Archery for Beginners

Archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Open to all, archery can be enjoyed by young and old, people with disabilities and whole families (2020 has a great junior club with Mums and Dads shooting alongside young people each weekend – 

As a sport that can be practiced inside or outside throughout the year, socially or competitively, archery can really be said to cater for everyone. Over here at 2020 Archery we currently have 1 completely blind club member and 1 with significant visual impairment. We’ve also had a number of wheelchair users and people with mobility issues as members in the past. 

Forms of archery

Target archery: this is the most popular form of archery in the UK and the style that is currently featured in the Olympic games (although the Olympic version is somewhat different than regular competitions). Target archery takes place on flat ground – indoor or outdoor – and involves shooting a specific number of arrows at particular sizes of target faces at 

distances of up to 100 yards. This type of archery can also take place inside over shorter distances. Indoor archery – like we do at 2020 – typically sees us shooting 5x dozen arrows at 60cm target faces for a score out of 600 at 20 yards. You can see our club members scores on the club website here (

Field archery: this form of archery takes place on a series of targets set out in outside locations, often in woodland. The shooting distances are usually unmarked so archers rely on their judgement and instinct, especially if they choose to use a traditional bow such as a longbow or flatbow. Saying that, I also know a number of compound archers who also enjoy this type of more ‘natural’ shooting.  

Clout archery: this form of archery is similar to target archery but the archer must drop the arrows at a long range into a number of circular scoring zones on the ground. Arrows are shot at an angle of around 45 degrees up into the air. This type of archery probably emulates the kind of military training that used to take place when an enemy might be a known distance away (e.g. approx 150 yards) and accuracy at the specified distance could mean victory or defeat.  

Flight archery: requiring a lot of space, flight archery is a sport in which the archer must shoot the arrow as far as possible. This is generally done in very specific categories for weights and types of arrows shot from specific bows. James Farrar of Fairbow holds a number of flight records using very heavy traditional bows known as warbows – he also sells great traditional archery gear which we like a lot over at 2020 ( 

Getting involved 

There are a number of ways that you can get involved in archery but the best place to start is your local club. Most clubs are very welcoming to beginners (as long as you’ve made an appointment or booked a session) and many offer Have-a-Go sessions. This gives newcomers the opportunity to try out the sport before enrolling in a beginners course and – hopefully – becoming a member and starting to practice with the club. 

Although clubs often welcome beginners, it is important to have a basic understanding of the sport before you try to join a club or start practicing.  Most clubs will offer structured beginners courses to set up would-be archers with the basic skills and techniques required. The course can take place across a number of weeks or over a weekend and gives new archers the opportunity to join an archery club for further training and the chance to compete in tournaments if they want to.