What equipment will you need?
Bow, Arrows and Accessories
After a few weeks of shooting with club equipment, you will need to start thinking about buying your own bow, arrows and accessories. Most visually impaired archers can use standard risers, limbs, arrows, and accessories. Before buying this equipment please seek advice from an experienced coach or archer. You should shoot the actual bow and arrows that you are considering buying - it is usually not a good idea to buy them on-line.
Some of the equipment used by visually impaired archers may need to be "non-standard". Although it may be possible to buy some of this equipment "off the shelf", or to make it yourself, it is really important that it meets the rules, and is portable, robust, stable and fit for purpose. Equipment that does not meet these requirements may result in inconsistencies between shots, and therefore results! The BBS-AS shop can provide advice on the specialist equipment available; most items may be purchased from our shop but you are not obliged to buy anything from us.
We recommend that you obtain your BBS sight classfication for archery before purchasing any VI specialist equipment. As you will read below, there can be limitations in what equipment certain rules will allow you to use.
Bow Sight or Adapted Bow Sight
Many visually impaired archers have some vision which means they can shoot using a bow sight or adapted bow sight - and we encourage archers to make the best use of any vision they have. The Archery GB rules on this are explained in the AGB Rules of Shooting Part 11 (opens in new window) which describes the variations for VI Archers. Please note that in competitions that are record status or have VI specific categories, archers with a sight classification of B4 or B5 may be required to use a bow-sight which may be modified as described in AGB Rules of Shooting Part 11 (opens in new window).
All archers whether sighted or visually impaired will benefit from standing in the same position during every shot. This can be achieved by using "foot markers". These can be as simple as target pins on a boot lace, or "Foot Finders" which have been optimised for VI archers whilst still meeting the AGB rules of shooting. There are versions that can be pinned to the ground outdoors and indoor versions designed for attaching to a small mat.
If you can't use a bow sight, you may require tactile sighting aids.
For visually impaired people with limited or no vision an alternative sighting method is needed. A number of ideas have been tried but the tactile "back of hand" method is recommended and the only one accepted under some rules. Please note that in competitions that are record status or have VI specific categories, archers with a sight classification of B1, B2 or B3 may be required to use a tactile sight.
Recommended method - Back of the hand
The equipment used for the "back of the hand" method is comprised of a set of foot-locators, a tripod or stand, and a tactile sight.
The foot-locators help the archer stand in a consistent place behind the stand or tripod;
they also help the archer find the left/right direction in relation to the target.
A stand or tripod is connected to the foot-locators. This provides a height adjustable platform for mounting the "back of the hand" tactile sight. The back of the archer's hand that holds the bow makes contact with the end of the "back of the hand" tactile sight and this reference point is how information on the height the archer needs to shoot at is communicated to the archer.
Please note that some of the rules put limits/restrictions on the size and parts of the tactile sight, so please ask for advice on the specialist equipment available.
Ready made foot-locators or diagrams (if you have someone that can make them for you) can be purchased from the BBS-AS foot-locators shop page (see left hand image above). If you decide to make to your own design, then bear in mind that they need to be portable, robust and meet the rules.
A number of devices can be used as the point of contact with the back of the archer's hand, however it does need to be robust. The BBS-AS tactile sight shop page sells a number of tactile sights (see central image above). Some of the rules put limits or restrictions on the tactile sight.
Tripod or Stand
A stand or tripod is required to support the tactile sight. We suggest you use a video tripod to achieve the height, robustness and stability required. The BBS-AS tripod shop page sells a modified tripod (see right hand image above) which the BBS-AS tactile sights can be attached to.