There's an old saying that, "Archery is the king of sports, and the sport of kings". In medieval times that was certainly true and especially for royalty... as Robin Hood defies King John in the image above. But today, despite being thousands of years old and still a way of life for some rare primitive cultures, archery remains the king of sports for many outdoor enthusiasts.
So what makes archery such a popular shooting sport? Many people will simply say it's fun. But we're science geeks here so let's try to decode the F-U-N of archery.
The "F" in the word fun could mean the "Force-draw conversion". Sorry for the diversion into physics but archery is really the conversion of your body's physical muscular energy into "stored energy" in the limbs of the bow that's suddenly turned into the kinetic energy of the arrow launching from the bow. Okay, even that's a bit too geeky for us. No matter how you define it, there's something almost mystical about actually feeling your body's muscles being converted into launching something over 200 feet-per-second through space and ker-thumping into a distant target. If you doubt that, try a simple experiment. First, try converting your body's physical energy into kinetic energy on a sport you haven't tried before. Maybe whacking a tennis or golf ball, bowling, or tossing a Frisbee. Next, try shooting an arrow from a bow. If you're like most people, you'll feel your body's energy in the arrow as you watch it soar toward the target. And unlike most sports that involve hitting or launching balls, you'll never forget the feel of your first arrow.
The "U" in archery is Understanding the five simple steps to draw, aim and shoot an arrow. Watch the video here to get some expert advice from a world-class archery coach from PSE Archery. And as you watch these two teens, remember that neither of them shot a bow before filming the video. The "U" could also mean Universal because archery can be enjoyed by anyone from 2 years old to 102 (and beyond). It also has Unlimited ways to enjoy the sport from target shooting, 3-D competition, bowfishing, bowhunting, "stump shooting", and even archery-golf in some places. And of course there's National archery tournaments and the Olympics.
Finally, there's the "N" part of it. That's because archery Naturally connects you with Nature. Though few sports actually feel "natural" when you first try them, many people admit that archery feels natural, like it's part of our DNA that been released from a primal part of our brain. Ask any archer and they'll tell you about their almost mystical connection with the sport. Plus, there's no question that either an outdoor archery range or one of the bowhunting pursuits puts you outside in nature. Plus, as you evolve as a bowhunter, you'll develop advanced outdoor skills on how to get within close range of wild animals. That in turn elevates your understanding of entire ecosystems.
So to try archery for yourself, explore the links below. You'll discover all kinds of helpful pathways to archery from NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program), Archery 360, to finding local archery clubs or ranges near you with youth programs. And to explore archery in your classroom, have your teacher download the lesson activity below. Also, check out the “Learn More” tab below… and discover a sport that can last a lifetime and possibly win you gold someday at the Olympics. Enjoy the journey of discovery in all of the content in our America’s Conservation & Hunting Heritage Series funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in partnership with Safari Club International Foundation, a nonprofit org dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation across the country. And even if you don’t decide to try the challenge of shooting sports, consider the fact that everyone who participates in these sports helps fund conservation programs that all American’s enjoy.
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