Modern competitive archery is governed by the World Archery Federation, abbreviated WA (formerly FITA – Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc). Olympic rules are derived from the WA rules. WA is the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recognized governing body for all of archery.
Archery competitions may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor rounds are normally shot at one distance, whereas outdoor competitions normally consist of several distances. For lists of tournament rounds, see section entitled Tournament Rounds. Since archery involves the use of potentially lethal equipment, much attention is paid to order and safety. Whistle commands are used to signal the different phases of shooting, or an ‘end’. Two whistle blasts means archers can approach the shooting line. One whistle blast means archers can begin shooting. The archers are not allowed to collect their arrows whilst other archers are shooting. The signal to collect your arrows is three whistles from the field captain. These rules apply to all forms of target archery. Other rules, or points of etiquette, include:
- The command Fast means stop shooting immediately and return the unshot arrow to the quiver. It is used when the situation becomes suddenly and unexpectedly dangerous.
- Do not distract another archer when they are shooting. If an archer is at full draw, wait before taking your place on the shooting line.
- If an archer damages another archer’s arrows (or other equipment), they must offer to pay for any damages.
Imperial rounds (measured in yards) are mainly shot in the United Kingdom. Metric rounds, also known as FITA rounds, measured in metres, are used for most other tournaments. These are the main rounds that are able to be shot in target archery.
These rounds use standard 10-zone scoring. For outdoor rounds, arrows are shot at increasingly closer distances – for example, in a Gents FITA round, an archer shoot three dozen at 90 metres, followed by three dozen at 70 metres, then three dozen at 50 metres, then three dozen at 30 metres. The furthest two distances are shot on a 122 cm face target; the nearer two on an 80 cm face target.