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Focus on ... Archery

Learn how archery can positively impact your mental health

Participating in sport can positively impact on both your body and your mind. Scottish Archery is an inclusive sport, which aims to be open to all, regardless of their fitness and ability – meaning that everyone would be able to get involved in the sport – and importantly, reap the benefits of participating in sport.

In particular, Scottish Archery are looking to boost the mental health of all participants in the sport across the nation.

Balancing body and mind

Robert Clark, Scottish Archery Community Workforce Officer, commented:

“As well as being a rewarding physical sport, archery can also help boost mental wellbeing. As a high-concentration sport, archery requires participants to set aside time to do nothing but focus on a single element - hitting the target.”

The sport allows you to zone out from the rest of the world, and simply focus on the task at hand. Robert said:

“Archers commonly say that when they are aiming, everything else fades into the background, which helps train the brain to focus on the here and now, ignoring distractions like negative inner speech and external stressors that may occur in everyday life.

“For some archers, the sport can be equally as peaceful as yoga since it balances the body and mind, archery can be seen of as a type of active meditation that improves mood and helps with anxiety and depression.”

Building confidence behind the bow

Scottish Archery are working with families in local communities to help develop skills and build confidence behind the bow. Through this, Scottish Archery and Kilmarnock Community Trust have developed a partnership, working with the Onthank and Shortlees Primary Schools. Robert highlighted:

“We began offering taster lessons to Onthank and Shortlees Primary School in December 2022 and January 2023. Over 100 participants from the two schools attended the one-hour sessions. Most of the participants were attempting archery for the first time, and they appreciated trying a new sport that the whole family could participate in together.”

A survey was used to gather feedback and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. From the survey, 71.4% strongly agreed that they enjoyed the archery activity, 100% agreed this would be a sport they would enjoy with the whole family, and 100% agreed that family archery would be good for the school.

Steven Swan, home link worker at Onthank Primary, commented:

“The feedback from our young people identifies a need and want for a project like this. With Archery at the forefront, I believe we would be able to support families at a higher level and positively address mental health. This could cascade to neighbouring primary schools in the North West and build a family based, sustainable activity.”

Ross McKillop, Deputy Head Teacher at Shortlees Primary, said:

“Feedback from the session is very positive, all parents enjoyed the Archery session and discussed mindfulness of winding down after a stressful day.”

Robert has also supported Scottish Sports Futures with providing Soft Archery and delivered a fun, engaging session that promoted the physical, mental, and social benefits of being active in archery.

Get involved!

Want to get involved? Go to your local club for an intro to archery, take part in a taster "have a go" session or plunge right in and do a full beginners' course. 

Use the club finder below to find a club in a location convenient to you and contact them via the details provided.

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