When it comes to finding a new hobby to excel in, dipping your feet into the sports world can be daunting for many. You might not consider yourself athletic enough for the track, strong enough for the field, or tall enough for the court, or perhaps you’re looking for something that’s a little more relaxed and a little less about going as hard or fast as you can. If you want a sport that teaches you how to slow down, how to focus, and how to really master a task, then archery might just be the thing for you. But how do you go about getting started?
Find a decent club
Can you teach yourself how to fire a bow? Of course, you can. But it’s much easier with a little help. Look for archery clubs near you and you will find communities that are able to lend all kinds of pointers, and you can learn a lot just from watching the regulars hang out and try their skills. However, if you want to get to grips all the quicker, then look for those that have good coaches to try and get some archery lessons. If they have competed on a regional, national, or international level, then they’re more than qualified to teach you the basics, at the very least.
Know the basics
Many of the basics that you need to learn can be ingrained in your mind with the help of some archery lessons or by a coach at your local club. However, it does help you absorb them more easily if you do your own reading on archery tips for beginners. Archery might sound as easy as pointing and shooting but learning about fundamentals like the right bow handle grip, finding the anchor point, and following through with shots can help you practice. A lot of people struggle with even getting a foothold of being able to fire consistently, and its often because they don’t know these basic principles.
Gear up right
At the very beginning, you should consider renting your equipment at first from the club. This fee is usually quite small and can help you get a grip on the sport before you know whether or not its for you. If you, like many others, find yourself falling in love with archery, it’s worth making the investment for high-end gear that allows for a more consistent performance. The bow is most important, as a good starter compound bow will pull at a lighter poundage with less effort. Sizing the bow right is important as well. You need to consider some accessories, too, such as an arm guard, gloves, finger tabs and an arrow rest (if your bow doesn’t have one), for instance. These aren’t essential but can be helpful. If you need any help finding the right gear, don’t hesitate to ask the more experienced archers at the club.
Archery, on the surface, may look like a less demanding sport than most, but thinking that is an easy way to find yourself tiring out and over-exercising your arms, putting you at more risk of injury. Physical strength is not the most important factor in archery success but. if you intend to keep improving, then you should work on improving your physical strength and endurance. Increasing the power in your upper body and arms will help you gain more control over your shot and becomes more important if you intend on competing. If you hate going to the gym, a love of archery can be the perfect motivation to get into the habit.
Focus your mind
It might all sound a little “wax on, wax off”, but you will be surprised by just how slow your progress is if you’re not able to shut down the distraction in your own head and to focus on nothing else but the shot. Success in archery is, in great part, down to your ability to visualize your hitting the target, and to maintain your focus from when you first start drawing to when your arrow finds its mark. If you have trouble keeping your attention on one thing for too long, you should take up meditation or other focus improving exercises. They can make a real difference.
Be patient with yourself
It doesn’t take too long to learn how to shoot a bow and you should have a decent grip of the basics after a few sessions, with the help of a coach. This will help you reach the center of the target from a beginner’s distance, but most people can do that. If you intend to keep improving, to be able to fire consistently, at a competitive level, at harder targets and greater distances, you need to practice. You’re not going to master it overnight, but hopefully you will have learned the love of archery that can keep you going. You need to put in the hours of effort, of practice, and of thinking on where you went wrong is the best way to ensure you keep progressing.
Track your progress
If you want an even better way of ensuring your improvement, then nothing works better than actually taking the time to measure and monitor your own progress. There are archery progress apps that can help with that, but you can just as easily jot it down on a notepad. Keep an eye on arrows shot, targets successfully hit, your score, shooting conditions, what changes you’ve made to your form, and so on. If you get stuck and can’t improve any more, this gives you perfect notes to compare with others at the club or even in online archery forums, and to get advice that you can use to further enhance your shooting.
With the tips above, you should be able to find the beginning of the path to mastery. Of course, it’s not all that easy. But regardless of how far you progress, archery’s a great sport for letting off some steam, clearing your mind, and finding a community.