Close this search box.

Back to Basics: All About Archery

What sparked your interest in archeryMovies and TV shows make it look cool. The Olympic Games put it on a global stage. Bowhunting allows you to live the field-to-fork lifestyle. Joining a school team or archery organization creates friendships and opens up the world of competition. Whatever the reason for your interest, archery is an exciting and accessible sport that can be enjoyed in many different ways.   

Recurve Bows 

If you watched archery at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, you saw the athletes using recurve bowsCompound bows are not allowed at the Olympics. With recurve bows, archers draw the string with three fingers. Most use a leather finger tab for comfort and protection. Olympic archers also use an arrow rest, a sight for aiming and a stabilizer to balance the shot. 

Thousands of recreational archers shoot similar setups. Archers who choose to shoot recurve bows are often in it for the challenge. For example, recurves don’t have any let-off. That means the farther you draw back the bowstring, the heavier the draw weight becomes. At full draw with a recurve, the archer is holding the entire weight. 

Compound Bows 

Compound bows are capable of incredible accuracy. Their design features more advanced engineering than the simplicity of a recurve. The cams roll over during the draw cycle, which reduces the draw weight at full draw. This makes them easier to draw, aim and shoot. Compound archers also shoot with mechanical release aids that feature triggers.  

While compound bows aren’t allowed in the Olympics, they are popular in many other areas of competition. Most bowhunters choose to hunt with compound gear because it’s easier to hold at full draw and often easier to make a precise shot. 

Traditional Bows 

When people talk about traditional bows, you might picture something you would expect Robin Hood to shoot. Traditional bows, also referred to as barebows, are bows stripped of all the extras. They feature two basic limbs and a grip, string and riser. When you shoot “trad,” it’s entirely up to you to make the shot happen. 

The terms traditional and barebow archery are often used interchangeably, but in some cases they refer to two different shooting styles. In competition, barebow archery means shooting without sights. Traditional archery refers to a broader scope of bows to include recurve and longbows. 

Get Started in Archery Today 

It’s easy to become an archer. You just need to pick up a bow and start shooting. But the best way to begin your journey is by working with professionals. Visit an archery shop. You’ll be able to test out a variety of bows to see what feels best. Technicians will help fit the bow to your draw length and abilities. They will also set you up with accessories and cut arrows to the proper length.

Take a Lesson 

Success starts with a good foundation. Taking archery lessons is the best way to learn how to properly shoot. While it’s tempting to have a family member or friend show you the basics, a certified archery instructor will help you grow your abilities quicker. Most shops offer private and group lessons for all abilities. Information is often listed on shop websites and social media. 

Join an Organization 

Joining an archery organization gives you instant access to a group of like-minded individuals. Archery organizations exist at local, state, national and international levels. There are many benefits to memberships. Clubs usually have ranges and host competitions and fun events. Members are also a wealth of knowledge who can answer questions about form and equipment. 

If you’re interested in archery, give it a go. It’s a lifelong sport that has something for everyone. Visit a shop to get started today. 



If you liked this one, read these next




Learn the basics here, from the different styles of archery to how to choose the bow that’s right for you.


Stay Up to date on everything archery with our newsletter


Locate archery stores and ranges in your neck of the woods.