W.D.H.S.  P.E.



An activity that dates back at least 20 thousand years, the bow and arrow are pictured in drawings that old on a cave wall in Spain’s Valltorta Gorge.  The bow was used by the ancient Egyptians as a primary weapon around 3500 BC.  They made bows almost as tall as themselves, longbows, and arrowheads of flint and bronze.  Around 1800 BC, the Assyrians introduced a new bow design: a short bow with a recurve shape.  It was more powerful than the longbow used by the Egyptians and could be handled easier on horseback.  The bow gave the Assyrians an edge in battle over their rivals.  Middle Eastern superiority in archery continued for centuries as the peoples of this area successfully fought Europeans.  For example, the Romans, although known as mighty soldiers, used an inefficient draw to the chest (not T form) in shooting and were outclassed as archers.

Although the value of the bow as a war weapon declined swiftly after the invention of firearms in the 16th century, the fun and challenge of archery guaranteed its continued existence as a sport.  King Henry VIII promoted archery as a sport in England by establishing an archer society, the Guild of St. George, in 1537.

The first archery club on the continent, the United Bowmen of Philadelphia, was established in 1828.  The sport first became an Olympic event at the Paris Olympics in 1900.


Shooting Form:

1)      Stand in the T-form

2)    Raise the arrow above the bow and lay it into the rest and nock it on the string under the nock locator.  Index feather should be away from the bow

3)    Hook the bowstring in the end joint of the fingers with the first finger above and not touching the arrow and the middle and ring fingers below and not touching the arrow.

4)    Draw the bowstring back.  Chin on hand and string on chin and nose.

5)    Aim,

6)    Relax draw hand to release the arrow.  Maintain position.


Shooting and Safety Rules:

1)      "ADDRESS" THE TARGET   stand with one foot on either side of the shooting line.  Body should be in a "T" stance

2)    "NOCK YOUR ARROW"  nock your arrow only after the signal to shoot has been given.  Bow should still be at your side while you are doing this

                               Point a nocked arrow at the ground until you are ready to shoot.

                               Nock your arrow only at and below the nock locator.

                               If an arrow falls off the arrow rest, let the bowstring back down and restart the shot rather than attempt to replace the arrow onto the rest at full draw.

3)  "DRAW"  Hook the bowstring in the end joint of the fingers with the first finger above and not touching the arrow and the middle and ring fingers below and not touching the arrow.  Draw the arrow back using your back muscles rather than your arm muscles

4)  "AIM" using point of aim method.  Dominant eye looks through the tip of the arrow to the target.

5)    "RELEASE" the only movement should be the relaxing of the string fingers.  Maintain the "T" stance.

            Shoot the established number of arrows.  This number is called an “end”.

            When finished the end, place the bow on the floor and wait for the signal to retrieve your arrows.

6)    Shooting will be controlled by a whistle.

a.      One blast signals beginning of shooting

b.     Two blasts signals the end of shooting and indicates to the archers that they may move forward to retrieve the arrows.  You will not hear the two blasts until all archers have finished their end and have handed off their bows to the next archer.

c.      Multiple blasts indicates that everything should stop immediately and all archers should be seated.

7)    Scoring shall be based on 10 points for arrows in the inside gold ring, 9 points for the outside gold ring, 8 points for the inside red ring, etc.

                If an arrow splits the line between rings, the higher score counts.

             If an arrow drops from the bow while you are setting up, you can re-shoot that arrow provided that you can retrieve it without leaving the shooting line.


            Avoid baggy shirts, baggy sleeves, and chest pockets with buttons or trim.  Remove dangling earrings and jewelry.

            Tie back long hair.

            Use arm guard and a finger tab to protect you from abrasions.

            Never release a bowstring unless there is an arrow in the bow because “dry firing” might damage the bow.


Common archery beginner's mistakes

Not enough power

  • Your hips or shoulders are angled toward the target and you are not getting a full draw

Draw hand moves forward at release

  • You are probably holding the bow string with your arm muscles and not with your back muscles. Try to relax in the draw under arm and move the force needed to your back muscles.

    All arrows are hitting beside the target

  • You are using wrong eye when you aim. See eye dominance.

    Arrows hit low

  • You don't have enough pressure toward the target with your bow arm, the arm drops in the shot moment. Increase the pressure toward the target.

    Arrows hit high

    This can have a number of reasons;

  • Incorrect release, - your draw hand moves down at release, you are probably not using your back muscles as you should.

  • Too much pressure toward the target so the bow arm goes up in the shot moment.

    Arrows spread sideways

  • Bow arm moves sideways at release.
  • Release hand moves out from the chin at release.
  • The bow is tilted away from vertical.

    The bow string hits the arm (This is painful! Use an arm guard!)

  • Your bow arm elbow is twisted so the string doesn't have clearance. Check your grip position and bow arm rotation.  Don't "lock" your elbow.
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