Archery is not the first sport you think of during a summer break. I certainly did not expect to enjoy archery as much as I did when I tried it one day with my sister at Gandiva Archery in Pasig.
Before I knew it, I was hooked and began joining tournament after tournament.
But whether you’ll get into archery competitively as I did, or engage in it as a hobby, there are many benefits to be gained.
Here are my top 10 reasons why it’s interesting to learn archery:
1) It’s relaxing. Archery is the perfect stress reliever. At the range, it’s just you and the target. Problems seem to float away from your mind with each arrow you release.
2) It’s a great way to make new friends and visit new places. Whether you compete or just shoot for fun at a local range, you will be surprised by how many people you get to meet in just an hour of archery.
Coaches at the different ranges are also friendly and welcoming to newbies. So, there is no need to be intimidated or afraid if you’re into archery for the first time.
You get the chance to visit new places later on as you compete in tournaments in the Philippines, and with some luck, overseas.
3) It’s affordable. The misconception is that archery is an expensive sport. But there is an active market within the archery community itself that sells secondhand equipment. For those really on a budget, there are bows made out of PVC pipes that cost only P500.
If you’re lucky enough, you might even win archery equipment in raffles or competitions courtesy of sponsors like Benel Archery. In fact, I got my first bow by winning in a fun shoot.
Oh, and before I forget, you don’t even have to buy your own equipment as archery ranges usually rent these out to their customers.
4) It helps you learn to focus and concentrate. As you prepare to draw your bow, there isn’t any room for you to think about anything else other than shooting. A split-second loss of focus can result in your arrow totally missing the target. In time, you learn to clear your mind and focus on your shot.
5) It teaches you patience and coordination. In archery, all parts of your body have to work together to execute the correct form and shot. Once you’ve got it down pat, all you have to do is repeat it a dozen more times. No one gets it right the first few times, and it really takes patience and a lot of practice to make your shot consistent and right every single time.
6) It helps you develop trust and confidence in yourself. Every archer knows that archery isn’t just about form or physical strength. It’s also about mental strength and toughness. Over time, an archer learns to trust his shot and be confident that it will hit the center every single time.
7) It builds character. Just like real life, there are good and bad days at the archery range. Personally, archery has taught me to win with humility and lose with grace. When scoring during a tournament, archery, very much like golf, demands honesty every time you submit your scorecard.
And don’t think you have to be really good to participate in tournaments because there are a lot of monthly or bimonthly pocket competitions for beginners, like the Benel Archery League and Manila Polo-Boysen Tournaments that are open to the general public.
8) It’s addicting. No matter how frustrating archery may be at times, it keeps you wanting to get the right form and get in the center all the time. Once you get the great feeling of shooting bows well, you will want to keep shooting and shooting until you get tired.
In these times when people get addicted to the wrong things, like video games and, worse, drugs, why not get hooked to a really cool sport instead?
9) It’s a sport for everyone. Short or tall, slim or heavy, archery is a sport for everyone. Only specific muscles are used and developed in pulling the bow. The sport is really more focused on technique, and you build strength as you continue to get better. It is the perfect sport for anyone looking to get into something new and unique, and also to get healthy, fit and just to have fun.
10) It’s satisfying to hit that bull’s-eye. It can get frustrating when you shoot and shoot and your arrows don’t find their mark. But once they do, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Visit www.worldarcheryphilippines.org for the accredited clubs around the country.