Archery is a sport that involves shooting arrows at a target using a bow. It is a skill that has been practiced for thousands of years and has a rich history in many cultures around the world, including in Europe, Asia, and North America.
In modern times, archery can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities and can be practiced indoors or outdoors. Whether you are interested in it as a hobby, a competitive sport, or a means of hunting, getting started in archery is easier than you might think.
Types of Archery
There are many types of archery that are currently practiced globally. They include Target, Field, 3D, Traditional, Crossbow, Clout, and Flight archery. Target archery is the most popular type as it is the one featured in the Olympics and other international competitions. Whereas, Crossbow and 3D archery are more popular among hunting enthusiasts. For beginners, we recommend starting with Target Archery as it is practiced in a controlled environment where the targets are stationary!
Here are some tips on how to get into Target Archery:
Start with the basics
If you’re new to archery, start by learning the basics of safety and technique. This will help you build a strong foundation for your archery skills and help you enjoy the sport more.
Look for a range or club in your area that offers beginner lessons or classes. Many archery clubs and ranges offer individual and group classes or lessons for beginners. I would recommend a 30 minute 1:1 lesson with an instructor. This is the best way to get started in archery because you will learn the proper form and technique from a qualified instructor. It will also be the easiest way to get plugged in to the archery community and you can quickly get up to speed on and potentially even be able to try out some of the latest equipment.
If you want to learn archery at home, make sure that you learn proper form and technique first. There are plenty of online resources and videos that can help you learn the basics of archery. It is important to follow all safety guidelines and always wear protective gear such as an arm guard and finger tab to prevent unexpected injury.
Follow the rules
When you do go to the range or club, be sure you understand and learn the rules of that particular range. Here are a few other general safety rules you should know:
- Wear appropriate clothing – nothing that can interfere with your shot. Avoid loose clothing, jewelry, and open toed shoes
- Tie up long hair
- Wear protective gear including arm guards and finger tabs to prevent injury
- Don’t “dry-fire” your bow. This is when you pull the bow string back and release it without an arrow. You can damage the bow and send broken parts flying
- Don’t shoot with damaged gear – inspect your bow and arrows after every shot
- Use proper form – You can injure yourself over time if you are not shooting correctly
- Only aim your arrow at a target!
Start with the right equipment
The equipment used in archery includes a bow, arrows, a quiver to hold the arrows, and various accessories such as arm guards and finger tabs to protect the archer’s hands and arms. There are several types of bows used in archery, including the traditional longbow, recurve bow, and compound bow.
For beginners, a recurve bow is often recommended. A recurve bow has limbs that curve back away from you. The curve allows for higher draw strength where all of the “draw weight” is held by the archer. This type of bow is easy to learn on and can be adjusted as your skills improve. Consider renting or borrowing equipment at the outset. Most ranges or clubs will have rental equipment available for beginners. This is a great way to try out the sport without making a big investment in equipment. Although, it is fun learning about all the different technologies that go into each piece of equipment!
Once you have decided that archery is a sport you want to pursue, it’s time to invest in your own equipment. Start with a basic recurve bow and arrows. As you become more experienced, you can upgrade to a more advanced bow. Investing in good quality equipment that fits your body type and suits your skill level will make your archery experience more enjoyable and help you progress faster. Here is a store locator to help you find archery stores and locations near you.
Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash
Like any sport, archery requires practice to improve your skills. Regular practice is essential to developing the muscle memory required to accurately deliver an arrow to its target while under pressure. Aim to practice at least once a week, or more if possible. Consistency is the key to good form and technique. It’s also fun!
If you don’t have time to go to the club or range every week, try setting up an archery range at home. Practicing archery at home can be a fun and rewarding way to improve your skills. However, remember to always prioritize safety when practicing archery at home. Always make sure you have a safe backstop and that there are no people or animals in the shooting area.
Seek out feedback
Consider working with a coach or mentor who can give you feedback on your technique and help you to identify areas for improvement. Archery is a precise, repetitive, and technical sport, and making mistakes in technique can significantly impact your accuracy and overall performance.
Join a community
Joining an archery club or online community can help you stay motivated and learn from other archers. You can also participate in competitions and events, which can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your skills. Search online for local and national competitions, or ask your local range or club.
Archery requires a combination of physical and mental skills, including strength, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, focus, and patience. It is often described as a meditative and calming activity that can help improve mental health and reduce stress. So without a doubt, archery is a very healthy sport and will definitely be something that you want to try at least once in your life!