CTRA Writtle Field

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get started in archery?

    • There are a number of ways to start off in archery. Sometimes you will come across have-a-go archery sessions at school fetes or country shows. Often holiday destinations such as holiday parks offer archery as a daily activity. This is a common way for many to get their taste for the sport.
      If you want want to give archery a decent chance then going on a beginners course at your local club or archery shop is a good idea. Here you will be able to use loan equipment and get some good advise from experienced staff, coaches or archers. When you've completed your course you will know if it's something you want to continue with.
      You can usually find your local club using an Internet search engine or, for those in the UK, the Archery GB find a club link: https://www.archerygb.org/shoot-compete/shoot/find-a-club/

  • Is archery safe to do?

    • Archery is perfectly safe to do if the rules of shooting are followed. These rules are covered in a beginners course before you shoot your first arrow. As with most things, common sense goes a long way, but after that we follow certain rules, the key one being that all archers, spectators, and even animals, are behind the waiting line before a field captain indicates it is safe to shoot. Bows with nocked arrows are only drawn at the shooting line after the field captain has allowed shooting to proceed. Shooting stops when the the field captain indicates. If there is a danger, such as someone walking into the shooting field then we shout FAST. When you hear fast you must immediately lower your bows and wait until instructed to continue.

  • What are the different types of bow?

    • There are a number of bow types, the common ones being Recurve, Compound and Longbow. In competition these bows are not shot against each other due to the difference in their capabilities and advantages one type will have over the other.

      • Recurve bows get their name from their shape. The ends of the limbs curve away from the archer, towards the target, giving the bow much more power than a  a longbow. Compared to longbows, recurve bows do not need as much strength from the archer to shoot and can be held steady for longer before releasing the arrow. The precision of the a recurve bows manufacture  also mean that they are
        Bear bow recurve bows consist of just the handle, ofter called a riser, the top and bottom limbs, an arrow rest, and a string. Often archers will equip their bows with an adjustable sight, a long rod and side rods for stabilisation.

      • Compound bows use cams, pulleys and cables to allow an archer to hold onto a draw weight at full draw that, due to the mechanical advantage of the bow, is lower than the equivalent release weight of the bow. These bows are more energy efficient than recurve bows and tend to be much more accurate. Compound bows are complex and often rely on experienced staff at archery shops to set them up. Another advantage compound bows have over recurve is that, in competition, a release aid is permitted and helps ensure a more accurate and consistent release.

      • Longbows are the oldest types of bows dating back to the 1200's. They consist only of a long piece of curved wood and a string. They tend to be the same height as the archer and are less accurate than the other bow types. Although it takes a lot of practice to master the longbow, it is respected in the archery community and a good choice for those who want a challenge.
  • What bow should I buy?

    • Many beginners start with a club owned recurve bow. From our observations of archery clubs and tournaments, most will tend to stick with recurve, although you are likely to be influenced by your fellow archers and possibly the competitions or teams you may take part in. Compound archers tend to have started with recurve and chose to move to compound because of its more technically advanced capability. Compound is a great choice for field archery as the bows are more compact and well suited for this type competition. Longbow archers will also have likely started with recurve but moved to longbow attracted to this more traditional style.

  • Am I too young to start archery?

    • Various clubs will have a starting age of around 8, but younger isn't unknown. Parents or family members supporting a young archer, or even better shooting with them, tends to help younger archers a lot.

  • Am I too old to start archery?

    • Never too old. If you feel you can draw the bow (that's pulling the string back towards your face while holding the bow steady with your other arm, not creating a nice picture of a bent stick and string), then you can probably shoot an arrow.

  • Is archery expensive?

    • Like most sports and activities, it can be if you allow it to be. Best advice is to buy as good as you can afford, but not before you've had some advice from your club, ab experienced archer or coach. We love archery shops, but they are in the business of selling you kit.

  • Do I need to dress like Robin Hood?

    • If you want, we don't like to judge.

  • Am I a right or left handed archer?

