Archery

Archery requires exceptional muscle coordination, form focus and discipline, so it is no wonder Olympic archery exists!

If archery is something you’re keen on trying out, find clubs offering training and competitions with equipment available for rent so that you can give it a go!

Beginner’s Guide

Archery is an enjoyable activity for people of all ages and skill levels, though it does require patience and practice to become proficient. Beginners should find a local club and take lessons with an experienced coach, as this is the best way to learn safe shooting practices. Most clubs will also provide all of the equipment that’s necessary, from an appropriate bow that fits to all the arrows necessary for getting started.

Establishing the ideal shooting stance is key to successful archery shooting.  A novice should stand with feet shoulder-width apart and extend the bow arm towards their target, before nocking an arrow, drawing back bowstring, nocking it again, aiming and finally releasing it at target. 

Once you have the basics of archery down pat, including your stance and drawing and releasing process, you can begin to experiment with various accessories. Archers sometimes use sights, small devices attached to the bow that aid alignment and aim.  However, this is not essential as a beginner.  As you become more proficient, it may prove beneficial.

Mechanical releases can also be invaluable accessories for archers, making drawing and releasing bowstrings with consistent pressure easier. There are two types: wrist-strap releases are most frequently seen among novice compound archers, while more experienced archers often opt for handheld releases.

Remind the beginner archer that all archers were once newcomers themselves.  Structure and discipline in archery can help people with various abilities to overcome adversity through archery. Fin Clark from Wyke & York Archers Society is autistic, but has been shooting competitively since age seven, thanks to the structured nature of archery helping him focus and becoming a competitive archer.

Equipment

Archery equipment varies depending on who you ask.  At a minimum, archers need a bow, arrows and a quiver to store their arrows in. Bows may also include counterbalance weights, vibration dampeners and torque compensators to minimize vibration and shock when drawing and releasing bowstring.

Bows can either be of recurve or compound design. Recurve bows feature limbs set back from the riser to form an arch, and when released their limbs bend together. In contrast, compound bows feature constant contact with their riser and do not bend together when released.

Both types of bows can be equipped with finger tabs to shield archer’s fingers from being pinched by the bowstring when drawing it back, with some models even adjustable to meet individual archers’ finger sizes. Some bows even include an anti-pinching point designed to stop bowstrings from pinching fingers when drawing them back in.

Archers require a bow rest to hold an arrow during shooting. A bow rest can be any support – from wood or plastic pieces to clickers that provide consistent pressure when drawing back on their bowstring – that helps the archer ensure accurate aim when pulling their bowstring back.

Archers also need a chest protector, which covers the area between their non-dominant shoulder and the opposite pectoral muscle for maximum protection in case an arrow or bowstring hits during a misfire and hits their body during misfire. Chest protectors with common materials are available at a reasonable cost.

Safety

Safety should always be at the forefront when it comes to archery, whether shooting at a club or in your garden. Knowing all the rules of safety for archery can help prevent accidents which could cause severe injuries or even lead to death.

Clothing and safety equipment is of utmost importance in bow shooting. Be mindful to wear loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught on your bow.  Always refrain from the use of  alcohol or drugs that might impair your judgment and coordination.  Wear eye protection when shooting to shield from flying arrows.

Practice makes perfect. Doing this will improve accuracy, while lowering the risks of accidents. Using the same stance for every shot helps to build consistency.  This prevents missing targets by accidentally shooting in different directions.

Before every shoot, it’s vital that you inspect and test all equipment carefully, from checking nocking points and making sure everything works as it should.  Be sure to tighten any loose components. Regular checks will help detect any issues early and keep everyone safe!

The practice of visualization techniques is also critical. Doing this will enable you to envision your arrow striking the target and witnessing how your body relaxes from being tense upon full draw, to untense upon release of the arrow, helping prevent you from overdrawing and losing control during shots.

Once shooting is complete, it’s essential that you walk back downrange rather than running. Running can result in trips and steps on errant arrows which could prove hazardous. Also make sure that all unused arrows are safely collected from the target to protect others from accidentally being hurt by protruding arrows.

Training

Archery can be both physically and psychologically challenging. From shooting for fun or competition to hunting, staying motivated requires consistent practice sessions.  Finding one that works for your lifestyle will only further your development!  Working with an experienced coach can help find an optimal balance for you that enables growth.

A good coach will assist in teaching you the fundamentals of archery, from proper technique and equipment setup, to developing mental focus and confidence in yourself and your abilities. Over time, archery may become a wonderful form of stress relief.  Drawing the bowstring back and firing an arrow can release tension in muscles while clearing away mind clutter, and can even provide an active way to keep fit while enjoying nature!

Archery can help to both improve your skill level and build endurance. Pulling back the string and retrieving arrows can be an incredible workout for your arms, shoulders, and back.  Just be careful not to push too hard and risk injury!  Recording scores is another good way of seeing the results of your efforts while reminding yourself that dedication and persistence can take you far in life.

Finding an archery instructor you feel confident working with is essential. Make sure they provide their resume, speak to former and current students, and possess National Training System (NTS) certification, showing that they possess all of the basic and advanced archery knowledge.

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