New to archery? If you live in Atlantia, you happen to be in a premiere kingdom for the sport. From Atlantia to An Tir though, you cant swing a herald without hitting a good archer. Having helped a few beginners, I thought Id write a brief primer for reference. Not meant to be exhaustive, or official, just some things I think may be helpful.
Show up at archery events:
Come to events or simple gatherings, and let people know you are coming!
Often times if people know you’re coming, they’ll bring loaner equipment. First person experience is always the best way to go.
Whats coming up:
You can consult your Kingdom or Barony site (ie: The Acorn http://acorn.atlantia.sca.org/) Most all
Kingdom or Barony sites or related resouces (Facebook pages) will have a list of events and or practices.
Coming to an event shoot:
Seek out the marshal running the line, introduce yourself, and let them know you are new. Most archery events I’ve been to have some loaner equipment, if no equipment is available, perhaps someone shooting does. The marshal may know who to talk to on your behalf, or at least know where to point you.
Rules and regs:
Always pay heed to the marshal, or anyone calling “Hold!” If there is a hold, stop shooting, unload your bow safely. The marshal will let you know when you may approach the line and shoot. Whether physical or not, there is a line. When safe to do so, straddle the line, and shoot as directed. When you are finished (usually 6 bolts, darts, or arrows), then step back about 10 feet. This is not only an issue of safety, but of courtesy: if people are waiting to shoot, this is a clear indication they can fill in and have fun too! Back to the hold thing, if you see a person doing something dangerous, you (yes you) can call ‘hold’! Safety is everyones responsibility!
Looking for a bow:
This is where it gets personal. I encourage you to use as many bows as you can, but nothing really beats getting a bow, and using it regularly. Start off light, around the 20#-25# area for recurves, handbows, less than 600 inch lbs for a crossbow. One very good reason for the lighter poundage for crossbows is you can use it for combat archery should you go that route. For bows, the same applies, but there are more factors involved shooting a bow. Anchoring, draw, release, and so many other tiny little things. This will all be MUCH easier to work on if you are drawing a 20# bow than a 80# Kodiak. The best part is, form translates from bow to bow (pretty much).
This is pretty personal as well. Since I believe you should start light, go ahead and buy some arrows spined for 30# (pounds)** at 28-30″ long (after using some loaner equipment to see if you’re having any fun at all!).
I know Ill get some disagreement here, but this way you are using your own ammo for shooting, so if anything gets lost or broken, you wont feel guilty (go ahead and lose my loaner stuff, Ill get more!).
My recommendation for beginner arrows: Get wood shafts, 100 grain field points, simple indexed plastic nocks, and feather fletching. Dont go fancy until you have a bow and start to know what it really is you’re going for. I recommend No Frontiers Archery (Eric Franqes)*, for both price and quality.
Be prepared to lose ammo, and have shafts break, etc. Youll hear it 100 times, “Dont fall in love with your ammo!”
OMG help me!
There are plenty of people that will work with you if you are polite, and you ask. Many archers on the line are extremely knowledgable, and proficient. Don’t let anyone tell you 100 things at once. Not only will you get bogged down with the details. You may quickly find you’re not having fun, but stressing over little things! It will come with time and practice, Robin Hood will have nothing on you in a year! I think most important is, be consistent! If you are consistent, you may miss, but you’ll miss in the same spot!
Archers are generally a little brain damaged and fun to hang out with. Dont let yourself take the sport too seriously. Skill comes with time and practice, just go out, be safe, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot!
Will I shut up?!
Not likely. I could go on and on. I love to hear myself talk, but Ill leave you to it now. Go out and enjoy your self.
Have some advice to share?
Great, add to the comments and if you have a vendor to add to the list contact me via the contact the mayor form in the left rail!
*not endorsed or affiliated with any vendor
** this will depend on the bow and assumes a 20-30# bow