Category Archives: Articles by Club Members

Bryn : Can you click it? Yes you can – Part Three

In my last post I took us on a short tour of the different clicker types and their associated pros and cons. This time I’ll be talking about how my relationship with clickers has developed and how the clicker figures in my shot cycle.
War and peace

Clicker positioning is the make or break aspect of clicker usage. A poorly placed clicker can completely destroy your form. Too far back and your form will collapse with the strain of trying to get through. Too far forward and it won’t be accurate enough to regulate your draw length as you’ll be able to draw beyond it to varying degrees.

When I added my first clicker I had read that ideally the clicker needs to be perpendicular to the arrow rather than at an angle. And that probably does help consistency of clicker performance to some degree. However with my spear length arrows this wasn’t possible so when I first set up my clicker my aim was to try to increase my draw length to bring the clicker position to a more perpendicular arrangement. I also told myself that this was good for my form as it would force me to use my back muscles more and build up the strength there. I was totally wrong. What actually happened is that my form would collapse whilst trying to get through the clicker, my upper body would twist, my bow arm shoulder would rise up, my nose would start obscuring the sight as I found myself leaning back and twisting. After a few sessions of this I realised the error and wound that clicker out a lot further until now it would sit half on – half off my extension plate about a full inch further forwards than it had been.

The key thing in my experience has been that we shouldn’t be fighting the clicker. It should be a pleasantly confirming experience when we click. What I was doing was stacking the bow heavily with my 31+ inch draw and causing my sight to move wildly around the target as a result of all the uncontrolled tensions going on in my form. Again it comes back to my belief that a clicker is to confirm you’re ready for an action not to dictate the action.

Relaxing through the clicker

When I finally had the position set correctly I found that it helped me focus on better transfer of power to the back muscles. However, sometimes I still found myself straining those muscles to get through the clicker and the more I would strain the less likely I was to get it to click. I think this is because I was tensing up everything in my form thinking this was how I would expand through the clicker but as we tense muscles we can actually contract our structure it seems, taking us further from the goal.

So recently, and in combination with a breathing cycle, I have learnt that I need to relax through the clicker. It may sound counter-intuitive at first as surely relaxing isn’t going to provide the strength need to get through the clicker but I’m finding it’s resulting in steadier shots.

Here’s my breathing/shot cycle to illustrate:

1. Stand straight but relaxed, knees unlocked, shoulders dropped, back straight but not concave. Take a deep in-out breath.

2. Nock and fit the arrow through the clicker. 

3. Set my grip and hook. Applying an inch or so draw to apply enough tension to secure both.

4. Bring the bow up and breath in fully.

5. Draw back to full draw but pre-clicker and let out 50-70% of the breath slowly at the same time.

6. Get sighted whilst concentrating on making sure it’s the back muscles alone that are working.

7. Keep the tension, relax and let the last breath out to execute through the clicker.

So the takeaway is that if you’re fighting the clicker then you’re fighting yourself. I hope this post has some points that people can relate to and that it helps in some way.

In another post I hope to write about my experiences with alternating between barebow and recurve to improve shot cycle, form and accuracy for recurve. But for now, make love not war with your clicker.

Happy clicking!

Josie: buying a bow

Buying a bow can seem like a daunting venture, but it really needn’t be if you follow a few simple rules.

[Please do look at comments for this post as this is a big topic with a lot of different opinions. This is Josie’s opinion and I’ve put (some of) my opinion in the comments – Heidi]

1. Know Your Budget

Obvious, perhaps, but the first key point and probably the most important. There’s little point lusting after the W&W Inno CXT if it’s way out of your price range. Don’t sell yourself short either: out of the whole setup, your limbs and riser are the thing to spend the most money on and really get right. Peripherals can be upgraded much more easily at a later date. The start-up gear will not be cheap. If you can, save up for a little while beforehand to give yourself a more generous budget. It will make a big difference in the long run.

2. Make a Kit List

Josie’s bow! 

The first purchase will be complicated and it’s easy to forget little things that may not seem important. For instance, if you’re buying a bow then you will need a stringer, an arm guard, a finger tab and bow stand. None of these require massive investment, the most basic models will do (though the finger tab perhaps not so – ask for advice on tabs and try some at the club. They need to feel right!). Make savings where you can. You don’t “need” to buy an expensive sight, clicker and long rod immediately. You can also get away without a quiver for a while; there are floor quivers at the club you can use. A bow square is a very useful thing to have (again, doesn’t have to be an expensive one). If you buy your bow at a shop they will probably fit the nock points for you. If they don’t, you’ll need one of these! Remember you’ll need nock points as well. Check that your riser comes with the necessary allen keys or you may need to invest in a set – hardware shops are often cheapest but check they include the right sizes for your bow.

