Starting a new sport can be intimidating, especially if you’re not quite sure how to start. If you’re interested in trying archery, you’ll need to think about your first steps, including how to begin, the costs involved, how difficult the sport is (not as much as you think!), safety tips, and where to shoot. Seem overwhelming? Here’s how to overcome these five barriers.
How to Begin
If you don’t know someone who already participates in archery, it can be hard to figure out what to do first. Fortunately, getting started in archery today is easier than ever. Archery pro shops, clubs and instructors from coast to coast are available to help you learn how to shoot. Your local archery shop is a great resource as you take your first steps toward becoming an archer. Many archery shops offer a full menu of classes and lessons to provide you with safe, expert instruction. You can also get advice on what equipment works best for the style and level of archery you’re interested in. Shops also often have ranges where you can start shooting. If your local archery shop does not offer lessons or a range, they can connect you with organizations that do. You can find information about local archery clubs at USA Archery’s website. In addition, your local parks and recreation department might offer archery lessons.
Think archery is expensive? You’re not alone. While you will need to invest a little money if you decide to purchase your own equipment, there are ways to keep costs down. First, some archery classes provide rental equipment, which will allow you to see how much you like the sport before you drop any money on a bow of your own. Once you’re ready for your own gear, visit your local archery retailer to find out what equipment works best for your budget.
For those watching every penny, traditional archery requires less gear and is generally less expensive than compound archery. But if compound archery is what captures your heart, you’ll find plenty of bows and accessories built with budget-minded shooters in mind.
Consider budgeting some money on classes or lessons. And if you continue on your archery journey, you’ll probably need to pay for range time. If you’re on the fence about trying the sport and money is a big issue, watch for Groupon or other daily deals from local archery shops and ranges. That’s a great way to try archery with minimal investment.
If you’ve never tried archery—or, worse, you had a bad introduction to the sport—you might assume it’s hard to master.
Many sports require certain athletic traits in participants—for some sports you need to be especially fast, in others you must be strong, and in some you need to be tall, or short, or muscular. But not archery. Archery is for everyone. You don’t have to be the fastest, the strongest or the tallest to excel at archery. If you want to be competitive at tournament archery, you just have to put in some time and effort. And if all you want to do is shoot recreationally, you can be hitting targets after a quick archery lesson.
Some people are nervous about starting archery because they worry about safety. After all, a sport that involves weapons must be inherently dangerous, right?
The truth is, archery is incredibly safe—”more than three times safer than golf, with just one injury for every 2,000 participants,” according to the National Safety Council and reported on by World Archery. The National Archery in the Schools Program has introduced more than 18 million school children to the sport since 2002, all with a perfect safety record. Think about how many school sports can say that.
To ensure that you have a safe, positive experience with the sport, learn and follow basic safety rules. Finding a certified instructor is a good place to start. Visit your local archery shop to find out what lessons are available in your area.
Where to Shoot
Depending on where you live, access to a place to shoot can be the biggest obstacle to starting archery. Many towns have rules against shooting a weapon in residential areas, which means not everyone can shoot in their backyard.
But archery ranges are becoming more prolific. Archery shops frequently have ranges where their customers can shoot. In addition, you might find an archery club where you can shoot or a range at a nearby state or local park. Participating in local tournaments is another way to keep shooting.
Ready to Get Started?
Sure, you’ll have some obstacles to overcome to get involved in archery. But the rewards make it worthwhile. Archery can improve your strength, concentration and discipline. More importantly, it’s a fun activity that you can enjoy on your own or with friends. If you’re ready to take the first steps, find your nearest archery retailer and discover the excitement this sport has to offer.