Five top archery tips from the home of Robin Hood
Have you ever wanted to try archery but weren’t sure where to start? Well, book a stay in Sherwood Forest, the famous hide-out of Robin Hood, and you might discover that the sport is surprisingly easy to master and also very addictive. In today’s guest blog. Forest Holidays archery expert Len Worrell, pictured above, gives us his top five tips for aspiring archers.
1. Listen Carefully
You might be expecting five technical tips but to be honest, if you can pick up a bow the basics are easy. My lessons last one hour and in the first five to eight minutes I introduce the equipment; not too complicated – a bow, arrows and a target. I tell you how to hold the bow, how to line up for a shot and how not to hurt yourself. The only reason anyone gets it wrong is if they haven’t listened, and the most common injury is a bruise on your arm where the string from the bow may catch you.
Now, relax. You are pulling back the string of a bow, not a double decker bus. A relaxed, fluid motion will pay dividends with a well launched arrow that sails towards the bull’s-eye. I could tell you where to place your feet, how many degrees to turn your body, the intricacies of how your grip should be, but the real results come when you simply relax and feel it for yourself.
This is where technique does play a part. At competition level, of course the right technique is important. However, at beginner level, my advice is to try things out until you find what suits you. See how others hold their bow and position themselves. Have a go a few different stances. As long as you can launch your arrows in the general direction of the target, there is no wrong technique as a beginner. You will eventually settle down to what works best for you and get great satisfaction from hitting the target consistently. Which brings me nicely to my next point . . .
Remember your dad’s sporting advice when you were little? Not the bit about keeping your eye on the ball, the other one: practice, practice, practice. They say it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a skill and the best athletes, musicians and sportspeople aren’t born skilful, they practice. I know you probably haven’t got 10,000 hours to spare right now but I like to imagine that, after an hour with me, every once in a while someone goes on to join an archery club. In fact, I know it happens – I bumped into people when I used to compete who had taken up archery after their hour in Sherwood Forest. It’s an addictive sport.
5. Have fun
Everybody can do archery. We have juniors from age 6 -9, men, women, non-disabled people and wheelchair archers. It’s easy and inclusive; that’s why I love teaching it so much. And that’s what makes it so satisfying – you can have fun from the moment you pick up a bow. I spice it up with mini-competitions and guests have been known to turn up dressed as Robin Hood and his Merry Men, or in the case of a recent hen party, Maid Marian and her Merry Women!
Len says that 99% of people who come on his archery activity have never before picked up a bow and within the hour they are competing with each other. If he could distil his advice into one simple soundbite it would be: ‘Pick up a bow and have a go!’
For further details about booking a stay in Sherwood Forest with Forest Holidays, visit the website.