“ Manufacturer: Geologic / Type: Archery „
Archery has a long history in this country, and apparently driven by "The Hunger Games" and the Olympics has been going through somewhat of a renaissance. I must confess though that I never thought we would own our own bows and arrows, however driven by my 8 year old daughter's interest from a drop-in club near to us, and funded by her Birthday money after months of nagging I let her buy this starter set which contains all you need to get going and which costs £49.99 from Decathlon (we paid £39.99 with a £10 off voucher). It's very definitely NOT a toy by any means and should only be used under supervision, by children of 7 and above. The set it is suitable for home use, and we bought it having used the exact same one in the classes that she had been to and we use it with great care.
What you get:
The kit consists of everything you see in the photo. The target, which is 65cm by 65cm, comes in two pieces and has a dual purpose as both carry case and target. The bow, which is a junior recurve bow for use by those up to 130cm and both left handed and right handed archers, slots into the case as do the two sucker tipped arrows. When you get the kit the bowstring is not attached and has to be added. This would have been easier to do were the instructions a little better. Unfortunately the supplied instruction manual is pictorial only and doesn't make assembly or use of the bow that clear, it was lucky for us that we already knew how to use the equipment, but it would be a good idea to watch the video for an idea on how to use- on the decathlon site full videos of set up and how to change the various parts are available. On first use we had no problems assembling the free standing target and arrow. On the target-come-case strong metal connectors slot into the base of the case and then the target is easily added. The two arrows supplied have plastic vanes ( ie the feather end of the arrow) and, as you can see on the photo, a sucker rather than a pointed end.
Once you are set up and have worked out how to stand properly (video link at the end of this review) the set is quite simple, and judging from the amount of time my daughter has spent using it, quite satisfying to use. Care has to be taken with the arrow rest, which is made of quite unsubstantial plastic and which the arrow is rested on before firing. It is not too tricky to pull back the arrow - though it might have been nice had the kit come with an arm guard or finger guard which are quite important safety wise in my opinion and which we had to buy separately. It's not too hard to make the arrow fly at the target with a satisfying "thwack" and quite impressive force after a bit of practice.
We haven't had to replace any of the bits yet but the previously mentioned quite fragile arrow rest is replaceable at a small cost of a couple of pounds, as are the ends of the arrows and the string. Additional arrows are in theory purchasable from decathlon where we bought the set from for £3.99 each, though every time we go in store they don't seem to have any in stock. Having only two arrows does make for rather a lot of toing and froing, but it's not too much of an issue for home use. The bow itself is very well made indeed, with a good grip and no feeling that it is likely to break with normal use.
I can't say that anyone in the family is particularly skilled at hitting the target in the middle, but again the quality of the target is very good; it bounces when hit so is unlikely to break and has never toppled. Arrows are easily removed from it too, and always stick when they actually hit the target and not the back of the garden.
For an introduction to the sport this set is actually pretty good and fair value, given that a bow alone costs £24.99, and the fact that the arrows have suckers and not points makes them easier to use than a traditional bow and arrows, although as I said at the start care must be taken as it is not a toy. This set is a quality, well made bit of kit which packs up into itself and which is easily stored and used. For the price of a video game you can have a lot of fun with this item with sensible use. I've given it four stars purely on the basis that the instructions are amongst the most rubbish of any item I've bought, but as an introduction to a sport I can't fault it otherwise. Recommended.
Soft archery being set up and used: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/geosoft-arrow-id_8172871.html
Shooting position: http://www.geologic.org/en/content/shooting-position