So you’ve seen archery in “The Hunger Games” or other movies, and want to give it a go. Good news: Jennifer Lawrence has nothing on you – and you don’t need an Olympic medalist coach to help you get started in archery.
Archery is mainly a club-based sport in the United States, so the easiest way to start is joining an archery club or program near you. Here, we’ll give you five options for unleashing your inner Katniss Everdeen:
Officially launching this week, Explore Archery quickly introduces you to bow-and-arrow sports. You’ll learn basic shooting steps and how to shoot a bow safely on the range. The program offers built-in achievements to improve your skills while earning awards. Explore Archery is perfect for beginners who want a fun introduction to the sport.
Olympic Archery in the Schools Program
If your school offers OAS, as it’s commonly known, you’re in luck. Olympic Archery in the Schools Program, an after-school activity, teaches the same basic archery techniques taught at the Olympic Training Center, while also teaching archery safety rules and introducing archers to tournaments.
Schools offering OAS shoot against each other in league-style archery competitions that include team match play and head-to-head individual matches. Schools are organized into “conferences,” similar to other competitive sports.
Junior Olympic Archery Development
Junior Olympic Archery Development – or JOAD (pronounced “joe-ad”) – teaches archery with progressive classes offered in eight- or 12-week sessions. Many archery clubs offer sessions year-round, indoors and outdoors.
JOAD archers develop skills and earn awards while challenging themselves on different types of targets and distances. Compound and recurve archers can focus on recreational archery, or learn to compete and advance all the way to the Olympics or Paralympic Games.
National Archery in the Schools Program
National Archery in the Schools Program, also known as NASP, is the country’s largest youth archery program. It has introduced archery to millions of physical-education students across the United States. Archers participate as part of a school team, and everyone uses a specific bow that adjusts to all draw lengths.
Distances start at 5 meters, and archers can progress to competitive distances of 10 and 15 meters. Nationwide tournaments allow thousands of archers to test their skills.
Adult Archery Program
Whether you’re 20, 40 or 60, archery is truly a lifetime sport. Olympic gold medalist Butch Johnson didn’t make his first Olympics team until age 36, and has since competed in five Olympic Games! Whether you’re a compound or recurve archer, or want to shoot a bow recreationally or competitively, find an Adult Archery Program (AAP) club to get started.
As with JOAD, AAP archers take progressively advanced classes to improve their skills and earn cool awards in a club setting.