Archery.... is there a need for further change?

16 people have posted on this thread, a couple only once. That's not a lot of archers considering the numbers on the forum.
Some strong views, and that's good. Some opposite views from mine; and that's good too.
A few responses have pointed out that they like field shooting better than boring target shooting. I think it is good that they have found a type of archery they like. I know archers who liked the atmosphere at the club where I shoot but have gone over to field shooting because they like that more. Liking one type of shooting more than another does not make the one they like less, bad/wrong.
Agreed.

Perhaps they found target archery stuffy, but that is not universal in target archery clubs.
True, but it does seem to be an acknowledged cliche - there's 'some' truth there that everyone seems to agree with.

The nature of the actual shooting is different, but that is the way it is.
But should that be the end to it?

One is repetitive and the other isn't;
Why can't they exist together? I think the general 'feel' that a lot of people seem to get is that you're either a target or a field archer (with a few other disciplines as well - clout for example), but not both. Why the (albeit implied) segregation? I know that there ARE some clubs that offer/support/acknowledge the existence of the other disciplines, but why is that acknowledgement sometimes seen as 'dirty'? (by both sides - I'm doing my best to stay on this fence!).

we make our own choices even though we are sometimes restricted by what is available nearby.
Also very true.
 
dvd8n, I am losing count of how many times I find myself agreeing with you. Heehee
I read your posts and immediately think, you sound like me, in the sense that we think about the same things the details and bigger picture.
As for the mid level coach coming in and doing the things you mention; I would have said the same things a few years ago. I have done string making sessions, bow tuning sessions, fletching sessions etc etc. They were well attended in the past, but these days more and more archers are not interested. Many are not interested in buying a string and having it posted to them; they visit the shop and get it fitted with a nocking point.
Their archery gear is like their mobile phone; a complete mystery. I find that way of thinking slightly irritating. I shouldn't as it's not my archery; it's theirs. But I see the enjoyment I got from doing the things myself and feel they are missing so much. Well, they are missing something, but it isn't anything they would value.... they would get involved themselves if they did.
I think that speaks more to society as a whole - everyone is under more pressure to work hard, play hard, etc that it's overwhelming. Archery is a particularly focused skillset that requires a total exclusion of everything else. Something that (while it is very beneficial to most people), is incredibly hard to do if you're constantly mindful of all the other things going on in your life.


The archers of today are slowly changing in their attitudes towards their archery. They are brought up to live in their world; I was brought up to live in mine. We often share the same spaces as each other; and even the same hobbies, but not in the same ways.
Does archery need to change? Yes! It won't all be a benefit for me, so I would not change the same things they would.
That's a good realisation - that not everyone sees things the same - and it's a very hard realisation to make, some never make it.
 
Matt, I fully understand the attraction of field shooting. More variety and a different approach as a result.
I have been trying to get my head round the organisation of field archery.
From a total outsider's position it seems that clubs set up the venues.An association offers advice on setting up etc etc and also provide a level of insurance. Clubs seem to put on a lot of competitions open to visitors in order to make full use of the course. Do they also offer visitors the opportunity to just shoot for a range fee like visitors to a gold club?
From memory (Although I'm a member of one club, and have been a member of another as well, I haven't really been involved for a year or 3):

Yes - clubs setup the venues.. Generally a group of archers will look around for a landowner willing to let out an area of woodland for the purpose. Could be a large landowner, could be a small one. I know that Company of 60 in Leatherhead lease their woods from the Crown Estates! My own club lease a small area of woodland from a local landowner, but the woodland is also used by his stables for gentle hacking, so we have restrictions on when/where we can shoot sometimes, and we have to be on the lookout for riders. Generally it's recommended (IIRC) that the area can be 'secured' and is fenced (to prevent the general public getting shot).

Yes - the Associations have rules about the area shot in, target layouts etc. And (I think) the insurance for the club is organised by the parent association (I'm NFAS, can't really speak about the others).

There does seem to be a lot of Field competitions compared to Target, I think, not sure if that's an impression or actual fact. I know that if you're prepared to travel, you can shoot a field comp almost every weekend of the year (especially if you're a member of other associations as well). Maybe it's a financial thing - I suppose it helps that putting on a shoot for field is probably significantly less financially onerous than a target shoot? But I'm guessing there. I think also there may be an element of the field archery community being a little less competitive, and a touch friendlier?? Again, that's probably more an impression.

Most field clubs I know of allow visitors, and (the ones I've visited) charge about £3 or £4 (most prefer about 3 or 4 visits, then you're expected to join - but then, if you're already and NFAS member each club is not more than £30 - £50 to join for the year - so if you're visiting regularly it makes sense for the archer to join the club anyway). You're expected to notify the club of your presence - for insurance purposes, and most clubs require an existing club member to accompany the visitor: which makes sense, otherwise the visitor might not know the peculiarities of the grounds.
 

