Archery, as a sport, allows you to target an object using a bow and arrows. Before you pick up a bow and arrow, it is important that you appreciate what archery is all about. This first section will discuss what it is that you need to know about archery.
Archery is done in many ways and it provides fun and challenge to individuals doing this as a hobby. It also provides great upper body workout. There are different ways to enjoy archery. Below are the types of archery that you can try out.
Target archery is included in the Olympic Games and it involves shooting the bull’s eye at a particular distance. Target archers shoot at a distance of 18 meters indoors or 30 to 90 meters outdoors. If you are good at target archery, you might end up playing for the Olympic team of your country.
Field archery is enjoyed on a course usually set in the woods. You need to shoot paper targets that are 20 feet away. This type of archery is great for people who love hiking as well as nature.
3D archery is very interesting and it involves competitors walking in an open course to shoot three dimensional foam figures of animals and obstacles at different distances. There are many tournaments of 3D archery held all over the world for interested archers.
Traditional archery means shooting with a longbow or from equipment made from natural materials. Examples of traditional bows used in traditional archery include the Welsh longbow, Japanese Kyudo bow, Mongolian recurved composite bow and the Native American flatbow.
Bow hunting, by definition, is hunting by using a bow and arrow. This is the oldest form of archery and has been used by early hunters to gather food. If bow hunting appeals to you, you need to get a state-issued license and also follow the hunting season.
Types of Archery Equipment
You cannot be an archer if you don’t invest in quality equipment. However, choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task especially if you are still starting this hobby. This section will discuss the types of equipment that you need to get in order to start this hobby.
Each type of archery requires a particular bow to be used. To help you look for a good bow, you need to ask someone who has more experience in this sport. There are many things to consider when choosing the right bow but if you are still starting, the most important factor to consider is to determine how long your arrows should be. As a beginner, it is crucial to use arrows that are at least one inch longer than the draw length. The thing is that you need to choose longer arrows.
Three Types of Bows
There are three types of bows that you can choose from. It is important that you understand the different types of bows that you should choose in order to practice the type of archery that you want. Below is a discussion on the different types of bows used in archery.
- Compound bows
A compound bow is a modern bow that uses a system of pulleys and cables to bend the limbs. The central mount of the components of the bow is called a riser made from a combination of magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber. The limbs of the compound bow are stiffer compared to the other types of bows thus making it more energy-efficient and allow users higher accuracy in shooting arrows.
- Recurve bows
Recurve bow is a type of bow that come with limbs that curve away from you when unstrung. This type of bow stores more energy as well as deliver it more efficiently resulting to greater speed when the arrow is released. Recurve bows make more noise when the arrow is released. This type of bow is the only type of bow allowed in the Olympic Games. It can also be used in 3D archery, bow hunting and field archery.
- Traditional bows
Archers can use a traditional bow for all types of archery. In fact, traditional bows are used during the early times. One of the most common examples of traditional bows is longbows. Today, there are many designs of longbows that are available in sporting goods stores.
How to Choose the Right Draw Length
Draw length refers to the distance between your grip when holding a bow at full draw and the bowstring. It is important to choose the right draw length to improve your form, consistency as well as accuracy. To choose the right draw length for your bow, below are the tips that you need to take note of.
- Hold out your arms sideward away from your body.
- Measure the distance from the longest fingertip on your left hand to your right hand.
- Determine the draw length using the chart below.
Length of your arm distance (inches)
Draw length (inches)
How to Determine Your Eye Dominance
Shooting with both eyes for archers is optimum but the problem is that not everyone can shoot with both eyes open. It is therefore important that you know your dominant eye so that you can train yourself on how to shoot your arrows. Below are easy steps on how you can test your eye dominance.
- Go in an area where your sight does not have any obstacles at least 10 or 20 feet away.
- Hold out your arms in front of you at an eye level. Make sure that the palms are facing away.
- Bring your hands together to form a V-shaped hole by means of overlapping your fingers.
- Choose an object in front of you and look at the object with both eyes through the hole that you made with your hands.
- While remaining your focused on the object with both eyes opened, close one eye and take note of what happens. Do this for both eyes.
When you closed one eye, the object will likely disappear or will tend to move to one side. Your dominant eye is the one that can keep the object stationary within the window you have created using your hands.
How to Choose the Right Bow
To help you choose the right bow, below is a table to help you determine which bow you need to choose.
What are your archery goals?
Other bow styles permitted
Shoot in the Olympic Games someday
Modern recurve bows
Shoot in the field
Compound bows, Modern recurve bows
Recurve bow, Traditional longbows
Shoot like Robin Hood
Recurve bow, Traditional longbow
Shoot in a roving course with varying terrain
3D archery, Field archery
Traditional longbows, Recurve bows
Shoot targets in animal shapes
3D archery, Field archery
Traditional longbows, Modern recurve bows
Modern recurve bows, Crossbows, Traditional longbows
A bow string is used to join two ends of the bow stave. It is also used to launch the arrow. A good bow string should be lightweight, strong and resistant to abrasion. This section will discuss what you need to know about bow strings.
Forms of Strings
Bow strings come in different forms. Your performance as an archer is also highly affected by the type of bow that you choose. Below are the types of bow strings that you need to know.
- Simple strings
Simple strings are made from any type of fiber that is twisted to form a single cord. To secure a simple string to a bow, tie a knot around and two hitches at both ends of the bow. This type of string is widely used. Although widely used, simple strings tend to be weaker because of their weight. Moreover, they can also come apart if they are not kept constantly under tension.
