Visually Impaired Shoot Arrows

Most people say that archery is a sport for those who have the sharpest eyesight. This may be somehow true because you will really need sharp vision to see your target far ahead, even more when you shoot it. So what about those who have blurry eyesight or those who have what we call legal blindness? Are they already considered as not suitable to take up archery? The answer is definitely no! There are many visually impaired archers out there who can even outshoot those with a 20/20 vision.

So how exactly do these people do it. Do they have special equipment? Did they buy the compound bow in the market? Special equipment plays a big role in the performance of a visually impaired archer, but what really makes them outstanding is their dedication and passion for the sport. Their overwhelming love for it motivates them to practice daily. It would even inspires them to learn special techniques and use special equipment that would enable them to perform better.

Visually Impaired Training Archery

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So before we discuss how exactly do visually impaired archers perform, let’s first take a look at what exactly constitutes a visually impaired person. Being visually impaired doesn’t necessarily mean that you are blind. It could mean that you have a condition that doesn’t allow you to see properly like a macular degeneration or a cataract. Some other conditions that cause impairment would be a homonymous hemianopia or a retinopathy caused by diabetes.

Now, in order for a visually impaired person to take part in archery, he would probably have to be given some special equipment and would also need the help of a spotter. A set of special arrows often have to be bought by these people so that they can be able to set an arrow up on the bow properly. An example of a special arrow would be an arrow with a notch. This arrow will allow archers to find the end of the arrow easily so that they can set it up on the string. Another example would be the four fletched arrow which will also allow an archer to easily place the end on the bow string.

Depending on how bad one’s eyesight is, he may or may not have to use a foot locator or a foot marker. What exactly is a foot marker? It is a device that will help the visually impaired archer position himself properly so that he can make a shot. These foot markers are supported by tripods that are adjustable and can be fixed to match the height, arm length, and leg length of the archer. Foot markers are also known to be very light weight so that they can be easily brought around.

As stated earlier, these archers will need a spotter for them. The spotters will help lead them to the stand and also lead them to the targets so that they will know how accurate their shots are. Basically, spotters are their assistants who would help them with all their needs with regards to the sport.

Now, if a visually impaired archer is learning how to shoot using a bow and arrow, he is often taught to rely on his intuition and his hearing rather than rely on his eyesight. Believe it or not, listening to the sound of the arrow can actually give you an idea of how far the target is. By hearing the movement of the arrow, you can be able to judge your distance! Of course, this technique would take a lot of practice to perfect. Veteran archers would be teaching beginners how to utilitze their hearing to make up for their lack of good eyesight.

visually impaired archer Im Dong-hyun

Im Dong-hyun – Archery athletes visually impaired – Photo Source:

So as you can see, it’s not impossible for a visually impaired person to become a good archer. There are many ways for a person to excel in this sport. Also, having perfect vision will not guarantee that you will be good in the sport anyway. Visually impaired people know that with enough practice, they can be just as good as or even better than a lot of other archers out there with normal eyesight. All they need are those special arrows, the good compound bow they can find, a foot marker, and a spotter.

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