The best archers in the world reveal what every person should know when they start archery.
Even for the best archers in the world, there was once a time when they didn’t know a thing about shooting arrows. Every champion, world record holder and international medalist started somewhere.
And that’s exactly why, as the top 32 athletes gather in Mexico City for the Archery World Cup Final, we asked them what advice they give to beginners in the sport.
- Find a good coach
“Having a good coach is going to play a big part on how your archery career goes,” says 19-year-old Collin Klimitchek. He traveled to Mexico with two: Laval Dee and Marcia Falks.
- Don’t compare
World Cup Final Champion in 2014, Sara Lopez says that a mistake many people make is comparing themselves to other archers.
“Be yourself, have your own shot and try not to shoot like everyone else,” she adds.
Lopez admitted at her home World Cup stage in Medellin in 2015 that she fell into the trap of worrying what other people might think, after she had broken the 72-arrow world record for the third time in a row just previously, rather than concentrating on her own game.
- Technique equipment
New archers should spend more time on their technique than their equipment, 2012 World Cup Final winner Braden Gellenthien said during the Medellin World Cup stage.
“The equipment can come later, but the most important thing is your form, your technique and your mental approach.”
- Bad set-up = Bad experience
Having said that, and particularly for those learning compound, the bow should at least be set up correctly for the person using it: In terms of drawlength and weight.
Because, according to a number of top shooters, a badly-set up piece of kit can put a new archer off practice.
- Score doesn’t matter
“The target should not scare you,” two-time Archery World Cup Final winner Sergio Pagni advised at Medellin 2015. “Just shoot your arrows, don’t care about where they’re going to begin with.”
- Be patient
“Some people,” says Collin Klimitchek, “pick up a bow and are really good at it right away. But for most people – including me – it takes a while. Be patient.”
Linda Ochoa reckons that patience is most important when the going gets rough: “If you have tough years in archery or tournaments, just remember how much fun it was when you started.”
- Find the passion
The key to Dominique Genet’s long and illustrious international career – he began shooting internationally in 1996 and, 19 years later, made the Archery World Cup Final at the age of 46 – is passion.
“With passion we can go beyond the norm, we can do many things,” he explains.
- Get your groove
Stephan Hansen won the World Archery Championships in Copenhagen in the summer of 2015. In Mexico, he shoots in the Danish mixed team against hosts Mexico.
“Most important for me is the routine,” he says. “If the routine is good I hit the middle. If I shoot the same, for the same amount of time, all the time, I hit the 10 all the time.”
- Have fun
The first piece of advice out of any archers’ mouth, Jean-Charles Valladont says that it’s important that the fun in archery isn’t just for the first-timer.
“Whether you’re an amateur or professional, you shoot once a week or every day, the watchword is ‘fun’,” he explains. Meaning that even if you’re training for something big, losing sight of what drew you to the sport in the first place won’t help you to succeed.
- Shoot for the stars
“Train a lot,” he says. “And you can go as far as you want!”