Is Archery a Sport or a Hobby? (or Can It Be Both?) 6 Key Questions Answered


Archery has long been debated over its status as a sport mainly because you’re using a tool to do the majority of the work rather than your own physical prowess.

With that said, archery does meet the textbook definition of what a sport is, albeit with limited usage of your own strength: archery favors precision over how strong your arm is, especially in the world of competitive archery.

In fact, some people call archery an art form rather than something they would consider as a sport; similar to dancing or other interpretive sports.

As a hobby, archery can be done for pleasure and has more freedom in terms of what bows you can use and where you’re using it.

Archery is a great hobby and can be really satisfying once you get good at hitting those bulls-eyes, and better yet, anyone can do it — it’s easy to learn but hard to master.

6 Key Questions Answered: Archery

1. Is archery a sport then?

Archery is definitely a sport and is recognized as one; in fact, it’s one of the most followed events during the Olympics.

Regardless of whether you consider it a sport or not, it is recognized as one officially and even falls under the textbook definition of what a sport is.

It’s not the most physical sport as we mentioned, however, you still need to use your arm strength and specific breathing techniques to deliver your shots with precision.

As well as that, archery is a good match for sporting events because it’s perfectly designed for competition: basically, you need to be the most precise to win.

2. What are the rules of competitive archery? (How do you win)

Archery can be played in a few different ways but to win in an Olympic scenario then the goal is clear: you need to score more points than your opponent — but how is that done?

Well, the target boards have several rings numbered from 1-10. The rings closer to the bullseye score you the most points which means you’ll always be trying to hit dead centre if you can.

Some circumstances can make this harder to achieve, for example, outdoor archery is generally more difficult because you need to account for the wind when you’re taking your shots.

Archery can also be played as one individual against another, however, it’s also played in team scenarios too.

3. Is archery an expensive hobby?

Typical archery costs hover between $200-2000 initially depending on whether you go for entry-level equipment or professional gear.

You can have a great experience with an inexpensive bow and we recommend starting with something cheap first to make sure you enjoy the hobby and so you can get a feel for it.

On-going costs will include the arrows as they can break over time and of course the targets meaning you could be spending around $100-200 per year.

4. What are the benefits of doing archery?

Archery can improve your hand-eye coordination, arm strength, core strength, muscle tone, and even some transferrable skills like developing your patience.

Since you’ll be spending lots of time practicing it can also improve your focus which is a great skill to have in other aspects of life meaning it’s a high-reward hobby to partake in.

If you attend any archery clubs you’ll also be able to meet like-minded people and can socialize in your downtime which is a great way to make friends.

5. Is archery a good hobby?

Archery is an excellent hobby, and not just because of the physical benefits, but also because it can give you something to work on for many years.

It’s relatively simplistic but it has a steep learning curve — hitting your first bullseye can give you a massive adrenaline rush and you’ll be on cloud 9 for hours.

You’ll also be able to utilize a wide range of bows such as compound bows, recurve bows, and some others (such as longbows), meaning the fun never has to stop.

In fact, getting good with each type of bow is a challenge in itself and may take a good few years before you become proficient to a point where it becomes intuitive rather than a focused task.

6. Can you actually catch an arrow?

Okay, this is a bit of a joke question, however, it’s worth trying to address it anyway for the novelty.

We’re not sure why you would want to risk it but yes it’s definitely possible to catch an arrow in mid-flight, however, some factors determine how difficult it would be such as the speed of the arrow and how long it is (more surface area to grab onto).

In fact, there are some historical reports of archers catching arrows and shooting them back at their adversaries during times of war as a method to conserve ammunition and so they could basically kill their enemy with their own arrows.

Here’s a video of it being done with safety precautions: do not try at home.

A Short History on Archery

The oldest bows found in one piece are around 9000 years old but it’s posited that humans could have been using them far earlier than that; some arrowheads have been found that date back as far as 48,000 years.

They were primarily used as a method to catch and kill animals for meat but slowly evolved to become weapons of war too.

There are a few consistent varieties of bows that we’ve mentioned which are the compound bow, longbow, recurve bow, and crossbows.

They’re all suited to different jobs; for example, the recurve bow is a great bow for beginners as it will assist you in generating velocity even if you’re not particularly strong.

The compound bow is the most modern of the bow varieties and uses an innovative cable system to prevent muscle tiredness when trying to aim for your shot.

The longbow is one of the oldest bow variations and isn’t used very often for most modern day archery applications, and instead, has been relegated to the pages of history during a time of kings and queens.

Lastly, we have crossbows, which are horizontal in design rather than vertical, and use a cable that you pull back to store potential energy to then be released to provide kinetic energy to your projectile.

Are back quivers practical?

We’ve added in this question as there is much debate around whether back quivers were used historically and if they’re practical to use.

In fact, back quivers were used throughout history, most notably (but not exclusively) by native Americans and throughout parts of Africa.

The contrary can also be said in that waist-mounted quivers have also been used and both offer their own benefits depending on your preference.

You can either waist-mount your quiver round the back (above your butt) or at your side — again this is mainly down to preference depending on how quick you need to draw your arrows and what’s most efficient for your aim.


In conclusion, we now know that archery is both a sport and an extremely enjoyable hobby for many people.

It has a rich history dating back to our primordial ancestors who would use bows to hunt, then through to the times of kings and queens where it would be used as a tool for war, and eventually finds itself as something that is practiced for fun or for the purpose of sport.

With that said, archery is just one of many hobbies out there that can offer you a way to engage your mind; if it hasn’t quite hit the mark then why not check out our massive list of hobbies?

As always, if you enjoyed our article then don’t forget to save our homepage as we regularly update it with hobby information and exciting topics.