Beginners guide to: Archery

November 26th, 2009

1 Comment

Archery is as quintessentially British as tea-drinking. However, although both can be gentle leisure pursuits on a lawn, only one can be used to fight wars, hunt wild boar or terrorise the Sheriff of Nottingham. There’s no doubt, whether it’s in Sherwood Forest, the mountains of Wales or the fields of Agincourt, we Brits have a long attachment to the bow. So perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised that Sport England have identified a latent demand for the sport with 44,000 UK adults saying they’d like a shot at it.  Well, if you’re an eager bow-person, here’s a 10-point beginners’ guide.

  1. Target archery is the most popular form of the sport, and good news if you want to escape the winter weather: you can fire your arrows inside and out. Indoor distances are 18 m and 25 m. Outdoor distances range from 30 m to 90m.
  2. Targets have a number of coloured rings, each with a points value. Like rifle shooting, nearest the middle gets the highest score. However, the scoring system can change after each round.
  3. The basic design of bows hasn’t changed since King Harold failed to duck at the Battle of Hastings. However, a number of modern bows have a mechanism that helps the archer pull back the string.
  4. The video is a basic introduction to the equipment.  The compound bow, which is widely shot, uses cams or wheels, to take the pressure of the string, so the archer can focus more on aiming the arrow at the target.
  5. Archers using a compound bow use a release device, which helps the archer achieve a slow, smooth release of the arrow.
  6. Field archery is a challenge against the terrain as well as the target. A course is set up with 24 targets which are marked with the distance to the shooting line. The distances to another 24 targets remain unmarked. Three arrows are shot on each target for a total of 144. Many of the shots are made uphill or downhill and require consideration for obstacles.
  7. Most archers will wear a bracer. This medieval-looking garb is worn to stop the string of the bow rubbing against the arm.
  8. ‘Archer’s paradox’ is a phrase attributed to Dr Robert Elmer, which refers to the fact that an arrow from a right-handed bow appears to go left, yet hits the target (if you’re a good shot).
  9. Right-handed archers point their left side to the target, and place the arrow with their right hand.
  10. Target divisions include the recurve (Olympic) bow, compound bow and bare bow. Events at the Olympic Games are in the outdoor target discipline, using the recurve (Olympic) bow only.

If you’re interested in trying archery, click here.

Useful website:

One Comment

  1. Ade says:

    Having done archery a couple of times now, I can strongly recommend it as a great day out for the very active and not so active alike. Both venues I have attended have had very knowledgeable, patient and enthusiastic instructors. The session, on both occasions, was so enjoyable that even though my arms were really aching by the end, I really didn’t want to stop.

    My wife thoroughly enjoyed it too……we will be going again.

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