“I have to give up time, freedom… but this is what makes me who I am, this is why I’m here.” – Im Dong Hyun, Olympic World Record holder.
It is quotes like these that get me through hours of weekly practice. I have a perfect form, shot, and everything, but when I hear the world record is 699 out of 720 points, I realize I still have a long way to go.
In my quest to be the best, I realized I have to train like the best. So I worked with most of the rules of Olympics Archery and it has benefited my skill and form a lot. I have covered the main ones on this guide as there are too many to detail. To begin with, what distance do Olympic archers shoot?
In Olympic archery, for a 1440 round, the standard range is 70 meters but ranges between 30 and 90 for men and 30 to 70 for women. Juniors have much shorter targets. The standard indoor distance is either 18 or 35 meters. For imperial rounds, the standard outdoor distance ranges from 37m to 91m for seniors and 9.1m to 73m for juniors. The standard indoor distance is 18 meters.
If you are just starting out, it is impractical to start shooting at 70 meters just because others are doing it. Archery demands time and effort so to perfect your shot, you will have to be patient. If you plan on competing someday, following the Olympic level standards during training is much more required of you as most competitions are regulated. This means you should train using the required gear, and under the same rules as this guide details. The only thing you will handle differently is the distance as explained below.
At What Distance Should Archery Beginners Practice?
The same technique you use to hit the target 30 meters away is the same you use to hit one 70 meters away so you shouldn’t be hasty about it. Besides, the farther away you are, the higher the chances of damaging arrows.
The ideal starting distance depends on your age. Kids younger than 7 start at 5 yards while older ones can start at 10 yards. Teenagers and adults can start at 10-20 yards. Once you can hit the target consistently, add another five yards between you and the target and try again. Continue adding 5 yards to the distance as you get better until you hit the 70-meter mark. Even when you do, you should try the shorter distances from time to time too.
Even though you don’t have to follow these guidelines during practice or casual shooting, it is important to as most competitions will follow them. You will be at an advantage if you have experience using their rules.
What Is the Ideal Archery Target Height and Dimensions of the Target?
Some people argue that the size of the target is actually more important than the distance you are shooting. The claim may actually be true because if you think about it, a 70-meter range won’t mean anything if the target is thrice the acceptable standard. So, if the target has such a huge impact on the game, what are the ideal target dimensions and which should you use?
The size of the target depends on whether you are indoors or outdoors, and the distance you are shooting from. For outdoor shooting, the standard distance is 70 meters and the size of the target for it is 122 cm in diameter. The other target size is 80 cm and is used when the range is 30 or 50 meters.
For indoor archery, the target is either 18 or 25 meters away and measures either 40 or 60 cm. The inner gold ring in both types of archery is 4.8 inches in diameter. In the Olympics, the center of the target is supposed to be 130 centimeters from the ground, plus or minus five. It should also be leaning back at an angle of 10 or 15 degrees from the vertical, away from the shooting line.
How Many Arrows Do Olympic Archers Shoot in a Day?
Although it is not an exclusive factor to performance, the number of arrows you shoot in a day has an effect on your accuracy. So, how many do Olympic archers shoot in a day and how many should you?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. There are even claims that Olympic archers shoot up to 5000 arrows a week which, if you do the math, is not practical. Luckily, the idea is not to shoot as many as Olympic archers would as it is relative to their skill, but to shoot just the right number of arrows to match and develop your skill level.
If you want to be a good archer, then 80-100 arrows, 4 or 5 times a week should suffice. If you want to be a great archer, then you need 100-120 arrows per day 4 or 5 times a week. If you want to be a champion at it, then at least 120 arrows per day, five times a week will get you there. To take your skill to the Olympic level, shoot 120-200 arrows a day, 6 times a week.
But people are different, and not everyone can reach the same arrow count even at the same skill level. You need to shoot only quality shots lest you develop a bad form. So when you tire and start flinging shots just to up your count, you should stop for the day, or at least for the session.
Unfortunately, more shots mean you go through arrows faster. Did you know that you can develop your form much better by shooting without actually using arrows? You will need your bow, stretch band, and a full-length mirror.
There are two ways of doing this. The first is to stand directly in front of the mirror as if you are shooting at it and draw your stretch band. From this angle, you can monitor everything about your stance and form. You can identify issues such as head angle, posture, and shoulder alignment among others. The second position is to stand as if the mirror is another archer shooting beside you. In this position, you can identify and correct issues with your width, hip position, shoulder and elbow height.
Shoot as many arrows as you can until you feel you have a consistent form, then you can take your skills to the range and hit the 100 quality shots a day mark. The best part about this method is you can “shoot arrows” anywhere be it a hotel room or inside your house.
It is important to note that it is more about quality than it is about quantity. That said, if you haven’t developed your shot yet, do not try the Olympic-level count and focus more on your shot. Practice more using a stretch band rather than arrows. You should also stay away from competition until you can prove to yourself that you have mastered your mental and physical routine.
#1 – Which bows do Olympic archers use?
There are four types of bows as discussed below.
#A – Compound Bows
They have an innovative system of pulleys, cables, and cams that allow them to reach their top draw weight about halfway through the draw cycle. This is called let-off and gives archers time to aim as without fatigue from holding a heavy draw weight. They are not affected by climatic changes and are unpopular among beginners because of their complexity.
#B – Longbows
Longbows are harder to aim and were quite common during battles in the 16th century. They are very simple in design, consisting of a slightly curved bow the height of the archer. They are quite challenging to master.
#C – Crossbows
They are said to have roots from China. They are similar to guns in design as they consist of a small bow attached to a “muzzle”. The string is attached to a trigger and kept in place till the archer fires. They have a short firing range and are restricted in some states and areas.
#D – Recurve Bows
The word ?recurve’ comes from their shape. The tips of the bow are curved away from the archer while the central part is curved towards the archer. They are very common among beginners and have many versions such as takedowns that allow you to disassemble and reassemble them.
In Olympics, Paralympics, World Archery Championships and the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit, the only acceptable bows are recurve bows. They are preferred for their simplicity, and none of them gives any archer advantage over others. Draw weights vary per unit and pretty much depends on personal preference. In the Olympics, most archers use recurve bows with draw weights between 40-55 pounds.
#2 – How should I time my shots?
In the Olympics, the shots are usually timed. Under the World Archery Federation, the set time limit for 3 arrows is 2 minutes. For a 1440 outdoor round, the time limit for the two shorter distances is 2 minutes for 3 arrows and for the longer distances is 4 minutes for 6 arrows.
To be the best, you have to train like the best. The above are some of the Olympic rules you should use to govern your training. In effect, you will develop a form that can excel in any formal event or competition. You can find the full set of rules and regulations on archery here.