Now, I’m no Robin Hood, nor am I Katniss Everdeen, or even Daryl Dixon, but I like to think I have 20/20 vision. So on a spring morning in the city, we put our eyes to the test and took aim at 2020 Archery in central London.
Tucked away within the shadow of the Shard in the depths of Southwark, 2020 Archery’s ‘have a go’ archery sessions at the Harris Academy had us intrigued to the max. Laura is one of the most competitive people I have EVER met, so this was right up her street.
Our instructor Craig was quite delighted to tell us how northern he was, when in fact my very own northerness trumped his (he is from Nottingham and I Cumbria). After getting kitted up with arm protectors and finger supports, and following a safety briefing – because no-one wants an arrow in their face – we were ready to shoot.
This writer is not ashamed to say his first two arrows hit the target quite nicely. However it was just a shame those particular arrows hit the adjacent board. So much for 20/20 vision. Once I started aiming at the board to my left, still not aiming at my own board, I finally come up trumps.
Straight away there was a sense of competitiveness. We were paired off with another couple having a go (Ed: this was for height reasons, as apparently each arrow should be no longer than your arm), but it’s great if you and a group of friends want to have a go to see who comes out on top.
We had a couple of freestyle tries after being coached into perfecting our technique, before a friendly point-based competition where you’re scored on the accuracy of your aim. The winner gets a coveted prize of chocolate coins (we were not winners).
That’s the beauty of the have a go sessions – it really is for anyone. Some of the group had clearly held a bow before, and we were complete novices. Craig’s advice was great and tailored to your arrow grouping on the board. You could feel yourself improving with every shot (whether the board reflected this or not was a totally different matter), and we could see why so many people get hooked.
And people are getting hooked. Even after funding was cut post London 2012, members of archery clubs has gone past 40,000 for the very first time. Medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 aren’t high, but given the buzz surrounding archery, it can’t be long before Great Britain are at the sharp end of the medals.
Have a go archery sessions cost £25 per person and last between 1.5 – 2 hours. Locations vary depending on the day booked, so have a look here if you’re interested in having a go!