For beginners in archery, it’s essential to start at a relatively short distance to build your foundational skills and accuracy. The standard distance for beginners in target archery is typically around 10 yards (30 feet) or 20 yards (60 feet), depending on the type of bow you’re using.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the ideal starting distance. It is a decision that depends on many factors, ranging from the type of bow they wield to their age, skill level, and ultimate archery goals.

Archery Target Distance For Beginners

The appropriate archery target distance for beginners depends on several factors:

  • Bow Type: The type of bow you’re using plays a significant role. As mentioned earlier, recurve bows, compound bows, crossbow and traditional bows all have different starting distances due to their varying levels of accuracy and ease of use.
  • Skill Level: Your own skill and experience are crucial factors. If you’re brand new to archery, it’s advisable to start at a shorter distance to build basic skills in aiming, drawing, and releasing the arrow accurately.
  • Age and Physical Strength: The age and physical strength of the archer also matter. Children or individuals with less upper body strength may begin at a shorter distance to ensure they can handle the bow comfortably.
  • Purpose: Consider why you’re practicing archery. Are you aiming for target shooting, hunting, or recreational archery? Different purposes may require different starting distances. For example, hunters will need to practice at longer distances eventually, while target shooters may focus on shorter ranges for precision.
  • Safety: Safety should always be a top priority. Beginners should start at a distance where they can consistently hit the target and avoid any mishaps. Ensure that there’s a safe backstop or target area to catch your arrows.
  • Instructor or Coach: If you’re taking lessons or have access to an archery instructor, they can provide personalized guidance on the appropriate distance based on your individual progress and goals.

In summary, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the ideal archery target distance for beginners. 

It’s a combination of factors, including the type of bow, your skill level, physical abilities, purpose, safety considerations, and any guidance from an instructor. 

Starting at a shorter distance and gradually increasing it as your skills improve is a common approach for beginners.

For Different Bow Types

Let’s delve deeper into the recommended archery target distances for beginners, considering different types of bows:

Recurve Bow:

  • Beginner Distance: Start at around 10 yards (30 feet). This short distance allows beginners to focus on form, consistency, and accuracy.
  • Progression: As you become more proficient, gradually increase the distance in 5-yard increments. Many archers aim to reach 20-30 yards as a good intermediate goal.

Compound Bow:

  • Beginner Distance: Beginners using compound bows can typically start at 20 yards (60 feet). The mechanical advantages of compound bows make longer distances more manageable for novices.
  • Progression: As with recurve bows, you can increase the distance as your skills improve. Compound bow archers often aim to reach 30-40 yards and beyond.

Traditional Bow (Longbow or Recurve):

  • Beginner Distance: Similar to recurve bows, beginners using traditional bows often start at 10 yards. These bows require more strength and skill, so a shorter distance allows for skill development.
  • Progression: As your proficiency grows, consider moving to 20 yards or more. Traditional archers often enjoy the challenge of longer distances as they become more experienced.


  • Beginner Distance: Crossbows are known for their accuracy, making them suitable for beginners at 20 yards.
  • Progression: As with other bows, you can increase the distance as your skills improve. Crossbow shooters may aim to reach 40 yards or more with practice.

Remember that these are general guidelines, and individual factors like your skill level, physical strength, and safety considerations should also influence your choice of target distance.

Additionally, always use a suitable backstop or target area and follow safety guidelines when practicing archery.

For Different Age Groups

Now, let’s discuss the recommended archery target distances for beginners based on different age groups:

Children (Ages 6-12):

  • Beginner Distance: Children starting archery should begin at very short distances, typically around 5 to 10 yards (15-30 feet). Safety and ease of handling are paramount at this age.
  • Progression: As they develop their skills and physical strength, children can gradually move to longer distances, such as 10-15 yards, with the guidance of an experienced instructor or adult supervisor.

Teenagers (Ages 13-17):

  • Beginner Distance: Teenagers can usually start at distances of 10-15 yards (30-45 feet). They have better physical strength and coordination compared to younger children.
  • Progression: With consistent practice and proper form, teenagers can work their way up to 20-30 yards or more.

Adults (Ages 18 and up):

  • Beginner Distance: Adults generally have the physical strength and coordination needed to start at 10-20 yards (30-60 feet). This allows them to focus on form and accuracy.
  • Progression: As adults gain experience and proficiency, they can comfortably shoot at longer distances, often ranging from 20 to 40 yards or more.

