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Archery The National Archery Association of the United States had its origin as a result of our own country’s history. After the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were not allowed to own firearms. Two brothers, J. Maurice and William H. Thompson, learned to hunt with the bow and arrow and became accomplished archers. They were both founding members of the N.A.A.

in 1879 at Crawfordsville, Indiana. Archery tournaments, as we know them today, can also be traced back to England. Competitions were held as part of community festivals as early as the 17th century. Archery became an official event in the modern Olympic Games in 1900 and was also featured in 1904, 1908 and 1920. International rules had not yet been developed, though, and each host country used its own rules and format. Because of the confusion, the sport was eliminated from the Olympic program until 1972.

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Target archery competition centers around specific distances, usually from 20 to 90 meters or yards, with target faces of various sizes and center-scoring rings marked off in centimeters. A game in archery is called a round. Examples in target archery are the 600 Round and the 900 Round, named for potential perfect scores. Up to four archers may shoot at the same target in a given round, each using his/her own distinguishable arrows. An end makes up the number of arrows shot in a row before a score is recorded and the arrows are pulled.

In target shooting an end may be from three to six arrows, depending upon the size target and the distance involved. One archery game that is growing in popularity is a spin-off of the rifle and handgun game silhouette. In archery silhouette, however, foam plastic targets replace the metallic version used with firearms. The silhouette target shapes are the same as those used in the original game chicken, pig, turkey and ram, but the actual contest has an additional challenge that makes it even more attractive to archers. Targets are placed at various distances in-groups of three.

The first target in each group is positioned at a known distance, from 25 meters for the chicken, out to 70 meters for the ram. The remaining two targets in each group may be put at varying distances up to but not beyond the next set, forcing the shooter to estimate the distance to the target. To score a hit, a target must be completely toppled. While this game is ideal for the bow hunter armed with a high tech compound bow, the bare bow archer is also equipped to handle the course of fire. In some archery silhouette events, an added challenge is a timed match, whereby the shooter may have just two minutes to get off 36 arrows.

This type game all but eliminates the use of fancy or sophisticated sighting devices. Most shooters use a bow with a draw weight of at least 40 pounds and draw weights in excess of 70 pounds, capable of dropping the ram target at 75 yards, are not uncommon. In standard FAA events, equipment is divided into four categories: bare bow, freestyle, competitive bow hunter and competitive freestyle bow hunter. In bare bow there are no sights or sight-marking devices of any kind or mechanical release devices. In freestyle, practically any sighting or release device, stabilizer or arrow rest is allowed. There is a variety of archery equipment available today from ancient wooden bows and arrows to sophisticated compound bows and carbon-graphite arrows. Most archers take advantage of technical advances in equipment.

This includes the latest in compound bows in various arrangements and components of glues, carbon and graphite. Steel cables are fixed in different ways over off-center wheels to permit easy holding at full draw. Better string material, sighting aids, draw stops, vibration dampeners, overdraws, arrow rests and stabilizers are some of the improvements added to the bow to make them more effective for those who can use their advantages. Arrows are available in wood, plastic, aluminum alloys and carbon-graphites. The points of the arrow have evolved from the famous flint arrowheads of the Indians to the modern screw-on replaceable heads used today.

There are other popular games in archery such as the Clout, where arrows are lobbed long distances (150 yards and more) at a single target. The Wand shoot is where a thin vertical stick of wood or reed serves as a target, which is a carryover from ancient times. Both the National Archery Association (NAA) and Field Archery Association (FAA) shoot similar games. The first, however, is more closely concerned with excellence on the target line and is the sponsoring organization for Olympic Shooting in the United States. National Field Archery Association deals with the hunting scene, with targets simulating actual field shooting situations.

The NAA, in addition to its role as Olympic governing body, also implements a youth archery-training program, Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD), which exposes thousands to the sport. Internationally, Federation Internationale de Tir A L’arc (FITA) sets the rules for target archery for member nations, including the United States; The World Archery Center teaches various levels of learners and instructors from many nations. Bibliography sources: y/home.html


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