Kernowlad

Active member
I’ve just added all the local(ish) field tournaments to my calendar; there is at least one a month until November. All set in beautiful grounds, all cheap to enter, all with a great bunch of people.

Compared to one target tournament in three years. 144 gruelling arrows (60 was too much IMO) at the same static targets. My son was given the wrong round and had to shoot further than his bow could fling, someone “looking after him” missed an entire score round causing tears of frustration, I came away deeply unimpressed.

It’s a world apart.
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
There does seem to be a lot of Field competitions compared to Target, I think, not sure if that's an impression or actual fact.
Probably an impression. Take a look at the Brighton Bowmen website. I have no idea if it includes most field shoots but target shoots are about half a dozen each and every Sunday throughout the year.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Riceburner, If I gave the impression that archers chose field or Target but not both, then that was a mistake in how I wrote the piece.
I do hear that some do both and enjoy both. I also read that some like one but not the other. I see the whole of that as normal.
 

Sinbad

Member
Must admit, I do love target. Always trying to beat myself etc. We did have a field group just down the road from where our ground is that I would have liked to have tried, but it seems the land owner has decided to sell it off, so I think they have folded :( Will have to see if there are any others in the area. defo want to give it a blast in a fully wooded area. I think with shadows and things moving in your eye line could be interesting.
 
Riceburner, If I gave the impression that archers chose field or Target but not both, then that was a mistake in how I wrote the piece.
I do hear that some do both and enjoy both. I also read that some like one but not the other. I see the whole of that as normal.
Nope - that's my impression of most archers!

I say MOST, because obviously there are exceptions. I've been shooting now for about 10 years (ish), albeit with the aforementioned 2-3 year lay off, but I still remember that the vast majority of archers I met were very much focused either one way or the other, field archers considered target boring (but would often make use of guesting for winter practise): I'm not entirely sure about what target archers thought of field, becuase I didn't meet that many (being a field archer primarily myself), but my rough impression was they thought it 'frivolous' and 'not as important'.

While the current situation may well be the status quo, I think it would be a shame to consider it 'normal'. There's always new things to learn, and anyone who feels they've learnt 'enough' is (imho) soon going to be falling behind in life. (in general terms)
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Riceburner, Normal was meant to describe " some like one, some like the other, some like both."
I can't see any other options, apart from "all like both , no one likes either"
 

oldnut

Supporter
Supporter
I started archery about 3 years ago, joined a local club that shoots indoors in winter and outside at a rugby club in summer. the club is smallish, generally about 8 to 12 on the line. its a recurve club (not aimed at recurves specifically ) and I am the only elb person. a couple of months ago I heard of a longbow club locally so went for a look. there were about 10 people stood on a very windy football pitch pinging away at a target about 60yrds away and a plastic pig about 120 yrds away. I joined up as I wanted to try and work out if the way I was shooting was right and how to improve. very friendly bunch, a very different approach to shooting that takes a bit of getting used to. a lot more talking between ends, changing at what you shoot at target wand or plastic pig (I shot at a cone being a veggie). I have to say I enjoy both as I get different things from both types of archery. I may even try field if I can find a local one that shoots at paper targets not plastic critters. I know this is a bit of a ramble and not totally relevant but just thought I would say in effect....I just enjoy being out with like minded people doing something I enjoy
 

Whitehart

Well-known member
I think target archery is unique form of shooting arrows. It's football's equivalent of only taking penalties.
Target archery and Ten Pin bowling are very similar (both static trying to hit maximums - in archery we have wind in bowling oil patterns) but there are at least 5 times more regular bowlers in the UK than the entire archery population.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I would say in effect....I just enjoy being out with like minded people doing something I enjoy
Oldnut ,I think this is an important thing for clubs to remember. When a club is running smoothly and the like minded archers are enjoying their time in the fresh air with their friends, any changes that affects their enjoyment needs to be taken into consideration. Change to improve things as opposed to changes that remove things.
 
Riceburner, Normal was meant to describe " some like one, some like the other, some like both."
I can't see any other options, apart from "all like both , no one likes either"
I think I'm struggling to get my point across......

For me, if someone describes the situation we have now as 'normal', it's like accepting South African apartheid in the '90s as 'normal'.

IE - I think there's something very deeply wrong with the situation we have now.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Ahhh, I wrote "a club" running smoothly. I was not talking about part of a club, or a clique within a club.
I think I'm struggling to get my point across......

For me, if someone describes the situation we have now as 'normal', it's like accepting South African apartheid in the '90s as 'normal'.

IE - I think there's something very deeply wrong with the situation we have now.
Riceburner, I see what you are saying. Normal as in; this has become what we expect because it has been happening this way for so long.
I was talking about normal in the sense that different people like different things.
 
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