Archery is the skill or practice of using bows to propel arrows. The word archery comes from a Latin word arcus. Historically, archery was used for combat and hunting. Today it is mainly a recreational activity and a competitive sport. The pinnacle of competitive archery is represented by Olympic archery. Someone who is an expert or fond of archery is usually known as a Toxophilite.
Archery clubs are reasonably prevalent and most of them welcome new archers with open hands. Archery is a great sport even for families and you can take everyone in your family from your grandma to your 6 year old. It is also an amazing sport for those with disabilities (they usually compete against other able bodied competitors in tournaments). A club membership usually costs around $50 annually depending on the location and size of the club. You can also participate in archery throughout the year as most clubs usually move indoors during winter. The indoor sessions usually run from October to around March, when you can easily shoot in sports halls, church halls and so on.
Most clubs require beginners to have some little tuition before allowing you to shoot the arrows on your own. Beginners normally start with targets that are about 10-15 yard away and then the distance will be increased gradually as you improve your skills. You can become proficient in archery after about six to eight weeks of training.
Qualification To Olympics
All qualification spots in archery are usually allocated to National committees rather than the individual athletes. There are four main ways for National Olympic Committees to earn spots in Olympic archery. No national committee is allowed to field more than 3 archers of either gender. The host nation is usually guaranteed 3 spots for each gender. The most recent World Target Competition top 8 teams receive 3 spots each and the top 19 archers after the team qualifiers also get spots to represent their countries. Then 15 of the 18 remaining slots are divided among the 5 main Olympic continents for continental spots. The remaining 3 slots are normally determined by the Tripartite Commission Invitation.
Each National Olympic Committee that gets 3 spots for individual archers like the host nation and the top 8 ranked teams and any other country that takes 3 out of the remaining 37 spots can compete as a united team in the team competition category. The minimum age required for any Olympic archer is at least 16 years.
Competition at Modern Olympic archery mainly consists of 4 main events, men’s team, women’s team, women’s individual team and men’s individual team. In all the events the distance between the target and the archer is usually 70 meters. Individual tournaments normally consists of 64 archers. The competition starts with ranking. Each athlete shoots around 72 arrows (in 6 groups, or ends of 12 arrows).After that, the archers are then ranked by their score to establish their score for the elimination bracket. Then the final rankings are determined by the score each archer got in the round that they were defeated, with every archer that was defeated in the first round ranked through 33rd to 64th.The round usually pits the 1st ranked athlete against the 64th,the 63rd against the 2nd and so on. The athlete with highest score after 18 arrows proceeds to the next round while the loser is eliminated from the completion.
After 3 such rounds, there will only be 8 archers left in the competition. The remaining rounds are the quarters, semis and medal matches, which are referred to as the main finals. They normally consist of every archer shooting around 12 arrows in ends of 3 arrows. Here the two competing archers alternate by arrow instead of shooting simultaneously like in the initial 3 rounds. The losers in the quarterfinals are eliminated from the competition while loses in the semis fight it off to determine the fourth place and the bronze medalist. The winner between the two undefeated archers takes the gold medal while the loser gets the silver medal.
When you are first starting out, archery clubs will usually provide trainees with the required equipment so at first you will not need any but over time you will need to buy your own equipment. Wear stable shoes like golf shoes or good runners. Do not wear any type of heels that could unbalance or inconvenience you.
Other equipment includes:
Archery armguard – A guard that protects the arm from the bowstring
Bow -Most competition bows have a draw weight of about 50 pounds for men and around 40 pounds for women. In Olympic competition the only bows permitted are recurve bows. The recurve bow has 4 main parts; 2 limbs, the riser and the string, recurve bows are sometimes referred to as takedown bows as they can be taken apart for easy storage. Examples of commonly used recurve bows include: Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow, Bear Grizzly Recurve Bow and the PSE Mustang Recurve Bow.
Compound bows may be used in National competitions, however they are not permitted in Olympic competition. The compound bow is a bit different from the recurve bow and it cannot be taken apart for storage. Examples include: Genesis Bow, Infinite Edge Bow, PSE Stinger and the Bear Archery Youth Bow.
Chest-guard-It is either leather or plastic used to keep out the archer’s clothing from the way and for protecting against other body injuries.
Shooting glove or Finger tab-This is a flat piece of leather usually worn to protect the fingers when an archer releases the arrow.
Quiver-This is a container used for holding the arrows and is normally worn around the waist.
Sight-This is a device that is usually placed on the bow to aid the athlete aim correctly, it is also called bows light
Stabilizer-This is a small weight usually mounted on top of the bow to stabilize it after or during a shot.
For more information on getting started in archery, click here.
For information on junior compound bows, click here to read my review of the best beginners compound bows