Returning to Archery

I’ve recently restarted archery after around 5 years off from the sport and it’s an interesting experience.

First of all a little background. About 5 years ago I was made redundant from a well paid job in data analysis and struggled to find something new. Really struggled. In the end I started a university course and completely changed careers, going into Early Years education, but it took a year to get there.

The simple truth is I very quickly reached a point where archery club membership was a cost I couldn’t justify. Not long after that I realised I could sell most of my archery equipment and get a, much needed, few hundred pounds. So, the Hoyt Horizon went up on eBay along with most of my kit.

Now it’s 5 years later and I have a stable job in a new career and I can finally rejoin the sport. I went out and bought a new bow (with my wife’s approval), a Stark Futura riser with Core Archery limbs. The limbs are 28 lbs but with a draw length of 31 ¼” I am pulling somewhere around 34 lbs. Yes, this is a much cheaper set up than I had before but it’s more than sufficient for me at the moment. The only addition I want to make soon is stabilisation.

Since I left archery I have also moved so I found a local club and enquired about joining. After having spent the previous 10 years at the awesome 2020 Archery shooting indoors this was going to be a change, they actually shoot outside! Then Covid hit.

Several months later shooting restarted under new social distancing rules so I enquired again about membership, joined up and started shooting about a month ago. For my first practice I shot at 20m for the comfort factor and it seemed to go okay so halfway through I moved it out to 30m, effectively shooting a Short Metric III backwards. All went well and I headed home feeling good. Until I got up the next morning. My back was on fire and stiff as a board. I felt every minute of my 45 years and realised how deeply unfit I am. After a few days and many ibuprofen tablets I recovered but it did remind me how tough archery can really be.

The following week I shot two Short Metric II’s to push the distance out a bit, still only 40m and 30m but that the longest I’d shot for 15 years or so! Things seemed okay, gradually coming back to me. Then I thought, why not try a WA50, surely 50m couldn’t be much more difficult than 40m could it? Well yes it is, and don’t call me Shirley.

A score of 71, from 72 arrows, with a hit rate of just 26% was a humbling experience! I spent more time looking for arrows in the grass than I did shooting them. This week I thought maybe I should shoot a Short Metric I, yes the 3 dozen arrows at 50m were likely to be pretty poor but at least I could shoot the other 3 dozen at 30m and hopefully recover a bit of confidence. I don’t know what happened but I got 114 at 50m and then 228 at 30m – giving me at total of 342, well over the Third Class required score! Now all I have to do is try to work out what I did differently . . .

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