Archery | Lakewood Lodge


Archery is one of the oldest skills in human history, dating back beyond 20,000 years, as a means of hunting and warfare amongst the earliest of human civilisations.

It is still popular today, taken up by people across the world for sport, hunting, or as a hobby. While we don’t hunt with our bows and arrows at Lakewood Lodge (we love our animals!) we provide an informative, safe, and fun archery experience for our visitors.

Benefits of archery:

Archery has numerous physical and mental benefits as a sport. The main physical benefit of archery is improvement of hand-eye co-ordination. Archery is a sport that requires you to be in control of your movements and requires the hands to work together while performing different tasks based on input from your eyes and mind. While doing so, finger and hand muscles increase in strength and flexibility when handling the bow and arrow, from fixing, griping, and pulling. Balance is also paramount to success in archery, as the body must be held still with a good strong posture while aiming and making a shot. With practise, the body core becomes stronger at balancing and helps with more focused and accurate shooting.

Archery is also a sport that requires a lot of patience and concentration to hit the bullseye. With more and more practise, archery can improve and increase ability to critically concentrate and have a quicker response time.

Archery does not discriminate based on skill level or disability. In fact, people with disabilities can shoot from their wheelchairs. So, whatever the participant’s ability is, or whether shooting alone or in a group for socialisation, releasing an arrow, watching it fly, and having it hit the target can improve physical and mental health. But most of all, it’s fun!

Components of archery:

The main two types of bows are recurve bows and compound bows. Compound bows are modernised to allow more accuracy and power from a greater distance, however they are bulkier and more reliant on parts. Here at Lakewood Lodge we use recurve bows. These bows are the more traditional type of bow, are more survivalist, dependent on skillset, lightweight, and easier to use. The components of the recurve bow are simple: the body of the bow itself, the bow string, and the arrow rest.  The arrows we use are fletched aluminium arrows, the sturdiest and safest arrows for youths and beginners.

Lakewood Lodge also uses standard polycatenary targets for easy removal of the arrows, with coloured rings displaying different numbered scores from 1 to 10. The centre of the target, known as a ‘bullseye’, ‘eagle eye’, or ‘in the gold’, we classify as 15 points. As a bonus we may have a mini target or balloons placed up, the score to be determined by the instructor at the time.

How to shoot:

As any archery instructor will explain, safety is always paramount. The archery arena is bordered off with yellow rope to indicate the boundary lines, and these are not to be crossed until all arrows have been fired and the bows are returned to the instructor. When loading and aiming, the bow must always be facing the target direction to ensure no accidental firing or injury occurs.

Posture is very important in archey. Standing sideways to the target with legs shoulder-length apart, bow facing the target, take an arrow from the arrow holder and clip it into the bow string between the two small bolts, the odd-colour fletching (arrow ends) facing the participant, letting the arrow rest on the arrow rest. Raise the bow to level to the target with the less-dominant hand gipping the bow underneath the arrow, arm slightly bent. The dominant hand is to pull back on the bow sting. The fingers should be on the black part of the bow string where the arrow is clipped in for the most power and accuracy, the ends of fingers above and below the arrow. How many fingers used is up to the participant, but younger or weaker people are advised to use more fingers to have more muscle power to pull back on the bow string far enough. Where each finger is placed is also up to the comfort of the participant (above or below the arrow) but we don’t recommend holding onto the arrow as this mostly just knocks it off the fragile arrow rest, making it shoot at a bad angle or unclip and fall to the ground). The participant should aim by looking across the arrow to the centre of the target. Pulling back with the dominant arm, elbow out to help keep the aim level, the arrow should be pulled back at least three quarters of the way to be sure to have enough power to hit the target. The bow should also be level and steady, not wobbling around.

When the participant feels comfortable with the aim and positioning, simple release the end of the fingers and let go, while keeping posture, and the arrow will shoot. Don’t freak out when this happens! Some people recoil and move their arm into the bow string as it is released. This won’t hurt but might leave a mark for a few minutes if skin is exposed.

Once the instructor gives permission, the participant(s) collect their arrows by placing one hand in an ‘L’ shape by the arrow while using the other hand to twist and toggle it out of the target board. Don’t forget to keep score by adding up each number ring the arrow falls on and notifying the instructor who will keep a score record. Once all arrowed are retrieved, the participant(s) must hold the arrows horizontally “like a shopping trolley” and walk back, placing the arrows back into the arrow holder. If any arrows shoot over the target into the trees behind, please inform the instructor and if need be the instructor will help to retrieve it.

If any of this sounds confusing, don’t worry, the archery instructor will go through it in detail at the beginning of the session.

With archery you can compete against others or work on beating your own personal high scores. Either way, building skill and improving yourself is a good feeling, so come and give it a go!