Finally allowed out and so a new physical challenge! Last week I was talking about upper body strength and here’s one of the reasons I wanted to make that a target. Archery is a mix of skill and strength and to give it my best shot (nice puns eh) I was keen to feel that I was at least a little bit prepared.
Archery surprised me in several ways, firstly that whilst I think of it as a minority sport when I started looking there were three clubs within about 15 minutes drive of where I live. More archers out then than I had thought. The club who first offered me a beginners course (after the lifted covid restrictions allowed) was tucked away by a water reservoir by a wildlife reserve, meaning that they are able to shoot any day of the week and no-one else comes near the site. A good safety point, flying arrows are after all something of a danger.
Women in archery? GB have thriving female squads and our para W1 team are current European champions, so no-one is going to suggest that this isn’t a sport for women and our beginner group and instructors were an even gender split. Just to add that it hadn’t particularly occurred to me that people actually use this for hunting, lots of American sites about women in archery include some cute but dead animals, not really my thing I was more thinking about the physical challenge and how many I could get nearest the centre to score 10 points. I also enjoyed the videos of the Olympic competitions with perfectly made up Korean and Japanese women showing off their deadly aim.
So what was my first go like? Well I have to say that I was delighted to be hitting the target, beyond expectations! My previous experience was on the Wii which I hardly thought could have been any use but turned out some of the more experienced archers at the session thought it wasn’t the worst preparation! They also helped me select a recurve bow that wasn’t too heavy for me to pull, I had been worried that I’d do ten arrows and then have to retire with muscle fatigue, but the bows all come in different weights and so can be tailored to individuals. I probably shot around 70 arrows altogether, at a 10m distance, and that was manageable. Tea and biscuit break included of course, we are British after all.
If you like kit then this is a great sport too. There are different types bows ranging from the most classic and simple shaped piece of wood to something that looks seriously futuristic. I was using a recurve bow like this one and you can get the central riser and the curved limbs in funky colours, there are quivers (your kit bag) and even the arrows come in a range of colours. Archers often make up their own arrows so your colour combo could be unique to you – who knew!
So off to a good start. Next week I’ll go back for more and we will be moving further away from the targets so that will create a new level of challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can still hit the target at 20m or 30m. I’ll update you here!
This is an environmentally friendly activity, the kit lasts a long time, the trading of second hand kit is common so its possible to participate for a fairly modest cost. I had a short drive to get there, perhaps I could cycle it.