Archery Scoring Explained

Archery Scoring Explained

Most people will be able to spot a classic archery target immediately, but do you know how archery scoring works?

If you want to participate in archery competitions, whether on the fun or competitive level, you need to know how points are scored in the sport.

Even if you’re building your own archery range at home, it helps to know how to keep score, as the competitive aspect to the sport can make it much more fun all around for everyone involved.

How difficult is archery scoring?

It’s actually really simple and easy to do. You just have to add the points scored based on where the arrows hit the target. The highest point you can get is usually 10 points, and that’s for hitting the inner gold circle on a target.

The lowest point is 1, and that’s for hitting the outer white circle at the furthest end of the target.

Right, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at archery scoring. It’s sure to motivate you to want to get involved and play!

The Classic Multi-Colored Target

Arrows In Target

This is the typical target that everyone can spot from a mile away, and it’s filled with rings of different colors.

While this target isn’t used in all archery target competitions (more on that later), it is pretty much known as the standard archery target.

This target has lots of colorful circles in it.

There are two outer circles in white, followed by two black circles on the inside, then two blue circles, then two red circles, and finally two gold circles, which are at the center of the target.

How the points work is that every color has two scoring zones – it’s outer and inner circle or ring.

Although these circles are meant to be the same size for every color, there will be a one-point difference between them.

So, between the two red rings, for example, the ring closest to the central gold circle will get one point more than the red ring that’s further away (or on the outside).

The same goes for all the colorful rings on the target.

So, from the outside, hitting the first white circle will give you one point, the inner white circle will give you two points.

Then, the outer black circle is worth three points, and the inner one is worth four points.

The blue’s outer circle will give you five points and its inner circle is worth six points. The red outer circle offers seven points, and its inner circle gives you eight points.

The outer gold circle gives you nine points and the inner circle gives you 10 points, the most points on the whole target and otherwise known as “bullseye.”

How The Targets Measure Up

Meter On Table

It’s interesting to note that in competitive archery, the targets can differ in size.

For example, archery targets that are used in the Olympics will be 122 cm in diameter and will have 10 rings for different scores.

How the target circles or rings are laid out in the Olympics is also different.

The two outer rings on the target will be white, the next two on the inside of the white are black, followed by two blue rings, two red rings, and then two gold rings.

The outer gold ring has another ring inside it, sometimes called an “inner 10.” This is used when there is a tie in the competition and a winner needs to be chosen.

How To Score In Target Archery

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to tally up the scores of the game and find the winner during an archery competition.

You just have to add up all the scores depending on where the participants’ arrows have hit the targets.

If competitors have a tie by the end of the competition, then a winner will be chosen based on how many 10s, or bullseyes, they have scored.

If both competitors have the same amount of 10s, then a winner is chosen according to how many inner 10s they have achieved.

However, sometimes a shoot-off is declared for the competitors to do so that a winner is promptly found.

Does The Scoring Differ Depend On The Competition?

Judge Looking On Archery Target

There are some differences in how archery is scored depending on the competition that is taking place, and this can be seen in indoor archery tournaments.

Different organizations that are hosting the competition will score points a little differently.

Sometimes, the target itself can look a little different from what you’re used to.

If you’re participating in an indoor archery competition, it’s therefore always important to check the rules and regulations to ensure that you’ll be informed of how to score points correctly.

Let’s take a look at some of the main indoor archery competitions and how their scoring system works.

The National Field Archery Association (NFAA)

This organization makes use of a white center circle in its target, surrounded by blue circles.

If you hit the white ring, you get five points, and then you’ll get between four and one points depending on where you hit the surrounding blue circles.

Obviously, the closest one to the white ring will get more points than the others. In this competition, participants shoot five arrows per round or “end” as it’s called.

There are a total of 12 ends in a 60-arrow competition.

The USA Archery

This competition makes use of a target that has a gold center with multicolored rings around it.

It’s really similar to the classic multicolored target that’s mentioned earlier in this article, with the rings giving you scores of between 10 and 1.

However, how you score the 10 points varies according to the bow you’re using.

So, if you’re using a compound bow, the center ring counts for 10 points.

On the other hand, if you’re using a recurve bow, then the second-largest ring on the target will count 10 points.

Each competition has three arrows per end and makes use of 60 arrows.

Lancaster Archery Classic

Here, the same target as the one in the USA Archery is used, but the smallest ring in the center will give you 11 points instead of 10.

Outdoor Archery: What You Need To Know

Archery Tournament Outdoor

When it comes to target archery competitions that are held outdoors, there are also some differences to bear in mind.

Where you shoot from depends on your bow. If you’re using a recurve bow, you’ll shoot arrows from a distance of 70 meters.

If you’re using a compound bow, you’ll shoot from 50 meters. However, the target is the same.

It’s made up of the traditional multi-colored design with 10 points for the inner circle and 1 point for the outer ring, so that’s good to know.

Example Of Scorecard Used In Archery

Let’s take a look at a scorecard template that’s often used in archery.

Event name:

Archer’s name:


Registration number:



This is a really simple scorecard. Depending on the competition or tournament, you might find scorecards that look a little different but they’re essentially the same.

As can be seen in the above scorecard, each round or “end” is listed on the left of the scorecard, and the numbers at the top refer to the arrows/shots that are made.

The total points for shots made during each end will be tallied up, and then there’s a grand total at the end.

Related Questions

How are the archery scoring rules in the Olympics?

Athletes are required to shoot 72 arrows in 12 stages of the game, and the cumulative score will decide where they are ranked.

Then, they go in a knockout competition where the goal is to achieve a higher score than their opponents, as Rules of Sport explains.

What are the distances from which participants shoot in archery competitions?

In the Olympics, the distance is 70 meters, but it varies from one competition to the next, depending on factors such as the target size, the competitive level of the participants, and if the competition is being held indoors or outdoors.


Archery is an exciting sport and now you know how its scoring works.

As you can see, it’s quite easy to understand how archery is scored, although there are a few differences when it comes to archery target competitions.

It’s good to know these similarities and differences so that you can be prepared if you’re going to be participating in archery competitions, even if that’s just an event that’s being held in your friendly local archery range.

Whatever the case, archery competitions are a great way to increase the amount of time you practice target archery and boost your self-confidence.

The most important thing is to have fun!

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