Archery provides a recreational pursuit, a healthy fitness routine and provides a Zen for the wellbeing of the mind and soul. Of course archery gets you outdoors as well and that is a great thing to start with. As soon as you get outdoors with a bow and arrow it gets you moving. You find strength and as you get better at it, it boost your self-esteem. It can also help many people like me battle the effects of my mental health problems.
I have aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism which has given me a number of impairments in social skills and my ability to communicate with other people. In most cases it’s also know for giving autistics an obsession with some kind of hobby or recreational activity. Throughout my life I have never been very good at forming long term relationships or communicating with other people. That was until I starting taking social skills training sessions and they came rather late in my life. When I became interested in archery I found that I had a social life that I hadn’t had before. I may have had a few social circles in my life but this one was something that would benefit me greatly. When you join a club you will be in the company of some really wonderful people who keep you going further and higher. In the three years that I have been shooting I have seen my social network grow both online and at my club. This really brings great confidence in my abilities and my shooting skills. As an aspie who is obsessed about archery I have also got someone to talk to and share my love of archery. My disability might have impaired my ability to form friendships but it certainly does well for my intellectual abilities.
As far as my interests in archery go I have a very good knowledge of the sport and I count my aspergers as a useful mental ability for absorbing the knowledge that makes a champion. Hans Asperger, the discoverer of this condition used to say “It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential”. Archery is a sport of both science and art. It’s the artful practice of firing projectiles using science and technology to propel arrows. When I started to develop friendships in the archery community I was able to combine my knowledge of my other passions and use it in archery. As well as being an archer I am also an avid science geek. I have seen archery as a useful way to make the concept of physics and maths interesting. It has been quite a useful means of making me really good at archery and I use this information to share ideas about how to shoot more accurately and hone my technique. It has given me so much confidence and knowledge that I am pleased to be able to share that knowledge with other archers around the world through blogging for Legend Archery.
There are other people who have used archery to help with their own health problems in a lot of other ways. Some claim that archery can also help with depression. Such archers like Louise Redman, who took up archery to get out of postnatal depression. She took up archery after a lengthy absence in 2012 after the birth of her second child. Redman got out her old compound bow and arrow and from then on she was hooked. In a matter of months she became an elite champion and is now Australia’s number one female compound archer (February 2015). Redman even encourages other mums to get out there and start using a bow when considering PND. She describes it as ‘a different kind of mother’s group’. As well as a confidence boost archery is also a remedy for bad ills. Every time I feel stressed and pick up a bow and shoot I need a form of spiritual guidance like karma. You need to be calmed and composed to execute a really good shot for a steady release. It’s no good trying to shoot if you feel like a quivering wreck. I’ve seen archers with some kind of stress and fear affecting their shots. One archer who I shared a target with was feeling so low he couldn’t perform very well, it was just miss after miss. But with a good practice session you get a very therapeutic feeling. It helps you to deal with stress and clear your mind of worry.
Even though I wish I had learnt about archery when I was young I can still enjoy as an adult. I have read stories about children with autism who have Aspergers like me and with archery they have found a good therapy and a useful treatment in their condition. It really lights up their imagination and their cognitive abilities improve. It has helped them with their schooling, social skills, coordination, patience and concentration and any other health problems that they have issues with. If you think they never thrive then you haven’t got them to try. Not only is it vital to make sure that mental illnesses are treated through sport, but people with mental health issues such as myself should be recognised and accepted. I befriended a fellow volunteer who was working at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. She too is aspergic and has an autistic son. I said to her ‘To ask for help (like that) gives us the means to adjust to the world around us. Believe me, no one is a second class citizen. For me all forms of life are unequal, we should tolerate and accept all classes of citizens.’ Archery is a very inclusive sport and it accepts all citizens. If you take a look at the para-champions or even the champions with mental health disabilities you’ll be amazed at how powerful and fulfilling they can be.
Is your recurve on Plane?
It’s a beautiful spring day and you just arrived at your favorite outdoor shooting place. The sky is blue, no wind, perfect temperature, grass is green, and the target seems amazingly colorful today. As you draw your bow back you feel confident and assured that today will be great shots. As the arrow is released you feel relaxed and know it was a great shot. Thud! The arrows hits the target and it is not exactly what you expected. You draw back and shoot again. Thud! Arrow hit the X. As the day goes on your shots overall are good, but you just can’t explain the strange flyers that happen and your groups could be a little tighter.
You are not brand new to archery and feel your form is pretty solid, your bow is tuned, and everything seems to work well. As you try and figure out how to make the bow more consistent and more forgiving, you start looking at the little tuning bits. You check that the limbs are aligned. You check the string against the limb center and make sure that it aligns with the stabilizer. You check your center shot. Everything is still perfectly centered and tuned. But no matter what you do it always seems that there are some shots that just shouldn’t be as off as they are and the bad shots definitely are not forgiving.
You grab your bow manufacturer set-up guide and look it over to make sure there is nothing you have missed over time. You go online and search for others having similar issues and you find some responses but nothing is new to you. It just does not make sense and it all seems to be as perfect as it can get and sometimes you have to just deal with what you have and work through it by practicing more.
A bad shot is still a bad shot. No archer on the planet is absolutely perfect! Not one. Even when a perfect score is shot, there is still room for improvement. But as we are humans we are prone to mistakes big and little. Those little mistakes that we make can seem even bigger given what might be at stake. Micro tuning helps make the groups tighter and lessons the minor bad shot factor. The tune of the bow in general is not only crucial to help make the shots more accurate, but a proper tune helps the bow be more forgiving of our mistakes.
The term “forgiveness” is not really understood in archery. No set-up in the world will make a bad shot good. Good shots and bad shots are up to the archer behind the bow. Even when a bow is not well tuned, a really good archer can adjust and still put the arrow where they want it to go. When we say that a bow is more forgiving, what we really mean is that the bow tune and arrow tune are matched so well that any equipment variance can be taken out of the equation. The archer still has to execute a good shot no matter what. A bow that is properly tuned with a correctly tuned arrow will seem more forgiving. A more forgiving bow is nothing more than a properly tuned bow.
After doing your research and checking over and over trying to find the smallest thing that could help, you find yourself here. You have come to the right place!
What if I told you that there is one problem in your setup right now that is most likely not correct from day one? One step that no one really talks about but is a factor in having a more forgiving bow. One step that needs to be done right after you align your limbs in the early stages of setting up your bow.
Is your bow on plane?
If you have no idea what being on plane means, then you are not alone.
If you shoot an ILF or Formula recurve, chances are your bow is not perfect from the factory. Close for most, but not exact. Many manufacturers do a great job of centering the limb pocket for their limbs at the factory. The problem with this in general is that unless the manufacturer centered the limbs to a specific riser, there is no way you can be for sure it is on plane.
What is being on plane?
