Why Archery Is Actually a Great Sport
Archery is the sport, skill, practice or art, if you will, of using a bow to shoot arrows and it has a long and colourful history. This skill is easy to learn, but challenging to perfect. It’s a lot of fun, but it can be frustrating at times, and patience is essential for those who want to practice this sport in the long-term.
The Long History of Archery
The word “Archery” derives from the Latin “arcus”. Historically, this practice has been used for combat and also for hunting. In today’s world, it’s practiced as a competitive sport and also a hobby. Someone who practices archery is called an arched or a bowman, and an enthusiast or expert is called a toxophilite.
The origin of the bow and arrow goes back to the late Paleolithic period or early Mesolithic period. This means these tools have been used for thousands of years. In the 16th century, archery lost popularity as a result of the development of firearms, which made bow and arrow an obsolete weapon in battle. People tried to preserve the practice, but it didn’t quite take.
An example of these efforts would be the fact that the English and Welsh government tried to enforce practice with the longbow until the end of the 16th century. The reason behind this was the fact that the bow and arrow were instrumental to military success during the Hundred Years’ War.
However, in spite of the ongoing use as a utility, the sport became a status symbol in countries such as India, Japan, Armenia, China, England, America, Egypt, Korea, Turkey, and many others. As firearms became more and more popular, the use of a bow and arrow became less used. The adoption of firearms in every culture was unavoidable, and so came the downfall of archery as a means of hunting, and as a sport. It was not until the Napoleonic Wars that it became an increasingly popular sport among all classes. Even nowadays there is a nostalgia of preindustrial rural Britain attached to the practice as it regains popularity.
Archery has become a mixture of long tradition and modern technology, and it requires a combination of concentration and physical skill. This course is specifically aimed at beginners and it will help you develop concentration, discipline, self-confidence and upper body strength.
We don’t use the bow and arrow for warfare anymore, but there are various archery disciplines where it remains the star:
- Target Archery: This is the most commonly practiced forms of archery. It’s practiced around the world, but mostly in Australian Archery clubs. There are tournaments for this discipline and they happen regularly, held both indoor and outdoor. Shooting distances in this discipline vary from 18 metres, which is usually the norm indoors, and 80 to 122 centimetres for outdoors. You will need a target and a bow and arrow to participate.
- Field Archery: This archery discipline consists of shooting targets arranged at various distances. The targets are often unmarked and the setting is usually rough terrain or woodland. A standard field archery course will consist of 24 to 48 targets and the archer will be required to shoot up to 4 arrows at each target. Shooting distances can vary from 10 to 60 metres and target size ranges from 20 to 80 centimetres.
- Clout Archery: This archery discipline is also quite popular in Australia and it’s a lot of fun! It derives from medieval warfare practices where archers would lob arrows onto advancing enemies. It consists on marking a 15-metre target on the ground, placing a triangular marked at its centre, and lobbing arrows into the target from distances of up to 180 meters. You can see how it all works in this clout archery demonstration.
- Bow Hunting: Last but not least, this archery practice is quite active in Australia as well because there are a large number of species that are a threat to our native ecosystem. Hunters are a part of controlling these introduced species and it’s a self-regulated sport by the Australian Bow Hunters Association.
The Many Health Benefits of Archery
As any other sport, archery offers many different health benefits for the body and the mind. This sport allows you to build your confidence quickly and can assist with concentration and depth perception. The feeling of gaining enough skill to hit the bullseye or executing impressive shots will allow you to build self-esteem and have an amazing sense of accomplishment. The sport also improves patience, focus, and maths skills, believe it or not.
Archery is a lot of fun, but it’s also physically demanding and it will require you to improve your upper body strength if you wish to get better at it. It also requires many different skills apart from physical ability, such as precision, focus, control, and determination.
Professional archers will train daily for hours at a time. Recreational archers choose what level of commitment they put into it, but they will also be able to enjoy the many health benefits the sport offers. Archery may seem like a stationary sport, but it’s actually quite active and it will keep you sharp. Drawing the bow requires energy, and so does walking to a from the target to collect arrows.
Everybody Can Try Archery
Another wonderful thing about this sport is that it can be practiced by anyone, no matter the gender, age or level of skill. It’s also a great sport for burning calories. In a tournament, archers walk around 8 kilometres (or 5 miles) every day and they can burn up to 150 calories every 30 minutes.
Focus, coordination and determination are essential skills archers need to learn. Focus is necessary for shot routine and it allows you to avoid distractions. Having this much control over your focus will be helpful in other areas of your life as well.
A good shot is the result of a high-precision routine that archers need to commit to muscle memory. In archery, there’s a lot going on at the same time and there’s very little margin for error, so coordination of movements is key and it will become second nature.
Concentration is also vital, as the tiniest movement can make a huge difference in a shot. Especially when the distance is significant and when you consider the fact that an arrow travels at 60 miles per second but it can reach even 90 miles per second.
Archery is a fascinating sport and it will help you in many different ways. Try our extensive range of archery products and figure out if this can be a new hobby!