If you are a total beginner, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING! The absolute best course of action is to turn up at our facility and get a couple of lessons under your belt and try the three differing styles of archery before settling on a style that is most appealing to you. After the lessons you will have had a go at the longbow, the recurve and the compound bow. The following is useful information about getting involved with archery and dependant upon the style selected this guide will assist you to finding the best society and club for you.
Target archery as seen at the Olympics is governed by the International Archery Federation (FITA – Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc). International Olympic Committee recognise FITA as the governing body for all archery. 142 nations are represented by FITA archery governing bodies.
Target archery is the most popular form of archery in which archers shoot at a non moving round targets at varying distances. All types of bows can be used, Longbow, recurve and compound, in the UK. Imperial rounds are still used in the Uk which have slightly differing rules to the metric rounds, which are used internationally. Archers are divided up into seniors and juniors where juniors are under 18.
Numerous outdoor and indoor events are held throughout the UK and are an important part of competitive target archery. However for the not so competitive archer who uses the sport for recreation, many clubs exists where you can shoot arrows with friends, family or colleagues. At Black Cat Archery, you are not limited to club times however our site is open on Saturdays and Sundays and during the long summer evenings on Wednesday after 5pm. Other times are available by specific club arrangements.
Sport archery can be enjoyed by all members of society and especially for those with disabilities. Unlike many sports, little compromise is required for a disabled person to fully enjoy archery. It is quite common for disabled archers to be shooting alongside their able bodied counterparts in the same tournament on the same shooting line.
Field archery is an all year round outdoor sport. It is a variety of the sport that brings people out into the country where an appreciation for the countryside grows.
Target can vary widely in size from a small bird to a huge dinosaur and the targets are placed in the open or in woodland at various distances from the shooting line. Targets can be 3D foam representation or flat 2D pictures. The ground is not prepared and is often not flat. The shoot difficulty is presented to the archer when the shot has to navigate through small opening in the wood. Shooting up or down hill is common practice. Often these targets are set out in a course of up to 40 targets, (usually 36). This type of shooting tests the archers skill mentally and also physically.
Field archery also includes more traditional activities including clout shooting and distance shooting. Variety of the sport is best expressed in a field shooting club or centre
It is Illegal to hunt in the UK with a Bow or Crossbow
Here we are going through the basics of shooting an arrow off the bow consistently, my theory is to remove as many variables from your shooting technique as possible:
Most important is the stance, it needs to be defined and consistent in its use. An archer needs to stand perpendicular to the target with you feet straddling the shooting line at about a shoulder width apart. Body weight should be over the balls of the feet. Stand upright and keep your back straight. Stay relaxed as your body will need to absorb the shock of the loose. The back foot needs to be parallel to the shooting line and the front foot should be from parallel to slightly pointing towards the target. Be comfortable with you foot position and remember that you will need to replicate this stance consistently. Some would call this a T stance. The H stance is where the feet are parallel to each other, the T stance is where the front foot is pointing to the target. The ideal stance is that which is comfortable to you between the H and the T stance.
Nocking the arrow is the process of placing the arrow on the arrow rest and arrow nock onto the bowstring. The Cock feather or the index feather points away from the bow. The arrow nock should snap onto the bowstring and should rest on the appropriate side of the nocking point on the bowstring. Nocking points can be place so that the arrow nock sits either above or below the nocking point. This is down to the preference of the archer, but always be consistent with you choice.
There are a few ways of doing the pre-draw and they are dependent upon the style and the specific activity. Ensure that the tab and fingers are placed correctly and consistently on the bowstring. If a released aid is being used ensure that the trigger is set and it is attached to the bow, again ensure you are consistent with this. The draw hand or the release aid is held as the pre-draw takes place. For target shooting, raise the bow towards the target and lock your bow arm into position and turn your elbow out. Field shooting it may be better to lift you bow towards the sky and bring it down to point at the target. For heavy poundage bows and distance shooting the bow may be pointing down at the beginning of the draw and lifted towards the target or at 47 degrees into the air at the same time as the draw.
Again there are differences that are dependent upon style and activity. For target shooting, push with the shoulder of your bow arm and pull with the should of the drawing arm and draw the bow until the string touches your nose and lips. For traditional styles the bow is drawn to the ear and therefore has to pass the side of the face. For distance shooting where the bow is at 47 degrees, the drawing arm will tend to be lower than the drawing arms shoulder. This will be a technique that will need practise.
The anchor is the final stage of the draw and should be a smooth flowing, seamless motion continuing on from the draw itself. Achoring is where your drawing hand comes to rest against your face before aiming and release. For target archery the anchor point is usually the chin or the cheek. For traditional archers the anchor point will be typically at the back of the jaw bone.
Aiming requires concentration on the bow sight and target. If there is no bow sight aiming is usually based on lining up features from your bow or arrow against the target. Traditional archers will tend to shoot instinctively and do not aim at all. This is something that takes time to develop and to become comfortable with, however accuracy is not guaranteed at all with instinctive shooting.
The release or loose is controlled by the drawing hand. There are release aides which are designed to provide consistent release of the bowstring and thus provide a consistent release from the bow and therefore a consistent flight of the arrow. If only glove or tab is used then the archer will tighten their back muscles before the moment of release. The drawing hand relaxes and and the string escapes from the hand. With release aides the appropriate finger will press onto the release button to loose the arrow. Release aides are either hand of wrist grips and by their very nature will ensure a smooth release.
For target archery the follow through is the motion of the drawing hand passing the base of the neck and also allowing the bow to move forward in the bow hand. Traditional archery will demand that the drawing hand move backward past the shoulder and the grip on the bow is held firm. I would always maintain the same grip on my bow from the first to the last arrow shot in a set. Distance shooter appear to push the bow forward at the point of release to try to obtain maximum efficiency from the cast of the arrow.
Archery is a sport born out of one the most effective killing devices created by man. In a recent league of most deadly weapons, man himself topped the the list followed by the Kalashnikov AK47 automatic rifle and in third place came the bow and arrow.
There will be a few paragraphs on the subject of safety:
Archery must always be properly organised with a competent person in charge at all times. The safety rules and commands are designed to try and ensure safe shooting takes place, but the rules are basically common sense.
At all times at the beginning of a shoot checks should be made for long hair, jewellery (specifically facial and body piercing), baggy clothing and anything else that can be tangled in the equipment, thereafter the safety rules apply.
Is behind the waiting area line. This area is designated as an area for archer to be safe and also sufficiently away from the shooting line as to not distract the archer about to shoot.
Is the hazardous area that is only entered with permission and with clear acknowledgement from fellow archers who are using the range.
Wait for Instruction
Where the range is managed by a range or field captain, archers must follows the captain’s instructions.
Manage your equipment
Only handle your equipment when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Never have your arrow on the string until you are ready to shoot on the shooting line.
Recognised in all archery related activities as a stop ALL activity command.
Only draw a bow on the shooting line – no where else, and only in the direction of the target
Quiet behind the shooting line
Never shout or talk loudly to anyone who is on the shooting or the waiting area.
Respect equipment and each other, prodding or pointing arrows or bow limbs could cause serious injury.
Only go forward with the express permission of the range or field captain.