Differences Between Compound and Olympic Style Tournament Archery

Training for archery in either discipline is an intense process, especially at high-level tournament competitions. Beyond the physical and mental rigor demanded of archers, the structure of tournament archery carries a lengthy tome of rules, regulations, and minutiae, things an archery training app won't teach you. Most people conjure thoughts on archery from mass media, but, in practice, archery at the professional level is much more particular than Robin Hood splitting an arrow to win a local tournament.

In this post, we'll look at some of the differences between compound and Olympic style archery as they're defined and practiced in internationally sanctioned outdoor tournaments. For referential ease, we'll be referring to Olympic style as recurve going forward.

  • Draw weight: Both compound and recurve archers are not allowed to pull more than 60.9 pounds of draw weight. Equipment inspections are performed before the tournament begins and are subject to random checks throughout.
  • Distance and target: Compound archers shoot 50 meters at a target face 80 centimeters in diameter. Recurve archers shoot 70 meters at a target face 122 centimeters in diameter. At tournaments, archers easily walk five or more miles per day.
  • Magnification: Compound archers are allowed magnification scopes in their sights. Recurve archers are allowed nomagnification in their sights. Any form of electronics, for both disciplines, on bow, sight, or otherwise are prohibited.
  • Release: Compound archers are allowed mechanical release-aids. Recurve archers are not allowed mechanical release-aids and may shoot only using a finger tab. See above note on electronics.
  • Arrows: Archers in both disciplines may not have arrows wider than 9.3 millimeters at the shaft and 9.4 millimeters at the tip. All arrow shafts must be marked with the initials of the archer shooting them.

This is the tip of the iceberg
Archery training goes far beyond the physical demands of the sport. Knowledge of the tournament process is just as important in the community as consistent practice, regardless of shooting discipline. If you're looking into archery training equipment, bow trainers, or even the iPhone bow mount for our archery training app, this much is certain: we'll get you in shape, but the only thing that's going to get you tournament ready is going to a tournament. Get out there and shoot some arrows. Just when you think you're good, sign up for a tournament and you'll see just how good good really is.