Is Archery A Sport? What Makes Archery A Sport Vs A Hobby


Archery is an excellent backyard hobby for my family and I. But at what point does it become a sport? We’ve been getting more and more into archery, and wondered when it becomes more than just a hobby.

Is archery a sport? Yes, archery is the competitive sport of shooting arrows with a bow. Archery is also referred to as an art, skill, practice, or a hobby. Archery as a sport, is when two or more archers compete against one another in a competition or tournament.

You can treat archery as a sport even though you’re not currently competing in a tournament. It depends on how you train and practice archery.

When Is Archery Considered A Sport

When shooting arrows at a set distance for the purpose of accurately hitting a target, archery is considered a competitive sport. The most popular form of competitive archery for sport, is called target archery. This is when two or more archers will compete against one another to have the most accurate shot from varying distances.

Another form of archery as a sport, is called field archery. This is when archers will shoot at targets in a wooded area, an area with obstacles, and sometimes requires archers hike a path to get to the different shooting locations.

When archers are training for a competition or tournament, they are considered to be practicing archery as a sport. Yes, many will still consider backyard target shooting a hobby, but when done for the means of competition, archery is considered a sport.

When archery is performed as a sport, many techniques and skills are highlighted in a much bigger way than the average hobbyist. Archery requires control, focus, precision, and repetition. This is true whether your practicing for sport or as a hobby, but as a sport, you are putting these skills to the test against other archers.

The setting you practice archery in matters much less than the circumstances you’re practicing archery in. For example, you may think of shooting some arrows in your backyard with a friend as a leisure hobby activity. But the moment you try to get closer to the bulls-eye than your friend, you’re now competing in archery as a sport.

Archery In The Olympics

Is Archery An Olympic Sport?

Yes, archery is an Olympic event with games including men’s individual, men’s teams, women’s individual, women’s teams, and mixed teams. the minimum age for an Olympic archer is 16 years old, and there are 64 total competitors for each individual event.

Archery has had a rocky past in the Olympics, with 52 years of absence in the 1900’s. Before 1920, only a few nations competed and the archery was not in the Olympics again until 1972. After reintroduction in 1972, the Olympics archery rules were standardized, and many nations take place to this day.

Archery first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1900, was contested again in 1904, 1908 and 1920, then again, after an absence of 52 years, from 1972 to the present.

www.olympic.org/archery (sourceOpens in a new tab.)

Although there are many forms of archery including, field archery, target archery, and the use of compound bows to practice archery. The only form of archery in the Olympics, is recurve archery. Recurve archery uses Recurve Bows to shoot arrows at targets with accuracy from varying distances.

Here’s a cool video of the Women’s Individual Archery Final at the Olympics in Rio. Exciting to watch, and will give you an idea of an Olympic archery competition.

Archery Hunting As A Sport

Is Archery Hunting Considered A Sport?

Yes, archery hunting is considered a sport. Hunting itself, whether using a firearm, or a bow and arrow is considered a sport. Many will claim that hunting for food or survival is not considered a sport, but the dictionary definition states that hunting is a sport.

Hunting, sport that involves the seeking, pursuing, and killing of wild animals and birds, called game and game birds, primarily in modern times with firearms but also with bow and arrow.

WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (sourceOpens in a new tab.)

The distinction most people will make is that hunters who hunt for sport, don’t consume the meat, or don’t hunt for the food, they hunt for the prestige. Archery hunting is still defined as a sport, but there are ethical ways to hunt with a bow and arrow.

Purchasing tags from your local wildlife organization will help ensure you are only hunting game that is abundant or overpopulated in some areas. Use all the meat from the animal and hunt with a bow that has at least a 40 pound draw weight or more. It’s illegal in most areas to hunt with a weaker bow, because the kill may be considered inhumane.

Archery As A Good Hobby

Is Archery A Good Hobby?

Archery is a great hobby for building confidence and physical fitness. Practicing archery will help improve focus, patience, and strength. Archers enjoy a sense of accomplishment and self respect as their skills improve, and other aspects of their lives are improved as a result.

There are many benefits to practicing archery, even as a hobby in your backyard. Archery can be inexpensive to get started in, and skill improvements can be made in a short time. To see more about the benefits of archery, check out my Top 10 Benefits Of Practicing Archery article. There are more than 10 benefits for sure, but that article can give you an idea of the most common benefits a new archery will experience.

We started practicing archery as a family, and it was easy to enjoy with a group. The cost of building our own archery range in the backyard was minimal, and we didn’t buy the most expensive equipment (bows and arrows). The time spent in archery, and with the family, has been well worth the cost.

We spent about $120 per adult and less than $40 per child when starting out with archery. The recurring costs have been minimal, around $20 every few months. The only upkeep costs you can expect, are buying new arrows and targets when you need them.

Archery As A Hobby Benefits:

  • Improved Focus
  • Builds Confidence
  • Healthy Physical Activity
  • Improved Hand Eye Coordination
  • Social Skills Improvement (groups)
  • Can Be Done On A Budget

Archery Competitions

There are many archery competitions around the world held by different archery organizations or groups. The odds are that there is an archery competition that will take place near you at some point every year. USA Archery holds many tournaments throughout the year at different locations across the US for their members. You can find an event with them hereOpens in a new tab..

For field archery, and other events, you can try the National Field Archery Association hereOpens in a new tab.. But again, you will need to pay for a membership to compete. After you sign up, you can register for events and compete against other archers.

The reason I mention these two organizations is to show how widely accepted archery is as a sport. Anyone can join into a local tournament and compete their way to the big leagues. Eventually reaching the more competitive tournaments and competitions that have a cash prize for the winner, and are held in different places around the world.

The World Cup and the World Championships are the two most popular archery competitions for professional competitive archers. The Archery World Cup, started in 2006, is made of 4 rounds, and is competed around the world every year. The top mixed teams and individual archers from those rounds are invited to compete in the Archery World Cup Final at the end of the year.

Here’s a clip from the compound men’s gold final in Las Vegas. I could watch these competitions all day, but this can give you an idea of how a professional competition is held.

The World Archery Championships includes more types of archery and is held every two years. Archers can compete in 7 key types of archery set in a rotation every two years. For example, field archery and indoor archery one year, then outdoor target archery and 3D archery the next.

World Archery Championships:

  • World Outdoor Target Championships
  • World Indoor Target Championships
  • World Field Archery Championships
  • World Youth Archery Championships
  • World Para-Archery Championships
  • World 3D Archery Championships
  • World University Archery Championships

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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