Planing is a longitudinal section through the axis of an object. It is the exact center of your riser. The trouble with planing isn’t just understanding it, but knowing how to find it. When you string up your bow and check for proper limb alignment, you always measure the true center of your limbs first. If you have an adjustable limb pocket riser, you will adjust the limbs so that they align with each other and the string is centered down both limbs. Based on most manufacturer guides you are basically done once the string and limbs align. You are not done yet.
Now that you have aligned the string and limbs so that they are in line with each other, you will want to make sure that the string and limbs are aligned with the riser so that the string is not only in line with the limbs but down the center of the riser. In the old days we would check this by making sure the string and limbs were aligned down the center of the riser tiller adjustment holes. Those holes are centered on every riser and since we did not have any way to adjust the limb pocket we were done. Today you can adjust the limb pockets to get the limbs perfectly centered to each other. Most archers still align the string down the center of the riser using the same tiller bolt holes we used decades ago.
Now when you look at the limbs, string, and riser they are all centered. The string passes down the exact middle of the limb and aligns with the tiller bolt holes. And this is where most of us start getting our center shot and going forward with the set-up and tune. Some take it a step further and make sure that the limbs, string, riser tiller bolt holes, and the stabilizer all align. This is the basic idea of finding the “plane” of the riser, by using the long rod stabilizer as a reference point. In theory this is a great way to align everything and move on to finish your set-up and tune.
The Problem is Not Straight Forward
The problem with using the stabilizer is that unless the stabilizer is perfectly straight and the bolt hole the stabilizer screws into it is perfectly centered and threaded straight, the stabilizer will be crooked and will not be a good reference point to find the riser center. If the stabilizer is not perfectly straight then the bows “plane” will be off. If the plane is off, then the rest of tuning will be off as well and the bow will be less forgiving.
Finding the true plane of the riser is not as hard as it may seem. It does take some work to get it set-up, but I am going to show you an easy way to find the bow’s plane and get the most out of your tune. In the process you will have a more forgiving bow and enjoy shooting even more.
There are a couple of ways to find the plane of the riser. One is the bow square method. This method works if you have perfectly flat riser on both sides and can measure the string distance from each side of the riser. Unfortunately this method does not work with every riser and give a slightly false reading, but it can work well for some. I won’t go into detail because I am going to show you a sure way to get it right.
Since we know that the exact center of the riser is the tiller bolt holes, we will use these on the back of the riser to get this first step down. The front of the riser uses the same bolt holes from the back, otherwise known to you as the limb bolt. So before we get this party started, you have to make sure that your limbs, string, and tiller bolt holes all line up perfectly just has you would normally. This is crucial to be done first!
The easiest way to start this process with things you have at home, you will need some string (bow string material in black if possible, or any black string material that is the thickness of a single strand of bow string material), and tape.
Take a piece of string and place it along the center of the top tiller bolt hole. The string has to centered and run through the center. Place a piece of tape on the string above the bolt hole on the riser to hold it in place. Do the same on the bottom tiller bolt hole of the riser. The string should go from the top bolt hole to the bottom bolt hole. Once you make sure the string is centered to the bolt holes exactly, place another piece of tape over the string on each bolt hole to secure it in place as centered.
In theory you want to do the exact same thing on the front of the riser lining up the center of the limb bolts. Due to most risers being curved this can be tricky but not impossible. Also you might want to make sure the stabilizer is not attached to get this done. Once you have the string aligned from limb bolt center to limb bolt center, take a piece of tape and tape the string somewhere around the grip area above the stabilizer bolt hole. Make sure that you secure the tape well. I found it easier to tape above the grip near the sight window/rest area. Most sight windows are flat and you can take a quick measurement of the string from the top of the sight window and bottom of the sight window to make sure the string is even in distance from the window edge. This only helps to make sure you are still straight and is only used to help check the string.
It should look something like this... (I have an ION X and the Tec bar makes it harder, but still works just fine.)
Looking at the riser from the front look at the two strings and make sure that they are parallel to each other. If not then you need to make some adjustments to the front string or the rear string. It is very crucial that these two strings are parallel to each other and perfectly centered to the bolt holes.
The bow will now need to be on a stand or chairs that allow no flex of the limbs from the ground or weight being put on one limb. Make sure that you have your limbs marked for center with either tape and line markings or a much easier tool is the Beiter Blocks.
Standing behind the bow, line up the string with the limb center markings. When looking past the bow string you should see the other two strings. You will have to use one eye and move your head slightly from side to side in order to see how the riser strings align with the bow string. The first thing you should see no matter what is that the string will be parallel to the other two strings. If not, then you need to make some adjustments to the riser strings still.
As you will notice in the picture above the riser strings are parallel to the bow string. The limb holds don't align in the picture because the picture was taken at an angle so that you can see what it should look like to start.
By looking at the riser strings you will be able to see if the bow is on plane. A perfectly planed bow will have the bow string and riser strings align perfectly and align down the center of the limbs. The only way to tell if your bow plane is off and to what side the limbs need to move to is to see if there is a gap that appears. See the pic below to get an idea of the gap you might see.
The picture above in black and white allows you to see the gap. You will notice how you see the bow string, then the back of riser string, and then the front of riser string. This shows the bow plane is off and the limbs need to be moved to the left away from the sight window.
Again, move your head from side to side and you should notice one of two things. Either the strings are perfectly aligned the same with no gap, or you will see one side with a gap and the opposite side will look aligned. The side with the gap is the side that needs to be moved away from. If yours looks like the opposite of the pictures above then move the limbs equally to the right toward the sight window.
A side to side view to give you an idea of what each side looks like.
By moving the top and the bottom limb equally, you will close the gap in the strings and notice them coming together. Your bow will be on plane once the riser strings and bow string looks the exact same on both sides when moving your head from side to side.
I have found that using Hoyt’s Hardlock system works easiest because the washers are the same for each side and the top and bottom. Other movable systems can be trickier but with equal turns you will be able to align them even more accurately.
The end result should look like this…
After adjusting the limbs equally to the left, away from the sight window, the riser strings and the bow string are equal on both sides now. The bow is now plane.
When looking at the bow from the back the bow string should still line up in the middle of the limbs, down the middle of the tiller bolt holes, and the riser strings should disappear completely. That is the final check before moving on to your next step.
Once you have the bow on perfect plane, whether you are just setting up the bow for the first time or your bow was near perfect before doing this to it, you will find that the shots are better, more consistent, easier to tune, more forgiving, and more fun to shoot. A bow that is on perfect plane is a real joy to shoot.
If you have any questions on this tuning tip, please leave a comment.
When you get your gear ready to go out and practice archery you need to gather all your equipment and pack neatly in an appropriate case. A recurve bow is collapsible so you can take it down and pack it into a small backpack about 30 inches tall. A compound bow can’t be taken down in the same way and it’s bare form is too big for a conventional backpack or a case. Other bow users like longbows and crossbows require special cases to carry their gear and so the world of archery manufacturers like Legend Archery build cases designed for specific types of bow.
