There are several types of archery practiced in the UK today. The main types are target, field, clout, and flight, and each requires slightly different shooting methods and equipment. Archers can take part in any - or all - of the disciplines.
Target archery is the type of archery practiced at the Olympics, and is the version most beginners learn first. Archers shoot a set number of arrows at targets set at specified distances on a flat surface. It can take place either indoors or outdoors.
A field archery course is set up over woodland and rough terrain. Archers shoot a specified number of arrows at different targets in sequence. Archers might have to shoot uphill or downhill, and the targets could be different sizes and at different distances so anyone taking part has to really think about what they are doing. Field archery is a great way of keeping fit and enjoying the outdoors.
This ancient form of archery was used as military training in the middle ages. The target is the clout, which is a small flag on a vertical stick, stuck in the ground and placed up to 165 metres away. An archer’s score is determined by how close each arrow lands to the flag, the arrow that lands the closest gets the highest points.
This form of archery simply consists of shooting an arrow over the longest possible distance. There is no target but it does require a very large, flat area – something the size of an aerodrome. Recurve, compound and longbow classes can all shoot flight archery within different weight categories. Specialist bows and lightweight arrows are used to maximise power and reduce drag.
There is more information on the different bows used in these types of archery in our Basic Guide to Equipment.