I realise that is a vaguely clickbaity title…but for once it has the virtue of being 100% true. I have a list of hobbies that I want to try and yet never seem to have the time for. I won’t say there is any rhyme or reason to the items on the list, it is more just activities that I feel like I would enjoy – and archery has been firmly on the list for a few years now. Then one bored Sunday endlessly watching Instagram Stories I came across a post by Kariss who had just had a session at Archery Fit – an archery range based in Greenwich. I decided to bite the bullet (or is arrow more appropriate in this situation?) and book in a taster session (£30 for a 1.5hours) for the following week.
I always get nervous about trying new things, I had done a tiny bit of archery before at teambuilding events (whoever thought arrows and colleagues was a good idea was a doughnut) and really enjoyed it. But I was nervous that everyone was going to be super professional, or I wouldn’t know what I was doing or any other of 100 worries going through my mind.
When I arrived there were seven other nervous beginners in my class. We got an explaination of the different types of bows we would be eventually be able to play with if we became independent archers, got the health and safety rundown (never point an arrow at someone, never shoot a bow without an arrow because it damages the string) and then collected our equipment for the day. In a really nice touch all of the bows are named after Marvel characters, so that as the session progresses you can always remember which one is yours (I got The Beast).
To kick things off gently we started at 6 meters (we would later move on to 12m, and in future session you would move up to the Olympic grade of 18m) and I don’t think I did too badly for my first go. The instructor gently started introducing us to the different tweaks we would need to make to our posture to get that arrow to go where we wanted it to. There is just so much to think about from your feet, to your core, to breathing at the right time and not gripping the bow – but the instructor took it one step at a time so it never felt overwhelming.
We fired round after round of arrows getting randomly better or worse depending on how many of the instructions we remembered at the time. My favourite round was when yellow balloons were placed in the centre of our targets and we had to pop those air filled suckers.
I left the class with my arms aching and promptly signed up to a set of six sessions. Archery was just such a meditative experience, while you are trying to get your body to move in a precise series of movements there is no chance to think of anything else. I want to bottle that calm focus I felt during my session – and of course I want to be able to shoot and arrow like a bad ass.