1. It’s a lifetime sport
You can try USA Archery’s Explore Archery or Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) programs beginning at age 8. Then again, Olympic medalist Butch Johnson made FIVE Olympic teams between ages 36 and 52. People compete at the Outdoor Nationals in their 70s and 80s, and adults of all ages compete in national and international Senior Games tournaments.
2. You can enjoy it in every kind of weather
Archery is a year-round sport. It goes indoors for winter (October through March), with archers shooting targets at 18 meters (about 20 yards). The outdoor season kicks off in April, with competitors shooting targets at 20 to 70 meters (about 76.5 yards), depending on their age and equipment type.
3. Want to try tournaments? No problem!
Wherever you are, you’ll find archery tournaments nearby. You can compete on local, state or national levels – and the sport is small enough that national tournaments are competitive but not overwhelming.
4. Strictly recreational? That’s OK, too
If you’re not the competitive type, archery is still your sport. Archery lets you go at your own pace, and you don’t have to keep score. You can enjoy it for exercise, or just for fun at the range with friends.
5. You can attend the Olympics or Paralympics
Did you know archery is an Olympic and Paralympic sport? USA Archery selects and trains teams for both events, and anyone can have an Olympic or Paralympic dream. Sure, it takes hundreds of thousands of practice arrows, serious dedication and natural talent, but the potential is there.
6. You can play multiple games
If shooting multicolored bull’s-eye targets across a field isn’t your thing, that’s OK. Archery has games for everyone. 3D archery lets you shoot at three-dimensional foam animals in a wooded course, while field archery lets you shoot indoors or outdoors at paper targets. Bonus: Outdoor field targets are also shot on a roving course, and at distances to 80 yards!
7. You can make a fashion statement
Ki Bo Bae wears fabulous hats. Colombian women sport fancy manicures. Teams wear colorful uniforms. Almost every archer wears “quiver candy” – unique items that clip onto the quivers that hold their arrows. People go with color themes for all their gear, and even custom-paint their bows. Archery is fashion forward.
8. It builds confidence
Archery is a great sport for building confidence quickly. The feeling of shooting a bow and accomplishing your goal – whether it’s drilling a bull’s eye or executing a great shot – helps you build self-esteem and enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Archery is also great for improving focus, patience and even math skills.
9. Archery friends are best friends
Whether you catch up at league night or compete in tournaments, friends you make in archery can become lifelong buddies. Many of the country’s top archers have shot together on teams for years, and they’ve made new friends from countries worldwide. Archery is a universal language.
10. It’s a way to source food
If you’re looking for an ethical way to source food, consider bowhunting. More young urban professionals are turning to this option for local food than ever before. Competitive and recreational archery go hand-in-hand with bowhunting: by practicing year-round, those who bowhunt can ensure safe, ethical shots during the hunting season.