How Is Archery Scored? Shoot Like a Pro!

Fortunately, it’s not rocket science, but I’ve seen many people ask about how scoring works when they first come to archery classes. I even remember one guy that asked about the scoring, but since he wanted to ask the score for a specific ring, he stepped inside the shooting range to go and point at the target, as everybody screamed – NO! – we all put our bows down, the coaches took the new guy to the side and explained all about safety matters before going through the scoring system and the practice.

How is archery scored? Scoring in archery is simple to understand. You get 3 shots, each ring is assigned a specific score, 10 being the maximum and 0 the minimum when shooting out of the target. The closer to the center of the target you hit, the higher your score.

What are the scores in archery?

Scores in archery range from 1 to 10, with ten being the bullseye, the maximum score an arrow can make. It is the inner circle in the yellow area. Each colored zone in the target has two scores. For example, the yellow area has 10 and 9; the red area has 8 and 7; the blue area has 6 and 5; the black area has 4 and 3; and the white area has 2 and 1. Anything outside the last circle is considered off the target and it represents 0 points on the score card.

What is that about breaking the dividing line?

When the arrow shaft is touching two colors, it means that the arrow is breaking the dividing line between each score. In this situation, the highest score is the one considered for that shot. But as I said, the line must break, meaning that it should touch both colors for the score to be the highest.

How many points is a bullseye in archery?

It is 10 points. The maximum score in archery. We’ve all seen or heard of the situation where Robin Hood’s opponent shots a 10 and then Robin Hood shots another ten, but his shot breaks the opponent’s arrow clean down the middle. Well, although it sounds amazing, and the movies make it look fantastic, it is extremely rare to see an arrow go through another. It’s not necessary to try and split an opponent’s arrow if they get a perfect 10, there is nothing greater than the 10 scored with the bullseye, except in some situations where the + can change the course of the situation.

What is the + in archery?

Inside the bullseye, inside the circle with 10 points, there’s an inner circle, smaller than the other but with a really tiny and barely visible line and with a cross right in the middle of the target. That + in the middle is able to be the tie breaker in the case of a tie. Let’s imagine that two people take three shots and all shots got in the 10 circle. If one of them got a shot inside the + inner circle, then that person wins the match or the round. I was able to survive an elimination round because I got more + arrows than other two people with the same score as me. So, be sure to mark in the boards all your + scores when in competition. It might give you an advantage in close scoring matches.

What is a good score in archery?

It depends mostly of what you’re aiming and the type of competition. In a 300 score competition, according to most archers comments, we could say that a 200/300 is a good score. According to most people, that’s a good score for beginners, but it’s really is up to you. Of course, if you’re looking for a national team spot, you should aim for a much higher score!

When in your first years competing and preparing as an archer, I wouldn’t pay much attention to the scores from other archers. My coach always told me that the focus of my competition should be on myself. There’s nothing you can do to affect another archer’s score. Your only competition is to improve the score you made last time. It’s that simple, and at the same time that hard! As long as you are above 50% of the total score available and you improve on your last score, for me, that’s a good score. It shows there has been improvement in your shooting.

Now, talking about match rounds, the maximum score is 30/30. In my experience over this kind of situation, considering that you only have 3 shots with a maximum score of 10 points per shot, I would say that a 25 is a good score, but there is still a lot of risk of losing the round, even with a score of 25. Once you reach the match situation, archers who survived the elimination round, are usually pretty good and you’ll see the average score per arrow shoot up once you reach the elimination rounds of a tournament. I’ve seen the national finals in the compound category at the indoor national competition. Those women hit 10 after 10, getting a 9 was a death sentence!

How is Olympic archery scored?

In Olympic archery, the group begins with an elimination round where the 16 highest scores are selected to begin the brackets in 8 pairs. Sometimes, if the competition has too many archers, they make 16 pairs to have an extra round.

Scoring is pretty simple, the score on each ring stays the same as any competition, from 10 to 0 at the outside of the target. After each round, archers approach to the target, review the impact of each arrow, and one person is selected to write everyone’s score on the official paper. The clipboard with the scores registers every impact on the target. Besides that, there is a small piece of paper where the score of each round from every archer is registered and given to a referee who passes around all targets before the next round begins. That way, the judges have two different papers to compare and make sure everything is consistent and that nobody cheated.

Although this scoring system might sound too extensive, it is meant to ensure there is no way to cheat. Your fellow archers are the ones looking at the score as one of them registers it per target. The score is delivered at the end of each round and a final clipboard with every hit is delivered at the end of the match. Judges are not around when the score is registered, so it is not up to them, and the scores can’t be modified since they can compare the clipboard with the small papers from each round. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the people you’re competing against can choose your score, if there are any disagreements with the scoring on any round, any archer can raise his or her hand and call a judge to determine who is right.

Now we’ve seen how archery is scored, not only is it a matter of numbers, we’ve also seen how actually registering a score in a competition can be the most complicated part! Now remember, the focus of the competition is against yourself, try to be better at each competition and don’t focus on another archers’ score. Focus on your own improvement.

Happy shooting!