Now as it stands there are cases for every bow and every bow has a case of some kind. All these bow cases are made of different materials and they offer varying degrees of protection so that you can transport your equipment safely and securely to the range. For take down bows like recurves there are three distinct choices available: bow cases, backpacks and trolley cases. First there’s bow cases which are available in hard or soft variations and they can only carry the bow and arrows along with a few small accessories in the side pockets. These are ideal if you plan on carrying the rest of your other essentials like quivers, arm guards and maintenance kit in a separate bag. There’s also a bow case for compounds as well and these carry the bow fully assembled. Because of this the shape of the bags makes them distinct from the recurve bow cases with their half oval shape.
The most popular and really useful cases are the soft backpacks. These are very spacious and have got plenty of compartments for all your spares and equipment. Consider the legend archery range. A standard archery backpack consists of a main compartment and a small accessory compartment at the front. Inside the main compartment is a wallet like container called a riser/limb case which has a double compartment. One compartment holds the riser and the other on the opposite side is for the limbs. This provides protection for the main bow in transit. There is also plenty of room for other equipment where you can squeeze in your quiver, bow stand and accessory bag. There’s also a peculiar looking thing that makes the archery back pack stick out unlike an ordinary backpack. The arrows are stored in an extendable tube that can be adjusted to the length of your arrows and if you prefer your stabilizing long rod. The arrow tubes on these backpacks are available with the tube inserted into the backpack from the top like the Legend Streamline series or strapped to the side of the backpack held in place by straps like the Legend Akiles. Some of these backpacks can be carried two ways, either on your back or with handle on the side so you can carry it like a bag. It's also useful to look out for backpacks which come with their own dedicated rain cover to protect it from wet weather.
Compound backpacks are also available and they equally capable of transport a full assembled bow complete with accessories in the internal pockets. However these backpacks are mostly carried as hand bags because of their sheer size needed to carry the bow. Because of the assembled shape of the bow some makers build them as semi-circle or half-hexagonal and Legend Archery make some really good examples of it with some of their models like the Superline 44 and the Double two.
There’s also a more expensive option in the form of trolley cases. These are mostly devoted to professional archers like champions and Olympians who need the best protection for their bows and equipment that they can get. These are designed to function like suitcases and can carry up to two bows complete with all accessories and equipment. Some of them have even got some spare space to carry an extra pair of shoes or even a change of clothes. You can find these trolley cases in hard or soft-hybrid made from durable aluminium and nylon. These can be used by both recurve and compound archers but if you are recurve archer then make sure you get a trolley case for a recurve bow. Compound trolley cases don’t come with the riser and limb case. Compound trolley cases store the bow inside a padded compartment on one side of the case. These trolley cases are perfect for archers who are active travellers to competitions and can survive a very long trip by land, sea and air.
Now we covered recurve and compound bow cases I think it’s time we took a look at cases for longbows and crossbows. Longbows are quite tricky to carry because they can’t be folded down. The type of cases for them is a 7 foot long sleeve made of cotton or leather fabrics. This is a pretty simple but effective case for a longbow, but it needs to be handled carefully because it doesn’t offer any structural protection like the soft case backpacks for recurve and compound bows. You can also buy them as long hard cases as well, which offer great protection and highly recommended for the fragile long sticks that they are. Crossbow cases are a design unto themselves because they encompass a whole crossbow around it’s entire frame like a violin case. A crossbow case has a small pocket on the side that can carry a few vital essentials for the bow but like a longbow sleeve it doesn’t come with space for a quiver. The limited capacity of these cases means that you will have to carry any other accessories and equipment in a separate bag.
All these options have their usefulness for all forms of archery. However for beginners and regular archers I would highly recommend a backpack. They are reliable, cost effective and highly regarded equipment bags. They can carry your gear in style like an archery superstar in the same manner as the kit bags of sports players like your favourite athletes.
Recently I started to update a set of clothes that I could wear as an archer for an outdoor competition. It’s hard to define a set standard for archery wear as an athlete because there is too few choices of clothing items that make it distinct from the other sports. Tennis players are famous for their polyester jerseys, tank tops and shorts, as well as their bouncy shoes. Football soccer players have their shirts, shorts and long socks as well as their boots. Both of these sports are of a physically demanding type where the athletes need to run about and work up a sweat. Some forms of archery like target archery and field archery don’t require much moving around, especially as they need to be careful not to hurt anyone with their bows and arrows in a sport. So what would you be expected to wear in a sport that requires so little physical movements yet needs to be adequate for performing that routine?
Let’s take a look at some of the similarities of a sport that requires relatively little movement and physical actions compared to football and tennis. Rowing for example requires clothing where it needs to be comfortable but not too baggy. Governing bodies like British Rowing suggest all in ones like you see in championships, but you can also wear tracksuits, trainers, sports vests and shirts, shorts and trousers. Depending on the conditions of the race you need to wear something so that you won’t be too cold or too warm. Fleeces and jackets can be added when it’s cold and vests and shirts can work well in a hot summer’s day.
Archers need clothing that can allow their upper bodies to stretch out their arms and pull back on the bow without the string catching their clothes. The attire for archers to avoid are baggy shirts, baggy sleeves and shirts with chest pockets with buttons. It’s a good idea if you get a skin tight shirt which can wrap to your body so it’s not able to catch onto your string. It’s also got to be lightweight. Also make sure your shirt doesn’t have any buttons on it neither. Bowstrings can get caught on the buttons as you draw. If you are going to accessorise your look then avoid wearing necklaces, dangling jewellery like earrings and pins. If you have long hair then be sure to tie it back so it doesn’t get caught in the bowstring. And don’t hang any sunglasses from the neck of a shirt neither, if you have any loose accessories to wear then put them in your quiver or your kit bag. As we wear armguard to prevent abrasions and bruises from the bow string don’t wear anything else on your bow arm like a wrist band or a watch. If those things catch the bowstring they can damage the bowstring upon impact. A metal watch can snag a bowstring when it recoils upon release.
The outfits of an archer there have no formal identity for a uniform of any kind whether you are playing for fun or shooting for practice. But there is some idea of what you can wear from the attire worn by archers at competitions.
Most of them wear ordinary sportswear like polo shirts, track pants, jerseys, shirts, shorts, trainers and in some cases cargo trousers and sleeves. You could easily find something like these in a high street sports store. There are also some archery stores which sell clothing made by archery brands like Hoyt and Easton. As with the conditions of your field of play the items that you choose to wear must be comfortable to wear for the weather in mind. If it’s a nice warm sunny day you can slip on a shirt and shorts but be sure to put on some sunblock if it’s too hot and bright. My first tournament experienced such a heatwave I caught sunburn! If you are shooting on a cold chilly day when the weather is chilly it would be best to wrap up warm. However don’t wear too many thick layers otherwise you won’t be able to pull stretch and draw your bow. Ideally you should wear a long sleeve shirt or a pair of sleeves to keep your arms warm. It’s also handy if you wear a gilet or a fleece to keep yourself warm.
