Archery Basics

Archery is a sport in which the participant uses a bow to shoot arrows at a target which has ten concentric circles. The score of each arrow depends upon where it lands on the target ranging from a ten for a bullseye to one point for the outer most circle. Archery in RA's can be used to teach many things. Archery can teach skill, patience, focus, personal and group responsibility, good sportsmanship and even teamwork.


Setting up an outdoor range can be easily accomplished with a little thought and consideration for safety. The measures given here are to get you started and do not conform to official range sizes and distance for competative shooting. Official range information can obtained from the National Archery Association. Remember, when setting up your range and your RA Archery program, the main focus is to use the activity to draw boys to Christ. Doing so should be a fun activity. Find an open area that either has a large empty area beyond your targets or some type of backstop such as a dirt mound or a heavily wooded area.

The essential thing is that the area beyond the target must be an area where no one will wander through while shooting. Even a 25 - 35 lb youth bow has the capability to fire an arrow in excess of 100 yards and at close range can inflict serious injury. You as the range master must be familiar with the equipment, how it operates, and how to maintain control and safety on the range. After finding a suitable area to setup the range, it is recommended to rope the range off in its entirety.

Establish your firing line and then make another line about ten feet behind the firing line. Only authorized shooters should be allowed between these two established lines. No one is to be in front of the firing line while shooting is going on. A good starting point for your target line is about 25 yards from the firing line. Stepping off 25 paces should be close enough to get started. You can move the targets back as the skill level increases. The area behind the targets should be at least another 50 yards if in an open area to allow both a safety zone and a recovery area for collecting arrows that miss the target. (Shooters should be trained in the proper handling of equipment, respect for other shooters and the importance of safety.)

Throughout this training and during shooting you should find opportunities to relate what is going on in a spritual application. The rangemaster must maintain control of the range at all times and ensure that everyone follows the rules to have a safe and fun time. A whistle is a good idea to have to get everyone's attention while at the range. A good safety measure is to designate a specific signal such as three consecutive whistle blasts to indicate there is a problem and everyone should stop and freeze or sit. Announce how you will call, "Range Clear", "Range Ready", "Shooters to the Line", "Nock an Arrow", "Park Your Bows", etc. so shooters know what to do and when.

Go over safety issues such as not crossing the firing line for any reason once shooting has started and keeping all bows and arrows pointed down range at the targets. Example: New shooters will frequently turn to look at what someone else is doing while have a bow and arrow in hand. Suddenly an arrow is pointed at a person instead of at the target.

A discussion about aiming at the target is a great spiritual application. Without taking aim or focusing on the target, the arrow can go where its not supposed to, just like we can wander into sin when we take our eyes off of our target, Jesus.


Setting up an Indoor Range can also be accomplished, but is usually more difficult due to finding a large enough indoor space. The basic concepts are the same as an outdoor range in that the firing and target lines are needed. A suitable backstop to stop and catch arrows and a safety area behind the firing line are all needed.

Safety and general shooting instructions are the same recognizing the area that you are shooting in. Large blocks of styrofoam or bales of hay work very well as a backstop behind the targets. Two or more layers of carpet hung behind the targets works well also, but presents a storage problem and is extremely heavy. Backstop netting is now available and works well but is generally quite expensive.

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