Trying out the new sport of Archery Tag.
As a fan of all manner of sports and games, whether old or new, traditional or obscure, I'm always on the lookout for new ones to have a go of. Following my blog post on the 1st of January 2013 where I asked the question "What sport or game that we haven't tried already should we give a go in 2013?" I had some responses via the comments, Facebook and Twitter.
One of these came from fellow sporting polymath Oliver 'Lawrence' Florence who suggested we give Archery Tag a go. He had heard an upcoming event would be taking place in Guildford and so it'd be a chance to have a play of the game for free!
|Me, Guy Martin (grey) and Oliver Florence (red) in Archery Tag action|
After a busy day of Minigolfing in Beckenham, Croydon and Carshalton Emily and I headed to Guildford and the Spectrum Leisure Complex which was the host venue for the Archery Tag event. Our group had been booked in for the 7pm session so we took some time beforehand to watch the action in the busy sports hall from the spectator's gantry.
Before we got stuck into the game our group decided to warm-up with some target practice using the specific Archery Tag equipment. The bow and arrows differ from those used in Archery and the main thing you notice is the foam pad on the end of the arrows, these ensure that if (when!) you get hit by a shot it doesn't injure the competitor.
|Richard 'Michael Skaggs' Skeggs (left) and Oliver 'The Machine' Florence warming-up before the main-event|
Our group was then ready to hit the court (arena, course, battlefield?) and after a briefing by the Archery Tag organiser - Joshua from Discover Archery - we were provided with protective face masks, a bow and two arrows.
The game mixes Archery with rules similar to Dodgeball, Paintball and Laser Tag with two teams of players taking up positions on either side of the battlefield and once the whistle goes it's a free-for-all of arrows firing at the opposing force. In a competitive match we were told that if you get hit you are eliminated from the game for a one-minute period before re-entering the fray. For our have-a-go session we were involved in two seven-minute games, played with 'no outs'. So it gave us a great opportunity to practice our aim and have fun, without the fear and threat of elimination.
|The Archery Tag 'battleground'|
Once you've used up your initial two arrows you can then collect any arrows from the floor and re-use them - just be careful not to get hit while retrieving them! The arena also had a number of inflatable bases and barriers to hide behind and you certainly needed to use them as the game is non-stop with a constant hail of arrows coming in from the opposing team.
One of the great things about the game is that you can also get 'catches'! So, if you see an arrow coming towards you and fancy grabbing it from mid-air then that is perfectly allowable - and quite an achievement too! I managed a couple of catches in the two games and hit some of the opposition too. Fellow sports enthusiast Richard 'Richard' Skeggs got really stuck into the sport and planted a perfect shot on my face - thank goodness for the protective face masks! I did get a couple of catches off him to slightly make up for it though.
|Richard Skeggs - the 'one man gang' of Archery Tag!|
It was great fun and I'd definitely like to play a competitive match. Perhaps a Luton team could travel to Guildford, or vice versa...
Check out details of Archery Tag on the Discover Archery website.
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