Archery is a sport where we try to hit a target.
So, how about archery for blind people? Can people who are not able to see participate in archery?
How can they hit a target?
Is it maybe too dangerous?
Read on to learn how visually impaired people can still have fun with archery:
Can Blind People Succeed In Archery?
The reason why I want to write about this today is that I tried it a few days ago.
I put on a blindfold and shot a few arrows of my trusty longbow at a target (very short distance, of course).
The first few arrows all missed the target, but after some more tries I got more and more successful.
It actually was a lot of fun! Even more relaxing than I usually experience archery to be.
Being able to hit the target without seeing it was prove to me, that visually impaired people can have a lot of fun with archery.
And they can become very good at it, too!
This made me wonder how many blind people are actually practicing archery.
I was surprised to learn that blind archery is not that rare as some might think.
Blind archery is on its way to become a Paralympic sport in 2020.
A test event will take place at the World Championships this year in Germany.
If it is a success, chances are high that blind archery will become a Paralympic sport.
How Can Blind People Start With Archery?
The first thing every archer has to learn is to keep himself and others safe.
For that they will need protective archery gear and follow some rules.
Since blind archers can’t see whether someone is between them and their target, they should never shoot alone.
If you are visually impared or know someone who is, you should always start in an archery club.
Before you go, ask them if they are equipped for blind archers.
Unfortunately, not all clubs are.
There is a great organization in England, British Blind Sport, that is eager to help blind people to start with archery.
If you want more information about them, check out their website.
I was not able to find something similar for the USA, so if you know one please let me know in the comments below.
I would really appreciate it.
What Kind Of Equipment Do Blind Archers Use?
While it is possible for blind people to hit a target on a short distance, they will need some help on longer distances.
Luckily there are some handy tools that will help them.
Those are also allowed to be used in official competitions.
- Foot Marker
- Tripod Or Mount
These to little helpers are the ones that are most commonly used by blind archers, when they want to become more professional and successful.
In the following I will explain what they can do to help.
The foot marker is put on the floor and gets aligned to the shooting line at an archery range.
The archer touches the protuding foot indicatores with his heels.
That way he can always stand at the exactly same spot when shooting with his bow.
He can’t get turned in a wrong direction.
This is a very important first step to become a great blind archer.
Tripod Or Mount
The next thing that is essential is a tripod or mount for the bow sight.
Blind archers can’t look through a sight, so they need to be able to put it down somewhere and touch it.
The sighting aid is put on the tripod/mount and indexed in the foot marker.
When the archer stands on the foot marker his distance to the sighting aid will be always the same.
When raising the bow, the archer touches the sight with the back of his hand and this is how he will know where the target is located.
I know this sounds a bit complicated at first.
But it is a great and very effective way of aiming, if you can’t see your target.
Watch the following video to see what the set up for a blind archer can look like.
You will see the touch point the sight provides to the archer and a simple, selfmade foot marker.
The spotter is actually not a tool, but a person that helps the archer.
He will stand a few meters behind the archer and will tell him where the arrows hit the target.
If an arrow misses its target, the spotter will tell the archer where the arrow went.
Thanks to the sighting aid, which points to the center of the target, the archer can correct his mistakes and become better and better.
Watch this amazing blind archer doing what she can do best:
Common Problems Blind Archers Have To Face
Besides of not being able to see the target, blind archers have to overcome other difficulties:
It can be very tricky to notice body sway when you can’t see.
Additionally, a blind archer might not notice when his bow is not held straight.
Maybe they tilt their bow a little to the right or left.
Letting the arrow fly in that scenario will influence the flight negatively. The archer might miss the target.
Those problems can only be solved with a lot of practice and the help of others.
The spotter should help with that, too.
He can tell the archer that the bow is not straight and correct it.
The same goes with the body sway.
Most Important For A Blind Archer
Whether you are blind or can see, the most important thing is that you learn the correct form.
Aiming is only a small part of archery.
Make sure to learn the right archery technique first!
When you get started I would recommend to borrow a bow.
Then, after some time, you can decide what bow type you want to shoot with.
You can choose a recurve bow like the Samick Sage or the SAS Courage.
If you’d prefer a compound bow, you can take the SAS Rage or Bear Archery Apprentice 3.
I personally love longbows like the Montana Longbow, though.
Share Your Experiences
If you are a visually impaired archer, or know someone who is, please share your experiences with me.
I would love hearing from you.
I know that archery is a great sport for everyone and being blind can not stop you from participating.
Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you quickly.
Have a great day.