Witchery of archery | Sports | thenews.com.pk

2023-03-08 14:24:52 By : Ms. Sophie Liang

Pakistan needs to invest in its budding archers and promote the sport in leading universities

N o need to get upset with the title of the article. It has nothing to do with the archery federation or sports politics in our system, rather it's the title of Maurice Thompson's widely read book that highlighted their exploits with archery and served to stimulate interest in archery worldwide.

I have been closely watching the growing interest and evolution of archery in Pakistan as a competitive sport since my first article on archery was published in The Frontier Post on 23rd March 2002.

The game has come a long way from wooden longbows of Robin Hood and traditional archery practiced in Swabi for the last hundred years by the name of Makhha to the establishment of Archery Federation in Lahore in 1996, and its subsequent admission into World Archery Federation in 2005.

Archery is a great Olympic sport with a long history and utilises a wide variety of equipment and shooting styles. Nearly every culture in the world used archery for combat, survival, show of power, strength, and competition. From primitive 25,000-year-old prehistoric cave drawings inside the tombs of ancient Egyptians, wars fought by great Muslim armies and mighty Ganges Khan, archery has been in the centre of rich tapestry of history.

Archery because of its style and glamour featured in countless Hollywood movies and it was even employed to light the Olympic flame during the opening ceremonies of Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Inspired by glamour of archery NASA sent ceremonial arrows into space, and even maintained informal archery programmes for astronauts training for shuttle missions.

The purpose of this write-up is to raise awareness amongst the youth who want to take archery as a serious sport and excel in it at competitive level.

The beginners should acquaint themselves with the outdoor target range design. A typical target range looks like a large box. If possible, the range should be preferably aligned in a way that the archer is shooting away from the sun.

The range should have safety markings and be free from obstructions with a safety buffer of at least 50 yards. The grass must be mowed to retrieve lost arrows. The main feature of an outdoor target range is a series of lines painted on earth. This includes the waiting line, shooting line and target line where targets are placed.

Archery is a sport of storing and releasing energy in a controlled fashion and this function is performed by the bow that must fit the body size of the archer properly.

Although bows may differ in form and function, they share similar characteristics. A typical recurve bow has a tip, string notch, upper and lower limbs, string, nock locator, recurve, handle, shelf, handle riser, handle, and a sight window.

The bows come in three basic styles. The straight or long bow is made from a single stick. The recurve bow, the limbs of which when strung curve backward near the center riser and then recurve forward at the tips.

The third kind of bow is the compound bow, which is created to take the advantage of a series of pulleys and cams, thus allowing the archer to pull the bow back to a complete draw with full power.

The beginners usually ask: what's the right bow for them? The answer depends on its intended use. Remember that no single bow is perfect for all users. Archers usually decide what kind of archery appeals to them and then choose the equipment that best matches that goal.

Arrows should match with bow and type of archery being undertaken. Target archers using recurve bows tend to favour slender, lightweight arrows with small vanes for greater range and lessened wind resistance.

To measure the right length of your arrow, place the arrow against your chest pointing outward. Stretch your arms in front of you with palms together and fingers pointed and lightly grasping the yardstick adding two more inches to that measurement. This should be the final measurement of your arrow also known as draw length.

The arrow comprises nock, fletching, vane, shaft and point. Arrows are made from almost any material from simple river reeds to highly engineered composites. Aluminum and carbon arrows bonded together in layers are also in business.

Beginners should remember a shooting sequence, called the Nine Steps to the 10 Ring, created by the Coaches Development Committee in Europe, and if you follow this sequence you will soon be shooting just like an Olympic archer. These steps include stance, knock the arrow, set your grip, pre-draw your bow, draw your bow, anchor, aim, release and follow through.

I am purposely leaving the shooting from compound bow as it will make my write up lengthy and a bit more technical which is not required for the beginners.

Remember arrow paths follow an arched flight different from your sightline, therefore you actually aim a little higher than your line of sight. Wind and altitude can change the shape of the arc. Thus practicing in different weather conditions and shooting in different areas of the country is important.

With a typical recurve bow, new archers often learn to shoot instinctively. To shoot instinctively, it's important to develop a strong sight memory. This simply means that you remember exactly what you were looking at and exactly how your body was positioned at the moment of release for shot after shot. All things in place, the second arrow should hit the target right on top of the first one. If the second arrow misses the mark, ask yourself what mistake you made.

Also remember that archery targets can quickly get covered with arrow holes, which make it difficult to judge if an arrow pass-through is yours. If you are scoring seriously then it's advisable to mark your target face with the help of a marking pen.

A target face in archery is of 5 colours comprising gold, red, blue, black and white, comprising ten scoring circles ranging in size from 48 to 16 inches. There are front sights, plunger and stabilisers, clickers, slings and chest protectors and many more accessories used in compound bows which the shooters become familiar with over a period of time.

Archery is a mentally demanding sport, as well as a sport of inches. Scores are based on a fraction of inch or a wisp of wind. Archery events are mostly managed by volunteers, so you may be asked to help move the targets, help to score or perform any other tasks as a team.

There is an old tournament saying among the archers: "You can't reshoot your last arrow". Other adages say that you are not shooting 100 arrows but rather one arrow 100 times. Thus always shoot with a short memory and concentrate on every arrow as if it's the only shot of the day.

Remember that practice makes the man perfect and archery and rifle firing requires hours of practice at shooting ranges in all sorts of weather and terrain. Archery is still in its infancy in Pakistan. It's heartening to know that the Karachi University has an archery range and associate members of archery federation are steadily increasing.

The sport of archery has a lot of scope for female athletes. Pakistan needs to invest in its budding archers and promote the sport in leading universities, to find and refine more talent.