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For anyone looking to begin their archery journey, many questions arise. although this list of questions and answers covers most things, it's still a work in process. If you have a question not listed below, please ask us at and we'll try and answer and also update this page. 


Q:- What are the different types of archery?


A:-            There are several types of archery, from target archery, shooting at fixed targets at set distance up to 100yds, field archery where the archer shoots at either targets or 3D model animals at different distances up to about 50yds within woodland, clout archery shooting at a clout (flag) at a bigger distance of up to 180yds, flight archery where the object is to shoot as far as possible, popinjay archery shooting at imitation birds on a frame to represent a tree. There’s horseback archery shooting from horseback as the archer rides past targets. There’s also archery tag where people shoot at others using arrows with large rubber points, a bit like paintballing with arrows. New ways to shoot arrows are coming along all the time. We at St. Sebastians are a target archery club.


Q: - What distance do archers shoot?


A:-            We shoot a variety of distances 20 or 25yds indoor, and 30m, 40yds, 50yds, 60yds, 70m, 80yds, 90m and 100yds outdoors at the field.


Q:- How young can children start practicing archery?


A:-            St. Sebastian Archers will accept children from 10 years old when accompanied by a responsible adult.


Q:- How much does it cost?


A:-            The costs can vary, a beginners’ course will cost £60 and annual membership for an adult >24 will be £120/year. Additionally, your first setup of equipment will cost in the region of £300. However, many archers when asked how much equipment costs, will usually get the answer “how deep are your pockets?” However, once you have your first setup, as you advance, many archers will get equipment from the second-hand market or buy from other club members. Once you have the setup, the cost will only really be the annual membership………..That’s unless you see something shiny.


Q:- How do I join a club?


A:-            If you’re new to archery, you must complete a beginners’ course at an Archery GB club before you can join an Archery GB club. This is usually 8 to 12 hours of training by accredited coaches. Different clubs hold courses through the year and these can be usually found by visiting a local club website, your county association such as Derbyshire County Archery Association or you can also find clubs by visiting St. Sebastians usually hold three beginners’ courses in spring, summer and autumn, detail can be found on our website. If you are a lapsed archery club member or have previously completed a beginner course at a different club, you may be able to join after completing a short assessment with our coaches; contact the club to arrange a visit.


Q:- Is there carparking where the club shoots?


A:-            There’s adequate private carparking at the field where we shoot. There’s also parking behind the hall where we shoot indoors. The field and our indoor venue are also very close to a bus route.


A:- Do you need a license in archery?


Q:-           No, a license is not a requirement, however, we would STRONGLY recommend that training and coaching such as the beginners’ course is completed before doing any archery. Once completed, you will receive a beginner’s certificate which you take to the club you join.


Q:- Does the weather affect archery?


Q:-           Weather does affect outdoor archery, particularly wind and rain. Wind, if blustery will affect the archer and the arrows that go down the range. Atmospheric condition will also change the arrow flight; however, the archer can usually compensate for this.


Q:- What type of physical fitness must I be in to practice archery?


A:-            To start archery, fitness is not particularly the issue, rather form and technique are the subjects of the beginners’ course. As the novice archer progresses however, it is natural that their upper body strength and stamina will increase. The level of fitness will depend upon the archer’s determination, desire to compete and also to shoot longer rounds at longer distance. Archery is considered as a low impact but an endurance sport.


Q: What type of arrow is best to shoot with?


A:-            Although all carbon arrows are quite good and inexpensive, they are not allowed on fields such as St. Sebastian’s field which is also used for football; this is because lost arrows are very difficult to find with a metal detector. New archers generally start their archery journey with all aluminium arrows. These are relatively inexpensive and durable. As an archer progresses, they will likely invest in aluminium-carbon composite arrows, these can be quite expensive and are not as durable, however they are usually much faster, fly better and are less effected by the wind. Arrows need to have the correct stiffness or spine to suit the archers draw length and length of the arrow and the draw weight or poundage of the bow. Traditional archers shooting longbow or flatbow will normally shoot wooden arrows.


Q:- Is a certain draw weight better than others?


A:-            For a new archer, draw weight should be low as a too heavy draw weight can lead the novice archer to injure themselves. As a “rule of thumb” for under 18s, work on the archer’s age plus 2lb. For over 18s, 20 – 30lb depending upon their physique. As the archer progresses, and the upper body strength increases; also, as the archery wished to shoot the longer distance rounds, draw weight can be increased. Most senior archers will have a draw weight of 36 – 40lb with elite archers having a draw weight of 42 – 46lb.


Q:- Where best to get my equipment from?


A:-            When starting your archery journey, the best place to get your first set of equipment is at the archery shop, the assistants there will be able to provide equipment that is tailored for the individual. Be advised though to wait until you've completed your Beginners' course before getting your first set of equipment. Once your established and have knowledge of the equipment, you can look at the second-hand market or from other members who have spare equipment. Club coaches can also advise on suitable equipment.


Q:- How should I store my bow when I’m not using it?


A:-            Equipment should be ideally stored in a dry area with a reasonably constant temperature and off the floor. Keeping your bow in a case or bag is a good idea. If storing a longbow or flatbow, try not to lean the bow on the floor, better hanging the bow horizontally.


Q:- Can I get one2one coaching?


A:-            St. Sebastian Archers hold regular coaching sessions during the year; also, Derbyshire County Archery Association hold several indoor winter coaching sessions. The club holds regular coaching sessions during the year, new members can also ask a coach for coaching on a “ad-hoc” basis.

