It’s quite uncommon to see people carrying such gear walking around town. There was a time, though, where almost everyone in a village knew how to use a bow and arrow to hunt. Since we don’t exactly need to hunt for food these days, when someone tells you they’re an archer, you’re bound to take a step back and wonder what their last name is. Archery simply is not a conventional sport for everyday people. And sometimes, people who are thinking of taking up archery have the mentality that this sport is for the upper class. I am here to change the way you look at this sport and teach you exactly what archery really is. Welcome to archery for beginners!
The time at which the first person grabbed a bow and shot an arrow has never been confirmed. Some scholars claim that it was about 15,000 years ago while others claim it was at the end of the Stone Age. Despite the debate, what they all do agree on is that the first bow and arrows were used for hunting and warfare.
Almost all early civilizations are known to have used bows and arrows. From the Egyptians who used them in war on their chariots to the Greeks to the Persians, archery was the main weapon when it came to warfare. One of the reasons the Romans had so much success and conquered so many cities was because of their skilled archers.
As time passed by and more sophisticated weapons were invented, the bow and arrow was slowly phased out. The introduction of muskets and rifles spelled the beginning of the end of the bow and arrow in the battlefield. The guns at that time still had a short range so there were still some people who preferred arrows. The fact that bullets could pierce armor made them the new weapon of choice. With the advancement of technology and better guns, archery was no longer relevant in the battlefield.
Archery as a Sport
Archery as a sport began in the 1600s in Britain. There were societies that were set up across the country and it gained popularity. It lost popularity some centuries down the line due to the emergence of other sports. Its first appearance in the Olympics was in 1900. It was also part of the 1904, 1908, and 1920 Olympics. After a long break, it came back to the Olympics in 1972. It has been part of every Olympics since that year.
Categories of Archery
1) Field Archery
Field archery takes place in a course. It’s multi-target course where archers who are usually in groups of 4 and go through different types of courses like fields and forests. Type and size of targets is different from target archery.
2) Clout Archery
In clout archery, the archer shoots at targets that are up to 180 meters. It’s very common in Australia. The targets are usually marked on the ground. Your objective as an archer is to lob an arrow so that it lands on the target. The distance to the target varies according to gender, equipment, and age.
3) Target Archery
This is the most popular and most commonly practiced form of archery. It can take place indoors and outdoors. It’s practiced in over 150 countries and is fast growing. The type of shoot the archer is participating in usually determines the target distance and the number of arrows. The archer will shoot the arrows repeatedly.
4) Bow Hunting
Bow hunting is quite possibly the most popular and widely used version of archery. In North America and other countries, bows are used to hunt deer, turkey, bear, and many other animals. This is one topic that we have spoken about plenty here. I myself prefer to use a compound bow while hunting turkey and deer. However, you cannot just go to the woods and start shooting animals as you please. There are laws and regulations that govern bow hunting.
5) 3D Archery
In 3D archery the targets are foam animals. Participants will go through a target course in the woods. It has been compared to golf in some way. One has to guess how far the target is and try to achieve the highest score. The archer will get only one shot to hit the target.
Basic Archery for Beginners: 6 Steps
Archery is a sport that is based on accuracy. So, even if you’re using the best bow and arrow in the world, as long as you’re not well-practiced, your arrow will almost always miss the target (unless you get lucky of course).
The following are the basic steps which every person should learn if they want to become an expert archer:
Develop your Stance
Archery has 3 basic foot positionings, all of which should be no more than shoulder’s width apart. The three are:
- Squared stance – in this stance, the feet are in line with each other and they draw a perpendicular line to the target the archer wants to hit.
- Closed stance – in this stance, the archer’s hips are closed to the target.
- Open stance – the archer’s hips are open to the target in this stance.
Knowing which stance your body is most comfortable with goes a long way in your training to become a great archer.
As a sport which relies so much on accuracy, everything in archery is designed to give you the best chance of hitting your target and your body or torso position affects your accuracy in achieving this goal.
To give yourself the best positioning, you should stand upright and your knees should be just slightly bent. Your knees are slightly bent to act as shock absorbers for when you release the bow. In that position, turn your head to face the target and keep it straight, not tilting forwards or backwards as this will cause inconsistency in your accuracy.
