‘Something a little unique and interesting’: An interview with Lancaster Uni Archery Club

If you’ve ever had a Hunger Games phase, this club may be the one for you

With Covid-19 restrictions and multiple lockdowns, this past academic year has been less than ideal for everyone. Up until now, our social interactions have been confined to Microsoft Teams and the occasional FaceTime with friends… but finally, public spaces are opening up again.

There are chances to meet new people and try new things, and the best place to start may be the university’s societies. Students are spoilt for choice at Lancs, so, The Tab Lancaster spoke to the Lancaster Archery Club to find out more about what they do and what they have to offer.

‘No one is really sure when the club was formed’

The origin story of the archery club remains somewhat of a mystery, with the best guess placing its establishment sometime around the 80s. It was certain that it was created for uni students to enjoy archery and socialising, and it has been going strong ever since.

‘We had a couple of Zoom socials, including a quiz’

When the lockdowns hit, many societies were faced with the same difficulty of trying to function. With physical activities out of the question, the archery club had to get creative. The exec team shared that they “focused on supporting members through the provision of online coaching and workout routines.” In addition to the training, the club also found a way to recreate the social aspects by hosting “a couple of zoom socials including a quiz and a night of Among Us.”

They could make the best of a bad situation and support their members as best as possible.

‘It’s a really chill atmosphere with everyone focused on their own shooting’

Archery isn’t a sport many people are familiar with, so the idea of competing may sound daunting at first, especially as you won’t know what to expect, but the club was reassuring in easing these worries. They stated: “It’s a really chill atmosphere with everyone focused on their own shooting. Many of the Northern University Archery League matches are fairly relaxed as they are a way for new archers to try out the competition format, and they can be very sociable.”

Even when you’re going head-to-head against competitors, the sporting events are a welcome space where you can find your footing whilst find people similar to you. They also told us that the “BUCS, on the other hand, can be really competitive, but again everyone is fairly relaxed and very supportive of each other.”

It seems archery may be the leading society for good vibes. Members can challenge themselves and take the time to relax and sincerely enjoy what they do.

‘We run a beginner’s course for brand new archers’

The club told us more about how they teach the sport and what the sessions would look like. They explained: “We run a beginner’s course for brand new archers, which consists of teaching them first how to be safe on the range and then the basics of how to set up a bow. There’s then usually a session or two on “barebow” (without a sight), “shotting”, to get the basics down, and then after that, we introduce them to ‘recurve’ (with a sight).”

“Those who have experience as archers are equally supported. Put simply, the club check that they can shoot safely and then offer any training they might like through our training officer or our external coaches.”

All levels of ability are clearly welcomed with open arms!

‘There’s a post-shoot bar crawl at the beginning of first term’

The archery club continues to come through on the premise of a good time by offering “a post-shoot bar crawl at the beginning of first term as well as other socials throughout the year.” Even in the face of Covid-19 restrictions, they continued to find a way to keep their members entertained. Speaking more on their methods, they shared: “We’ve had to mix things up a bit, so we’ve had a very successful Among Us evening for Halloween on the archery discord as well as quizzes and movie nights.”

Not only are they making archery accessible to everyone, but they’re also reaching out to members on different platforms to keep that team spirit alive.

‘A really great and welcoming club’

It seems an opportunity could pop up anywhere once you join the archery club, and sometimes it’s when you least expect it. For one of the exec team members, their opportunity came from breaking their kit. They shared the story of why they joined the exec team: “If you do archery, you’re gonna break some kit eventually that’s just how it is. I wound up being taught how to fix my own kit, and then any time there was equipment damage, one of the senior members would teach me how to fix it. When Exec positions were opened, I thought it would be interesting to sign myself up and take part in running a really great and welcoming club.”

‘Remember to have fun and relax’

Finally, the club had a few words to share with anyone interested: “When beginner events are running, come along and try it out. It’s something a little unique and interesting and a great way to keep fit and make friends. As for shooting tips, don’t cross the shooting line unless told it’s safe to do so; if something is consistently wrong with your shot, it’s probably because you’re moving too fast, and remember to have fun and relax.”

They encourage people to reach out to them. Anyone can message the Facebook group Lancaster University Archery Club with any direct questions.

With good vibes, new skills, and socials, what more could be said about the archery club?

To find out more, you can contact them on their Instagram or Facebook.

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