Q:- What is meant by the "shot cycle"?


A:-            The shot cycle (sometimes called the “shot sequence” or “shot routine”) is simply a set of steps which you follow through your shot. It is one of the key tools you can use to improve your shooting. Having a solid shot cycle which you can replicate is key to consistent recurve shooting.

Q:- Do I shoot with both eyes open or only one?


A:-            Nearly all elite archers will shoot with both eyes open, however, many archers shoot with one eye closed, it really depends on eye dominance, whether shooting against eye dominance (shooting right handed but left eye dominant or visa versa) or personal preference.


Q:- Is there a certain type of bow that is better to use than others?


A:-            No bow type is better than another. It depends upon the archer’s preference. Normally, at the beginners’ course the novice will shoot recurve most of the time.  Many archers continue with Olympic style recurve however, a growing trend is for archers to shoot barebow. Also, many archers will shoot traditional longbows, flatbows or go for the compound bow.


Q:- How should I dress for practicing or for tournaments?


A:-            Archers should wear clothing appropriate for the weather but not too baggy. Open toed shoes or sandals are not allowed on the field. For practice, be comfortable. For tournaments, camouflage clothing or blue jeans are not allowed. Also, If available, club or county clothing should be worn. In any case, shirts should have sleeves which cover the shoulders and must cover the body when at full draw. And for the ladies, skirts should be no higher than 2 inches above the knee.  In wet weather, good weatherproof boots or shoes are also recommended. Long hair and loose jewellery should also be tied up or removed so as to avoid being caught by the bow string.


Q:-           How do I prevent the string from slapping my arm when shooting?


A;-            The bow arm elbow should be turned away from the string as much as possible; your coach will show you the best way to hold the bow at full draw. You should also wear an arm guard on the bow arm such that if the string does catch the arm, bruising is avoided.


Q;- Is it legal to practice archery in public places?


A:-            Although not technically illegal to practice archery in public places, the bottom line is that you can practice archery in public land as long as you cause no endangerment to people or properties around you and the space you’re using is well-suited for archery. It is illegal if you are deemed to be a danger to the public. Also, you as an individual you are responsible for any accidents so you should hold suitable insurance. It is also illegal to carry a bow which is ready to shoot, i.e.: has an arrow loaded or a crossbow which is cocked. You are then classed as carrying a lethal weapon. It is also illegal to possess a crossbow if under 18. If shooting at the club, the field has been approved as suitable for archery and the archers there are covered by the club’s insurance.


A:- How far past your arrow rest should your arrow point be?


Q;-           The best safety practice is to make sure your arrows sit at least 1" (25mm) beyond your arrow rest when the bow is at full draw. As a beginner, we would look to have about 2” (50mm) beyond the front of the bow as the draw length as a beginner is likely to vary as they complete the beginners’ course. A little bit of extra arrow length gives the arrows an important margin of safety. A little too long is okay. A little too short is not.


A:- Can I tune my bow myself?


Q:-           Yes you can, however tuning is an important part of your archery knowledge and your coach or senior archers at the club will teach you about tuning. When you buy your first set up, the archery shop will often tune your bow as part of the overall sale of equipment.

A:- Can I use my bow to hunt?

Q:-           No, not in the UK. You can hunt in the USA and in Europe but it is illegal in the UK. Field archery is the nearest to bow hunting shooting at 3D animal models.


A:- Can it hurt my bow to draw and shoot without an arrow loaded?


Q:-           Yes, dry firing a bow is a fundamental no-no. it will likely damage the limbs of the bow or worse still, cause you to injure yourself. The higher the poundage bow, the more likely to do so. A bow at full draw has a tremendous amount of energy stored which should be used to propel the arrow. Dry firing puts all that energy into the bow.


Q:- How often should I replace my bowstring?


A:-            A lot depends upon the number of arrows you shoot each week, how often do you apply string wax and the overall quality of the string. As a rule of thumb, if the string has strands coming out or it gets too “furry”, it’s time to replace it. To maintain the strings life, the string should be waxed if it starts to lose its colour or you get some furring of the string. Also, if you’re going to shoot in wet weather, it’s a good idea to wax the string. Some archers will wax their string regularly, say every 100 or 200 arrows.


Q:- What is the best distance to shoot from?


A:-            There’s not really a “best distance” to shoot, generally as a new starter, you’ll be shooting the shorter distances, maybe 20yds. As you progress, the desire to shoot longer distance will grow. At St. Sebastian Archers we run progress schemes whereby you can win badges for getting a certain score at different distances which start at 20yds right through to 100yds. Established archers will be shooting rounds at around 60yds or 70m. Some archers enjoy the challenge of 100yds or 90m. Equally, some archers like to shoot the indoor rounds at 20yds.


Q:- Which is more important, technique or equipment?


A:-            Definitely technique. Expensive equipment might add a few extra points in a round but lack of technique will result in a low score no matter what the equipment is. The saying “All the gear but no idea” can be very true.


Q:- Is more expensive equipment better than cheap equipment?


A:-            Notwithstanding the above question, spending a little more for a quality product can save money for the future, for example, I would always advise to buy the best sight you can reasonably afford and it will give many years of reliable service. Buying top of the range equipment, unless you’re an elite archer, will not really improve your shooting. Technique and practice are key.

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