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Coaches Blog

Yet Another Niche Sport I Enjoy

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

The Olympics used to be the only time I could watch sports that were not overly popular in the United States or Canada. (I grew up in Detroit, so I had access to the CBC.) Now with the internet and VPNs, I can watch live sports from all over the world year-round, but the Olympics always remind me why I love sports in general.

One sport I cannot help but watch is archery. I do not know why it intrigues me so much, but I can easily lose an hour watching a WA World Cup. So let's get to know competitive archery.

The organization:

The governing body of competitive archery is the World Archery Federation, i.e., WA. The WA was formed back in 1931 to organize and standardize competitive archery. Before 2011 the WA was known as the (le) Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (that is missing a bunch of accent marks), or FITA. As alluded to earlier, competitions in the WA are called World Cups and is an Olympic sport.

The equipment:

The equipment is a bow and arrow. As with any professional sport, that is overly simplified, but I do not want to get too deep into the boring rules.

The Bow- There are 2 types of bow in WA competition:



Only Recurve bows are used in Olympic competition.

The Competition:

WA competitive archery is very similar to baseball. The range can be indoor or outdoor, and there is no specific distance between the target and the archer. Though there is a min/max distance of 18-90 meters.

The Target itself is a 122cm diameter circle broken down into 10 smaller circles with more points awarded for smaller circles (1 for the largest, 10 for the smallest.). The smallest circle measures 12.2cm

The competition starts with a seeding round where each athlete gets to shoot 72 arrows. The highest seed then goes head to head against the lowest, 2nd highest v 2nd lowest, etc.

The scoring system is similar to tennis in that 2 athletes (or Teams) compete head to head in sets, with each set consisting of 3 arrows per athlete. The athletes go back and forth, shooting an arrow during the set.

The athlete with the highest point total in the set wins 2 setpoints. If they tie in the set, each athlete gets 1 set point. The first athlete to 6 set points wins the match. If the athletes are tied after 5 sets, there is a 1 arrow shootout in which the athlete closest to the center of the target wins. If they both hit the 10 point circle, they do it again until there is a winner.

My 2 cents:

I like competitive archery; it's like curling's super dangerous summer cousin. Have I tried it? Yes. It is way more intimidating than you might expect. Trying to hit a target the size of an orange from ¾ of a football field seems impossible when you stand there for the first time. These athletes are incredible. The body control, feel, and mental toughness involved in archery are next level.


Coach Adam is an IRONMAN University Certified Coach, USAT Level I Certified Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and VFS Master Bike Fitter based out of the Western Slope of Colorado. Adam has years of experience coaching beginners, juniors, elites, and clubs as well as a year focusing specifically on special needs athletes. Adam's expertise with bike fitting is extensive with over 15 years and 8,000 fits

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