It’s important to note that these age-based guidelines are approximate, and individual variations exist. 

Factors such as physical fitness, prior experience with archery or similar sports, and any physical limitations should also be considered. 

Additionally, the guidance of a qualified archery instructor is invaluable in determining the most suitable starting distance and progression for individuals of all ages.

Regardless of age, safety should always be a top priority, and beginners should practice under proper supervision with appropriate safety measures in place.

For Different Skill Level

Here are the recommended archery target distances for beginners based on different skill levels:

Novice Beginners:

  • Beginner Distance: Novice beginners, those who are entirely new to archery, should start at very short distances, typically around 5 to 10 yards (15-30 feet). This close range allows them to learn basic techniques, safety, and form.
  • Progression: As they become more comfortable and gain confidence in their shooting, they can gradually move to longer distances, such as 10-20 yards.

Intermediate Beginners:

  • Beginner Distance: Those who have some experience but are still refining their skills can start at 10-20 yards. This distance is suitable for practicing and improving form and accuracy.
  • Progression: As intermediate beginners become more consistent in hitting the target and demonstrate good form, they can extend their range to 20-30 yards.

Advanced Beginners:

  • Beginner Distance: Advanced beginners are individuals who have gained a fair amount of skill and confidence. They can typically start at 20-30 yards.
  • Progression: These archers can continue to increase the distance as they see fit and as they continue to improve. Some may aim for distances of 30-40 yards or more.

It’s important to emphasize that these skill-level-based guidelines are approximate, and individual progress can vary. 

Each archer should assess their own comfort and proficiency when deciding on the appropriate target distance. 

Archers should also consider their goals, whether it’s target shooting, hunting, or recreational archery, as this can influence the choice of distance.

For Different Purpose

Now, let’s explore the recommended archery target distances for beginners based on different purposes:

Target Shooting:

  • Beginner Distance: For beginners aiming to engage in target shooting and improve their accuracy, starting at relatively close distances is common. Beginners can begin at around 10-20 yards (30-60 feet).
  • Progression: As archers build their skills and consistency, they can gradually extend the distance to 20-30 yards or more for precision target shooting.


  • Beginner Distance: If your goal is to become a bowhunter, you’ll need to practice at longer distances. Beginners for hunting often start at 20-30 yards (60-90 feet) to simulate real hunting scenarios.
  • Progression: With time and proficiency, hunters may work their way up to shooting accurately at 40-50 yards or even farther to prepare for different hunting conditions.

Recreational Archery:

  • Beginner Distance: Recreational archers, who primarily shoot for fun and relaxation, have flexibility in choosing their starting distance. Beginners can opt for 10-20 yards based on their comfort level.
  • Progression: Recreational archers can choose distances that provide an enjoyable challenge. Some may never shoot beyond 20-30 yards, while others may experiment with longer ranges as they become more skilled.

Competitive Archery:

  • Beginner Distance: In competitive archery, such as Olympic or field archery, the starting distance may vary based on the specific event. Beginners should consult with coaches or event guidelines to determine the appropriate distance.
  • Progression: Competitive archers train rigorously to excel in their chosen discipline, so their practice distances will be determined by event requirements and personal skill development goals.

Remember that the purpose of archery practice significantly influences the choice of target distance. 

Safety considerations are crucial, and archers should practice within their skill level and under proper supervision, especially when starting with longer distances or for hunting purposes. 

An experienced coach or instructor can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific archery goals.

archery target distance for beginners


In conclusion, determining the ideal archery target distance for beginners involves a careful consideration of various factors, including the type of bow, age, skill level, and intended purpose. 

Whether you’re starting as a child, teenager, or adult, it’s crucial to begin at a distance that aligns with your physical capabilities and experience. 

Novice beginners should focus on shorter ranges, gradually increasing the distance as they hone their skills and confidence.

The type of bow you’re using also plays a pivotal role, with recurve bows, compound bows, traditional bows, and crossbows each having their own recommended starting distances. 

Additionally, your archery goals, whether they involve target shooting, hunting, recreational shooting, or competitive archery, will influence the distances you practice at.

While these guidelines provide a solid foundation, it’s important to remember that individual variations exist, and safety should always be paramount. 

Seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable archery instructor or coach can expedite skill development and ensure proper technique. As you progress, you can gradually push your limits and aim for greater distances, always prioritizing accuracy, form, and safety throughout your archery journey.