Before we had guns and bullets we had bows and arrows. A super lethal, ranged weapon system that ruled the pre-gunpowder battlefield. A unit of well trained archers could be the deciding factor in any given conflict. The only trouble is that being a good archer took lots of practice and not just anyone could do it. So for everyone trying to learn, this is the SBS Guide to Archery.
Archery seems to be all the rage in Hollywood. You have Robin Hood. The girl from Brave. Katniss from The Hunger Games, Legolas from The Lord of the Rings, Hawkeye from The Avengers, Matt Damon in that Great Wall movie, and who could forget Rambo or Arnold at the end of Predator. And a honorable mention to Daryl and his crossbow from the hit series The Walking Dead but crossbows aren’t really the same thing.
In terms of archery credentials, I’m no Gina Davis but I know a thing or two. My super weird private school upbringing had archery as an elective. I’m as shocked as you are. Why would they arm the students? Either way, I learned the basics at an early age and was lighting up hay bale targets in no time.
First, you are going to need some gear. Bow, arrows, wrist guard, targets and somewhere reasonable to set up and shoot. The length of both the bows and arrows should be based on your own height and reach. Someone else’s rig is not necessarily going to fit you correctly. I don’t want to get too technical here so I won’t. But there are plenty of resources online and in-store that help you get the right equipment.
The stance is everything. Learning proper technique at the beginning of your archery journey is critical to shooting consistently. Think about it like making a free throw in basketball. You want to do the same routine every time. Feet shoulder width apart, stay relaxed and follow through.
The last piece of advice on the issue of form, is that your draw (the act of pulling back the bow string) should be more of a twist that engages your core and not a tug with your arm only. Next, you don’t aim until you have drawn, set the arrow and gotten your eye on the sight. Once it lines up, clean release and touch down! You wait ’till the end because your adjustments are going to throw you off. Make as few motions as possible. Be zen about it.
Last tip, all arrows have an odd colored fletching (the wings on the end and odd colored like two green, one blue) and that odd color should face you when set the arrow on the bow. So the the two other fletchings (AKA flights/feathers) won’t hit the string as it takes off.
Follow these simple guidelines and you will be center-punching targets like a champ. Just please don’t shoot your little brother in the eye or play that insane William Tell game.
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