detail that makes it stand out against other sports.

As it is an especially strategic activity, the terminology and equipment can seem overwhelming for many beginners. The feeling of satisfaction when your bow shoots a perfectly precise shot is one that will be addictive for you, but in order to get there, you have to master the basics first.

Types of Archery

Learning archery is not a quick task, but it is a rewarding one, and you will soon feel immersed in the world of this fantastic sport.

The artistry that archery entails makes it the rare kind of physical activity that requires not only physical agility but also mental strength as well.

By wanting to participate in the art of archery, you are beginning on what will be an exciting journey and soon feel part of the shooting community.

This comprehensive guide is designed to help you reap all of the benefits that archery has to offer and hopefully lead you on your way to becoming a successful archer.In straight-forward terms, archery is defined as the activity of using a bow and arrow to shoot a target.

However, there are various divisions of archery which will require slightly different shooting methods, so it is a good idea to learn more about them before diving straight into practicing.

Here are three of the most popular types of archery that you’re likely to encounter:

Target Archery

Target Archery

Target archery is the classic idea of archery. It involves large round targets with colored rings and is most likely where you’ll start your archery journey as a beginner. The targets are set at certain distances on flat land, and you can practice this both indoors and outdoors. BTW, our favorite archery target is reviewed here.

Field Archery

A more challenging type of archery, field archery takes place outdoors, often in wooded areas or on rough terrain. Archers will be shooting uphill or downhill, with the targets ranging in size and distance.

Therefore, it requires more thought and focus than target archery. The added prospect of adverse weather also makes it more difficult than target archery that can be practiced indoors.

Flight Archery

Flight Archery

Flight shooting focuses on the distance rather than the accuracy of the shot. Competitors are grouped according to the pulling weight of their bows, with different types of bows such as conventional bows and crossbows used. The aim of flight shooting is to shoot the arrow as far as possible, making it a particularly competitive type of archery.

Bow and Arrow Basics

Before you get started, here are the basics you need to know about your equipment:

woman aiming bow and arrow at target


Generally, there are two main types of bow you will encounter, especially when you are starting out, and they are Recurve Bows and Compound Bows.

Bow Archery

Recurve Bows

These bows are suitable for target shooting and hunting, with a simplistic design. The limbs of a recurve bow curve away from the archer once unstrung, meaning they deliver a great deal of energy and speed to the arrow. This is also how recurve crossbows are designed. There are different varieties of recurve bow, some are solid pieces, whilst others have detachable limbs and can be taken down for storage, these are called takedown recurve bows.

Compound Bows

A more modern style of bow, the compound bow is designed to give precise accuracy. It uses a levering system to bend the limbs, meaning the limbs are stiffer than those of recurve bows. It can, therefore, store more energy than other bows, as there is less energy expended from limb movement.

Learn Archery Terminology

The Handle: Also known as the ‘riser,’ this is the part of the bow that you hold when you shoot. It also has an arrow rest, where you will place the arrows before you draw them.

Archery Terminology

The Limbs: Attached to the riser, the limbs form the bow itself, and the top limb is attached to the bottom limb by the bowstring.

The Bow String: This connects the top and bottom limb, and, once pulled, creates the tension that moves the arrow forward.

The Nock Point: This is part of the bowstring, and it is where you place the end of your arrow.

The Bow Sight: This allows you to aim at your target. Usually, bows are already equipped with sights attached to the riser, but you can upgrade them if you choose to.


The more you practice, the sooner you will understand all the parts of the arrow, and the sooner these terms will become familiar to you.

Arrows Archery

The Arrowhead: This is the tip of the arrow – the pointy end that digs into the target. There are various types of arrowheads, so make sure to consider the weight and shape of them, as it can affect your performance.

Fletching: These are the vanes on an arrow, and will either be made of feathers or plastic. As a general rule, one of the vanes will be a different color than the other two, and is known as the ‘index vane.’

The Shaft: This is what’s known as the length of the arrow, which is the part between the arrowhead and the fletching. The shaft should be compatible with the bow you are using and the type of archery you want to practice.

The Nock: This is the back end of the arrow that sits on the bowstring.

Hopefully, those key terms have given you the clarity to move forward and start shooting!