Master Your Grip
This is one of the most important steps in learning archery. Your grip should be so as to allow the least amount of torque possible while shooting your arrow. For a good grip, make sure your fingers are a little loose and do not squeeze the bow’s grip.
The way you grip your bow and arrow is one of the most important things to look at and is also one of the most common mistakes people make in archery.
Use Anchor Points
Anchor points aren’t really to increase accuracy but rather consistency. Three anchor points that work well are:
- Hand to jaw anchor point.
- Anchoring the bow string to the tip of your nose
- Using a kisser button
Get a Good Peep Sight
A good peep sight will lead to good accuracy. You should adjust your peep sight to get greater accuracy which will also affect your consistency.
Loosing and Follow Through
This is the part where you let loose the arrow. Your stance shouldn’t change you should remain in it for a few seconds and watch as the arrow hits the target
Types of bows
The limbs usually curve away from the archer when it has been unstrung. It is widely used in the Olympics in the target archery category. The reason for the curve at each end of the bow is to increase the speed and the smoothness. The recurve was designed by Mongolians. One advantage the bow had is that it was short compared to the other types. This allowed a person on a horse to switch from each side of the horse and could shoot from either side.
“The way you grip your bow and arrow
is one of the most important things to
look at and is also one of the most common
mistakes people make in archery.”
A compound bow has a levering system and contains multiple strings. The compound bow was designed by Holless Wilbur Allen. He saw that replacing the recurve ends of the bow with pulleys would make it more efficient. It is used mostly in field and 3D archery.
The compound bow is the most advanced type of bow and some see it as a modification of all the other types of bows. A “let off” is created because the big wheels on the ends of a compound wheel are cams. This helps in improving accuracy.
This one consists of a bow or prod that has been mounted on a stock. When the bolt is loaded and the cross bow is engaged, it contains a string which is held in place by a nut. The invention of the crossbow led to the end of the traditional bow and arrow. It uses a fast string to launch arrows or bolts. It works just like a bow but it has a trigger like a rifle.
Before the crossbow, archers would be picked when they were young and trained throughout their whole lives on how to use the bow. This led to archers being regarded as warriors of an upper class. Since the crossbow was easy to use and cheap, that all changed. In modern day, some people use cross bows because they are another great tool that is explosive and interesting to master. It also helps when a potential injury keeps you side lined from using a more traditional recurve or compound bow.
The traditional bow has a normal arc. A string was tied to both ends and one would place an arrow on the string. One would pull on the string with the arrow on it and aim at whatever target they wanted to hit. It requires a lot of concentration and people had to be trained for years in order to become accomplished archers who could go to battle.
Reasons to Take up Archery
It builds confidence!
Archery as a sport or hobby helps to boost one’s confidence. The feeling of learning and mastering something not so easy to do, such as archery, helps elevate the confidence level of individuals.
For a person to be a good archer, they must be able to focus intensely on their target, clearing their minds of other distractions. Consequently, archery helps build a person’s focus and concentration in the sport and also in other activities.
Good balance is one of the main requirements in archery in order to keep your body still for greater accuracy and consistency. Undertaking training in archery helps you improve your balance, and in doing so also helps build the muscles needed to keep your body still.
Archery is not just one game
There are different types of games you can play which revolve around archery. You might be a 3D archery guy or maybe a target archery kind of person. You have the freedom to choose what type of archery you want to do.
It improves patience
Maybe you’re a person who really has a problem in waiting. I assure you once you begin participating in any form of archery you will see the difference it makes in your life. Things you use to go crazy over will seem normal to you and will help you learn how to control yourself and be really patient.
Is Archery for You?
Archery is a sport that requires long hours of training, commitment and discipline. It is a sport that you can play any day regardless of age. In order to grow in the sport, you must be a patient and relentless person when it comes to the drive of achieving a goal.
If you are the type of person who can take on the challenge of learning how to control a bow and arrow, then I would highly recommend taking up archery as a leisure activity or even going further into competitive archery. It is a sport that can be enjoyed with the whole family due to its lack of bias when it comes to who can play.
In conclusion, archery is a fun sport, not as easy to learn as one would assume, but worth trying out. I recommend archery to anyone who is looking for a fun, and highly skilled activity to do.