My father is 67 years old and wants to start archery as a hobby.

I don't have the knowledge to select a proper bow & arrow (set) for him.

  • What should I pay attention to?
  • What should a beginner archery equipment include?
  • Does this sport require some gloves or similar items?

Side note:

My father had a surgery and got 3 stents for his heart attack. Would archery have a negative effect on his health?


Forgive me if I don't know the archery-terminology, its been years since I've released an arrow. My primary advice is to go shoot at a local archery range if you're a beginner, and you'll probably get competent advice there as well. When I started to shoot, I didn't buy any equipment - I could get a beginner's set of everything I needed at the archery range at which I trained. Once I started going to competitions (who says your dad won't? : ) I bought my own equipment and also maintained it, but that was after 2 years of using standard rented equipment. Plus - I found the crowd at archery ranges to be quite easy going, a very pleasant surrounding to spend time.

Health: First off - the health issue. I practiced competitive archery for 3 years, and don't recall ever getting an elevated heartbeat. So circulatory problems shouldn't be a worry. Depending on the volume of arrows you shoot, or if your bow is too strong for you, you can have cramps and muscle-aches in the back/shoulder area. But if you take it easy at the beginning, and slowly work yourself up to higher volumes and a heavier bow, you should be fine.

Equipment:This is an overview, best to consult someone at the shop or better yet at an archery range, about buying equipment. The expensive stuff(bow, arrows), you'll probably be able to rent at the range for a membership fee, and is what I'd start with, until you feel you like archery enough to buy your own bow/arrows.

  • Bow: there are 3 types of common bows: long-bow(stick with a string), recurve(end of sticks curve in shooting direction), compound(wheels & pimpy technology). The long-bow is generally shot for aesthetic reasons, say if you are interested in medieval times, or have a back-to-nature thingy and want to practice archery in it's "pure" form. Compounds have an initially hard draw, then the draw becomes a joke - helps to keep stable when aiming. Recurves have a fairly evenly difficult draw, and are the olympic standard for archery (I think).
  • Arrow: too many types to explain, depends on the bow, the target, and how much you want to spend. Best to ask at the local archery store about each individually available arrow type. Apart from that, you want to differentiate between 3 parts of the arrow - the head, the shaft and the feathering, which can be put together in various combinations.
  • Protection: when you release that string, you don't want some piece of body getting caught in its way. A MUST is a fore-arm protection, for the arm holding the bow. It's basically a leather strap which you tie around your arm. Some people, for example if you like to wear windy clothes or have a big chest(belly ;), also get breast-protection to keep the chest on the side of your bow-holding arm all packed in tight, so the string doesn't chip off a nipple. Then most archers also use a finger-thingy, which you put on the fingers you pull the string with, to protect your skin from too much wear.
  • Aim: unless you're shooting long-bow, you'll probably use some sort of sights. Maybe for the first couple times holding a bow you'd shoot without.
  • Stabilizers: are counter-weights on rods which get attached to your bow, so that the force of releasing the arrow doesn't shake your bow too much - which can be a pain after shooting a couple dozen of arrows. But this shouldn't be a problem with lighter bows.

Good luck to your dad. In the end, good shooting is about securely repeating form. Equipment comes second.

  • Thank you very much for your extensive answer:) There isn't any local range in the country I live so I have to research and trust on kind people like you for the correct things to do. My father didn't want to have the protections but I'll pursue him to get those too. I think I'll get him an composite bow for the beginning :) THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
    – Herr
    Apr 22 '13 at 8:08
  • Vielen vielen Dank mein Herr :)
    – Herr
    Apr 22 '13 at 8:09
  • Sure a compound will do. Get practice arrows which don't have fancy points. If he doesn't have anyone to teach him the correct form. Tell him that he should try to stand straight (he should NOT push his neck out infront, and his shoulders shouldn't be hunched up - he needs to relax in his full-draw position in order to aim properly). He should breathe calmly. The string should then slightly touch his lips, and when he lets go, he should just relax his fingers. If he turns his hand away or does some movement with his body, his aim will suffer and get an unnatural direction. Aim is everything!:) Apr 22 '13 at 8:53
  • As for the shoulders - he should try to make his shoulder-blades "touch" behind his back. Apr 22 '13 at 8:55
  • I'll tell him that :) Also a couple of youtube videos should suffice I think:) VIELEN DANK!
    – Herr
    Apr 22 '13 at 9:08

I just want to add something about this question "Would archery have a negative effect on his health?"

As far as I concern (I'm not a doctor or specialist), if you can reduce your stress level, then it's good actually for blood circulation and also leads to a healthy heart. I found this research paper, and the finding is, "playing archery sports has a positive effect on coping with stress"

Furthermore, another study also shows that "The wrong drawing technique will create muscle fatigue due to increased muscle activity".

So you just need to make sure that, a proper method needs to be implemented or maybe the archery club has the qualified coach to teach the first step. If not it will also cause injury according to that research paper.

Somehow, I think the archery will promote good health if the technique being performed the right way. And I think this finding also good to read -https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318086934_PHYSICAL_PERFORMANCE_MEASURES_IN_COMPETITIVE_SENIOR_ARCHERS

All in all, based on scientific research and in fact, your father is good to go for this kind of sports. You just need to expand the knowledge and get to know the archery terminology. It will be useful if you really want to buy the archery stuff and also easy to understand while having a conversation with the archers at the local archery club.

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