However when it comes to competitions you should check with the governing archery body of your country by checking what is allowed and what is not. The Archery GB Rule Dress Regulation code 307 states that denim jeans and camouflage are not allowed, but any colour of clothing is allowed. Your clothing must also be absolutely well presented with no wear and tear. Club names are allowed on the clothing that you wear and the brand name of the clothing is also permitted. Footwear must be decent and cover the whole of the archer’s feet, so don’t turn up in slippers or sandals however hot the weather may be. Commercially sponsored archers are allowed to wear their sponsor’s logos and names.
Hats are a very stylish way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Most people can only think of a felt corner hat with a feather like Robin Hood’s famous attire. While that may be a bit silly for a modern day archer there are alternatives. The types of hats worn by archers today range from baseball hats, workforce hats, bucket hats, beanies, etc. There are a lot of fantastic options out there to complement the look of your outfit.
One thing that I would say is that when you create your own archer outfit you must create a character, style and identity that reflects you and your personality. I start by brainstorming some ideas for colours that I like and I mix them together to create a distinct identity for my outfit. Sometimes I take the design of something that is already out there and turn it into my own thing. One idea that I have taken is that of adapting the design of my Glasgow 2014 Clyde-Sider and turning it into an archer’s outfit with it’s red, grey and white colours. For me it seems like a good way to show the adventure of a volunteer who became a champion. Perhaps with your ambitions and talent you could find an identity that would make you quite an amazing sight at a match. They say that archery isn’t a very photogenic sport, well with the colours and apparel that you can create for yourself you could look like a very striking, vivid picturesque athlete.
Shopping for the tools for a new hobby or a sport like archery is an investment that needs careful consideration for costs and use. We all get attracted to the fancy material wealth out there but only some of us can afford that luxury at all. However that doesn’t mean that we can’t afford to take up archery. A typical Olympic bow and arrows plus all the accessories like quivers, armguards and sights run up to around £1200. That is a good price to pay for a gold medal at the Olympics or the world championship competitions but the average person wouldn’t and shouldn’t have to pay that much upfront for all those basic essentials. When I took up archery and looked for my own bow and arrow I went in search of a decent beginner’s model. To that end I set a target of spending no more than £300, which is just about the same as a typical home computer. Was there such a reasonably priced bow and arrow out there? Well as it turns out there was.
Of all the bow makers out there they have a range of starter bows that cost around £57 – £220. That is the cost of a recurve bow in it’s bare bow form, which consists of the riser, limbs and string. I bought a metal SF Forged Plus riser, SF Axiom Plus limbs and a dacron string for £210. It was good value for money for a beginner and I had enough left over to buy all the basic essentials for the rest of the bow, which included arrows, armguard, tab, sight, quiver, plunger button and bow stringer. Overall spending just under £300. I took my gear out for a test after I got it and it worked like a dream. The standard of a beginner’s bow is just as good as any bow out there on the market, even an Olympic bow. It might be considerably cheap but it was not about the money, and if you forget about the price tag then you can make it as a top championship archer. Later as I progress I then went onto upgrade it with even more features. I tried out using a sling and a second hand stabiliser rod to see if that would improve my performance and I found out that the other things that I was missing from my bow could improve my performance. From my experience with that it’s a good idea to start out with something second hand before buying it in an elaborate shiny new condition. It’s the same pattern you go through with your first car. You buy a second hand set of wheels for your freedom when you’re a teenager and then when you’ve got more money when you are older you buy a flashy new motor with all the additional fancy features. Now that I have more money I am already saving up for more additional features for my bow. Including a new backpack, upgraded stabiliser, more arrows, possibly a new quiver and a new bow sight. However there is no rush to spend and replace the parts when they are already efficient for my accuracy and shooting technique.
Compound bows are also cost effective for beginners too. A typical beginner’s compound bow costs in the range of £150 - £450. Unlike recurve bows, compounds are built as a one piece system where you buy it with the cams and string. I don’t own a compound bow myself but I am planning on buying one for a bit of casual shooting and to appreciate and experience the diversity in the different ways in which people practice archery and the different types of bow out there. Like recurves these compounds are just as good as beginners models for budding champions. They can deliver a great amount of accuracy and precision for your full potential at a fraction of the price. The best thing to remember is start with a reasonably priced kit before you start buying all those fancy gadgets like stabilisers, micro adjusting sights, posh quivers and high market bows. When you go shopping always be sure to ask the store staff for advice and recommendations. Many of them are archers themselves with years of experience and in some cases they are champions in the field as well. I have been to a number of archery shops and the staff really know what you need to achieve the goal of what your expectations are from being your own archer. These people are friendly and well informed and can provide you with a decent service. In my experience they will even take their time with you and they tune the bows and equipment for you like professional mechanics and personal shoppers.
One thing that you should understand in choosing your equipment is making sure that it works for you based on your physical dimensions and strength. Don’t try for a heavy bow that you can’t pull properly and make sure it fits your bow length and draw length. Like Harry Potter where the wand chooses the wizard, the bow chooses the archer. It must be a bow that you are comfortable with as well as in your price range.
Legend Archery already have some fine top quality accessories at a reasonable price for any beginner or advanced archer. They are not priced out of the market and can carry all your equipment reliably in a safe and secure manner. What’s even greater about these quivers, backpacks, armguards and slings is that they have a good combination of colours that suit you. I have an Eagle-I quiver in blue and red and it was good value for money. What’s even more great about the Legend Archery range is their range of exquisite backpacks that carry your gear in style at a reasonable price. I remember the first time I caught my eye on the Streamline GB backpack. At the time I was caught up in post-Olympic fever when the 2012 Games inspired a generation and I wanted to be one of Team GB. This backpack was so mesmerising and had an effect on me like I had a calling card to earn to show off to people that I had been inspired by London 2012 and Britain’s Olympic heroes. Legend Archery’s backpacks are the delightful eye-candy that any beginner to archery should invest in to show off their passion. And it doesn’t even break the bank!
I remember walking down the Las Vegas strip in 1991 with my luggage and my heavy bow case. Struggling with the bow case and dealing with luggage that had the worst design of moving wheels since caveman invented it. It was not fun to say the least but it was normal for most archers. In the same year I traveled the globe and had the same complaints and frustrations about carrying my stuff to and from places. Eventually I would just set up my bow, sling my quiver around my shoulder, and walk to the event with everything ready to go. Needless to say a recurve takes up space when together and things always got bumped. These were trying times.
Fast forward to my return to archery in 2014 and things have changed… for the better!
I had to travel to Colorado and Arizona for soccer tournaments with my daughter and wife. In the past this would be an absolute fiasco. They have a tendency to take everything including the kitchen sink when we travel. No room, no way could I fit my archery bow case. The case alone took up room and was heavy.
Traveling overseas is a sure way to find out what can be broken or lost. The hard case was made of metal so that the airlines couldn’t punch a hole in it like they had done to so many other cases of mine. The insides were padded with military grade padding and cut to snuggly fit the bow and gear. The problem was that in order to fit everything I needed to take it meant taking the hard bow case and another bag to carry stuff like my quiver and soft goods. Not only was the case very heavy but I also had another bag to carry. Plus my normal luggage.
