Right on target: Is archery a sport?

January 16, 2011 — by Albert Gu

Archery—one of the oldest, not to mention toughest pastimes, is featured prominently in many legends as a symbol of strength and skill. But in modern culture, it has adopted a reputation of being a easy game.

Some people think that archery’s lack of movement, physical contact and offense/defense do not qualify it as a sport. Additionally, the absence of interaction with other competitors seems to contradict the spirit of athleticism and competition. To many, archery seems more of a leisurely activity or hobby than a physical sport.

Sisters senior Grace Kim and junior Tiffany Kim, who have been practicing archery for about five years and competed numerous times, disagree with this label.

“A lot of people say archery isn’t a sport because they think all you do is stand there and shoot,” said Grace, “but it requires a lot of strength and endurance.”

According to Grace, archers need to undergo all the training conventional athletes do, including cardio and weight lifting. Strength training is particularly important for archery because it is needed both to draw the bow and keep it steady. Additionally, a stronger bow lets the arrow fly more smoothly and helps to hit farther targets.

“I have to hit targets up to 70 meters away,” said Grace. “A stronger bow helps me go through, especially if I’m shooting in the rain or wind.”

Grace pulls a bow with 34 pounds of resistance but says that bows can go up to 40 or even 50 pounds.

Tiffany, who is a member of the national “Junior Dream Team” and ranked top 10 in the nation for her division last year, adds that endurance as well as pure strength is essential for competitions.

“At competitions, you will be pulling for two days for four hours a day, hitting targets from varying distances” said Tiffany. “When you get tired, it’s much harder to shoot straight.”

And for those who are still unconvinced, just try archery in its original form. Rabbits for dinner, anyone?

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