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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means


Draw back your arrow then watch as it sails through the air. Will you reach the target?

Back to Activities

What to expect

Archery’s all about using a bow to propel an arrow through the air. You’ll have to keep an eye on the target as you pull back the arrow then release. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time – take a deep breath, put another arrow in your bow, and adjust your aim for your next try.

For anyone that has not had a chance to try archery before, you can always give soft archery a try first.

What you’ll learn

Not many people will hit the centre target first time. The best archers have to stick at it, learning from each attempt until they perfect their aim. There’s no rush – and it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the middle in your first session. Notice what you’ve learned, then make a plan for next time.

Fun facts

  • We think bows and arrows have been used for at least 25,000 years because people have discovered old arrowheads in Africa. Archery’s one of the oldest sports in the world.
  • Archery’s an Olympic and Paralympic sport – they practise target archery, where archers shoot a set number of arrows at targets set at specified distances on a flat surface. There are other types of archery too, though. A field archery course is set up over woodland and rough terrain – archers might have to shoot uphill or downhill at different size targets. Flight shooting is all about shooting an arrow over the longest possible distance – you won’t find any targets here, just a very large, flat area. Clout shooting’s an ancient form of archery that involves shooting at a small flag on a vertical stick stuck in the ground.

Handy hints

  • Grab some extra hair bobbles. People with long hair will probably need to tie it back. Take a few extra hair ties, just in case anyone forgets.
  • Dress for the occasion. Archery’s not the time for loose, flowing tops. Stick to something that won’t get in the way of the string. The people leading the activity may give you an arm guard (bracer) to help keep your clothes away from the string (and protect your arm too).
  • Keep it interesting. If people are taking it in turns to shoot, why not prepare something to keep everyone entertained when it isn’t their turn? Make sure whatever you choose is easy to dip in and out of, and that it’s not distracting for the people who are shooting.
  • Make sure the venue you’re going has accessible and inclusive equipment for everyone in you group. People come in all shapes and sizes, no matter what age, and may have additional needs, so make sure you share your group’s needs with your provider. They can then have the correct equipment ready for you when you arrive.
  • Understand the activity you are doing. Taking part in a shooting activity is very serious to make sure everyone stays safe. Make sure that everyone taking part understands that they must be sensible and careful around everyone else whilst taking part.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Shooting at targets representing humans or animals is not permitted
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • Archery GB - Instructor Award
    • Adventure Mark - centre
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.


Activity Permit Scheme



Successful archers need to stick at it and stay focussed, even when things get tricky. Did everyone’s first arrows hit the centre of the target? Probably not! It’s likely that plenty of people missed the target altogether. It takes time and practise to be able to aim on target. Did anyone’s aim improve by the end of the session? How did it feel to hit the target, especially if it was tricky at first? People might’ve felt proud or excited. How did the feeling encourage them to keep trying their best?

For some people, archery may have been a chance to try something new. Was it like any activities they’ve done before? What was different? People might think about using new equipment like a bow. Did anyone find it strange? A few people may have felt like natural archers (like Robin Hood!), but plenty of people probably needed a few goes to get used to it. Would anyone like to try it again to keep perfecting their newfound skills?

There are plenty of ways to keep archery interesting, from playing games to using different targets. Let the person leading the session know how much experience your group has so they can plan. Don’t worry if you’ve got a mixture of beginners and experienced archers – if you let the instructor know, they’ll be able to create a session that works for everyone.

  • Archery can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.
  • Check out the Archery GB’s website for more information and useful contacts.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If you enjoyed target archery, why not see if it’s possible to try out another style, such as clout archery?

You could also look for local archery teams or clubs that people could join. Archery GB have a helpful club finder on their website.