Archery is a unique sport involving arrows with a bow and it has a great history. It has been here since the beginning of mankind’s history as a way of hunting and nowadays, it’s a popular hobby. In this article, we are going to talk about everything to know about archery from its history to tips on how to start archery.
History of Archery
Since the beginning of mankind’s history, starting from prehistoric times, arrows and bow were used as a weapon, especially in hunting. Ancient Egyptians are the earliest people known who used bows. Greeks are the ones who follow them right away. If you look at Greek mythology, a lot of Greek heroes, and also the goddess of wild things, Artemis used bows as their primal weapon. However, the usage of arrows and bows wasn’t limited to hunting and military. Egyptians and Greeks also practiced archery as a hobby.
In Asia; Mongols, the Huns, and Seljuq Turks were popular with their nomadic horse archers and they dominated Asia for approximately 20 years thanks to their amazing archery skills. Also, after the Hundred Years’ War which happened between 1337 and 1453, the crossbow became a very popular weapon all around Europe. Later the bow was replaced by guns as a principal weapon in the 16th and at the end of the century, the bow and arrows were almost abandoned.
After the abandonment of the bow as a weapon, archery became a popular sport in England among the royal families. At the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century, English archery societies were found. With those societies’ activities, archery became a modern sport and it still continues today.
Archery was featured in mythology and folklore and still can be seen in today’s popular culture. For example, Robin Hood which is a popular folklore hero used his bow and arrows to bring justice. On the other hand, the archery featured in The Lord of the Rings is a great example of archery in popular culture.
What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Archery?
When you are learning everything to know about archery, you should start with basic information every beginner needs to know.
First of all, the main pieces of equipment of archery are bow and arrows, as you know. However, you should know that in archery, like in every other sport, there is a lot of equipment and accessories. For the most basic example, there are many different types of bows and arrows and you should know which one is best for a beginner or when you can start using other bows. Of course, the bow is your main and most important equipment when you practice archery but you should also take some safety precautions, especially in the beginning to not to get harmed.
We recommend you to start archery by finding a good course because, in the beginning, it is not a sport you can learn it by yourself and you shouldn’t learn it by yourself because it can be dangerous and complex. Don’t forget that you should begin with very basics of archery and your first step won’t even be “how to hold a bow”. Instead, you will start with lessons on equipment and safety rules.
The most essential thing for you to know before starting archery is that it will take some time. So you should be patient. Don’t give up even though you miss the target for the 100th time, know that it’s totally normal. Don’t go too hard on yourself and always remember that practice makes everything better.
What Skills Do You Need for Archery?
Every sport requires some significant skills when you think about it. Since archery is a sport that you try to aim and shoot a target in a long-distance, you need some skills to be good at it. Of course, you can learn how to aim a target and shoot it, especially if you are learning from a good coach but there are some abilities you need to work on if you begin to archery.
The most important skill you need for archery is concentration. In archery, there is always pressure on you since you should hit a target and it is mainly what makes archery a challenge. You need to avoid all of the thoughts that are going on your mind, focus on your target, and only think about shooting it. Of course, this process needs a lot of concentration. If you don’t have enough, there is a high chance that you will miss your target. So, if you want to be good at archery, you need to learn how to keep your concentration.
The other important skill is judging. Archery is a sport in which you should shoot the target and those targets won’t be at the same distance always. The distance will always change and even sometimes the target will move. In this situation, you need judging skills to figure out how you should aim to choose the target according to the distance of it.
As you improve these two main skills, there is no doubt that you will be good at archery. Of course, having these skills doesn’t mean that you can learn archery overnight but you can be sure that it will make everything easier.
The bow will be your best friend on this journey. If you want to learn everything to know about archery, you should start by learning your bow, how it works, and which bow is best for you.
Archery is a very old sport so bows have evolved throughout history just like the sport itself. There are four main types of bow today. Let’s get to know them in detail.
1. Recurve Bow
In the past, recurve bows were used by horseman but nowadays, the modern versions of it are used in Olympic events. Recurve bow took its name from its shape.