I later found out that the issue with the airlines was that for one the case was heavy enough that they would fling it everywhere and not be gentle with it. The size and metal casing would appear undestructable to anyone, but the contents inside were another story. The more fragile stickers I put on it, the more they tossed it! The bow’s paint would get chipped and the case eventually looked like it had been to war. After about three years of dealing with broken and lost luggage, I decided to mail my back up bow to location on several occasions. Expensive but cheaper than paint and cases. Oh how I wished for a better solution.
Oh how times have changed and my wishes from 20 years ago have come true. Behold the recurve backpack!
When I first learned of this genius idea as I returned to archery last year, I wanted one so bad but there was a catch. There is always a catch to something this awesome. How could I fit all of my stuff into a backpack when my bow case barely fit my stuff? Skeptical and unsure, I went ahead and ordered a Legend Archery USA back pack. Upon first review there was no way this would work. Do NOT let the size fool you. I was able to fit everything I needed into it and due to its small size I could fit it in the car inside the kitchen sink.
And just to show you how organized and how much room the back pack is, I decided to lay out everything for one bow and show you how to pack a Streamline Pack. As you can see the normal stuff for going to the range, travel, or compete is all there. The riser is 27” and while the pack is made for a 25” riser it will fit, snuggly but safely. There will be a few things you will need in order to safely carry all of this and keep organized at the same time. Follow along as I show you how to get Streamline with your Streamline!
When the gear is placed on the floor the pack looks way too small to fit all of it in there without busting at the seams and damaging gear. But I am about to show you how to be a magician.
First thing is to just put your little things in the front storage area. I have extra finger tabs, extra bow square (extra one is used as a weapon if you touch my bag), nocks, plunger parts, tools, etc. The idea is to make it all as compact as possible. With the extra junk in the lower pouch you can use the length of the bow square to help keep the top of pouch in place. I tend to carry stuff I never ever use!
The next and easy step is to put your arrows in the arrow tube which is supplied by Legend Archery and is inside the pack as part of it. You will also want to put your stabilizer in there as well. Normally I use a stabilizer sock cover but for this example I did not just so you could see it is in there. To keep things from moving around too much I always add a rolled up target face or towel to the inside of the tube. Just helps keep the arrows from being beaten up.
And it all closes up neatly and cleanly.
As I normally protect the expensive stabilizers, I use a side rod case to keep them protected and it helps make the organization of the back pack easier and quicker.
Everything is nice and neat so far!
The next delicate part is the site. Now if you don’t have a case for your sight, I highly recommend making or finding one. You want to protect the sight and it helps keep it organized like everything else.
Close it up and its safe.
The next cool part that comes with the back pack is the inside limb/riser case. Since I use a 27" riser, I only use the soft inside case for the limbs. I put the limbs in the top part and use the bottom part for miscellaneous things like my form-master, warm up sleeve, and other training gear. I also recommend to use limb covers. If you do not have them you can simply wrap them in t-shirts or easily find some that will work with your limbs.
The other nice part about having the limbs in the top part is that the soft stuff under the limbs helps protect them more and makes the pack more comfortable to carry.
Closed up and they are ready to go in the pack!
Once you are ready to put the limb/riser bag inside the case, just place it inside. it is held in place with velcro strips that keeps it from moving around. After it is in the pack I place a towel over the middle. I use the towel to wrap around my bow stand and keep it from moving and possibly damaging stuff inside.
Once I have the stand or any other object in its place, I then place my 27" riser in its bag into the pack. I use another riser bag since I have a longer riser than what is normally recommended. You can easily put a 25" riser inside the limb/riser soft case. By using my riser case it allows me to center the riser between the limbs and the arrow tube inside the pack.
As you can see in the picture above the limb soft case is peeking out under the other riser cover. So far it is snug and fits nicely with no problems at all.
Add the cases for the sight and the side rods. You will want to put them in the bag in the void spaces to fill in the space. This helps give you more room and keeps things from moving around when traveling.
Now you can add your quiver, chest protector, and other small things you might need.
I use a field quiver which makes this a little easier, but you can put any Legend Archery quiver in this spot easily and still have room.
You even have enough room to add your favorite outdoor shooting hat!!!
Once everything is in its place you can simply close up the inner part and add things to the front storage area. I don't use a huge spotting scope, so I just put my Alpen Optics Monocular in its place.
No that you have all your gear inside the bag. You can zip it up and marvel at how it all fit!
Everything not only fit well, but there is still room for some more small gear. The pack is filled nicely and everything is secure. The idea behind packing this way is to keep it like a box. It should be balanced well and nothing moving around inside. My packing allows the case to stand up on its own due to the balance of the gear inside.
With the back pack comes straps for you to carry easily and comfortably.
Sling it around your shoulders and you are ready to go!
What was once a traveling problem, is now a traveling dream. A dream you can take with you anywhere!
One year later the back pack has traveled all over the place and still looks perfect. I love how easy it is to just grab it, sling it over my shoulders, grab my suitcase, and still have a free hand! Everything I need fits inside including my 27” riser. Now when I travel, my bow goes with me everywhere. Vacation, kiddo’s tournaments, my competitions, the range, etc. is not a worry with my USA Legend Archery back pack. Everything fits neatly, easily, and safely inside! If you don’t have one yet… Get one!
By Tony Brasher
Now that we have covered the behaviour of motion from some classical scientists dating back 2000 years I think it’s time we took a look at the way arrows move the way they do. Arrows are a graceful and elegant form of ammunition, they have a beautiful design that matches the bow and the two of them work together for the archer’s style and consistency. Arrows fly through the air just like any other flying machine however unlike aeroplanes they don’t have wings to lift them into the air. Their ability to fly through the air comes from the tensile strength of the bowstring. Thrust into the air like rockets at distances of up to 100 yards. As a space geek I know that arrows and rockets fly through the air in very much the same way but their structure is very different from one another. Rockets are designed to be large cylindrical tubes containing millions of gallons of explosive liquid fuels, which constitute about 90% of their mass. Arrows on the other hand are long thin shafts of metal, wood or carbon. For hundreds of years they were simple wooden shafts with metal heads and feather vanes. They was nothing complicated about that but underneath that elegant design is an intricate patchwork of geometry that gives the arrow a flight of fancy. Today we have arrows that are made from materials that can be precision engineered to make them lighter, flexible, rigid and more powerful. This gives them a stiff and agile geometric shape to make them able to fly high and away onto the target. In archery an arrow’s stiffness is an important factor in their ability to fly. The arrow’s stiffness is defined by the arrow’s spine. Just to avoid confusion the spine is not the shaft, the spine is the stiffness of the shaft and there are several ways to define the spine. The spine in the context of an arrow is defined in three ways: a static spine, a dynamic spine and the arrow direction.
