I’ve have now completed 2 of the 41 Olympic challenges following a beginners Archery course at Greenwood Osterley Archers (www.goarchers.org.uk). The course in run by volunteers at the club and costs £50 for a series of 6 group lessons. As the majority of the club are involved in competitions in the summer, the courses are generally run in the winter. This meant learning Archery in windy, wet and at times, freezing conditions – not ideal when learning a sport that involves a lot of standing around.
I joined a group of around 12 and the first lesson was very much about getting used to the equipment and learning the rules and etiquette of being on the Archery range. Safety was definitely the primary concern and rightly so. We also had a test to determine whether we would shoot left-handed or right-handed. This was not determined by which hand was dominant, but by eye dominance. I am left eyed, so despite being right handed, it was a left-handed compound bow that I would have to master.
One of the things that surprised me was that we were already shooting at the target after 30 minutes of the first lesson, although it was only around 10 meters away at this stage. Over the course of the lessons we gradually increased the distance of the target and we added the use of a sight to improve our accuracy. By the end of the course we were practicing competition style scoring. I did reasonably well and was getting 1 or 2 in the gold every end (6 arrows) – although this was around half the distance of what they use in the Olympics.
After the course there is an option to join the club for around £100 year. Whilst this is very reasonable, the reality is you would probably end up spending close to £1,000 when equipment is taken into account. Whilst I found the lessons interesting, the lack of physical excursion meant that Archery failed to capture my imagination.
Please see below a video of my final lesson, courtesy of my father.