If you are inspired by movies and series featuring archery like The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and Archer or you simply want to try out a new sport, then you have come to the right place. Archery is a great sport, but for beginners, it can be confusing to know where to start. This is why in the next sections, I will provide you with a complete guide to get you started in this sport including detailed descriptions on the right equipment to use.
What is Archery?
Let’s start with the basics by defining what archery is. It is a practice or a sport of using bow and arrows to shoot at a target that is either moving or inanimate. Archery has been around since the Stone Age which dated back to about 3 million years ago and evolved through generations along with the equipment used.
Archery Equipment Description and Prices
The first step to improving your expertise in archery is to familiarize yourself with the gears needed. I have listed below the items needed by every beginner archer and the items that you can acquire once you have developed your basic skills.
To get you started, these are the must-have items that you need:
First thing off of our list is the bow. One important thing to note here is that bows have different types which include recurve, compound, crossbow, composite and longbows. Out of all the bow types, Recurve and Compound bows are the most popular and the only types of bow allowed in competitions.
In general, the length of a bow averages at 66 inches, but it can range between 48 to 70 inches. To determine which bow is fitted for you, ensure that it is within 2 inches of your height.
Another thing to consider aside from the length is the draw weight which is the weight of the bow that is held by the archer at a full draw, and it is usually written at the back of the lower limb. For beginners, we recommend a draw weight between 20 to 25 lbs. For adults and 15 to 20 lbs. For children.
If you are interested in buying a recurve bow, you can get this for around $100 while the compound bows with complete setup can be bought for as low as $300 in your local archery shops.
The next item on our list is the arrow. Selecting an arrow may seem simple to you, but it requires you to consider both the draw weight of your bow and the arrow length to select the correct shaft size. We recommend you visit your local archery store to get the right arrow since stores are usually equipped with the shaft selector charts.
You must also ensure that you will buy arrows at the same time as your bow to guarantee that you are purchasing the right arrow type. In addition to this, we recommend buying more than one arrow to facilitate easier practice. You can also custom built your arrows for $7 to $10 per arrow to meet your requirements.
Another important component of archery is the target. For beginners, you can choose the type and design of the target that you want. If you are aiming to get into Olympics or any other tournaments, we recommend practicing on the standard target used with dimensions of 122 cm and ten concentric circles.
You can purchase targets for as low as $10 in shops, or you can simply print your design. One thing to consider here is to purchase foam blocks along with your targets to prevent your arrows from going through the target and causing injuries to others.
Although this is not considered by some as a necessary item for beginners by some, I would still recommend using armguards even if you are new to archery. This will protect your arms from the bowstrings during the release of arrows. Aside from the safety benefit that it provides, it also prevents your clothes and hair from getting in the way of your bowstring during arrow release. Many stores offer armguards for only $5.
Gloves or Finger Tabs
Gloves or Finger tabs are used by players to protect their fingers during the release of bowstrings and also ensure a smooth surface for the bowstring to slide on during shooting. If you are using recurve bows, we recommend buying a finger tab for $10 while compound bow users can use release aids that cost $30 to $45. If you want a more generic item, you can purchase a glove for $9 which can also be used by traditional archers.
This item is essential for archers using the recurve bow. Bow stringer will allow you to safely bend the limbs of a bow when attaching strings by using your body weight. You can buy this item for as low as $10 at any archery stores. If you prefer not to purchase this, you may use the “step-through” method in attaching the strings which can cause injury to you or damage to your equipment if not done properly.
Nocking point is important to ensure that you have a place on your bowstring to clip your arrows. By providing a constant place, you increase your shooting accuracy. Nocking points can be made from simple materials like dental floss or masking tape that are soaked in super glue to prevent them from becoming loose in the bowstring.
Aside from the essential equipment mentioned above, I have also listed the optional items that you can purchase as an accessory below.
Another item that you should consider buying is the quiver which provides a place for you to hold your arrows. Some type of quivers can also hold other accessories like nocks, fletched and others. Ground Quiver is one type of this item that is placed in the ground to hold both your bow and arrows. The Belt and Holster Belt Quiver can be worn by players and attached with a pocket to hold accessories. Typical quivers can be purchased for $25 only.
A sight or a sighting accessory can help you in aiming for your target. This item is especially helpful for beginners and is allowed in competitions provided that it does not provide any unfair advantage to other competitors. If you are interested in this item, you can purchase it for as low as $20 at your local shops.
This is a weight usually placed in a rod and mounted to the bow to provide balance during aiming. This will also help in absorbing vibration during the release of arrows to improve the accuracy of the shot.
Most bows already include this accessory when purchased. This provides support to your arrows as it is being drawn during shooting. An alternative to this is using your hands as your arrow support although arrow rest is still recommended to ensure accuracy in archery.
Bow String Wax
This item, although not necessary, can be helpful if you want to prolong the use of your bowstring. This ensures that the strings are properly lubricated to prevent fiction during the release of arrows which can shorten the life of your bowstrings. Recommended application of wax is between 2 to 4 weeks.
Now that you know the basic equipment, you would need to get hands-on experience in this sport. The best place to test your skill is the archery range which is a level field dedicated to the practice of target archery. Ensuring that the range is safe requires the players to adhere to the following basic rules.
• During shooting, the range must be cleared from any obstacles including people.
• During shooting, players should only stand before the shooting line identified by a straight line on the ground. This will ensure the safety of all archers. Targets can be placed at varying distances from the shooting line depending on the preference of the player per target lane.
• Archers should only aim at the target placed on the opposite end of the shooting line.
• Archers can only shoot arrows once the signal is given. There are also allotted periods for firing your arrows, collecting your arrows and going to the target.
Additional rules may be included depending on the archery range that you will go to. Most ranges also provide introduction classes to beginners which will help you in knowing how to use your equipment properly. They can also offer rental equipment which can be beneficial in determining the right equipment to buy.
Archery for Beginners
Aside from learning the basic equipment needed and the rules of the archery range, we have provided some tips for beginners to guide you in your first try on archery.
• If you are still confused on what type of bow to purchase, remember that this will still be based on your preference. You can start with a recurve bow if you are looking for something easier to use or you can choose a compound bow if you want a more accurate and faster shooting.
• For archers aiming to compete, make sure you study the allowed equipment before making an actual purchase. There are competitions like the Olympics wherein only recurve bows are allowed.
• If you are practicing indoor target archery, an aluminum arrow is usually recommended as this increases the chance of an arrow touching the line between two scores. For outdoors, carbon or carbon and aluminum mix are recommended for long range shootings.
• The following signals may be given during your practice:
o One whistle – players to shoot arrows
o two whistle – players to move to shoot line
o three whistle – players to get arrows from their targets
o four whistle – players to stop shooting immediately