Whether you are a serious competition target archer, extreme bow hunter, or a weekend recreational warrior in archery, there is one tool that will not only help you shoot you best but give you the instant feedback regardless of the distance you shoot. Optics.
I have just been visiting the Scottish town of Glasgow where I stayed with some friends. While I was there I was also aware of the Commonwealth Archery Championships taking place in Edinburgh. I hadn’t been able to bring my archery equipment with me and I had to miss a spot of shooting and so I decided to take the time to learn about the archery that goes on in Scotland. Now when it comes to the archers of Great Britain the most famous archer that springs to mind is Robin Hood, an outlaw with a bow who lived in hiding in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. But what about the Celtic nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? Have they got any famous archers that have any significance in the history of archery in the British Isles?
Archery provides a recreational pursuit, a healthy fitness routine and provides a Zen for the wellbeing of the mind and soul. Of course archery gets you outdoors as well and that is a great thing to start with. As soon as you get outdoors with a bow and arrow it gets you moving. You find strength and as you get better at it, it boost your self-esteem. It can also help many people like me battle the effects of my mental health problems
It’s a beautiful spring day and you just arrived at your favorite outdoor shooting place. The sky is blue, no wind, perfect temperature, grass is green, and the target seems amazingly colorful today. As you draw your bow back you feel confident and assured that today will be great shots. As the arrow is released you feel relaxed and know it was a great shot. Thud! The arrows hits the target and it is not exactly what you expected. You draw back and shoot again. Thud! Arrow hit the X. As the day goes on your shots overall are good, but you just can’t explain the strange flyers that happen and your groups could be a little tighter.
When you get your gear ready to go out and practice archery you need to gather all your equipment and pack neatly in an appropriate case. A recurve bow is collapsible so you can take it down and pack it into a small backpack about 30 inches tall. A compound bow can’t be taken down in the same way and it’s bare form is too big for a conventional backpack or a case. Other bow users like longbows and crossbows require special cases to carry their gear and so the world of archery manufacturers like Legend Archery build cases designed for specific types of bow.
Recently I started to update a set of clothes that I could wear as an archer for an outdoor competition. It’s hard to define a set standard for archery wear as an athlete because there is too few choices of clothing items that make it distinct from the other sports. Tennis players are famous for their polyester jerseys, tank tops and shorts, as well as their bouncy shoes. Football soccer players have their shirts, shorts and long socks as well as their boots. Both of these sports are of a physically demanding type where the athletes need to run about and work up a sweat. Some forms of archery like target archery and field archery don’t require much moving around, especially as they need to be careful not to hurt anyone with their bows and arrows in a sport. So what would you be expected to wear in a sport that requires so little physical movements yet needs to be adequate for performing that routine?
Shopping for the tools for a new hobby or a sport like archery is an investment that needs careful consideration for costs and use. We all get attracted to the fancy material wealth out there but only some of us can afford that luxury at all. However that doesn’t mean that we can’t afford to take up archery. A typical Olympic bow and arrows plus all the accessories like quivers, armguards and sights run up to around £1200. That is a good price to pay for a gold medal at the Olympics or the world championship competitions but the average person wouldn’t and shouldn’t have to pay that much upfront for all those basic essentials. When I took up archery and looked for my own bow and arrow I went in search of a decent beginner’s model. To that end I set a target of spending no more than £300, which is just about the same as a typical home computer. Was there such a reasonably priced bow and arrow out there? Well as it turns out there was.
I remember walking down the Las Vegas strip in 1991 with my luggage and my heavy bow case. Struggling with the bow case and dealing with luggage that had the worst design of moving wheels since caveman invented it. It was not fun to say the least but it was normal for most archers. In the same year I traveled the globe and had the same complaints and frustrations about carrying my stuff to and from places. Eventually I would just set up my bow, sling my quiver around my shoulder, and walk to the event with everything ready to go. Needless to say a recurve takes up space when together and things always got bumped. These were trying times.
Now that we have covered the behaviour of motion from some classical scientists dating back 2000 years I think it’s time we took a look at the way arrows move the way they do. Arrows are a graceful and elegant form of ammunition, they have a beautiful design that matches the bow and the two of them work together for the archer’s style and consistency. Arrows fly through the air just like any other flying machine however unlike aeroplanes they don’t have wings to lift them into the air. Their ability to fly through the air comes from the tensile strength of the bowstring.
Archery is a sport that is good for the mind and the body which benefits me greatly for my health and wellbeing. But it’s also got something for me in other ways. One of the reasons why I choose archery over many of the other Olympic sports is because it is also a combination of physics and craftsmanship. I am a science geek as a well a sportsman and I have a broad range of interests in science which includes physics and engineering. At the time I took up archery after the 2012 Olympics I was studying for a degree in physics at the Open University. One of the topics I covered was classical mechanics which includes the physics of the mechanism of the bow and arrow and I spent some time examining the science of archery. For this post I have decided to combine my love of science and my love of archery to show that archery is a prime example of brains and brawn working together in harmony. This should set the stigma aside that geeks like me are not cut out for sports.