Magnification: Zoom in on the Target

If you have ever competed outdoors in a field, 3D or target tournament you can understand the importance of being able to zoom in on the target to see how you are shooting. Although using a telephoto scope on your bow is not allowed in competition, you can use some after-the-shot magnification with binoculars or a spotting scope which can be extremely valuable.

For field and 3D, most archers use binoculars, since they are portable and much easier and quicker to align with the target and can be positioned quickly, which is important since you are changing targets often. The use of a spotting scope would be cumbersome to carry and setup from target to target.  Although binoculars are allowed in field and 3D tournament, range finders are usually prohibited.

For target, most archers use a spotting scope (also known as a sport telescope, fieldscope or minocular) because once setup the spotting scope does not need to be changed very often. Although you can use binoculars, the value of a spotting scope over binoculars is the magnification and the angled eye-piece which reduces the need to reposition your shooting stance to check the location of each arrow. The rules allow you to set-up a spotting scope within your shooting line space of 80cm. The challenge is making sure it is set up so it does not interfere with your or your opponent.

If you are new to outdoor competitions, consider investing in some type of magnification, since no matter how good your eyes are, the distances become farther and farther as you get older. Understanding how you are doing during each end, instead of after it can be the difference between standing on the podium or admiring it from a distance.

Stance: The Foundation of a Great Shot

For recurve archers, one minor misconception about Archery is your arms produce the power however the true strength comes from your core muscles. To harness this power, it is very important to build the proper foundation and this starts with your stance.

There are three types of stance an open stance, a closed stance and a square stance.

Square Stance

Feet side-by side, shoulder width apart with the tips of your toes in-line with and perpendicular to the center of the target.


Open Stance

Feet staggered, shoulder width apart with your front foot inline with the center of the target and your back foot forward so that your hips are turned towards the target.


Closed Stance

Feet staggered, shoulder width apart with your front foot inline with the center of the target and your back foot stepped back so that your hips are turned away from the target.


In my opinion, the best stance for consistency is a square stance however you many need to use one of the other stances for comfort or if you have a medical reasons such as a lower back-problem.

Shooting a field tournament often offers challenges your stance and you may need to adjust your stance to create a strong foundation. Remember the goal is be comfortable and relaxed with one foot on either side of the shooting line.

  • Quick Tip: Outdoors one trick to make sure your feet are in the same spot every time is mark the ground with something like quarters, golf ball markers or something else. Alternatively, you can run the green back and forward with the heel of your shoe to create a little divot.

To learn more about the ten basic steps of archery, check out my new webpage.