The bow and arrow make an appearance in history as far back as the Paleolithic era when man utilized the equipment as an early weapon. This makes archery one of the oldest sports still practised within modern society. With many evolutionary changes since, records reveal the first archery contests most likely took place some 3,000 years ago in China. The modern sport of target archery known today is strongly linked to 14th century England.
The English army considered the longbow their most vital piece of weaponry. The popularity of the sport flourished so strongly that a royal degree in 1363 encouraged all Englishmen to practice their aim on Sundays and during the holidays a non-negotiable issue. At first, very few styles of shooting existed, but soon, clout shooting (arrows arched high in the air), “roving marks” style (involved more movement), and butt shooting (targets made out of turfs of earth) surfaced.
In 1900, archery became part of the second Olympic games after touching the lives of ancient Middle Easterners, Byzantines, Mongols, Pygmies in Africa, Normans, and Eskimos about the Western Hemisphere. In 1920, the sport was dropped from the lineup because of a clash of international regulations. In 1972 however it waseembreced once again as an Olympic Sport with the creation of a set of standardized rules. As a pastime it continues to be as popular as ever.
Archery Skills and Attributes
An assortment of physical and mental skills is involved in the sport of archery. Hand-eye coordination, body control, trained muscles, the drawing and aiming of the arrow, focus, hand relaxation, arm strength, and steadiness are just some of the key characteristics that contribute to the success of hitting an intended target.
Using a bow to shoot an arrow is a deceptive activity that tricks many into thinking it is an easy task. There are many factors that affect the flight of an arrow, including flight path, distance from target, wind, arrow length, initial angle, and arrow weight.
A great step forward is to actually understand the mechanics involved in this marvellous sport. The bow is a simple apparatus that transforms the energy stored when an archer bends the bow. The potential energy is then transformed to the arrow in the form of kinetic energy as soon as the archer lets go of the arrow. Skilled archers have learned to perfect many facets of their sport. such as the higher the initial velocity of an arrow, the faster and farther it will travel, to attain higher levels of skill in this pastime.
As with so many things a key thing is to master the basics. Accessories, like arm guards and finger tabs, helps to boost precision.
It is the key skills of good stance, draw and aim techniques, release and follow through that determines to a large degree the archer’s success.
The archery stance is important because of the effect it has on weight distribution, essential for shot consistency. Correct foot position is also significant. |For example the preferred stance of many is called ‘the oblique’ despite being hard to maintain. An even stance is considered a natural body position, but can decreases string body clearance.
An archer will draw and aim by holding the bow between their thumb and index finger. Relaxation of the fingers is a necessity and greatly improves archery results. Controlled breathing is a key skill in helping to maintain a steady pull on the bowstring. With proper body alignment, the bow is ready for rising, followed by target assessment and aim. After establishing focus the arrow can be released. A bow that trembles when first lifted or cannot be held steady for at least five seconds means the selected bow is too heavy.
To increase archery accuracy, trained muscles make a difference. The back and the arms should point straight at the target and be in control when drawing the bow string. Upper body strength is important to work and control the bow.
In this pastime hours of fun are met with physically demanding characteristics that allow individuals to test their focus, strength and control and concentration to extremely high levels.