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Archery - Shooting things

What a noble sport - the twang of bowstrings, the whoosh of arrows in flight, the thunk of a well aimed shot and the groan as you smash an arrow the size of a telegraph pole into your opponent's tight group.

The thing most people don't realise about archery is that you're primarily shooting against yourself. Sure, you can enter competitions and shoot for medals and trophies, but when you're standing at full draw preparing to release a shot it's your own mental attitude and willpower which will guide the arrow into the centre of the target. You can teach just about anyone to shoot accurately, but it takes mental strength, self-belief and endless practice to be consistently accurate.

Simon Haynes, 1993 PAA Tournament - Photo (c) Lionel Kong

I've been involved in archery on and off since the mid-eighties, and I recommend it as a sport. If you've never tried it, look up your local club in the phone book. Most of them have low-cost training sessions on the weekend where you can use club equipment until you're ready to start shooting for real. It's not a high-intensity sport: body shape and fitness don't matter, and it's as much fun for juniors as adults.

Merlin Bows, UK
Photo - Merlin Bows, UK