Brief History of Archery

Archery is one of the oldest arts still practised today.

The history of the bow and arrow is entwined in the history of humanity. Archery initially emerged as a technique for hunting and then later for warfare. The earliest evidence of archery – arrowheads made of flint – dates back to around 20,000 BC. It’s possible that early humans were using bows and arrows even earlier.
Distinctive styles of equipment and technique developed in almost every region of the world. In Asia, where warriors were often mounted on horseback, shorter composite bows became popular, while longbows made of yew made England a military power through much of the Middle Ages. Large communities of archers shooting traditional bows remain active today.

Archery became obsolete in warfare with the advent of gunpowder and quickly developed into a sport.

The first-known archery competition that we can relate to modern times was held in Finsbury, England, in 1583 and had 3000 participants. Archery first featured at the modern Olympic Games from 1900 to 1908 and in 1920. World Archery was founded in 1931 to secure the sport a permanent place on the programme, which was achieved in 1972.

Archery Divisions

There are 3 main divisions of archery – Recurve, Compound and Crossbow.

Each division has its own unique qualities and can follow different paths depending on what appeals to you as the archer. Some paths are Marksmanship, Hunting, Personal Development, Social or just for Relaxation.

Townsville Target Archery as a club is mainly focussed on Marksmanship and competitions.

Archery Organisation

The Townsville Target Archery club is a member of a Regional Governing Body (RGB) called North Queensland Archery Association (NQAA). In turn, that is a member of the national body called Archery Australia (AA) which is a member of the World Archery (WA).

Throughout the whole organisation, there are documents available that provide guidance and rules on how competitive archery is to be conducted. Within the organisation, there are trained officials appointed, firstly, to ensure the sport is safe for everybody involved; secondly, to provide coaching; and thirdly, to ensure that competitions are conducted within the rules and guidelines in a safe and fair manner.

Getting Started

Townsville Target Archery offers an Introductory Course where you are taught safety aspects of archery followed by basic instruction on using a recurve bow. The club will initially provide all equipment necessary to cover this introduction to archery. This is held on a monthly basis, where, at the end of the month, you have to consider whether you want to progress within the club.

Archery Progression

By the end of the month of your Introductory Course, you should have enough knowledge to decide your future in archery. The coaches can assist with your decision and you are welcome to speak with senior archers on your choices.

Once you decide to proceed, the first thing you need to do is apply to become a member of the club and Archery Australia by paying a yearly fee which covers you for insurance. Membership allows you to have access to scoring programs and be able to attend competitions. The second thing you need to do is subscribe to the club Shoot Pass system by paying either a half yearly or full year fee to cover target faces and ongoing repairs to club equipment. Alternate to the club Shoot Pass is a fee to be paid each time you shoot.

Your next major outlay is the purchase of your own personal bow equipment. You will need to decide on whether you wish to continue shooting a recurve bow or change over to a compound bow. (Please note that this club does not cater for crossbow) The club has approached Redback Archery (local archery supplier), who has agreed to offer complete kits at different price ranges depending on your budget. Ask around, there are plenty of other suppliers within Australia and overseas and also Ebay. However, we do suggest caution when making sight unseen purchases as you could end up with something that may not suit you. You are more than welcome to talk to senior archers who will explain different aspects of archery gear from their personal experiences.

For a short period, club equipment is available in the short term to hire each time you shoot. However, availability cannot be guaranteed as there is limited equipment, and this is really for use for the Introductory Courses.

Archery Development

Once you have your own gear and paid the appropriate fees, you will start the development of your skills and knowledge to take you up to advanced and competition levels.

The most important point to always keep in the back of your mind is your goal to improve your Personal Best (PB). There is nothing more satisfying than beating your current PB.

Over a period of time, you need to develop your skills to the point where you can comfortably shoot at a distance of 30 metres. By then, for a recurver, you should have a good understanding of the clicker, your sight settings and arrow groupings. For a compounder, you will have developed an understanding of your sight settings and arrow groupings. You should now also have a good grasp on the ongoing care and maintenance of your equipment.

It won’t be long before you can attempt the formal shoots and the methods used to record scores.

As you develop, you will increase the distances to targets until you reach the required distance for your age group. You will have a chance to meet archers from other clubs and to refine your own archery techniques from discussing points with other archers.

Most archers are very enthusiastic on improving themselves and strive to become better at the sport.