There are about 70 student archery clubs based at universities all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Read on to find out how you can get involved in archery at university.
Can I do archery at university?
Yes, you can! There are student archery clubs based at universities all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Hundreds of archers first picked up a bow at university with some going on to become elite athletes representing Great Britain at the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Elite archers you may have heard of who competed at university include Danielle Brown (MBE), Alison Williamson (MBE), Bryony Pitman, Alex Wise, Tom Hall (who started at university!), Isabelle Carpenter, Sarah Moon, Stuart Taylor, William Pike, Kai Thomas-Prause, Sarah Prieels and Ashe Morgan.
What if I’ve done archery before?
Student archers will be categorised when they join their university club. There are two experience categories; Novice and Experienced. A novice archer is someone who has started shooting that academic year (usually stated as 1st September onwards), all other archers are classified as experienced – regardless of changing bow types!
Why should I do archery?
Archery is a sport of skill, precision, mental stamina and determination. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and have fun trying something new while getting to know people. If you feel like you’ve never found your sport or fancy doing something a bit different then archery could be what you’re looking for.
Archery is a sport for all regardless of gender, age or physical ability. It helps to build muscle endurance and flexibility, develop hand eye coordination and body strength. It’s also great for mental health, learning to switch off outside distractions and be in the moment.
My university doesn’t have an archery club, how can I do the sport?
There are archery clubs all over the UK and Northern Ireland so one possibility is to get along to your local club and do a beginners’ course. Once you’ve tried it you could set up your own university archery club.
You can download a guide to setting up a club at the bottom of the page or scroll down to the ‘Contact Us’ section to get in touch and find out more.
What do people say about student archery?
We’ve gathered together some testimonials from student archers about what they got out of joining their university club.
“It definitely allows you to meet some people you wouldn’t have probably met otherwise and even though it’s not a team sport per se, it definitely helps you feel like you are part of a team and you can build friendships that will last longer than your uni archery club membership. Also, it’s a great way for foreign students to participate and feel included in something and work at their own pace at both technique and building relationships.” (AT, Uni of Bradford)
“It’s an interesting sport, which is accessible to most – and easy to put measures in place to make it more accessible. The freedom to choose your style (i.e., barebow, longbow, compound…) and poundage means you can push yourself if you want, or find a comfortable set up and shoot for fun. Word of warning though, you might end up with lifelong friends.” (RC, Manchester Met.)
“University archery has been a great confidence boost for me. Although I was already an archer when I came to uni, I’ve become far more competitive, advanced my coaching, and loved working as part of a committee for the past two years. The best part is definitely the community around it – everyone is welcome here!” (SB, Bristol, Student Coach of the Year 2019/20)
How can I get involved?
The UKSAA Club Directory contains key contact information for all the university archery clubs around the UK and is updated regularly. This includes website and social media links, email addresses and the names of key office holders.
Archery GB’s club finder can help you find your nearest club if you’re interested in joining a club closer to home.
British Universities & College Sports (BUCS) is the main competition platform for inter-university sports. Archery is one of the BUCS sports you can try, among many others.
The season is split into indoor and outdoor championships: the indoor championships (usually held in February and March) comprise of a qualifier event, where archers compete for a spot to be invited to the national finals.
The outdoor championships (usually held in June) happen over a weekend, where archers are required to shoot different rounds each day. Awards for these championships are held over the entire weekend.
The British University Team Championships (known as BUTC) is an indoor, single day competition, open to teams of 3 archers from British universities. It has been held annually since 2003. It is run by volunteers. BUTC comprises a Bray I ranking round in the morning. Teams are then ranked and there are head-to-head eliminations in the afternoon. The head-to-head matches use 60mm Beiter hit/miss discs. In between ends, music, commentary and supporters make BUTC a highlight of the student calendar.
In the UK, there are six regional student archery leagues:
Collated information on all these leagues and the general student archery community can be found on the UK Student Archery Association (UKSAA) website. Each league has its own coordinators and competition formats throughout the academic year.
Other opportunities to compete
For friendlies and non-uni competitions use the AGB tournament finder.
You can also take part in the WONT (Warwick Open Novice Tournament) at the University of Warwick.
Where can I learn more?
Archery GB has produced a beginners’ guidebook for people starting out in the sport. Click here to buy a copy.
You can learn to coach beginners by booking onto the Session Coach (Level 1) course here.
If you’d like to learn to be an archery judge, you can find out more here.
For support with student archery, you can email the following:
Archery GB Head of Clubs & Communities, Gayle Pink
BUCS Events Manager, Alice Robinson
BUCS Archery Events Management Group
UK Student Archery Association (UKSAA)