Archery- The Hunger Games Influence
When Katniss Everdeen picked up her bow and arrow in The Hunger Games a hot fitness trend evolved. Interest in archery has soared. Not since the days of Robin Hood movies has their been so many many people eager to take up the sport. Archery clubs across North America are experiencing a phenomenal growth.
Archery is a sport that is relatively easy to learn but difficult to master. Proficiency requires upper body strength, and mental discipline. You can start with relatively inexpensive equipment, but expect to upgrade as your skill level improves.
The best way to learn is with lessons through a local archery club. Along with the training you may be able to rent equipment. If there's not a club in your area check on Craigslist, the yellow pages, or local newspaper to see if there is a qualified instructor in your area. You can also buy instructional videos.
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Archery Basics for Beginners
A Guide to Archery Fundamentals
Posture and Stance
Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel to the target. Make sure your feet and knees are not pointed directly towards the target. Relax, but stand tall. Only your head and arms will move as you shoot. A good stance is the foundation for successful archery. Watch some videos of world class archers and copy their style. Practice in front of a mirror or with a fellow archer who can film videos as you prepare to shoot. Critically watching those videos is a great way to identify things you are doing wrong, and things you are doing right. Once you find a stance that is effective for you keep practicing till it becomes something you don't have to think about.
Preparing to Shoot
Grasp the bow handle with a relaxed grip. Don't hold on to it too tightly and keep your elbow slightly flexed. There are a number of forces of physics at work when you shoot an arrow. If you don't have a relaxed grip on the bow handle any slight movement will alter the course of the arrow. Lining up with the target and allowing the arrow to gain velocity are the biggest factors in a successful hit. Place the first groove of the index finger, middle finger and ring finger on the string and slide them up till they touch the bottom of the arrow.
Ready to Fire
Draw the string back across the side of your face. One eye should be directly in front of the string and you should be able to look directly down at the arrow. Line up the arrow with the target. Your alignment probably wont be perfect until you've had quite a bit of practice and are used to adjusting for variables from left to right and from top to bottom. Take a deep breath. Relax. Release the arrow. Make sure you are wearing clothes without baggy sleeves or the sleeves may get caught in the string.
Basic Archery Equipment for Beginners -The Bow
There are four different types of bows.
The traditional bow is very basic ( like the one used by Katniss Everdeen) It is primarily used for hunting and shooting in the woods at unmarked distances. Traditional bows deploy arrows fletched with feathers. Archers use gloves, a brace and a quiver.
The compound bow is the most modern form of equipment. It is designed to be very accurate. It includes cams which reduce the weight and stress when the archer is in the full draw position. Compound bows also feature a mechanical trigger known as a release and telescopic sights.
The recurve bow is the most popular bow in the world of archery. It is also the one most recommended for beginners. A recurve bow is primarily used for target practice and it is the only bow allowed in Olympic competition. Recurve bows are an updated version of the traditional bow using sights, stabilizers and carbon arrows.
Choosing the Right Bow Length
Generally the length of the bow is proportional to your height.
Over 6 '2" choose a 70" bow
5' 10" to 6 '2" choose a 68" bow
5' 6" to 5' 10" choose a 66" bow
Under 5' 6" choose a 64"
Bows and most archery accessories are designed for right or left handed people.
Staying on Target
Archers need solid upper body strength and mental discipline. Consider adding weightlifting and focus exercises as part of a daily routine.
Whether it's the Hunger Games, Robin Hood or the next door neighbor, chances are you won't need much inspiration to get started in archery.
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More Basic Archery Equipment for Beginners
There are four basic types of arrows.
Fiberglass arrows are light and flexible and are a good choice for beginners. The drawback with fiberglass arrows is that they break easily.
Wooden arrows are still used in archery today. Cedar is a popular choice of wood. The drawback with wooden arrows is that they lack flexibility and are better suited for distance than accuracy.
Aluminum arrows are flexible, sturdy and accurate. They are a good choice for hunters and competitors. The drawback with aluminum arrows is their cost but it is not prohibitive. A dozen aluminum arrows retail for less than $7.oo.
Carbon arrows have an outer carbon layer and an inner aluminum core. They are the most accurate arrow on the market, but also the most expensive.
Finger tabs are traditionally made of leather and help keep your fingers from becoming sore and calloused from repeatedly pulling on the string and arrow.
A bow stringer helps place the string between the limbs of bow without tangling or snarling.
An archery bracer covers the bow arm and ensures the arm does not come in contact with the string when firing the arrow.