21 September 2023
Archery is a historical activity dating back thousands of years, once used for basic human survival in warfare and hunting for food.
Archery has become a specialist recreational and competitive sporting activity, appearing regularly in the Summer Olympics since 1900.
There are many options to try out archery which don’t require you to buy your own equipment, but if your child wants to continue with the sport, they will need to get their own kit.
Bows comprise 3 main parts: the riser, the limbs, and the bowstring.
The Riser is the centre of the bow, often made of wood. It holds the arrow rest, sight window, and grip. This part of the bow changes depending on your dominant hand, so be sure of your left or right-handed preference.
The Limbs are attached to the riser at each end, connecting the bowstrings via the spring nocks. The limbs flex and provide the force that propels the arrow forward.
The Bowstring holds the arrow and creates the energy that shoots the arrow. It has a loop at each end, held in place by the spring nocks on the riser.
There are many sorts of Bows, so it’s worth your child attending a taster session at a local club. They can try out the different Bows and other archery equipment before buying.
These are some of the main Bow types that your child will see.
This is the original bow, simple in design and made of just two pieces: the bow and the bowstring. Used for hunting and war for many centuries, the Longbow is considered one of the most challenging to use.
The Recurve Bow was originally used for hunting. In modern times, it’s considered suitable for a beginner, but take care, as it’s notable for a particularly powerful shot.
The Recurve Bow is the only bow currently used in the Olympics.
The Compound Bow is a challenging modern bow with rapid-fire capability enhanced by a levering system and detailed cable and pulley system.
The archer needs a strong upper body to draw back and shoot an arrow, making this less suitable for beginners.
Bear in mind that bowstrings eventually become dry and brittle and need replacing.
The enormous range of arrows is quite baffling to the beginner. Seek proper advice before buying, but as a very quick guide, consider the following;
● Your child’s ability.
● The bow your child is using.
Your child’s ability will affect their choice of bow and the type of arrows used.
A Compound Bow, for example, will need a stiffer arrow with less flex than a Traditional Bow. A good match will determine the arrow's accuracy and how far it will travel once fired. The stiffness and flex of the arrow is known as its spine.
The size and weight of the arrow will also affect its performance. A particularly long arrow will need to be stiffer than a shorter arrow to achieve the same target, as will the point's weight at the end of the arrow affect its flight.
All these considerations will, in turn, have a bearing on the materials used to manufacture the arrow in the first place.
Oh, and don’t forget the quiver to hold the extra arrows!
Safety is of utmost importance. Remember, a bow and arrow was initially intended as a weapon and can be extremely dangerous.
Consider the following protective kit for your child.
● A bracer is a sleeve of strong leather or fabric worn over the forearm to protect it from injury while shooting.
● Chest guards protect the front of the body and vulnerable internal organs from the powerful kickback from shooting a bow. It also keeps clothes safely tucked against the body to prevent interference with a shot.
● Finger tabs protect fingers against repetitive strain injury caused by drawing back the bowstring before shooting the arrow. Some archers wear gloves instead.
● Thumb rings, like the finger tabs, protect against repetitive strain injury to your thumbs.
Although the initial outlay may seem daunting, once purchased, the kit will only need basic maintenance, rewarding your child with many years of archery fun.