Archery is a great sport for boosting mental and physical health as well as for overall fitness. In the central Eskişehir province, an archery club based at Anadolu University is where students from different universities gather to practice this physically demanding sport including training as national sportsmen.
The Archery Club has achieved an ever-increasing number of outstanding successes. Students manage to hit the bull's-eye with the arrows they shoot up to 300 km/h at a distance ranging from 18 to 50 kilometers.
Students who join the club from different faculties and practice at the university's sports center shoot targets with compound or classic bows. During the practices conducted under the supervision of Archery coach İzzet Avcı, students shoot arrows up to 300 km/h at a distance ranging from 18 to 50 kilometers in addition to their training. Archers who love practicing the thousands of years old ancestral sport will join the Turkish Championship, which will be held in a month.
Sharing details about archery and their work, Archery Club member Buğrahan Ömer Bozkurt from Anadolu University, the Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said he has been practicing archery for the past three years and will attend the Turkish Championship that will be held a month later in Samsun. "We have heavy training four days in a week, about four hours every day with only one break. Since archery requires constant condition, we have to train without even taking a day off in a week. There is this old saying, 'If you leave archery one day, archery will leave you for 10 days,'" Bozkurt said, stressing that they continue their training in order not to let archery leave them.
Explaining that the main reason why he started archery in the first place was a childhood desire, Bozkurt said archery is a type of sport that definitely disciplines your life and enormously changes your point of view. "You are here all the time, shooting arrows. This practice hall is one of the places where I can let off some steam. When I make a good shot, I feel happy and when I make a bad one, I question myself. That's when people can discipline themselves. When you start applying this discipline to your own life, then you realize that archery is seriously not an ordinary type of sport," Bozkurt said.
There are several health benefits to participating in archery. It is particularly useful for youth as it teaches them the benefits of patience. Bozkurt said archery is mainly a mental sport, meaning that when you feel depressed, regardless of your good techniques, if you cannot make a good shot that day, it is the type of sport that psychologically improves you.Archery can be practiced both indoors and outdoors with clubs having access to indoor facilities over the winter season so the weather need not be a barrier to participation. Bozkurt said they are currently having training at indoor areas. "We are shooting arrows at three different targets during the indoor season. We use thick aluminum arrows and authentic goose down arrows. Since these arrows are thick, they reach an average speed up to 250 km/h, but we use relatively bigger targets when we go outside in the summer," Bozkurt said, suggesting that they sometimes use thinner arrows due to their resistance to wind and weather conditions. He added that in the outdoor season, the arrow's speed can go up to approximately 180 km/h and 290 km/h and sometimes up to 300 km/h depending on the structure and strength of the arrow.
Another Archery Club member Ece Nur Yılmaz said she has been in the team since she was a freshman at Anadolu University. "I was an archer before. I am against gender discrimination in sports. I think we, as women, are quite successful. I definitely recommend it to the beginners. I do not think they will stop it once they start," Yılmaz said, adding, "It is a very entertaining sport; it discharges you mentally and increases concentration. I can recommend it to those who have problem concentrating on their lessons. It corrects posture disorders. First of all, you are doing sports. Of course, I have a certain target. Maybe we will be a national team one day. We are currently training."
Assessing the ongoing practices, Archery Club coach İzzet Avcı said the university has always supported the archery training. "Anadolu University provides us with all of the facilities. The hall you see is the second best room in Turkey. Our work is continuing here," Avcı said, pointing out that Anadolu University has given archers about 20 national themes and meets all of the needs of the current team by providing them with every opportunity from equipment to coaches.