The National and International Governing Bodies have always promoted Archery as a Sport that can be enjoyed by nearly all levels of ability, from the Hyper-Fit to the considerable number of archers with reduced abilities, which might be caused by age, injury, progressive disease or have been present from birth.
Archery was one of the founding sports of the Paralympic Movement, and is accessible to a wide range of disabilities, involving missing or compromised limbs, motor control, eyesight limitations, spinal injuries and many other impairments. We’ve also seen Archery be of huge benefit to children with various forms of autism, dyspraxia and even hyperactivity.
If you have a disability of any kind we can help arrange support, including, if you develop as a competitive archer, getting a Sports Classification at Stoke Manderville. At Club-Level, archers self-declare their disability, and are allowed concessions depending on to what extent they can abide by the Rules of Shooting. Widespread concessions include being allowed an Assistant, being allowed to sit or have some form of support while shooting, or to have some kind of hardware modification, or, in the case of Blind Archers, to use a ‘Tactile’ sight so the archer can feel where to point the bow by touching the back of the bow hand against a pointer. Archery usually involves a fair amount of walking, mainly to collect arrows from the target. The long established traditional answer to mobility problems is for Clubmates to collect the arrows, but sometimes an electric shopping scooter is the answer.
Our Coaches have attended specialised workshops where disabled archers and coaches experienced in enabling and developing archery skills in archers with a variety of handicaps shared their knowledge and techniques. Our coaches also have direct experience of introducing many beginners with quite diverse issues to the Sport. But it always helps to provide us with as much information as possible about the nature of your disability, the more we know, the more satisfactory the outcome is likely to be.
In most cases we find we can go a long way based on past experience, but we can call on support from experienced Coaches (we have particularly good support by Coaches experienced in training Blind Archers) and when it’s necessary to modify or invent bespoke equipment we can call on various skills, and liaise with nearby Sports Associations for the Disabled. Some grant aid is available.
The last picture on this page shows two notable disabled archers at the Southern Counties Indoor Championships, which is held in Sussex. The archer in gold-coloured shirt is John Stubbs who, together with a young Sussex lady, Jodie Grinham, won a silver medal for Team GB in the mixed doubles in the 2016 Paralympics. The other archer, Rob Anderson, is the Regional Coaching Officer – which means we have particularly good insight into Archery for All in our Region.