As we approach the three-month mark for social distancing, you might need some reading materials to pass the time. Meanwhile, if you’ve been able to practice archery, you know it’s therapeutic. The books suggested here discuss the sport’s benefits and teach ways to meditate while staying active. Lose yourself in fictional worlds, or broaden your knowledge about archery.
‘Zen in the Art of Archery’
by Eugen Herrigel – Nonfiction
German philosopher Eugen Herrigel sees archery as a way to achieve Zen, which translates to “meditation.” Such learning is the art of mastering a skill through meditation and practice rather than reading. It helps to know the basics before trying archery, but perfecting its techniques only comes with practice. Archers must take tools learned from books and apply them on the range.
The book recounts Herrigel’s six years studying kyudo archery in Tokyo. He suggests archers become so in tune with their bow that it becomes part of them. That means releasing each arrow without trying. Your fingers should naturally slide off the bowstring when your body settles into the proper form. It emphasizes technique and your mind’s meditative state rather than aiming. Trusting your aim is a good metaphor for life. If you relax your mind and you’re confident in your training, you’ll hit the target.
‘Archery Steps to Success’
by Kathleen Haywood and Catherine Lewis – Nonfiction
This technical guideline’s fourth edition provides archers all the basics, and detailed illustrations help readers visualize techniques. It helps archers select a bow, tune it, master basic form, compensate for weather, and practice mental exercises. It also offers advice for competitions and bowhunting, and shares 93 exercises for improving your technique.
By educating yourself on archery’s details and learning new exercises as you practice, you’ll master its skills and steadily improve. Don’t move on until you’re comfortable with each step of proper form. You can then put them all together.
‘Archer Addy: I’m Trying Something New’
by Erik and Tracy Nachtrieb – Junior Fiction
The “Archer Addy” series is based on Addison Nachtrieb’s journey to competitive archery. “I’m Trying Something New” is the first book in the series, and follows Addy from the first time she handled a bow at age 9 through her first tournament. The book is written as fiction, but pulls text from Addy’s Facebook posts and training journals to maintain realism.
Erik and Tracy Nachtrieb composed the book so it’s written in Addy’s voice. Her journey from novice to national champion inspires young readers to try archery or continue their pursuit of this fun sport. USA Archery’s Erika Jones and Jamie Van Natta gave this book positive reviews.
‘The Horn of the Hare: A Novel of Archery’
by Günther Bach – Historical Fiction
Set in war-torn Europe just before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, two men bond through their love of archery. The character Erhard teaches the narrator how to practice archery after he’s fascinated by the sound of a bowstring. The author, Günther Bach, demonstrates how archery’s mental and physical connections intertwine. Erhard shares his wisdom with the narrator through thoughts and sayings about archery.
“In archery, as long as you have any doubt that you will hit your target – as long as you hope to hit it – you might as well not bother,” Bach writes. “You must be absolutely certain of hitting it.”
This is a good book for anyone who wants to read an archery novel that meshes technical aspects of the sport with the vibrancy of fiction.
It’s fun to see yourself represented in literature, which is why books about archery are so important for aspiring archers. Dive into the books above, or recommend them to friends or relatives. They just might inspire the push needed to visit a local range.