Virtual Schools Archery League supports Covid-safe interschool sports

A brand-new Virtual Schools Archery League, launching this June, is helping schools engage in Covid-safe interschool sports, while also encouraging students to enjoy the benefits of competitive archery.

Led by The School Archery League (SAL) and supported by Archery GB, the accessible competition helps set a new challenge for pupils that supports mental focus, promotes fun and provides the benefits of physical activity – all in a socially distant way. The Virtual Schools Archery League is open to all schools across the country, with separate divisions for barebow and recurve bows as well as abilities. Shooting can take place indoors or outdoors to suit the school’s facilities.

Over the past year, various lockdowns and periods of home-schooling have meant physical activity has been restricted for many pupils, with a negative impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. As a naturally socially-distanced activity, archery is the perfect sport to get pupils moving and motivated again.

Schools joining the Virtual Schools Archery League are invited to submit one or more groups for entry, who will then compete against other schools within the same category. Teachers record and submit each archer’s top scoring shooting round virtually during the competition period, and a winner is announced every half term.

Sarah Gibbs, SAL Coordinator says: “We want to get as many pupils as possible across the country involved in the League and having a go at archery. It’s a great sport that everyone can enjoy – and with in-person inter-school competitions currently limited, the Schools Archery League is a great way for students to enjoy an inclusive, competitive sport, in a safe and socially-distanced way.

“We think students will really enjoy the thrill when they hit the target and can see their aim improve over time. Of course, a bit of friendly competition between schools makes for added excitement too!”

Neil Armitage, CEO of Archery GB said, “The Virtual Schools Archery League is a fantastic initiative and one that we hope really encourages more students to get involved in the sport. Archery is well-recognised as an inclusive sport that is accessible to all ages and abilities, so it also helps engage those that are perhaps not naturally drawn to sports. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on physical activity across the board, and archery is an ideal sport for post-Covid times to help boost mental and physical wellbeing.”

Accessible across the spectrum regardless of age, physical ability or gender, archery is a uniquely inclusive sport. As one of very few that sees disabled and non-disabled participants and those of all ages compete against each other on level terms, archery truly breaks down barriers and creates an accessible path to sporting fun for all levels of abilities and fitness.

With physical benefits such as improved stamina and upper body strength, mental benefits of improved control, enhanced focus and boosted self-confidence, students also benefit from the social and competitive aspects of competing alongside their teammates.

This summer, Archery GB will once again be leading The Big Weekend event (9 – 11 July), which this year will be preceded by The Big Week (5 – 9 July), encouraging even more people to have a go at the inclusive sport. With a whole host of activities, including taster sessions, social events, fun games and archery challenges there will be plenty of opportunities to try the inclusive sport at clubs, venues, centres and schools nationwide – perfect for the 77% of British adults who wish they’d been able to try archery during school PE.

To find out more about the Virtual School Archery League, schools should email CFCARCHERY@gmail.com.

For more information on archery, including The Big Week and The Big Weekend, please visit www.archerygb.org.

For more on getting started with archery, head to www.startarchery.co.uk.

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