Novice archer

5 Mar 2013

I’m a bit notorious in my family for diving headlong into new hobbies and interests. Photography, cycling, and thrifting for menswear are some of my recent adventures, and now I can add archery to the list. Unfortunately, precious few of my interests are free or even inexpensive. My wife is a kind and generous woman.

This new interest of mine has an interesting origin. My 11-year-old son discovered the Ranger’s Apprentice book series by Australian fantasy author John Flanagan. Flanagan’s hero, 15-year-old orphan Will, is apprenticed to a “Ranger.” The Rangers function like a special forces unit, and Will becomes an accomplished archer. My son’s imagination was stoked, and I’m pretty sure he would have signed up to be a Ranger himself if he could.

I’ve always believed in letting our kids’ interests guide them, so my wife and I arranged for an archery birthday party for my son and some friends in January. He (and I) had a great time shooting at targets including balloons and zombies. Soon after his birthday party we signed him up for an Introduction to Archery class at Rapids Archery Club near our house. Rapids Archery is an amazing archery facility with a beautiful indoor range and acres of outdoor targets.

I didn’t sign up for the class with him, but I wish I had. He had a great time, and I caught the bug with him. We bought him his own bow, a PSE Chaos AD, which has been a great fit for him. Not one to be left behind in the gadget acquisition game, I started shopping the classified ads on Archery Talk, a popular online forum for archery enthusiasts.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I’ve procured a pretty sweet target rig for myself. Nearly everything has been purchased used from forum members. (Insert comment for my wife’s benefit about how much money I’ve saved.) Check out this little video tour of my setup.

Most schools were cancelled in the Twin Cities today thanks to large snowstorm. (To call it a blizzard would be giving it way too much credit.) As a result I got to visit the archery range and got a couple hours of practice. I brought my tripod and Glif so I could capture some video with my iPhone. In the absence of a personal coach, this kind of video capture is a handy way to check your technique.

I’ll probably post the occasional video to YouTube just to document my progress, and I’m sure there will be future posts about the mental aspects of archery. But I’m way too new at this to have developed any particular insights yet. Maybe next week.