The limbs’ central parts curve toward the archer while the tips of it curve away. This shape doesn’t only give the bow more power but it also helps the archer because you need less strength to control it.
2. Compound Bow
Compounds bows are the most modern type of archery bows even though they were invented in the 1960s.
Actually, the archer needs a lot of strength while drawing the bow but the bow’s innovative system helps the archer hold the draw weight longer. Thanks to this system, the archer doesn’t feel any pain in his muscles and can easily concentrate. However, the compounds bows are very complex so they are not recommended to the beginners.
Longbows, which are also called traditional bows or medieval bows, were the primal weapon that was used in battles until the 16th before guns became popular.
The most characteristic feature of these bows is their simplicity. They were made with a long, curved piece of wood but its uniqueness is not limited to this. These bows are in the same height as the archer. This makes the longbow is hard to control, so it requires a lot of practice and patience to be good at it.
Crossbows, which are originated in China in 600 BC, are very different from other bows because of their shape. They have a short bow positioned horizontally.
Back in history, crossbows were popular weapons of the battlefield but today they are largely used for hunting.
What is The Best Archery Bow for a Beginner?
On our guide to everything to know about archery, you already learned about bows which are the main equipment of archery. But among the four major types of bows, which one was designated for beginners?
The answer is the recurve bow and it has many reasons. The biggest reason is, they are easy to handle. You don’t need to be so strong to draw it, so without wasting any time to balance your muscle power, you can easily aim the target. It is also allowed in every archery discipline whether it’s target, 3D, or field.
The other reason why recurve bow is the best for beginners is, it’s cheap. It will definitely cost you less than any other bows because recurve bows are very popular since they are also used in the Olympic games. Thanks to its popularity, you can even find a second-hand bow. The price and availability of a bow are very important especially if you are a beginner because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a sport you are new and don’t have any idea if it’s the right sport for you.
Tips on How to Start Archery
Before you are finished learning everything to know about archery, you are going to learn some tips on how to start it. You are lucky that we are here to help you. So, let’s jump right in.
First of all, you shouldn’t expect to learn everything about archery over-night. It is a sport that needs a lot of practice to master on it. On this journey, you should start with baby steps like how to hold a bow, where you should place your fingers, how to aim, how to draw, how to shoot an arrow, etc. If you don’t practice these basics enough, you shouldn’t skip the next steps because everything would be in vain.
Last but not least, good teachers raise good students. As a beginner, don’t try to learn archery at home by yourself. It’s not only dangerous but also, it will make everything harder for you so there is a high chance that you may give up. If you find a good course with a good archery teacher who will teach you all the basics and guide you, your job will be easier. The only thing you need to be is patient.
Safety Tips and Things to Know
Like in every sport, archery has its dangerous sides. Don’t forget that you are practicing with a bow that was once used as a weapon on the battlefield to actually hurt people. So, you can hurt yourself and the people around you if you don’t follow these safety tips.
First of all, even if it’s a joke, don’t point your bow to anyone. It doesn’t matter if there are no arrows drawn. For a beginner, it’s not that easy to control the bow. You don’t want to hurt anyone.
Before shooting, you should be sure that all of your equipment is working perfectly fine and there is no damage. Otherwise, the bow can act in a way you don’t expect to and you can hurt yourself or others. Also, be sure that the range is clear and after you shoot the arrow, it won’t hit anyone instead of the target.
If you are working with a group, you should shoot the same direction as the other people. Otherwise, one of you can get hurt and you don’t want that. Plus, don’t leave where you stand until other archers finish their shoot.
Archery is a fun and cool sport, indeed. However, with some basic mistakes, it can be very dangerous. Make sure that you follow safety precautions and don’t hurt yourself or other people around you.
Nazlıcan Ay is a freelance writer for hire who creates original content for websites and blogs. She studies American Studies at university. When she is not working, she is reading poems and her biggest dream is to run her own boutique hotel one day.