Getting Started in Archery

Archery is one of the best sports because it can be social, competitive, fun, and casual, you just need to decide what you want to get out of it.  Recently the interest in archery has sky-rocketed since the movies the Hunger Games, Brave and the Avengers.

Archery is so popular that Britain right now, with London Olympics finishing recently,  MPs are demanding its return and politicians have participated in training sessions with current and future Olympians.

This is not a local phenomenon either, there are tons of articles throughout North America about the increased interest in Archery. I am sure there are even more throughout the world since I have seen a lot of blogs about people who have or want to give it a try and I have also seen a lot of questions and comments about how to get started.

Well, here is a quick simple step-by-step guide.

  1. Find a archery club : Archery clubs exist everywhere; your school may even have an archery club. You can also contact your provincial, state or national archery organization. Most Provincal Sports Organization (PSO) or National Sports Organization (NSO) are now online and they will either have a listing of clubs or you can contact them directly for one
  2. Setup a take a beginner class or a private lesson : Most clubs offer regular lessons for both beginner and advanced archers. Alternatively you can contact a private coach, like myself, and setup a private session.

It’s that simple and once you have tried archery; you’ll be hooked.

Since, the hardest part about getting started in archery is finding information. Check out my links page for links to Ontario, Canada, USA, and International organizations to help you find an archery club close to you.  Once started, you can talk with your club or coach and they can provide some insight on how you can get the most out of archery.

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Arrows Series – Part 6: Fletching and Indexing

Now that you have cut your arrows you need to fletch them. Fletchings are found at the back of the arrow, traditionally made from bird feathers and are used to stabilize the arrow by creating a small amount of drag.

Wikipedia: Fletching (also known as a flight) is the aerodynamic stabilization of arrows or darts with materials such as feathers, each piece of which is referred to as a fletch. The word is related to the French word “fleche”, meaning “arrow,” via Old French; the ultimate root is Frankish fliukka. A fletcher is a maker of arrows.

Nowadays, there are two types of fletchings, real or synthetic feathers and plastic vanes. Some target archers have them attached to the arrow with a slight twist to increase arrow spin because a spinning projectile is more stable and helps reduce the effects of Archer’s Paradox (We will discuss Archer’s Paradox in more detail in the Part 7 of the series).

The most conventional style of indexing is a three-feather fletching where feathers or vanes are mounted to the arrow, evenly distributed around the spine of the arrow. One feather, called the “cock”, is set at a right angle to the string and pointed at the archer and the other two fletchings on the riser side are angled up and down away from the bow. This is done so the fletchings/vanes will not contact the bow when the arrow is shot. For compound archers the cock feather’s indexing depends on the type of arrow rest.

Quick Tip: Choose a different colour for the “cock” feather. It is great reminder to always point it towards you and away from the riser for proper nocking of the arrow.

Fletching an arrow is a time consuming and tedious task to do accurately by hand. In modern times, most people use a fletching jig, especially to fletch arrows with a slight twist. Check out my earlier blog about fletching jigs.

It is important to understand that once an arrow is released it starts to bend and if the arrow is not correctly indexed the feathers or vanes will make contact with the riser. This will cause the arrow to react differently than expected, distort your feathers and possibly cause damage to you or your equipment.

Annual Shoot for the Cure

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). In 2011:

  • An estimated 23,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,100 will die of it.
  • An estimated 190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die of it.
  • On average, 64 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
  • On average, 14 Canadian women will die of breast cancer every day.
  • Probability of developing or dying from breast cancer
  • One in 9 women is expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 29 will die of it.

Trends in breast cancer
Breast cancer incidence rose steadily from 1980 to the early 1990s, partly because of increased mammography screening. Breast cancer death rates have declined in every age group since at least the mid 1980s.

Every year Canadian Archers gather for a tournament at the Bow Shop in Waterloo to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Last year, the tournament raised over $9,000 and this year is very special as Bruce Savage, Vice President of Administration for the  Ontario Association of Archers (OAA) is donating his beard. It’s has been over 30 years since he shaved his beard. Below is a letter by his daughter Racheal to all archers…

Hello Everyone:

I am putting out a call to one and all to dig deep into their wallets and purses and to help me spread the word far and wide!

As many of you know, my father has had a beard for probably as long as you have known him. In fact it has been 30 years he has had that same beard! I do not remember ever seeing his chin.

After a lot of convincing, I have worn him down. He will be donating his chin this year to the annual Canadian Archers For A Cause – Shoot For A Cure held annually at the Bow Shop in Waterloo. Last year alone, this tournament raised over $9,000 all sent to breast cancer research. This year we are hoping to do even better. Check out the web page for tournament information as well instructions on how to donate. This year the shoot will be held on January 21st at The Bow Shop in Waterloo

As I’m sure you can imagine, Dad is pretty attached to his beard and I’m hoping to make his beard a worthwhile incentive for donations to a great cause from across Canada.

I am asking for not only your donations, but I would like all of you to help me get the word out far and wide. Please post this information on provincial and club web pages where possible, email to friends and family, contribute personally. There is not a lot of time for us to pull all of this together as the shoot is being held January 21, 2011 but I REALLY appreciate any assistance you can give.

Not only are we shaving his beard, we are planning on shaving it in the middle of the range as part of the weekend event. Of course this will be well documented via photos and will be dispersed for entertainment value after the shoot. What else would a good daughter do?!

Donations can be made by contacting Michael Martin at The Bow Shop at (519) 746-8139 or via email at media@bow-shop.com . Any size donation is greatly appreciated and can be made via cash, cheque, or credit card.

If you have any questions or would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me. Sorry if you receive this information more than once as I’m trying to get the word out quickly due to our short time lines.

Thank you.

Racheal Savage

If you are planning to be in the Waterloo area for the weekend of January 21st, please consider participating in the annual Shoot of the Cure, however  if not consider donating a couple of dollars to this worthy fundraiser.