- Reverse twisted strings
This type of string is traditionally used in North America and Europe. It is made from natural materials like hemp and linen fiber. It is made from separate bundles each twisted in one direction. The result is a stronger string for its weight. This type of string also holds well on its own unlike the simple string. To secure this stitch on the bow, a timber hitch is made.
- Looped strings
Looped strings are made from one or more continuous loops of materials. The disadvantage to this type of string is that it has fewer numbers of fibers at the end thus it can easily wear and tear. This can be easily overcome through serving the string.
Materials Used To Make Strings
While bow strings are made traditionally from linen, hemp and other vegetable fibers, almost all types of fiber can be used to make bow strings. While there are many types of materials that can be used to create bow strings, below are the modern materials preferred because they are not easily affected by the weather.
Dacron is a polyester material preferred for its durability as well as strength. They are easy to maintain and they also last for several years. It works well with wooden as well as older traditional bows. Dacron has high stretch and it causes less shock to the bow which makes it great for handled recurve bows.
- Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene
This material has been used since 1990and they are lighter and faster than Kevlar. However, they also have longer lifespan if maintained properly. The strength per strand of the UHVWP string is 45.5kg and its total stretch is 1%.
- Liquid crystal polymers
Examples of strings made from liquid crystal polymer include Vectran and Kevlar. They have high density but have smaller diameters than the Dacron strings thus they can shoot faster arrow speed. The problem, however, is that it has limited stretch limit and can only take 1,000 shots before breaking.
The arrow is a projectile that is shot using a bow. It is made up of an arrowhead in the front connected to a long shaft. The other end of the shaft comes with fletchings and a nock. The size of the arrows varies from 18 inches to five feet depending on the user. This section will discuss what you need to know about arrows.
Finding the Right Arrow
When choosing the right arrow, it is important that you consider the quality of the arrow shaft. The shaft is basically made from different materials like wood, reed, bamboo, carbon fiber, aluminum and enforced plastic. The main characteristic of a good shaft is its stiffness. It is important for the shaft not to bend when compressed. Aside from the stiffness, how do you look for the right arrows? Below are tips on how to find the right arrows.
· Choose the right arrow weight: The weight of arrows is measured in grains per inch (GPI). If you choose a lighter arrow, the arrow flies faster but flatter. However, such arrows are unable to absorb the energy for proper shooting results. So if you make a faulty release, it can fly anywhere. On the other hand, heavier arrows have more kinetic energy and are forgiving if you make a faulty release.
· Determine what you targeting: It is important that you determine what you are shooting your arrows for. For instance, if you want to hunt big game animals, it is important that you shoot arrows that weigh at least 9 GPI. Heavier arrows retain a lot of energy thus it provides better penetration on the target. On the other hand, if you are shooting for small game like a turkey or rabbit, you can choose an arrow weight 7 to 8 GPI to provide enough kinetic energy but also more speed for hunting fast game.
Types of Arrowhead
The arrowhead is the projectile point that plays a very important role in getting the target. To date, there are many arrowheads that you can choose from. Below are the types of arrowhead that are available today.
Blunt arrowheads are unsharpened and used for target shooting or hunting small games. Since this arrowhead is blunt, it can only stun the live target without penetrating it. Blunts are made from metal but they can also be made from hard rubber.
This arrowhead is small, rigid and has a small cross-section. It is made from unhardened iron thus it cannot penetrate a target. They are commonly used during the 14th century.
Judo points have wires that extend sideways from the tips. The purpose of these wires is to catch on grass as well as other debris so that the arrow is not lost in vegetation. It is used in hunting small game animals.
Broadheads are used in warfare as well as in hunting. They are made from steel with hardened edges. They usually contain two to four blades that can cause massive bleeding to the live target.
Field tips come with distinct shoulder so that they do not get stuck in obstacles. They are preferred by hunters for shooting practice as their have good flight and weight characteristics like broadhead points.
Target points are bullet-shaped arrowheads with a conical point. They are designed to penetrate through target butts without causing too much damage.
Safety arrows are designed to be utilized in combat reenactment in order to reduce the risk when shot on people. They have heads that are padded.
Fletching is located at the back of the arrow. It also serves as an airfoil to provide a small force that stabilizes the flight of the arrow. It is also designed to always keep the arrow pointed to the direction that it needs to travel. They are made conventionally from turkey or goose feathers but there are now plastic fletchings used today. Fletchings need to have precise weight on all sides and it also needs to be accurately set on the arrow shaft in order to fly efficiently.
Nocks are notches found in the rearmost part of the arrow shaft. It keeps the arrow in place on the string as the bow is drawn. They can be slots cut in the back of the arrow or are made from separate pieces of materials.
Archery is a thrilling sport but just like any other sport, it is important that you wear the right protective equipment to enjoy the sport better. Below are the types of protective equipment that you should get to enjoy archery.
A bracer is also called an arm guard and it is basically a strap made from plastic or leather that covers the arm to protect it while shooting. It generally protects the inside of the forearm against any injuries caused by the string or bow. They also prevent the clothing from catching the string. While bracers only cover the forearm, there are not bracers that also come with chest guards designed for female archers.
- Finger tab
Also called the archer tab, the finger tab is a small piece of leather patch that protects the archer’s fingers from getting wounded by the bowstring. It is strapped to the hands but is more comfortable than gloves.
- Thumb ring
Thumb ring is equipment designed to protect the thumb while drawing the bow. It is made from different kinds of materials like horn, stone, leather, metal, ceramic or plastic. This equipment protects the thumb to protect the skin.
Archery is a fun hobby that can improve your concentration and hand-eye coordination. It can also make you more disciplined and patient. This particular sport is not limited to young people and even adults can learn this sport. Let this serve as your guide so that you can become a good archer. There is also another article about basic techniques in archery for your extra learning.