Images from http://www.discoverarchery.org/.
Archery has been around for a long time and has been used as a weapon for hunting and in warfare. With the advent of firearms, archery went into a decline. Since the 1840s archery as a sport activity has shown tremendous growth in popularity. The sport can be enjoyed by all people as a competitive sport and people with disabilities don't need to stay at home. Archery requires discipline to learn to shoot properly, but hones concentration and it is very rewarding to get a good shot.
If you are new to the sport and want to try it out, contact a club in your area and arrange a introduction session. Clubs usually have equipment available to rent for the first couple of sessions. Since it is a costly investment you are advised to postpone buying your own equipment until you have decided what style you want to start out with and have received some advice from experienced archers.
Styles of archery:
1. Compound Bow - as the name suggests is smaller than a recurve. The bow has cams that help deliver more power and better sights for better accuracy than a traditional bow. These bows are preferred for hunting because of their size and power delivery.
Equipment is readily available, but tend to be more expensive than a comparative recurve.
2. Recurve - so named because the limbs curve back to the front of the bow. The recurve stores more energy than a longbow, but less than a compound. Recurve bows can be used for hunting, but is preferred for target shooting. It is also used in the Olympic Games.
3. Traditional - longbow or kyudo (Japanese art of the bow). These are specialised and less common styles of archery.
4. Crossbow - might not strictly be considered a archery style, but is starting to be included as a special class.
The SA National Archery Association website has some good resources on the sport in South Africa. They also have a list of clubs and accredited dealers.
Take a look at our buying guide for more information.
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