By Jackie Holbrook
You can fall for a lot of amazing things during the autumn months. Beautiful colors decorate the landscape, football season is in full swing, and boots, scarves and sweaters come out of the closet. With a nip in the air and leaves on the ground, fall is the perfect time to learn archery.
Across most of the country, fall brings wild weather, from snowstorms to heat waves and everything in between. Archery keeps you active during any weather. Shooting arrows on an outdoor range during a warm fall day is a great way to soak up the sun before winter arrives. And on the days Mother Nature brings wet weather or early snow, indoor ranges provide climate-controlled shooting opportunities.
If you’ve never participated in archery or you’re looking to expand your skills, here’s how to fall in love with archery before the snow flies.
Visit your local archery shop and ask about lessons. Many shops have options for group and private training. Taking a lesson is one of the best and most affordable ways to learn archery. Many shops have equipment to use or rent, so you won’t need to invest in a bow, arrows and accessories until you’re ready.
Most shops offer a wide variety of lessons including youth, adult and women-only. Some shops even offer discounts like Groupons for introduction classes. And even if you know the basics of archery, consider taking a more advanced lesson to help improve form.
Archery is a fun and social sport, and archery leagues make the most of this experience. Leagues are often weekly events hosted at archery clubs and shops. Joining a league is a great way to make new friends and improve your abilities. Shooting competitively, even just for fun, sharpens your skills. Popular league formats include 3D and target.
Ask about archery programs offered in your area. Talk to your local archery shop about Explore Archery, Scholastic 3D Archery, Junior Olympic Archery Development, National Archery in the Schools Program and Olympic Archery in the Schools.
Many of these programs target youth archers. Archery is one of the safest sports for kids and there are many benefits to participating. Archery programs help kids develop their skills in a fun and informative environment. Some provide avenues into competition, which can lead to college scholarship opportunities. Archery also teaches discipline, boosts confidence, and improves mental and physical health.
There are many different types of archery events, and you can always count on them being fun and social. Outdoor events like 3D shoots and unmarked target shoots get you outside and provide exercise as you walk the course. Many archery shops host indoor events, such as fundraisers or themed activities, throughout the year.
Even if you’re new to archery, don’t be intimidated by attending an event. It will improve your abilities, and you’ll meet a group of like-minded people. Ask questions, because more experienced archers are always willing to help. Check with your local archery club or shop about upcoming events in your area.
Organize your own event with friends. Pick a time to meet at your local club or shop’s range, or build your own backyard archery range. The ability to shoot at your house saves you time and makes practicing easier. Plus, it’s a fun excuse to have friends over.
First, check your city’s regulations to make sure you’re in the clear. Purchase a target or build your own, and make sure you have a sturdy backstop. Invite your archery friends over and enjoy these archery games.
One of the many benefits of archery is you don’t need a big group of people or an organized event to participate. Sometimes slinging arrows solo is the most satisfying way to enjoy the sport. Releasing a few arrows by yourself is a relaxing, stress-reducing and confidence-building exercise.
If you have any questions about getting started in archery or you’ve been out of practice for awhile and your equipment needs a tune-up, visit your local archery shop.