Since I was a child, I have been mesmerised by the apparent simplicity and effectiveness of a bow and arrow. I have never had the opportunity to try it until now – at 57!
So I looked up the local club, Archers of Raunds and very easily found myself signed up to the 4-week beginner’s course. Everyone needs to do a starters course to be registered with the governing body – Archery GB.
The course was just excellent. Of course it starts with range safety, but more importantly your own. Not so much getting hit by a stray arrow, but more in how to protect your body, because archery is not easy and is in many ways counterintuitive to how you use your body. I have an added issue with a physical disability.
The Coaches (Archie, Kate, Neil and Jon) at AoR are just magnificent. They know just how much to push you and how to coach an individual. They are kind, warm hearted with a good sense of humour. I must pick out Archie, who is patient, mature, and extremely observant well beyond his 15 years.
The first time I picked up a bow, it was a visceral experience for me. It felt so right and so part of me. That I got two golds in the first two shots (pure chance) was magic, but I quickly learned this is not what archery is about. It is about you mastering your body and getting maximum efficiency and accuracy from the machine that is made up of you, and your bow. It is indeed a battle which I suspect can take years to perfect. On the other hand it does not matter – if you shoot just for fun, and like me, miss everything, it does not matter. My wife does not call me Robyn Hood, but rather Friar Tuck – which is pretty accurate.
I have gained so much from a great course. Looking back I realise how much technical stuff I have learned; how scientific, and yet how subjective archery is. I am hooked and having joined both Archery GB and AoR I am looking forward to my first booked shoot tonight.
I have learned what floats my boat – Trad Longbow or American Flat bow, but I have already learned an English Longbow will probably be too much for me to handle – so American Flatbow (barebow) it is. I really look forward in the coming months to buying my own kit, and I absolutely know I will get the very best advice from my fellow club members and coaches.
Archery is not something you can just step into – I cannot recommend doing this course any more highly.
So if you see an old chubby Friar shooting (badly) at stuff you’ll know it is I, but at least you know I will be loving it!