Static spine refers to the stiffness of the arrow and it’s resistance to bending. To determine static spine a 2 pound weight is held at the centre of the arrow. The amount of bending or deflection of the centre point determines the spine and the spine must be right for your draw length and bow weight so that the arrow clears the bow handle without contact. This deflection is measured in thousandths of an inch, which forms part of the arrow’s dimensions. The spine itself is determined by the geometry of the shaft. This includes the arrow’s material, the inside diameter of the arrow, the cross section shape and the thickness of the material (carbon, aluminium, etc.) An arrow with a high spine will not sag as much as arrows with a low spine. All arrows have a two, three or four digit number which tells you the shaft diameter and the thickness of the walls of the shaft which tell you what the spine is, depending on the material of the arrow. For example my arrows are made of aluminium and they are Easton Platinum Plus 1816. That’s 18/64 of an inch in diameter and 16/1000 of an inch in wall thickness. Arrow manufacturers provide arrow spine charts for archers to select the arrows that suit them.
The dynamic spine tells us how much the arrow bends when it is fired. It’s difficult to define dynamic spine because the physical effects on it are hard to determine mathematically. It’s a prime example of rocket science, and it requires a comprehensive study of the arrow’s behaviour in flight. However it can be defined by the causes of the flex that the arrow undergoes upon release. This depends on the stiffness from the static spine, the string force, fletching, nock weights, the shaft length and the arrow head.The bending of the arrow also plays a role in the way the arrow clears the bow. The way it clears the bow is called the archer’s paradox. When the string is released and all that energy is transferred to the arrow the arrowhead pushes against the bow and the bow resists this push, which causes the arrow to bend. As the fletching comes to the bow handle the bending of the shaft allows the fletching to move away from the arrow rest and the bow handle. This flexing phenomenon can be altered to reduce the dynamic spine of the arrow by using a cushion plunger so that the arrow alignment is correct and bring it to a centre shot location.
The third definition of the spine being the arrow direction. That might not sound like much in the case of the physics of archery but it’s about finding an arrow with the right amount of flex. The flexibility of an arrow must be in tune with the bow weight because such bows can affect the way the arrow is let go. Use the wrong dynamic spine for your bow and it will result in unpredictable contact between the arrow and the bow which in turn leads to reduced accuracy.
Although it’s a complex pattern of design for an arrow there is another part of arrow flight that is common amongst all flying projectiles: aerodynamics. Aeroplanes travel through the air and are balanced by four forces: thrust, drag, lift and weight. Arrows and many other projectiles have only got three forces to keep them going towards the target that is thrust, drag and weight. Some people have often believed that the fletchings on an arrow can lift them into the air. Well that’s not actually true, small wings on some aeroplanes are not supposed to keep them in the air. Instead and in the case of arrows fletchings function as aerodynamic stabilisers. They catch the wind and use it to steer the arrow as it glides through the air. Arrows use the thrust of the energy in the bowstring upon release to make them go forward, drag on the body of the arrow affects the speed and gravity pulls it down to the ground which causes the shape of the arrow flight to be parabolic.
On arrows the drag effect is as tricky as understanding the spine. It’s in two forms. The air that it flies through is a fluid medium which gives shear drag and form drag. Shear drag is a result of the arrow moving through the air. Kinetic energy is expended to move the air out of the way so that the arrow can pass and as it pushes on the air, so does the air push on it. This drag is proportional to the speed of the arrow and it’s size. The other form of drag is called form drag, this results in a force pushing perpendicular to the direction of flight when applied alongside the shear drag. The movement of the arrow through the air causes a layer of turbulent low pressure air. This layer is an area called the wake, and it’s created using the kinetic energy of the arrow itself. This energy creates an apparent force which pushes the arrow upwards; perpendicular to it’s path of flight.
This force caused by the effect of the drag acts upon the fletchings and this allows them to stabilise the arrow. Without them the arrow would be forced to spin uncontrollably through the air. The form drag generates torque and the fletchings causing more force to be applied at the rear resulting in a counter-clockwise torque which eventually stabilises the arrow onto a horizontal path. Once this happens, gravity will continue the counter-clockwise torque by drawing the arrowhead downward, and the wake will invert under the arrow. This leads to the form drag pushing the arrow down at the nock end, which in turn drives the arrowhead back up again. This results in frequent oscillations in flight which run down the whole body of the arrow. The force of gravity also plays a role in bringing the arrow back down, but that happens once the initial speed has been overcome.
The size of the fletchings must be correctly proportional to the size of the arrow so that they are effectively aerodynamic. Larger fletchings will slow the arrow down with more shear drag but respond better to form drag, making the arrow more stable and increasing accuracy, but they can only work for short distances. Smaller fletchings won’t slow the arrow as much, however they make the arrow wobble ridiculously in the air. Making them stray far and away from the target.
There are a lot of invisible forces at work in archery. Forces which are governed by the laws of physics. Nature does go about it’s business in strange ways that you need to understand in order to be a successful shooter. For a successful archer to hit the target the laws of physics should never be ignored. A bow and arrow be must finely tuned to standards of a championship shooter. Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman once said that ‘For a successful technology reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled!’
Archery is a sport that is good for the mind and the body which benefits me greatly for my health and wellbeing. But it’s also got something for me in other ways. One of the reasons why I choose archery over many of the other Olympic sports is because it is also a combination of physics and craftsmanship. I am a science geek as a well a sportsman and I have a broad range of interests in science which includes physics and engineering. At the time I took up archery after the 2012 Olympics I was studying for a degree in physics at the Open University. One of the topics I covered was classical mechanics which includes the physics of the mechanism of the bow and arrow and I spent some time examining the science of archery. For this post I have decided to combine my love of science and my love of archery to show that archery is a prime example of brains and brawn working together in harmony. This should set the stigma aside that geeks like me are not cut out for sports.
First of all let’s start with the mechanics of motion. When you fire a projectile like an arrow do you expect it to go straight forward towards the target or up and then down in a curved line known as a parabola? Well for thousands of years people used to assume the former as the great philosopher Aristotle, tutor to Alexander the Great, told of how projectile motion worked without experimenting with it. He lived in 4th century BC Macedonia, but he was originally from Greece where his tutor was Plato. The physicists of Aristotle’s day and age didn’t experiment with nature very much because they were theorists who used common sense from observation where the logic is impeccable. Aristotle believed that force was always needed to make an object move until it comes to ‘a natural state of rest’ as he called it. Arrows are made of naturally heavy materials and so their natural state of rest is on the ground. By that logic when we fire arrows they will continue to go on in the direction of the target and then land on the ground in a straight direction. Just aim at the target and once you release the arrow it will fall to the ground. He later tried to explain how come the arrow actually flies through the air when it doesn’t fall directly to the ground upon release as well. Once again without experimentation but by observation.
