The Rules of Archery: A Comprehensive Guide

Archery, a sport that dates back thousands of years, is governed by a set of rules that ensure fair competition and safety for all participants. Whether you’re a budding archer or an experienced competitor, understanding the rules of archery is essential.

This guide will walk you through the key rules of the sport, from equipment regulations to scoring methods.

Equipment Regulations

Archery equipment must meet certain standards to be used in official competitions:

  • Bow: The bow must not have any device that aids in aiming, such as a scope.
  • Arrows: Arrows must be marked with the archer’s name or initials. The maximum diameter of the arrow shaft should not exceed 9.3mm.
  • Safety Equipment: Archers must use an arm guard and a finger protector.

For detailed equipment regulations, you can refer to the World Archery Rulebook.

Shooting Rules

The shooting process in archery is governed by a set of rules:

  • Shooting Line: Archers must shoot their arrows from a designated shooting line.
  • Order of Shooting: The order of shooting is determined by the competition format.
  • Time Limit: Archers are given a certain amount of time to shoot their arrows.

Scoring Rules

Scoring in archery is based on where the arrow lands on the target:

  • An arrow hitting the outermost ring of the target scores 1 point.
  • Each successive ring towards the center scores one additional point, up to 10 points for an arrow hitting the center ring.
  • An arrow missing the target scores 0 points.

Safety Rules

Safety is paramount in archery. Some key safety rules include:

  • Archers must always point their bows downrange.
  • Archers should not nock an arrow until they are on the shooting line and it is their turn to shoot.
  • Archers should not collect their arrows until all archers have finished shooting.

For a comprehensive list of safety rules, you can check the USA Archery Safety Guidelines.


Understanding the rules of archery is crucial for anyone involved in the sport. Whether you’re a beginner learning the basics or an experienced archer brushing up on the rules, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the key rules governing archery.

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