Archery Beginner’s Course – questions often asked

“Can I just join your club or do I have to do some form of test?”

“For individuals who want to find out if they would enjoy archery, and perhaps consider taking up the sport, we recommend that they try one of our “Have-a-Go” sessions. These last for 2-hours, and are designed to give individuals a taste of what our sport is all about. Whilst not instructional, individuals are shown the very basics of archery and are taught about safety on the range. Sessions are normally arranged for either 2 hours in the morning or 2 hours in the afternoon, which the candidate chooses for their own preference. However for people who are really sure that they want to take up archery, and join a club, then they are required to undertake an KPAC Beginner’s Course. These courses vary slightly from club to club, however most in the community are held once every week for 6 weeks for a 2 hour period, giving an overall instructional period of approx 12 hours. In the case of the Kent Police Archery Club, due to our shift patterns we are unable to run our courses this way, and we therefore have to run a one day intense course over 10 hours, and also provide our candidates with a minimum 3-hour precourse read requirement of a provided KPAC beginners course archery manual. All of our courses are advertised on our website on the “Have-a-Go, and Beginners Courses page” The Kent Police Archery club is classified as a “closed club” – this means that it is open only to the staff of Kent Police, and their families. However the Kent Police Archery Club will also accept members of the Metropolitan Police Force, who live in our County of Kent and who also have a Metpol email address. (ask for further details). However the Club often open up their Have-a-Go sessions and beginners Courses to members of the public (again see Beginners and Have-a-Go courses page on this website) and whilst on successful completion of a Beginners course, they would not be offered a place within our club, they would be issued with a course completion certificate, which if proffered at any other “open” club within the community, they should be accepted into that club.

“How often do you run your courses?”

“We run 2 x “Have-a-Go” courses each year, normally one at the beginning of the year, and one around the middle of the year, so that individuals who feel that they really like archery and wish to take it up, can then get themselves on the required KPAC Beginner’s Course then they can do so. We also run 4 x “Beginner” courses, normally 2x in the early part of the year, following a Have-a-Go, and 2 x towards the end of the year, again following the mid-season Have-a-Go”

“Where do you run your courses?”

“All of our courses are run on the recreation field at the Kent Police Force Headquarters complex in Maidstone Kent”

“How much do your courses cost?”

“The cost of our various courses are displayed on the Have-A-Go and Beginner Course page on this website along with all other details on methods of payment options. Our course fees are non-refundable however, we are always happy to transfer a candidate to another course, if they are unable to attend the course that they have previously booked”.

“Am I covered by any insurance on your courses?”

When individuals take part in any of our courses, we give them temporary membership to the club covers individuals on a single Have-a-Go course, a Taster Day, and a Beginner’s Course (up to 12 hours duration). Once individuals become full members of the Kent Police Archery Club, then they are fully covered under insurance for the duration of their membership. All of this is included in the cost of the course and membership.”

“Can children come on one of your courses, or join your club?”

“Yes we do accept children on our courses and within our club, but there is a criteria to this. From experience we have found that many young people under the age of 10 do not have sufficient attention span or physical strength to undertake archery. We therefore have a starting age of 10 years old for our juniors to take part in our sport. This ruling is specific to the Kent Police Archery Club, and there may be other archery clubs in the community who are prepared to take juniors of a younger age.”

“Do I need to be with my child whilst they are on one of your courses?”

“Yes you do – the KPAC do not permit any of its club coaches / instructors to supervise your children. Their role is simply to teach archery, the responsibility for supervision remains solely with the parents or guardian. Quite often parents also take part in the courses at the same time, as their children, and it then becomes a great family bonding time”.

“How do I know my child is safe – do you have any form of safeguarding policy in place?”

“Yes we do – Our complete policy is also detailed on our website. It is quite normal for all types of clubs to have such a policy in place and the Kent Police Archery Club is no different, and all members of the club including staff and club officers are expected to be familiar with its requirements, and to carry them out as prescribed. All of our coaches are qualified and are regularly DBS checked by the club to ensure compliance. Our club also has its own Safeguarding Officer who constantly monitors this process, and again ensuring compliance.”

