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Contrary to popular belief surrounding ‘projectile’ based sports, organised archery is officially one of the safest sports practiced by human beings. This is because there are simple but fundamental rules followed by all club archers regarding personal conduct, minimum standard of knowledge, setting up targets and shooting environments. All active club archers are required to be registered with GNAS, the UK archery governing body which ensures a minimum level of knowledge, skill and competence not only in the use of equipment, but in ensuring the safety of others. Rules include never pointing a bow (loaded or otherwise) at any living being or animals, only draw a loaded bow at the shooting line towards a target as well as taking personal responsibility for not using damaged or poorly maintained bows and arrows. All lost arrows must be retrieved at the end of a shooting session to prevent injury through negligence. You are at greater risk of hurting yourself (and others) pulling arrows out of a target than anything else! Visit the SafeSport Website for further information.
When you have completed a Beginners’ course, your coaches will advise you on suitable equipment – do not buy equipment before starting a beginners’ course! A set of equipment for an archer can start from around £300. We would recommend going to good dealers to be correctly fitted up with your first archery kit. Do not buy equipment “unseen”, i.e. from the Internet etc.
You should join an archery club to ensure that you have insurance when you are shooting and, of course, somewhere to shoot safely.
The Longbow Club membership fees are based on the age of the person joining (adult or junior) and this includes membership of the club, Archery GB and affiliation to County and Regional Archery Associations.
Junior archers must be accompanied at all times by a parent or someone acting in the parent’s place, with their permission.
Can I shoot modern olympic recurve or compound bows with your club
No we are solely a traditional archery club embracing all traditional bow types such as English Longbow, American Flatbow, Hunter Recurve, Horsebows, Primitive etc
There are no special clothing requirements but a ‘Close Fitting Top’ i.e. no loose sleeves or baggy jumpers. Comfortable shoes / trainers (no open sandals for safety reasons). Club polo shirts are available to purchase on request. Jeans are not to be worn at competitions. Please be aware that it can rather cold in the evenings during winter so please wrap up
We welcome younger archers into the club. Children from the age of 10 years are able to join the beginner’s course. However, a great deal also depends on the individual child. The coaches may suggest that a child older than 10 may be better waiting a year or two before they start.
Our main concern is that an archer can handle their equipment safely, reducing the risk of injury to themselves as well as to other archers, or people around the shooting field.
A novice is defined as an adult archer ‘new’ to the sport and in their first year of registration with Archery GB (GNAS), the governing body of archery in the UK. Novices compete in their own category in competitions. There is no novice category within Junior archery.
There can be discrepancies in this. All club active archers must be registered with GNAS, but non-club/competitive archers do not. People who have learned archery with a club or from another country and subsequently join a UK archery club/GNAS for the first time will be classed as a novice, even if they can shoot an indoor score of 599 out of 600! Previous GNAS registered archers returning to the sport after a period of time do not re-enter a novice period.
Each shooting session has one person in overall charge of procedure and safety. Called the ‘field captain’, they use a whistle to start and stop shooting. If a potentially dangerous situation is spotted (stray animals, uncontrolled children, potential disturbances, etc. either in front of the shooting line or behind), they will shout ‘FAST’ to warn all archers to stop shooting and return from full draw to the at ease position. In fact, any archer who spots something unsafe can shout fast. Fast is short for ‘hold fast’ – to stop
Most people are either naturally left eye dominant or right eye dominant, but some people are neither. When a person has both eyes open, the brain will subconsciously prefer the sight of one eye over the other when focussing on something – eye dominance. This is independent of whether they are left handed or right handed.
In archery and other target based sports e.g. clay pigeon shooting, this allows you to aim the sight at a target and hit it. From eye dominance, we can ensure that you shoot with either a left-handed bow (sight and technique aligned to your left) or a right-handed bow (sight and technique aligned to your right). People with no preference can choose either bow type for comfort while some competition archers will wear an eye patch to assist with aiming.
Sometimes it takes time for the person and Club to determine the true eye dominance of the brain. It usually manifests itself with the archer hitting another target from the one they were aiming at!
Traditional arrows are made of wood (cedar or pine), a flexible and resilient material still used today. Aircraft grade aluminium arrows are lighter (and therefore faster and more accurate) as well as cheap to buy. ‘Carbon’ arrows (composed of carbon fibre and aluminium) are thinner and lighter still but possess the same strength and travel the fastest with a flatter trajectory. They can cost up to six times more than aluminium arrows.
Why are Bows Made of Different Materials?
It is not so much about the material used in the bow riser (handle), but about the material used in the limbs. Limbs can be made of fibreglass, laminated wood, carbon fibre or a composite of these materials. While limbs made from each material may have a rating of 34lb at 28” draw length (i.e. the same force exerted on your fingers at full draw), it is how the material stores and returns this energy that is important (energy profile). Carbon limbs are more energy efficient and impart greater speed to the arrow (snaps back quicker from full draw) than wood limbs, and does so consistently over a range of environmental conditions.
The speed of arrows depends on the draw weight of the bow, your draw length, limb material, energy profile of the bow, bowstring material, the weight of the arrow, type of fletching on the arrow and the prevailing wind conditions. Humidity and rain also slows arrow flight. The faster an arrow travels, the flatter the flight trajectory and less deviation from wind.
Recurve bow arrows can travel up to 225 feet per second (fps) or 150mph while compound bow arrows can travel up to 300fps (200mph). Longbow arrows travel slower (around 160-200fps) due to the weight of the arrows. Even at 300fps, it takes around a second to reach a 90 metre target. You hear your release first followed by the thud of the arrow hitting the target a second later (you can’t see it unless you use a telescopic sight). If you didn’t hear the thud, you’ve missed the target!
‘Robin Hood’ is a coveted but expensive trophy for any archer. This is where one arrow strikes the back of another arrow already embedded in the target. This tends to happen indoors where the targets are much closer to the archer. It is expensive because the first arrow is destroyed (obviously!), but the incoming second arrow is also damaged and unsafe to use. At up to £25 an arrow, it is a unique and expensive sound! In fact, the incoming arrow still scores along with the wrecked arrow!