According to Aristotle the air around the arrow experienced a force from the firing of the bow. The arrow would travel the straightest path that it was set to take by the archer and in that case the arrow would always hit the target if aimed in a straight direction. That is not true, if it were then I would be able to hit the gold ring and score a perfect round and everyone could be an Olympian. An Islamic scholar and a French philosopher later trained to expand on Aristotle’s science by explaining that the force on the arrow was it’s impetus and it fell to the ground once it lost it’s impetus. This was supposed to explain how an arrow can fall to the ground when shot directly into the sky at an angle and then fall directly to the ground. Later it was realised that this impetus is actually called the momentum, which is best described as the force when the arrow’s mass is multiplied by the speed it is travelling. It wasn’t until the 17th century when scientists like Galileo Galilei finally applied experimentation to all the teachings of the ancients that the ground rules for physics were established. This meant that from now on experimentation as well as observation were compulsory for testing scientific theories and technological innovations.
One of the most significant discoveries about projectile motion that Galileo discovered would also become Issac Newton’s first law of gravity: inertia. That is the reaction an arrow gets when you release the string, the string will bounce back and the limbs will flex back into their natural shapes but the arrow can separate away from the string and fly off by the force of the potential power of the limbs and the string. Remember that the power of the bow is in the draw weight of the limbs. The stronger the tension they have when pulled the heavier the force they have on the arrow when released back into their normal shape. Now Galileo was perhaps most famous for proving that the Earth orbited around the Sun and disproved that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe. Part of this science involved studying the behaviour of falling objects and seeing how gravity affects the path they take when they fall to the ground. He found that all projectiles like arrows don’t actually travel in a straight line at all, they travel in a parabola. A parabola is a curved line that starts from one point, goes up and then comes back down at another point at a distance from the starting point on the same level. You fire the arrow and it travels at speed towards a target upwardly and then as soon as it slows down gravity makes it fall back down again and it hits the target just before it hits the ground altogether. Providing the poundage is right for the distance you are shooting at. This is an important factor in target archery when you have to aim your bow using the sight and anticipate where it’s going to hit based on how level the target centre is with your line of fire. That’s why the common bowsight that we have on recurve and compound bows are adjustable for all sizes of archer as well as how far the target is and the poundage of the bow.
Now that we understand how arrows fly the way they do I think it might be worth looking into how bows behave. Bows are cleverly crafted pieces of engineering in style and simplicity. Da Vinci had a saying ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. The mechanics and the physical behaviour of a bow is to be understood as an elegant tool of beauty and precision. A bow is a device that converts slow and steady human force over a distance into stored mechanical potential energy. Energy that is stored in the limbs of the bow. This energy is converted into kinetic energy upon release of the bowstring and a great deal of that kinetic energy is transferred to the arrow. Potential energy is the energy that an object has based on it’s position and kinetic energy is energy through motion. When you pull back on your bow, you apply a force to the bowstring which in turn bends the bow as it adds elastic potential energy. Thus a bow is basically a sprint which stores energy to be put into the arrow. The stretched shape of the bow is an example of potential energy and then there’s the kinetic energy which is what it becomes when the string springs back into it’s normal shape. As the second law of aerodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it just goes somewhere and that energy has now gone into the arrow. When the arrow leaves the bow it’s full of energy which is taking it into flight on a path towards the target where the only thing that can affect it’s flight is air resistance and gravity.
The draw weight of the bow is often associated with just the limbs of the bow. But in actual fact it’s more to do with the length of the bow itself as well. Draw weight is directly proportional to draw length, as the bow behaves just like a spring. Robert Hooke was a scientist who was studying the laws of motion using springs and he provided some inspiration to Isaac Newton. In 1660 he discovered the law of elasticity which bears his name: Hooke’s Law. Hooke’s Law explains that the amount of stretch in a spring is proportional to the force pulling on the spring. This can also be applied to bows where it’s known as elastic potential energy. When you pull the bow outwards the length of the stretch is the same as the force of you pulling it outwards. The force upon the bow is recognised as the draw curve. The draw curve is apparently a slight curve because of the shape of the bow, but when you combine it with other factors is becomes defined graphically to help understand the relationship between the draw length and the draw weight.
The relationship between the draw length and the draw weight is graphically defined as a straight line relationship where the energy stored in the bow is calculated by the draw weight multiplied by the draw length divided by the number of limbs (2). For example my bow has 28 lbs limbs and I have a draw length of about 28 inches. So 28 lbs x 28 ins/2 = 392 pounds per square inch.
For a recurve bow the draw weight is defined graphically as a straight line, but for a compound bow it is defined as a curved line. This is because compound bows use levers and cams, which decreases the draw weight with the draw length. Thus allowing the bow with the same amount of energy to require less force to pull on it. This is why compound bows feel lighter to pull than a recurve bow.
This is about as much as I can cover for now on the topic. I could go on but it would be too much for one post and so I have decided to make it in parts. I enjoyed writing this one because it gave me a chance to go over my old textbooks and reading material on physics and engineering principles. This could be a chance to show science in sport is not just for the physical attributes of the athlete but also for the performance of the equipment that they use. When you understand the laws of physics you can blend in with the nature of the competition.
Dancing Wind - May I have this dance?
Now that you have an idea of the wind on the line and how to read the wind from a distance we can put it to use for those moments when the wind is blowing in different directions from you to the target. In order to adjust for varying winds across the field you have to account for the wind in each direction.
The wind is blowing on you from the left and is hard enough to push you gently to the right. You notice that the flags on the targets are blowing in the same direction as on the line. All you have to do is focus on you and being stable. If the wind is strong enough to drift the arrow to the right, then simply aim off center to compensate.
Now you notice the wind has stopped on the line but the flags are now blowing to the left, not the right. You are stable because there is no wind pushing you but how do you aim? Look at objects to the right off the field to see if the wind is blowing midway down the range or not. If it is then most likely that wind could drift the arrow off center. Here again just aim off center. If the wind midway is not blowing and only blowing on the target then you can aim close to center because the arrow will already have enough energy to keep its original path. It is unlikely that the wind will gust 20mph at just the target. It could happen, but not likely.
This is where it gets tough. Already you noticed a change in winds and the direction has changed direction. This is the time to know that the dancing winds are likely and the swirling begins. Most winds like this happen if there is a storm coming in and your field is on the edge of the front. It can also happen in spring as the temperature changes cause wind changes.
Now the wind is blowing from the right on the line and you notice the flags are blowing from the left. Run!!! You are in a tornado! Just kidding. Or am I? This is exactly the kind of winds I had to deal with while in Houston that time. The winds came from different directions at different times. I was being pushed to the right while aiming off center high right. How does that work you ask? The wind was pushing me to the right on the line and the winds at the target were gusting faster to the left (coming from the right), but in the process the rain was coming down hard. I had to aim high due to the heavy rain and the gust from the left at the target was much higher than what was happening on the shooting line. I was letting the wind push me right to ease my aim since I had to aim off center due to the winds blowing left. The wind would push the arrow way left, so I aimed off for the wind. The rain pushed the arrow down enough to cause me to have to aim higher. The combination pulled the arrow right back into the center. When the wind would change while raining I would change my aiming point. I could gauge the wind gusts at the target and on the line before they actually hit my target lane. I knew where to aim and for how long before I ever pulled the arrow back.
