The Joy of Archery

Archery is a sport that can be enjoyed at many levels:

Imagine standing in a green field surrounded by trees concentrating on your posture, your breathing and staring at the target: being mindful of the now and the arrow you are about to shoot. Archery can be very completive sport or it can be a very competitive sport and some archers enter many competitions but there are many archers including myself, who find it sufficient to try each week to match my personal best.

You can practice alone if you can supply safe conditions or you can join a club and socialise.

Unlike many sports the level at which you shoot is entirely down to you. The strength of your bow depends on the weight you feel comfortable with; the distance you shoot is one with which you feel happy, usually between 20 and 180 yards. The size of the target is usually governed by the distance and is smaller at closer ranges but beginners generally use a large face even at close range.

A heavier bow is no more accurate at 20 yards than a light bow, if the bow is too heavy for you.

The heavier bows do have an advantage at longer distances, if you are strong enough to pull it but a good archer with a lighter bow will beat a bad archer with a heavy bow. Thus archery is a sport for any age and is often enjoyed by families. Very young children can pick up a toy bow and shoot arrows with rubber suckers on at home but normally they start at a club at about 11years old. I started in my 50's and many will go on into their 80's. Often both husbands and wives shoot together on the same targets and on shorter distance have been known to compete with each other.

Like Golf some sessions are good and some are bad

Maintaining the standard is difficult but unlike golf I can vary the distance of the target; to suit my level. Is your desire to get all your arrows in the gold at 20 yards or would you prefer to try to get all the arrows on the boss at 100 yards? Remember archery is a sport of failure. If you get all the arrows in the gold, then one generally shoots on a smaller face or at a greater distance.

Other challenges

Shooting without a site or shooting a longbow, which generally is known to be less accurate and requires a different skill. Bored with shooting at a standard target then have a go at Field Archery, which is walking through a forest and shooting at targets, which look like animals. Hunting with bow and arrows is illegal in this country, as it can be a slow and painful death.

All the challenges are there to be had at any age; at any strength; at any distance; at a choice of targets; even blind from a wheelchair is possible.

You will develop upper body strength from pulling the bow; hand-eye co-ordination from aiming; a good walk to collect your arrows; posture from standing up straight to get the correct line; patience, from when you get it all wrong and feel like giving up. All this at a level you enjoy from youth until old age. You do not have to give up as you get older.