Considering giving archery a go? Our general introduction will provide you with some of the background to archery and its benefits.

Archery is a sport demanding a range of skills from a steady hand, strong shoulders, flexible muscles, a keen eye and a cool disposition. Archery has a number of health and fitness benefits, as well as being an enjoyable and social sport.

Archery equipment has improved in its technology since its humble beginnings, but the sport remains essentially unchanged. Modern bows are made of a combination of wood, coated with carbon fibre, fibreglass or ceramic. The arrows consists of a carbon or aluminium shaft with a steel head, and can travel at speeds of around 149mph (240kph.)

Types of archery

Today, archery is classified into two areas: target and field. Target archery requires archers to shoot specific number of arrows at set targets that have established values, for example a bullseye being 10 points.

Field archery includes an open-field target range where archers shoot different arrows at different targets or different distances around a course. This simulates the type of shooting experienced while hunting.

Target archery was a feature at the Olympic Games for several times from 1900 to 1920, but it did not reappear until Munich in 1972 and has remained a fixture ever since. Individual archers, or archers in teams, compete in head-to-head matches in single elimination. The semi-finals winners decide the gold and silver medals in the final, and the semi-finals losers shoot for the bronze.

The archers shoot at targets 70m (229.65ft) away. The target is 1.22m (4ft) in diameter and marked with 10 concentric rings. The center ring, or bullseye, measures 12.2cm (4.8in) in diameter. The outer ring counts as one, and the rings in between increase by one point in value as they near the 10-point center bullseye.

Health and fitness benefits of archery

Archery offers a number of health and fitness benefits, including:

  • Developing arm muscles and upper body strength.
  • Boosting hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Improving mental strength and concentration.
  • Honing the flexibility of the hands and fingers.
  • Freeing the mind from everyday distractions, by focusing it.

How to get involved in archery

If you are looking to try archery but don’t want to immediately join a club, there are many experience days or weekends that allow you to try archery under the supervision of expert professionals on a short term basis.  

If you decide to join a club, you don’t need to have any previous experience in archery and for beginners in the sport, many clubs also offer the option to hire the equipment before you commit to investing in your own so it’s a great way to get started without a massive initial outlay.