It's one of the oldest sports in the UK. When archery was key to a successful war, Kings even banned many other sports such as football and golf. That way, their archers would not be distracted and would only focus on honing their skills. Now archery is a recreational sport and fortunately, the fate of nations does not depend on archers.
According to Archery GB, archery is one of the UK’s fastest-growing sports. Its rise in popularity is attributed to films such as The Hunger Games and major TV shows such as Game of Thrones. Katniss Everdeen, the Hunger Games protagonist, has been cited as one of the main reasons for the rise, especially among girls. There are now 45,000 people belonging to AGB, the UK’s governing body and ‘have a go’ archery events are popular across the country.
Why get into archery?
Let’s face it, archery is cool. When we pick up a bow we all like to think we look as kick-ass as Katniss from The Hunger Games or Hawkeye from The Avengers. However, archery is not just about looking good. It’s about precision, patience, discipline and skill. It’s not as easy as it looks to hit one of those targets.
It might come as a surprise but archery is a very social sport – many clubs take the social side as seriously as they do the sport. Another reason to take up archery is its health benefits. It works the core muscles, builds upper body strength and flexibility, so you may even get a flatter stomach!
Archery is an accessible sport
Archery is one of the most accessible sports there is. Children, teens, adults and seniors can all take part. It’s not unusual to find three generations from the same family competing at tournaments. There is also a strong contingency of archers with disabilities. Paralympian, Danielle Brown, has won two Paralympic golds and a Commonwealth gold. In 2013 Brown won the British title, competing in the able-bodied category.
Types of archery
There are two main types of archery – target and field. Target archery is what most people are familiar with as it’s the most popular form of the sport and the current Olympic discipline. Participants shoot a certain number of arrows at a circular target from a distance of 100 yards for men and 80 yards for women. This type of archery can be practised both indoors and outdoors.
Field archery, like target archery, involves shooting arrows at targets, but that is where the similarity ends. A field archer needs to hit 28 different targets in sequence, shooting four arrows at each target. The targets are usually located in woodland and participants may shoot from various gradients and a range of distances.
There are, of course, a number of different types of archery, including mounted archery, where the archer hits targets while galloping on a horse, but target and field are the most common in the UK.
Find an archery club
The best way to get started is to find a local club and get some lessons. Many run beginner courses all year round. If you want to find a club near you, visit www.archerygb.org or call them on 01952 677888.
Once you have had a few lessons, you may decide that you want to buy some equipment. To start with all you’ll probably need is a bow and some arrows. You can get an adult bow set for as little as £40 or you can buy an adult archery kit for around £120. A children’s bow set will cost around £30 while a full kid’s archery set is about £100. Of course, as with any sport, top-of-the-range equipment can cost you thousands of pounds.
Specialist archery insurance through Ripe Shooting
Once you have bought your equipment, you may want to consider specialist insurance to protect it. At Ripe Shooting, we arrange insurance that covers archery participants and includes Equipment Cover, Personal Liability, Third Party Property cover, Legal Protection and Personal Accident cover.
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