Archery is a sport that demands a range of skills from strong hand-eye coordination, relaxed temperament, focused mind, and good upper body strength. It is one of the oldest arts that is still practised today, having been used since the Ancient Egyptian period around 3,000BC for hunting and warfare.
There are many benefits to practising archery (both physical and mental) such as:
Improving hand-eye coordination
Improving upper body strength
arms, core, chest and shoulders
Improves social skills
Improves mental strength
Improves flexibility of hands and fingers
and you also get a fair few steps in!
In today's world of archery there are multiple styles of bow available: Traditional, Barebow, Recurve and Compound.
This can be further broken down into 2 subsections: Longbows and Flatbows.
The Longbow is the traditional English bow. In the past Longbows were made from Yew but this is now in very short supply. So, laminates of various more common woods are used instead. Arrows used by longbow archers are made of wood with feather fletching's, and are shot off the archers hand. Longbows do not have any 'artificial aids' to help them when shooting.
While a Flatbow is a bow that has a flat and relatively wide limb reticular cross section. because of the width of the bow, it usually narrows and becomes deeper towards the handle, with a rounded, non-bending handle for easier grip and a shelf to place arrows on. This design differs from the longbow which is circular or 'D shape' in cross section, and is usually widest at the handle. Flatbows are often made of a laminate or composite material.
The barebow is a basic style of recurve bow, which uses the same modern materials but does not permit accessories to aid in aiming or stabilisation.
An archer shooting a barebow pulls the string back to their face using their fingers, aims by looking down the length of the arrow and, upon release, the energy stored in the bent limbs transfers through the string and into the arrow, sending it downrange to the target.
The bow can be similar to a typical recurve which can be taken down and stored easily or a one-piece bow made from multiple layers of wood like a flatbow or longbow, but in the shape of a recurve
Although fixed weights can be attached to the bottom of the riser, no other stabilisation or dampers are permitted. The bow must also be free of custom marks or devices that assist in aiming. As well as the whole bow, when not strung, must fit through a ring that measures 12.2 centimetres in diameter.
A typical recurve bow, as used in the Olympics and many other competitive events around the world, will employ more advanced technologies and materials over the more traditional bow styles, and there are many professional companies designing and manufacturing these bows, such as: Hoyt, Win&Win, Kinetic, Wiawis, Cartel, Mybo and so many more. The limbs (the recurved section of a bow) are usually made from layers of fibreglass, carbon and/or wood encasing a core of carbon foam or wood. Carbon limbs will shoot the arrow faster at any given draw weight but are much more expansive than wood limbs. The riser (the handle section of the bow) is generally a separate piece that the limbs slot into*, these are constructed from aluminium or magnesium alloy, and are now being made from carbon.
*The limbs of the bow will fit into pockets on the ends of the riser, and will be held in place by the tension of the bowstring.
The high-technology materials of a modern bow allow predictable manufacture for consistent high performance, and also permit the easy attachment of modern aids to increase accuracy, such as stabilisers. The heavier the bow itself and the weight on the stabilisers, the more stable your bow will be (decreasing swaying) but will be harder to hold for longer periods of time. however the increased weight compared to traditional bows allows for increased accuracy at all ranges.
The modern recurve is the only form of bow allowed in the Olympic Games, and is the type most widely used by archers across the world.
Recurve archers often have many other pieces of equipment attached to their recurve bows, such as stabilisers, (for balancing the bow and absorbing some of the vibration) sights (for improving accuracy), and pressure buttons (for fine tuning the arrow’s flight). A piece of leather called a tab is worn when shooting to ensure a smooth release and save wear on the fingers.
A compound bow is a modern development of a bow, which uses a system of cables, wheels and cams to draw the limbs back.
The limbs of a compound bow are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve bow or longbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy-efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys / cams, one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. When the string is drawn back, the string causes the pulleys to turn. This causes the pulleys to pull the cables, which in turn causes the limbs to bend and thus store energy.
The use of this system and the type of cam used gives the compound bow a characteristic draw-force curve which rises to a peak weight and then “lets off” to a lower holding weight.
The compound bow is little-affected by changes of temperature and humidity and gives superior accuracy, speed, and distance in comparison with other bows. Instead of standard sights, magnifying scopes are used in conjunction with a ‘peep’ sight in the string, and the arrows are shot with a release aid, similar to a trigger, rather than with the fingers.