By: Weber Way to Wellness Reporter
WINTER GARDEN, FL—- Ten year old Hannah picked up a bow and arrow for the first time and began archery under the tutelage of Alicia Weber. Like many youth, it’s the thrill of feeling like Robin Hood and the excitement of hitting the bullseye that draws them to archery. All ability and fitness levels can take a shot and find success even people with serious disabilities find great success.
Most sports are driven by adrenaline, high energy, sweat, and peak performance. Archery is a more settled sport where calmness, focus, controlled-energy, and stillness are keys to success as the goal is repeatedly hitting the bullseye. It offers a new refreshing spin to sport.
After Hannah’s first session, she exclaimed, “This is really exciting.”
She attentively listened to ways to improve and followed through. The result was achieving a high score for a 10 and under archer in just 3 sessions.
Hannah Competes at 10m and 15m for highest score. She achieves 131 pts out of a possible 300.
Like all sports, archery builds self-confidence, social skills, teamwork, and physical development. However, people unfamiliar with archery underestimate the health benefits.
Archery can develop upper-body strength, flexibility, balance/posture, core strength, hand-eye coordination, cardiovascular fitness, and mental focus.
The upper-body strength is increased depending on the draw strength of the bow and the amount of time spent shooting. Serious archery competitors may have 40lbs resistance bows or more. Recreational archers may only use 10-20lbs resistance. Most upper-body muscles are involved in the shot process including the shoulder, chest, and the back. The arm must activate muscle stabilizers to hold the bow up and out till the arrow hits the target.
Flexibility is increased in the fingers, hands, and the arm to hold the bow and pull the string over and over again.
Learning the proper stance in archery and repeating it to perfection is an art. The archery stance varies if one is using a compound or recurve bow, but it is necessary for accuracy and precision. Archery can certainly help one’s posture and finding one’s center of balance. The slightest moves or wrong weight shifts will throw an arrow off the target.
The core muscles help balance the body shot after shot. The obliques and tight torso are key to a successful shot process.
Hand-Eye coordination is an essential skill for mastery in archery. This skill is developed through a lot of regular practice.
A recreational archer practicing at 7-10 yds may not notice these benefits as much as a competitive archer who may shoot anywhere from 40yds to 70 meters. The walking distance after shooting arrows and then collecting them adds up. In competitive archery, an archer may walk 5 miles in a competition. The competitions may last 3-4 hours or longer. Archery is a unique type of endurance especially adding in the factor that you are out in the heat for hours and trying to stay focused on top shots.
Mental focus is imperative to success. This is the one element that makes archery really stand out from other sports. Archery is a mind exercise where distractions need to be eliminated to be successful. A keen eye, clear concentration, and mental stability are keys to top shots, shot after shot. Of course, calculating in your mind and keeping tabs on scores requires clear thinking as well.
Archery is a great sport to make a top student-athlete. The mental training from archery can be carried over into the classroom.
Are you in Central Florida and interested in archery? Are you looking for private lessons or would you like to join a club? If so, you came to the right place. You can get private training, attend camps, and join a club. Contact Alicia at Awinningway@gmail.com for more info.
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