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Beginners' Courses

A beginners guide to Archery

A beginners guide to Archery

Archery is a sport where competitors use bows to shoot arrows at a target. It is an Olympic sport that has been enjoyed throughout the ages and since 1988, British archers have won 10 medals at the Olympic Games. Alison Williamson, who won a bronze at Athens in 2004, has represented Britain at the last five Olympic Games. Team GB has also won 23 Paralympic medals since 1980, including four in Beijing.

Forms of Archery

Target Archery - is the current Olympic form of the sport. This popular form of archery takes place on flat terrain and consists of shooting a given number of arrows, known as a round, at targets over distances of up to 100 yards for men and 80 yards for women. Juniors have their own special shorter distances depending on age. Indoor archery with its smaller target faces and closer distances is very popular during the winter months.

Field Archery - takes place on a course of targets set out in rough country (often woodland). The shooting distances are frequently unmarked so that archers have to rely on judgement and instinct, particularly if they elect to shoot without sighting aids or with the traditional longbow.

Clout Archery - Similar to target, except that the archer attempts to drop arrows at long range (180 yards for the men and 140 yards for women) into a series of circular scoring zones on the ground surrounding a marker flag.

Flight Archery - A form of archery that can only take place where space permits since archers compete by shooting for sheer distance.

How to get started?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in archery, the first thing is to contact your local club - this is very straightforward, just follow "Club Finder".

Nearly all of our clubs are run by volunteers and so you would normally contact them in the evening, although many clubs have their own website where you are likely to find an email address. You may wish to have an archery experience as part of a holiday or leisure break, or have a go at a 'come and try' session at one of our affiliates listed below. If after you have shot a few arrows, experienced just how much fun archery can be and want to take up the sport you can contact your local club.

Further information about how to get started into archery can be found by contacting archery retailers listed below.


Go Active Breaks

Go Active Breaks

Go Active Breaks is a brand new and exciting collection exclusively from Hoseasons. It offers a range of sporting activities for everyone from first time beginners to keen amateurs - perfect for both families and groups of friends. These exclusive activity locations offer superb archery ranges with Archery GB trained activity leaders.

Living Heritage Country Shows

The Archery Village

The Archery Village provides archery experiences at Living Heritage Country Shows.

Find the 2011 timetable here


All the retailers below have made a self declaration that they meet the criteria in this document.

Name Location Opening Hours Web Site
Aardvark Archery Leeds
West Yorkshire LS28 5LY
Monday, Wednesday to Saturday
Aim4sport Ltd

Bedfordshire SC19 1pR

Monday to Saturday
Chiltern Archery Aylesbury
Bucks HP22 5HZ
Monday to Saturday
Clickers Archery Ltd

63 Borrowdale Drive Norwich NR1 4NS

Tuesday to Saturday
Merlin Archery Quorn
Loughborough LE12 8UE
Monday to Saturday
Quicks Archery Waterlooville
Hampshire PO7 7JF
Tuesday to Saturday
Quicks Archery Walton on Thames
Surrey KT12 2EG
Monday to Saturday
Quicks Archery Sapcote
Leicestershire LE9 4FR
Tuesday to Saturday
Quicks Archery Honiton
Devon EX14 1SE
Tuesday to Saturday
Silver Arrow Archery Edlesborough
Bedfordshire LU6 2ES
Friday to Saturday
Wales Archery Crick Manor, Crick
Monmouthshire NP26 5XU
Tuesday to Saturday


Archery GB makes third party service provider information available to you for information only and makes no representations or warranty whatsoever regarding the availability, advice, information or services provided by such third parties including without limitation that any such advice and/or services are correct, fair and/or reasonable or are provided using reasonable skill and care.

The provision of third party service provider details and information does not constitute a recommendation of any nature by Archery GB, You agree that you must bear all risks associated with using this web site and in connection with any services provided by any third party service provider and under no circumstances is Archery GB liable for any loss or damages of any kind as a result of your use of any content or service providers listed on this web site.

The above list of third party service providers may change without notice. Any links to third party websites from here do not amount to any endorsement of that web site by Archery GB and any use of that web site by you is at your own risk.


In order to join an archery club typically you are asked to take part in beginner's course run by the club. This usually consists of four to six introductory lessons, covering a basic understanding of technique and disciplines for shooting in safety and with relative accuracy. Courses will be organised and supervised by qualified coaches and could be in or outdoors.

Archery GB's insurance covers beginners for the first siz lessons that they receive at a club but if they wish to continue shooting after that, they must become members of Archery GB and/or a club. The cost of a beginner's course varies from club to club and costs start from around £30.

What equipment will I use?

Clubs will provide all equipment for the beginner's course and may lend equipment for up to 3 months after joining. Most archers choose to shoot the'Recurve' bow, the modern version of the traditional Longbow (which still has its admirers in club archery).

Rapid technological developments over the last few years have led to an increasing popularity with the 'Compound' bow, distinguished by its much shorter length, pulley wheels, cables and telescopic sights.

Although wooden arrows are still shot by longbow archers most are produced from aluminium, carbon or a combination of both. They are extremely light and vary considerably in price depending on their toughness or durability.

Do not spend vast amounts of money when first joining clubs nor purchase equipment from online auction sites unless you know what you are doing. A club can recommend what equipment to buy and who to buy from and provide generic advice, which could save you money.

How much will it cost me?

On joining an archery club, new members pay an annual subscription, which can vary from club to club. The subscription is paid to the club, county and regional associations, and also a portion is for the Archery GB affiliation fee. An annual cost of £100 for an adult member is about average, with reduced fees for juniors. Sometimes a club will offer a reduction for family membership.

For those entering the sport for the first time, archery equipment can prove expensive, but as previously mentioned a club will lend equipment for a short time. As a guide, the cost of basic equipment (bow, arrows, arm guard, finger tab, quiver etc), will be approximately £100-£300. Second hand equipment can represent a significant saving but should always be considered only after an inspection by an experienced archer.

Do I have to take part in competitions?

There are numerous outdoor and indoor tournaments throughout the year that an archer could take part in and they are an important part of the sport for those of a more competitive nature.

Nevertheless club and recreational archery is just as important for people who enjoy 'shooting arrows' with friends, family or colleagues in the familiar surroundings of their club.

Archery is also one of the few sports that are enjoyed with few compromises by people with most types of disability. Special guidance and instruction is available, even for the visually impaired. It is not uncommon to see disabled archers sometimes in wheelchairs, shooting alongside their able bodied friends on the same tournament shooting line. You could even find yourself stood next to an Olympian or Paralympian!

Archery GB

The Grand National Archery Society, or GNAS, was originally founded in 1861 and has since adopted the trading name Archery GB. Archery GB is the recognised Governing Body for all forms of archery in the United Kingdom and responsible for approximately 30,000 members across eight Regional Societies.

Archery GB is affiliated to the International Archery Federation (FITA), which has around 140 member associations, and is a member of the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations.

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