Archery, in one form or another, has been around for somewhere between 10,000 – 40,000 years (probably longer). The bow and arrow was first used for hunting and was later used as an effective long distance weapon in warfare. Archery was an important military and hunting skill before the development of firearms. Archery also figured prominently in mythology of many cultures and fiction e.g. Robin Hood, Cupid, Legolas and Green Arrow.
Today archery is still used as a tool for hunting but also enjoys recognition worldwide as a team and individual sport.
You may not end up with the prowess of the Green Arrow, but learning how to handle a bow and arrow will provide you with many physical benefits. Archery is physically demanding yet, can still be undertaken by those with disabilities as well as able-bodied persons. Even individuals who use wheelchairs for mobility can participate in archery. Finally, archery can be enjoyed by children and seniors alike.
Health and fitness benefits of archery
Develops upper body strength – Holding a bow and pulling an arrow takes both practice and physical strength. Archery will give you a superior upper body strength and tone.
Improves flexibility of hands and fingers – Holding the bow, picking up, fitting and releasing the arrow are all activities that strengthen and improve the flexibility of the hands, wrists and fingers.
Boosts hand-eye coordination skills – The object of archery is to shoot a projectile at a target, which naturally aids in the development of hand-eye coordination skills.
Improves mental strength and concentration - Successful archers know how to free their mind from everyday distractions and focus on the target, which makes archery a beneficial mind exercise. Archery also takes some time and practice to master so it improves patience.
Other Benefits of Archery
Archery can be a relatively inexpensive sport if you just want to participate for fun. However, if you want to compete, then the price can jump, and requires a lot of your time as well as dedication.
Archery improves patience - Archery is particularly useful for youngsters as it teaches them the benefits of patience.
Archery is an indoor and outdoor sport - Archery can be practiced both indoors and outdoors with many clubs having access to indoor facilities over the winter season.
Archery teaches the importance of safety - The sport can be extremely dangerous if people are reckless. Archery teaches everyone to be responsible for one another and also for the equipment they are using.
Archery equipment has improved in its technology, but the sport remains essentially unchanged. Modern bows are made of a combination of wood, coated with carbon fiber, fiberglass or ceramic. Archery bows come in different draw weights, so you can find one that is suited to your strength and fitness level although, with practice, you may be able to use a heavier draw weight. The arrows consist of a carbon or aluminum shaft with a steel head, and can at speeds of around 149mph.
Today, archery is classified into two areas: target and field. Target archery requires archers to shoot specific number of arrows at set targets that have established values. The outer ring counts as one point and each successive ring increases by one point in value as they near the 10-point center bulls-eye. Target archery is also an Olympic Sport.
Field archery includes an open-field target range where archers shoot different arrows at different targets or different distances around a course. This simulates the type of shooting experienced while hunting. Competitive archers will walk five miles during a full day event while pulling a heavy load.
It may not be a traditional sport, but archery is a lost art.
Updated April 9, 2013