Strong gusts will push you regardless of what you do, but you can time the shot between gusts and when it is steady enough you can properly aim off knowing how much and work it into your shot process. It takes lots of practice and patience, but you can master the wind. Nothing feels better than knowing you can shoot in the wind and still keep a great score up. In times like these with lots of high scores posted, this is one area that you can beat your competition.
Simply put, shooting in the wind is not ideal for any archer but a fact of shooting outside. A true master will use obstacles as an advantage. Try it the next time the wind blows. Get excited to go shoot and train to be the Wind Master.
Tips and Tricks
The heavier an object the less likely it is to move in the wind. A simple solution is to add weight to your bow. You can add weight to the stabilizers or riser. If you are worried about changing how the bow reacts on the shot once you have set up your perfect stabilizer weight setup, then don’t worry because this is simple. Whatever weight you add to the long rod, match that weight to the sides. This will keep your balance the same but allow more total weight to be added.
The best thing to do is to practice with more weight and find that right amount for you. Everyone is different when it comes to stabilizers and bow weight. Personally I just add weight until it feels right. You don’t want so much weight on the stabilizer that it has an adverse reaction with your shot.
Generally a good rule of thumb when it comes to the diameter size of a stabilizer is that thinner is better. The smaller the object the less surface it has for the wind to move it. Physics says this is true, but what if I told you that the difference between 15mm to 22mm isn’t enough to truly cause much more of a push. If you took a piece of 1” conduit and ¾”conduit 30” long and held it outward in the wind, you will notice a minute difference. Where the difference comes in to play is more how you feel. Some might like a bit more push, and some might not. If you are unsure, go as small as possible. Just be careful and make sure the thinner rods can take the added weights you might add.
Another way to help with your equipment in the wind is to know how arrows react. Smaller shaft size, just like the stabilizer size, will help in the wind, but your biggest ally here again is weight. A heavier weighted arrow will bull its way down range much better than a lighter arrow. I have always shot A/C/E’s and used the heaviest point weight I could find. I tuned the bow this way since my shooting was mostly in the wind anyway. If you are curious as to how this works, then take two objects that are the same shape and add more weight to one of them. On a windy day throw those objects up in the air and watch how they react. The lighter one will move more than the heavier one. Simple.
The unfortunate side to tuning this way on purpose and using a heavy point on the arrow is that you have to keep the tune that way for any condition. This will add extra costs if you have to change arrow spine to increase that much point weight. The advantages are huge in the wind if you do make the change, but it could get more expensive with new arrows to achieve this outcome. I have always recommended to new archers to set up their bow using a heavier point than normal so that they get used to that mind set from the beginning. With so many ways to correct arrow spine I have never found this to be any issue and a proper tune can be done.
So to sum up your new wind knowledge.
For any archer the wind is not as much fun to shoot in, but with practice and using the tools given, you too can be a Wind Master.
By Tony Brasher
Volunteering for a big sporting event or for a club makes you a valuable person as much as the champions who shoot for gold. I have been volunteering for sports events with the aim of doing a great service for the athletes and making a great contribution to a society that promotes sport and the wellbeing of the community. I had been a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year and I had the honour and the privilege of working for a once in a lifetime event for free. I was happy to be on the team of volunteers for the games. These volunteers were called the Clyde-Siders and we were the work force of the ‘friendliest games’ ever in history. The only drawback to Glasgow 2014 for me was no archery. At the moment archery currently exists as an optional sport in the games where the host city can choose to include it in their games. At the moment there is a petition to make archery a core sport in the games so that it can be guaranteed to appear permanently at the Commonwealth Games in the long term so that every host city will have to host it. Until then I decided to take an opportunity to volunteer for an archery event elsewhere. The chance came when my club West Essex Bowmen hosted their annual Double 70m FITA/50m world record shoot in aid of raising money for the Essex Air Ambulance service.
When you go to watch a sporting event in the stands you wonder how much hard work goes into the set-up of the range. I had to work hard getting the targets set up en masse ready for the big game. This included a gazebo for the food stall and the club staff, which took half the club members to erect which required the same kind of effort you’d expect from a team of stagehands. As I had responsibility for my own target in the past when shooting for practice I came to realise that I had a lot more to do to make the targets elaborate enough for big game. This involved aligning the frames up along the shooting line, putting the bosses in place, fixing the flags on top of the frames in a coloured pattern and putting the paper target faces in place. These target faces had to be perfectly placed in accordance with World Archery’s regulation so that we could accurately measure the scores for World Record status. It was way out of my experience base, but I took to it like a fast learner.
Getting involved in volunteering brings you a lot closer to the champions of the games. With archery you get to run the show as if you were sharing the stage with the archers too. I remember that exact same feeling at the Commonwealth Games where I marshalled the field of play area for the athletes. As an archer myself I could see the West Essex Bowmen competition was no different from an ordinary club shoot competition shoot. Here however the club archers were shooting alongside championship archers at international level. In archery we shoot in competitions that are set by the rules of World Archery or Archery GB, where the rules apply for all archers of any experience or ability with different degrees of talent. This same criteria applies to any sport so even if it’s a club competition or a big sporting event then you can volunteer for any game that has a grand impact on the sporting world and you can shine like a champion yourself. I take great pride in volunteering for my community, club and fellow athletes. The best thing about it is that it boosts your wellbeing and happiness. It allows you to realise your importance even though you do it out of passion rather than recognition. It can also lead you to taking up a new found passion for sport and take up a new sport. When I was at Glasgow I had no interest in triathlon, but when I went along with it I got into a habit of trying it out myself. I learnt to ride a bike, which I hadn’t done since I was a kid. I’ve also got a bucket list of other sports that I want to try out as well.
With every sporting event we go to see we discover a new champion who becomes a household name. I had never heard of any famous sporting archers until I watched the London 2012 Olympics. Now I know a few big names out there who are worth watching alongside all the others in different sports. We had quite a few big names at the Air Ambulance shoot who were from the Archery GB para-squad. Among them were Simon Powell, David Phillips, Hazel Chaisty and Paul Browne. There was also Nicky Hunt from Team GB’s able bodied archery squad. Like any committed volunteer at a sporting event I watched over them and kept a look out for them and I even took an opportunity to watch them shoot, take pictures and talk to them. I told them how good it felt to work as a volunteer at an archery event for the first time and how well they were doing because of the volunteers here as well. It was a beautiful day, the weather was clear but there was quite a breeze blowing. But the real change in the wind came with the powerful skill and display of strength and mental abilities from these all archers who came out to play today.
If anyone would like to feel this same experience then I would suggest you sign up and volunteer for an archery game today. Whether it’s for a local club or a big sporting event your time on the shooting line without a bow is just as valuable as you are an archer. Even though archery is a somewhat niche sport in general I believe it is an important and valuable sport for all. With volunteering you can really appreciate the value of archery and accept that we should embrace all classes of sports and citizens.
The petition for the inclusion of archery as a core sport in the Commonwealth Games can be found at https://www.change.org/p/hrh-prince-imran-include-archery-as-a-core-sport-in-the-commonwealth-games