Introduction to Finding an Archery Club
If you want to take up archery, or simply want to find out whether it really is as interesting at it looks,the best thing is to go to a local club:
- AGB Club Finder Club Finder
Most run beginners' courses to teach you the basics and will supply a bow, arrows and other accessories for use during the course. Availability of beginners' courses varies from club to club and depends on local demand and the availability of suitable trainers; they are often organised at very short notice, so it is not currently practical to hold a central list of courses - you will need to check with the individual club.
Once you have completed a course, you have the opportunity of becoming a member of the club and to start the journey to the gold.
As a member they will advise you what equipment should best suit you (and your budget). Don't be tempted to go and buy your own equipment beforehand - it is likely to be an expensive mistake!
Some clubs do also run "Have-a-Go" events at local festivals, fairs and so on, but these normally only give you a relatively brief taster.
Although it is possible to practice archery outside of a designated club, it is strongly advised that you "don't try this at home" for safety reasons, as even with relatively modest equipment it is easy to damage property or even cause injury to yourself or others.
There are many archery clubs throughout the country, affiliated to one or more of the national archery associations, or is some cases not affiliated to anything at all. For reasons of safety and personal enjoyment it is important to learn how to shoot properly in a controlled and safe environment.
All of the clubs listed on this website are affiliated to ArcheryGB, the main national governing body for archery in the UK, and to the Kent Archery Association, ArcheryGB's county governing body.
They all hold approved insurance covering their members while they shoot at the club or at tournaments organised by affiliated clubs (subject to basic safety requirements), their grounds have been checked for safety and they all have access to coach training and to a network of coaches and officials, who can help you develop your skill, whatever the level of your ambitions.
Most clubs meet two or three times a week (perhaps less often in winter, when the evenings are dark!) some more often, some less often; some clubs concentrate on providing a friendly social atmosphere for members who want to shoot just for the enjoyment it gives, while others are more actively involved in competitions at a variety of levels, from local up to national events.
You should be able to find a club that suits you, wherever you live in the county and whatever your level of interest and commitment.
Most clubs have an outdoor shooting ground, with many of them based at schools, colleges or leisure centres. Some of the venues are spectacular and all have been officially checked for safety.
But what happens when it's winter, snowing, blowing a gale and cold enough to freeze your bits off? Well, a number of clubs are fortunate enough to have an indoor range available in winter and some others share a range. However the general lack of suitable, affordable venues does mean that not all clubs are so lucky and shooting may be limited (and cold!) during the winter.
Archery is one of the most inclusive of sports, available to a very wide age range and to people with a wide range of disability. For safety reasons, most clubs do set a lower age limit and require the parent or guardian of juniors (under 18) to be present. If you have mobility issues, it is a good idea to check whether the venue is suitable for your particular situation. There are, in fact, several clubs that have been set up specifically to provide the expertise and experience needed to help archers with disabilities and even visual impairment, including total blindness, need not be an insurmountable obstacle to shooting.
The ClubMark accreditation scheme was launched in archery in the second half of 2006 and provides a benchmark to show that an accredited club provides a safe and professional approach to the development of juniors in the sport. A number of Kent clubs have shown an interest and are expected to start work toward this qualification.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that archery is still an almost exclusively amateur sport in the UK. With this go the advantages of friendly clubs and helpfulness, because you know that everyone who is taking part is doing so simply because they love the sport. The disadvantage is that there isn't a permanent staff who keep office hours - if you try to contact a club, remember that the contact almost certainly has a day-job and a family! As important to bear in mind is that when it comes to running the show, we are all volunteers - so when a job needs doing at the club, expect to muck in.
It is equally true of coaches, most of whom also actively participate in the sport. Every qualified coach has to renew their status periodically and is CRB-checked each time they do.