Avondale Park, the site of Birmingham’s first zoo and now home to a thriving entertainment district, youth baseball complex and refurbished rose garden, has recently been transformed into a target range for the world’s best archers. Colorful targets dot the landscape surrounding the pond as archers from around the globe take their best shot. An intimate crowd — minus the ducks normally seen waddling along the water’s edge begging parkgoers for food scraps, no doubt removed so as not to interfere with the arrows — gathered on a Monday morning as the archers eagerly waited to take aim. The air was noticeably cooler than it had been earlier in the week and filled with anticipation.
Robin Hood never had it so good.
Archery was in full effect at one of Birmingham’s most historic green spaces. Here are a few facts about archery and the 2022 World Games events.
1. There are three types of bows used in this year’s World Games
The compound bow is the youngest bow used in competition. Invented in the 1960s, this intricately designed bow uses a system of pulleys and cables for increased speed and accuracy.
Recurve bows get their name from the shape of the bow, which curves back away from the archer at each tip. This is the style of bow used in the Olympic Games.
Barebow is a style of recurve bow, the most basic style that does not allow for accessories to assist in stabilization or aiming of the bow.
Watch the HERstory featuring female Swedish barebow archer Stine Asell and learn what movie star inspired her to pick up a bow and arrow.
2. There are two major World Games Archery events – Target and Field
Target archery consists of archers shooting at stationary targets from set, specific distances. Using a compound bow, archers shoot a distance of 50 meters with an 80-centimeter target face.
In the field archery competition, there are categories for both recurve and barebow. Archers shoot both an unmarked — meaning distance and target size are unknown — and a marked course of targets, with varying distances and angles to the targets.
3. Archers aren’t just athletes, they’re mathematicians
The archery field event is all about distance and angles. To have the most accurate shot, archers need strength, control…and a little bit of high school trigonometry. As the archery announcer noted during the women’s field qualifying event, “This is where trigonometry class comes into play – that cosine is coming back to haunt you.” That’s because archers need to adjust properly for uphill or downhill shots. Rather than aiming for the uphill or downhill distance, archers need to account for the horizontal distance to the target. By multiplying the cosine of the up or downhill angle they are shooting times the distance to the target, the archer will have a more accurate horizontal distance to aim for. Try doing that math in your head!
4. Archery is a lifetime sport
Archery can be enjoyed at any age. The sport is often incorporated into physical education curriculums for the many skills it teaches, including hand-eye coordination, control and stability. It’s a great upper body workout and appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. It’s never too late to pick up a bow and arrow.
Regions Bank is a Foundation Partner for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham and is headquartered in the city. With more than 6,000 local associates, Regions provides a wide variety of community support through sponsorship, donations and volunteers – including nearly 400 for the World Games.