    • This mostly depends on your eye dominance. To test simply hold out either arm and form a circle with your thumb and index finger. Look through this circle at an object not too far away and slowly bring the circle towards your face while you keep focussing on the object in the circle. When this circle touches your face it will be up to your dominant eye.
      If your dominant eye is on the right then you will be right handed archer; meaning you pull the string back with the right hand and hold the bow with the left. This is because your dominant eye should be in line with the string, arrow, and sight if there is one on the bow. Left eye dominant archers will pull the string back with the left hand and hold the bow with the right.
      This is the general rule, however some archers will choose to shoot the other way because it suits their body.

  • Can I go hunting with a bow?

    • Hunting with the bow in the UK was prohibited in 1965. Other countries, or even states in countries, have different laws and hunting seasons. Some archers in the UK shoot 3D archery, which is a type of field archery where archers shoot at images or models of animals.

  • Can I do archery if I have a disability?

    • Yes indeed, and many do. Discuss with your local club.

  • Can I do a beginners course?

    • Almost all clubs and some archery shops run beginners courses.

  • Do I have to buy my own equipment?

    • No, not until you've tried loan equipment from a club and decided you really want to take up the sport.

  • I've seen a bow on ebay, should I buy it?

    • It depends if you're really ready to buy equipment and know what you're buying. The last thing you would want is to buy a high poundage bow and you've only been shooting for a few months. Even worse would be getting arrows that are the wrong length for you.

  • Can I just borrow my friends bow?

    • Possibly, but as with buying bows, it needs to be the right fit for you. Compromising might not be a good idea.

  • I see that there are wood, metal alloy and carbon bows available. Which is best?

    • Carbon is best! Well that's what many advanced archers will say, but that doesn't stop others choosing to shoot a machined aluminium bow. We see both in Olympic competitions. Wooden bows tend to be for beginners to intermediate archers.

  • Isn't it just as simple as the more you spend, the better the equipment, and then the higher the scores?

    • A bit, but you will only benefit from more advanced equipment if you are a more advanced archer. We tend to see beginners progress very quickly in their first year, and then get better equipment, although if you're shooting a recurve bow then you don't need to replace everything, perhaps just the limbs and arrows.

  • Who is the governing body for archery?

    • Archery GB, previously called The Grand National Archery Society, is the governing body for archery in the United Kingdom. Archery GB is affiliated to the World Archery Federation and a member of the British Olympic Association.

  • How are arrows scored?

    • This depends on the round being shot. Traditional target faces tend to have ten rings made up of five colours. For example, from the centre to the outer ring we have 10 pts - gold, 9 pts - gold, 8 pts - red, 7 pts - red, 6 pts - blue, 5 pts - blue, 4 pts - black, 3 pts - black, 2 pts - white, and 1 pts - white. In other rounds we may score using the same target face but just score the colours; 9 pts - gold, 7 pts - red, 5 pts - blue, 3 pts - black, and 1 pts - white.

  • What is bow tuning?

    • Bow tuning is everything! Well it can be... The best equipment in the world will be no good to anyone if it's badly tuned. Equally a well tuned beginners bow will serve most very well.
      Bow tuning is ensuring the limbs are aligned correctly, the sting is the correct length, the bracing height is correct, the pressure button is set correctly, the upper and lower tiller are correct, the arrow rest is the right height, the nocking point is correct, and the arrows are matched correctly to the bows poundage. Best advice is to ask a shop or club to help you ensure your bow is tuned before learning how to do it all yourself.

  • What is draw length?

    • This is the distance between the nocking point of the string to the arrow rest at full draw. Arrows tend to be an inch or so longer than this distance, but never shorter.

  • What is draw weight?

    • This is the weight on your fingers when you are at full draw. It's important to remember that not only do you need to be able to hold this weight for a while until you aim and release the arrow, but then need to repeat the same action a number of times. In a competition you need to be able to feel as comfortable shooting the 60th arrow as the 1st, so fatigue is something that should be considered. Experienced archers will practice for weeks to ensure they are fit for a competition and minimise fatigue.