All the evidence shows that recreational archery is a very safe sport. In fact, it is safer than sports such as football or basketball where people risk falls and collisions.
The most common injuries in archery are cuts, but these are mostly injuries to people who use bows for hunting and who mishandle the large hunting arrows.
A few injuries are reported where the archer has fallen on to an arrow as well as bruises from the bowstring hitting the arm. All researchers conclude that nearly all the injuries in archery can be prevented through participation in training programmes (such as the one you are now doing) and the use of an arm bracer.
It is important that you understand how the archery range is set up and that you understand some basic rules right from the very beginning in order to ensure your safety and the safety of others at the archery range
The waiting line is the line on the ground where archers must wait when they are not shooting.
The shooting line is the line on the ground from which shooting towards the targets takes place. You can only shoot from the shooting line (and nowhere else).
This means you must never draw your bow unless you are on the shooting line. The field captain will tell you when you can go to the shooting line to shoot. Until then you must wait behind the waiting line.
The field captain will be the person who tells all the archers when they can shoot and when it is safe to collect arrows. They also have other responsibilities.
You can only shoot towards the targets – not at anything else.
If anyone shouts “FAST” you must stop shooting immediately. This means you take the arrow off your bow and return it to the quiver. You should also check that everyone has heard the “FAST” command and if they haven’t you should call “FAST”.
If you are told to “COME DOWN” that means you must relax the tension on the string (but don’t just let go of it). When the tension is relaxed, and the bow is at rest you may take your fingers off the string.
You should wear an arm bracer on the arm that will be holding the bow.
If you are right handed, for example, you will wear the arm bracer on your left arm.
The arm bracer should be positioned so that it is on the inside of your lower arm. The arm bracer prevents loose clothing from catching the bow string and also stops the bowstring from being able to hit your arm.
The bowstring will not hit your arm if you are in the correct position, but it is better to be safe than sorry!
If an arrow is dropped or it falls from your bow when shooting, you must leave it on the ground. The field captain will tell you what to do about these arrows.
You must walk at all times. This is especially important when going to collect arrows and when walking back with arrows.
You should always check the ground as you walk towards the target to collect arrows. There may be arrows on the floor (if indoors) and arrows may be mostly under the soil with only a little bit sticking out (when outdoors). These arrows as well as the guy ropes on targets are potential trip hazards.
When collecting arrows you should make sure that you go to the side of the target. It is very easy to accidentally walk into the end of the arrows sticking out from the target! There should be no more than two people at each target pulling the arrows.
Each person should stand to a different side of the target. If there are more than two people on a target the other archers should stand a long way back from the target as the arrows are pulled.
When pulling the arrows place one hand on the target (near the base of the arrow) and pull with the other hand.
Always check that there is no one standing in front of the target (or behind you) as you pull the arrows since they may get hurt by the end of the arrow as it is pulled.
Pull the arrows straight and try not to bend them as you pull them. If you pull the arrows further down the shaft, and not from where they meet the target, you will bend and damage the arrows.
All the arrows that have been collected should be placed immediately into a quiver that you are wearing, or they should be carried back safely to the shooting line.
To carry them safely the arrows should be carried with their points facing the floor and the shafts under the arm
The arrows should be placed in a ground quiver on the shooting line (if you are not wearing a quiver).