“How fit do I need to be to do archery?”

“Although archery is quite a physical activity and does require a certain degree of mobility and strength, however you don’t need to be physically fit. Members of some archery clubs range from 8 to 80, so it clearly is a sport for all. There are also many visually impared archers, and archers with limbs missing. Indeed we have a “para” archer in our own club with only one arm, who shoots, and who is an exceptional club archer. It is always best to discuss your physical or medical condition with our course coaches before taking part in one of our courses and an assessment can then be made. If you have any sort of injury or health issue on arriving one of our courses, then please discuss this with the course staff first and a decision will be made to determine if it is appropriate for you to take part. During the course, the best rule is. if you feel any pain whilst doing the sport – stop immediately – and then discuss with one of our team.”

“Is the coach / instructor likely to touch or handle me during archery?”

“There is likely to be some minimal contact between a coach / instructor and the candidate during training, as you will need to be shown the best stance or form required when on the shooting line, similarly you will again be taught how to hold the bow, and nock arrows. Coaches are aware of issues with contact and will advise you when some form of contact is needed. However if you are unsure about this or require further information or wish to discuss this with course staff, you may do so, that is perfectly fine and normal for such concerns.”

“Do I need to buy, bring along, or provide any archery equipment for the course?”

“The answer is very simple – no – you do not need to provide any archery equipment. Indeed even if you had your own kit, you will not be allowed to use it on a course (only when you become a club member). KPAC require all course candidates to use club equipment from a safety and insurance aspect, and this is all covered in the cost of the course”

“What format does the coaching /instruction take?”

Our Beginner’s courses are a mix of classroom and practical “hands-on” archery. You will be taught the safety aspects of the range and understanding the equipment along with its handling. Archery as you can imagine is a dangerous sport, due to the equipment you are given, and yet it is one of the safest of our sports, because it is so tightly regulated, being under the control of the “Field Captain”(FC) who is in charge of the range, and archers cannot do anything unless the command is given by the FC. We will also teach you about the history of archery, all of the different types of bows that are used, all of the different types of archery that exists, but predominantly focusing on “target archery” which is what you will be doing. We will tell you about many other aspects of the sport, and which on the day finally culminates in a mini competition between you and the other candidates on the course. We are confident that you will have a fun and exciting day.”

“What do I have to wear”

Wearing close fitting clothing is important and will help to prevent the bowstring from catching your sleeve – try to avoid baggy sleeves or bulky jackets as these will make it more likely to catch the bowstring. The club provides an item of equipment called a “bracer” or “arm guard” that will help prevent this. Footwear must be such that it encloses the feet – no open-toed shoes are permitted. You are also advised to wear clothing to suit the occasion. When adverse weather is expected waterproof and warm clothing is best. however on really hot days, sun tan lotion is really a must as our field can be quite a sun trap and it is easy to get burnt. Candidates are also required to have long hair tied back and any body piercings, watches, or jewellery removed. Due to potential injury risk the club will not permit any candidate to take part and shoot unless these requirements have been complied with”

“What happens after the course?”

“On passing one of our beginner’s courses, as a member of Kent Police or a family member of same, you will automatically be offered a place and full membership in our club. If however you are not such an individual, and are a member of the public, unfortunately you will not be able to join the KPAC, as we are what is described as a “closed club” open only to members of Kent Police, however, it will be an experience to take away with you, and you can always make an enquiry about membership at another club – Our advice to you would also be, please do not rush out and buy archery equipment. As a KPAC club member you will have access to club equipment for up to one year, at no charge. This then allows the new member time to see what different types of equipment can be used, without having the commitment of making a financial purchase too quickly. If you are a member of the public and join another club, we are unfortunately unable to advise on how they run their own operations.