If you mention sport to most people they will more than likely think of football, basket, tennis or athletics. It's unlikely that archery will flash through their minds. Yet archery is a sport that is growing in popularity every year. Despite archery being somewhat of a niche sport over the years, regular practitioners of the art will be only too well aware of its meditative qualities. There's something relaxing about pulling back a bowstring and the feel of the bow in your hands. The sound of the arrow as it is released has a smoothness to it that is hard to explain to the uninitiated.
The number of stores selling archery equipment is testimony to the popularity of the sport, and the different types of equipment on sale shows the versatility of the sport. You can go on a range and practice with state of the art bows complete with the latest sights or if you want to feel what it felt like to be an old English archer, you can practice with a longbow.
After a long hard day at work, archery offers a unique way to unwind. An hour or two on a range and the cares of the day are soon forgotten. If you are the competitive type then don't dismiss archery. The rivalry is there if that's what you are seeking. Competitive archery is a popular part of the sport and the competitions are intense.
If the competitive nature of target archery is not for you don't despair, you can still join a club and stand firing your arrows into a target at the pace you like for as long as you like. There's never any pressure to join the competitions.Archery competitions are just as competitively fought and intense as any football match or golf competition. This type of archery is called "target archery" and involves shooting many arrows in a given time at a target. The targets are set at a certain distance usually between 30 to 90 metres for outdoor competitions. Here you will find competitive archers employing every technological advantage they can get alongside their own archery skills to win the competition.
Another popular form of archery is "field archery", this is different from target archery in that the archers will shoot in teams of up to five. These could be family members or friends. Unlike target archery, where the target is directly in front of you, you shoot across a field. In field archery the targets are hidden close to trees or in undergrowth.
Field archery, like it's name implies takes place out in the field, usually in some woods. Targets are placed around so the archer has to use his judgment to calculate the distance, unlike target archery where the exact distance is know. The field archer must consider dead ground in his calculations.
Archery is open to all age groups from the young to the retired. Anyone who has had the pleasurable sensation of firing a bow and watching the arrow thud into a target, will appreciate the relaxation that can be gained from practicing the sport. It's easy to see why it is a fast growing sport. We all need a way to relax, and if you want to do something more productive than watching television then I'd recommend archery. I've not even touched on the social side of the sport either.
Tell us if you find archery relaxing or addictive.