Tonight marked my first archery taster session at a local club, and I want to make immediately clear that it was nothing short of absolutely brilliant. In just under two hours, with Dad watching closely from the sidelines, I came from hardly being able to hold the bow thanks to a wobbly arm to seeing all but three of my arrows hit the target. Not only were they on course, in fact, but by the time we ended I seemed to be getting increasingly closer to the bullseye. And this was the first time I’d shot an arrow in six years or so! As you can imagine, all of this was incredibly encouraging and it provided a bigger adrenaline rush than I could possibly have anticipated.
Once I had been acquainted with the bow and arrows and was positioned along the shooting line (aiming to my left towards the target), I was eager to use every batch of shots – each signalled by a whistle that also indicated when the arrows could be collected – to take into account what the instructor was telling me. I pulled the bow back as far as I could, so that my hand was lightly touching the corner of my mouth, before letting go. I raised my right arm – the one I was using to pull – so that it was in the straightest and best possible position to launch the arrow through the air, and with my left arm I gripped the bow as tightly as I could whilst holding it completely outstretched. Meanwhile, my concentration was rigid and fixed on the target 10 yards away from me all times, and I tried my best to alter my aim a fraction higher, lower or to the sides if my shots were waning. These combined efforts resulted in the best workout I’ve had in ages, and the most satisfaction I’ve gained from an activity in some time. The fact that I made the target so many times proves that archery is most definitely doable for me, and silences any naysayers. When you consider that I discovered this in only a couple of hours, I was rather amazed by how quickly I was able to learn, and this also proves just how accessible archery is for everyone, regardless of anything that might hinder them. Everyone there certainly made me feel very welcome and encouraged me to take as much time as I needed.
I will gladly carry on with this, as I already feel like I’m on the crest of a wave having surpassed all of my expectations. The next step is the beginner’s course the club run, which I’ll go to for the first time next Sunday, all being well. It feels so good not only to be in the act of firing an arrow at a target, but also to be thinking about it between sessions! It is gratifying to have answered the question of whether I can actually participate, and I believe it will be even more so when I am establishing if I can be better. I can’t wait!