Longbow Archery for Beginners

by Chuck Robert
Proper stance helps the archer control the bow.

Proper stance helps the archer control the bow.

Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images

The longbow is one of a couple bow types used in archery competitions. It was once a powerful weapon of war, but now mostly serves as a piece of sports equipment. Archery is a recreational sport that requires concentration, hand-eye coordination and bodily steadiness. Longbows currently are a division of the National Archery Association.


The longbows were invented to give people a way to send objects faster, farther and with more power. The human hand cannot throw objects as far and as fast as the bow, since the arm has more mass than an arrow, so most of the kinetic energy generated by the throwing action goes into the arm. Longbows can fire an arrow 200 yards.


While bowyers -- artisans specialized in bows -- mostly made traditional longbows and arrows from wood and stone, manufacturers make modern longbows using composite materials and make modern arrows using laminated wood, fiberglass and plastic.

Longbow Characteristics

The longbow is the most traditional type of bow, with no sights, stabilizers, clickers or arrow rests. Other classes include the recurve and compound bow. Longbows are taller than recurve bows, hence their name. When using them, the top of the bow is higher than the archer's head.


Archery tournaments have varying rules. Usually the tournament has a certified check-in archery leader who determines whether the longbow and associated equipment are safe for the tournament. In archery competitions, archers shoot arrows at targets and try to strike the center of the target, called the bull's-eye. The closer to the center, the more points scored. Since an arrow can land on the line, scoring personnel determine how many points the position of the shaft receives. The shaft is the part of the arrow sticking out of the target. Normally, when the shaft touches the scoring ring, the archer receives the higher value score. When the archer touches the arrow or target before the scoring, the she usually receives a penalty.

Photo Credits

  • Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images