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Archery sports

6/22/2006

Millions of people enjoy archery each year. Surveys from the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association suggest that a total of about 9 million people shoot archery in the U.S. annually. This includes recreational target archery and bowhunting.

Most other countries boast of popular archery programs as well. Learning to safely shoot a bow and arrow takes only a few minutes. With proper instruction, and a little determination, you can hit the center of an archery target from 10-60 feet away within a few tries.

However, archery can be a very exacting sport to master arrow after arrow, especially if you want to win world competitions or Olympic medals. Top competition archers often train for years in order to excel.

There are 3 basic steps to get started in archery: Having a safe place to shoot; having safe archery equipment that is properly sized for you; having someone who is qualified to teach you.

For more information go to www.archerysearch.com. The site is able to help you find proper archery equipment, locate a retailer near you, and determine whether retailers offer a shooting range and/or instruction.

When you contact a retailer, let them know what kind of archery interests you. For example, you might want to learn to shoot at targets or learn specifically about bowhunting.

You don't have to be strong to shoot a bow — bows can be adjusted to nearly any weight.

There are very strong pulling bows that are used for long distance competition or bowhunting, and very gentle pulling bows that are made for beginning archers. A beginning recurve bow (a bow that looks like the kind they use in the Olympics) can be as little 10-15 pounds of pull.

Some of the lighter weight compound bows (the type with the wheels and pulleys) can be as little as 10-20 pounds of pull. To start, it's only important to have a bow that is easy to pull back and that will get the arrow to the target. Here is some information and facts to get you started.

Cost

Archery is no more expensive than many other sports. Many archery outlets allow you to rent equipment, and if you want to buy equipment, you can buy a new beginner recurve bow for about $125 or less. Beginner compound bows can often be purchased for under $200.

Inexpensive starter arrows, a quiver, an armguard and a finger tab are about all you need to get started in the sport. Other accessories can be purchased once you have narrowed down the style of archery you want to shoot. Used equipment can be purchased for less, but it must be matched with your physical size and ability and be in good condition.

Equipment

There are two main types of bows that are used. The Recurve and Compound. Both bows have many of the same parts, even though they look and function differently.

The target

An archery target is typically printed as a series of circles. Each circle, or scoring ring, is valued as a particular score amount. Here are two examples of targets that have scoring rings. The first target is typical of what you might find at a target range like in the Olympics. The second target is typical of what you might find in a field range (where the targets are set up in a roving path).

A third type of target is a 3-dimentional foam animal-shaped target for 3- D Shooting Depending on the manufacturer, these targets have scoring rings molded into one side approximately where the heart and lungs would be if the target were a real animal.

Types of archery sports

There are many kinds of archery sports available. Even with all the variations, they can be reduced to three different styles — target shooting at flat targets, target shooting at 3-dimentional foam animal-shaped targets, and bowhunting.

Within these three kinds of archery are a host of variations based upon the type of equipment and/or target that's allowed for that particular tournament.

Bows can range from simple stick bows made the traditional way of shaving and shaping by hand, to hi-tech engineered compound bows with unlimited accessories attached to it.

Targets can range from simple paper targets fixed to a bale of hay, to 52" round foam targets that are shot at over 100 yards away.

Select beginning equipment that will help train you. This means using a properly sized bow that pulls at a light poundage, and arrows that are long enough so as not to pull past the arrowrest when you are at full draw.

A training bow might be a lightweight recurve or properly sized compound bow that's adjusted for your size and strength. Once you've learned to shoot from a qualified instructor, visit your local retailer or archery club and see what types of archery shooting is done locally &#!51; tournaments or bowhunting.

Your first purchased bow might reflect the local trends, or it might reflect your own interest in the sport. Always keep in mind that a bow must be sized to your own body, and that you must be able to pull it back repeatedly. It's tempting to purchase a bow that's high on the draw weight scale, but difficult for a new archer to pull back.

Often, recurve bow companies sell bow handles (risers) and limbs separately. By purchasing lightweight training limbs to start with, you can graduate to stronger limbs without having to buy a whole new bow. With compounds, many have adjustable limbs to lessen the draw weight at first until you become accustomed to shooting.

Types of arrows

Arrows must also be properly sized for you. Most arrows come from the factory rather long, so your local retailer can trim them to your particular draw length. Arrows also come in different stiffness, called "spine," for different draw weights and styles of bows. Your local retailer can help you select the right combination for your needs.

Archery clubs

To join a club, visit with your local archery retailer about the names and locations of clubs in your area. Once you have identified some local club names, check the Internet — many clubs now have websites that give directions to the club and display scheduled events. Attend an event and introduce yourself as a new archer who would like to possibly join.

The club representative can give you information on any club dues as well as club meetings that you might attend to get to know the other club members. Also, there are several national archery organizations that offer information on how to get started.

Archery Shooters Association (ASA)

International Bowhunting Association (IBO)

National Archery Association (NAA)

National Field Archery Association (NFAA)