Beginning

Learning archery

The club runs a beginners course that lasts for six sessions, one session per week. All beginners are required to complete this course before they can become full members. Archers with previous experience are NOT required to complete this course in order to become full members.

The course is intended to get you up to a standard where you can shoot safely and with enjoyment.

For safety and insurance reasons, beginners cannot shoot in our indoor range. All beginners coaching by the Phoenix Bowmen takes place outdoors.

Our autumn beginners courses are now underway. Our next courses will start in March 2018.

Please e-mail us (beginners@phoenixbowmen.co.uk) to register your interest. DO NOT TELEPHONE, ESPECIALLY NOT DURING WORKING HOURS. We're not a commercial organisation and the secretary works for a living. He cannot take calls at work about archery.

The total cost of a beginners course is 50 for a person aged 18 or over, and 35 for a person under 18 years of age. Part of this cost will be refunded to people who join the club after the course - 20 to seniors and 15 to juniors. We provide all equipment.

Please note that a lower age limit of 11 years applies.

Equipment

We advise beginners against buying bows and arrows immediately. It's best to complete the club's archery course and gain some experience in using the equipment before making a purchase, otherwise you could buy equipment that is not suitable for you. This is especially likely to happen if you go to a general sports shop or fishing tackle shop rather than a specialist archery dealer.

The club has a number of bows and sets of arrows that beginners may use, and club members will have plenty of advice on what equipment will suit you.

If you already have equipment, it will not be possible for you to shoot it at the club while you're a beginner. This is because the terms of our insurance cover require that the only equipment used on beginners courses is club equipment.

Archery equipment can be expensive, but you needn't break the bank. A decent starter kit (bow, 8 arrows, string, sight, hard case and accessories) can be bought from Aardvark Archery for £200. You can build a very good intermediate-level setup for about £400. Bargains can be found online, especially on eBay, but buying online is risky if you don't have experience of archery equipment. Aardvark often has good quality second-hand kit that you can try before buying. Don't forget, though, that there are the additional costs of joining the club.

Clothing

All beginners shoot outdoors until the six-week course is completed. This means that you should wear clothing appropriate to the conditions. You are advised to wear clothing that is warm and not too loose (since loose clothing can catch on the bow string). You are advised to bring a waterproof top or cagoule in case of rain. When choosing footwear, bear in mind that you'll be walking on grass.

Weather

Because of the nature of our ground (a rugby pitch), we do not shoot outdoors in heavy rain, though we may be able to shoot under the shelter of the main stand. This may mean that a beginners course session is cancelled in bad weather. If in doubt, phone us on the day and we will advise.

Age

There is no upper age limit in archery - some people continue well into their eighties.

There is no hard-and-fast lower age limit either, but we've found that 11 years old is a sensible lower limit. Children younger than 11 sometimes struggle physically to control a bow, and children under 7 often don't understand the safety instructions. If in doubt, our coaches can assess the child's suitability at a special session.

Disabilities and medical conditions

Archery is a very accessible sport for people with disabilities and medical conditions. This includes visual impairments - there is a thriving blind archery scene. Our coaches have a good understanding of the needs of people with various conditions, and will be able to get you shooting safely and enjoyably.

Protection of children and vulnerable adults

Our national association has issued some guidelines on the protection of children and vulnerable adults. We follow these guidelines.

We require that a parent or guardian accompanies children under 14 years of age throughout the duration of the beginners course. At least two adults must be present, at least one of whom must be a member of the Grand National Archery Society.

Children aged 14 years or over may shoot only if there are at least two adults present. These adults may be club members, parents or guardians. At least one of these adults must be a member of the Grand National Archery Society.

The parents or guardians of any children who are to attend the beginners course must read and sign a consent form. This form can be obtained in advance.

Similar considerations apply to vulnerable adults. The exact rules will depend on the nature and severity of the vulnerability.


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