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

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.

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.


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 :

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?