3. Try Before You Buy.

This is vital. Every bow acts differently with different archers and it’s crucial to buy a bow that matches you. A well-matched bow is a seamless extension of the archer. As your first bow, anything other than a wooden bow will probably feel weird, but some will feel better than others. The right bow should feel comfortable in your hand and quite strong: if it’s too easy to draw you will grow out of it very quickly, too heavy and you won’t be able to shoot with it. Try some of the bows on the shooting line first of all (ask beforehand of course!), then it’s a good idea to visit an archery supplier. There are several archery suppliers around the UK, though none in central London. Familiarise yourself with what stock they carry and have an idea what you would like to try. Before you visit, give them a call to check they have what you want to try in stock! If they are low on stock they will likely hold something back for you. Check when would be a good time to visit – if you turn up unannounced at a busy time they may not have enough staff free to give you the time and attention you need. Put half a day aside for this: it will be time well spent – this is the first step along the archery trail so it should be sound. A good bow will make a massive difference not only to your shooting but also your confidence. It could be the difference between deciding it isn’t really for you or becoming an archery lifer. I’d advise against buying second-hand from eBay unless you’re absolutely sure what you’re getting. If something is disturbingly cheap there’s usually a reason for it!

4. Get The Right Arrows

Get properly measured for arrows and match them to your bow poundage and draw length. If you buy your bow at a shop they’ll probably go through this anyway. Non-matched arrows will not fly properly and will knock your confidence. Get good arrows but be aware you will probably need to upgrade them when you increase poundage which could be as little as 6 months down the line. It isn’t worth spending £300+ on X10 ProTours unless you really have a limitless budget! The 2020 coaches will offer advice if you’re not sure what would be best.

5. Don’t Forget The Case!

If you shoot barebow and don’t want to carry much around you can probably get away with a lightweight carry case. It’s a good place to start if your kit list is small and it won’t set you back much. If your budget is more generous and you plan to get lots of bits for your bow, have a look at what else is available. Good-quality archery backpacks are expensive so have a look on eBay in case there’s a bargain to be found. Sometimes it can be possible to use a non-archery bag, but bear in mind that these are not tailor-made for a bow so will not provide all the support (and pockets) you need. Your case offers storage, protection and portability: a full archery starter kit will cost a fair bit so show it the respect it deserves and keep it safe.

Well, I think that about covers it for now. Happy bow hunting!

Louise : Pre-beginners Course Excitement!

Hello, my name is Louise. Around a year and a half ago I went along to 2020 Archery at London Bridge for a ‘Have a Go’ session with a friend for his birthday. I had a great time and decided that I would try and join a course. Finally, after a number of months, I have signed up to join the Monday Fast-Track course at Southwark Academy (starting on Monday 11th February) with 2020 Archery! 

I’ve had a dabble at archery a few times over the years and I always wanted to pursue it further. I’ll be the first to admit that watching Disney’s Robin Hood over and over again as a child probably had something to do with that, but it was also a category in the Olympics I was fascinated with and the first thing I wanted to try at a school adventure day.

I will be blogging my experiences on the course and what a newbie like me would expect to see happen during each session. Hopefully by reading about my experiences with 2020 Archery in this blog you might be persuaded to take the leap and join a course yourself!

Until next time!

Bryn : Can you click it? Yes you can – Part Two

In my last post I wrote about the purpose of a clicker and my experiences of when to add one to your setup. In this post I’ll be explaining the different types of clickers and the pros and cons of each.
Clicker types

There seem to be three main types of clicker available that I’ve seen.

• Blade clickers that screw or stick to the riser.

• Sight block mounted, magnetic clickers.

• Sight bar mounted, magnetic clickers.

In my experience the choice of which clicker to go with has mainly been determined by my arrow length which at 31.5″ has caused some problems. Many people using their first bow kit will probably have been advised to get arrows an inch or longer than actually needed until the draw length settles down. This is good advice and worth sticking to but it can cause an issue with clickers at times.

For me to use a blade style clicker I have to have the clicker extension plate attached to my riser and only half the tip of the blade contacts with the extension while the other half goes beyond it. Recently I had found that some days I could go through the clicker with ease whilst other days I would really struggle. I thought that maybe this was a form or tiredness issue. Then one day the true reason occurred to me. As my clicker stuck out beyond the extension plate, each time I packed my bow bag in the rucksack the other contents of the bag were putting pressure on the clicker and moving it back a bit. As I didn’t check the position before each session I assumed all was well. When I realised what was going on here I was quite embarrassed to say the least. So this meant I’d have to either cut my arrows down or change to a different clicker type.

Enter the sight block mounted, magnetic clicker. These clickers have a plate that mounts underneath your sight block and uses the same screws and screw holes. Some sight blocks come with screws that are too short for this (Decut 120 for one) as everything is held on by only one or two threads (3/4 inch ones) so sometimes some new screws are needed  to counter this (1 inch). For most risers these are the replacement screws you’d need:

Sometimes a spring steel blade clicker might not sit perfectly flat against the riser or extension plate so you may need to give the blade a little bend to get it lie snugly.

Sight block mounted, magnetic clickers don’t use the riser or clicker extension plate to ‘click’ against but instead have a block with a magnet that shuts hard when the arrow point moves past the wire of the clicker. The nice thing here is that after the ‘click’ the clicker becomes pretty much invisible behind the riser. It also means it’s easier to see if you’ve clicked early  without having to look down at the tip of the arrow. These clickers also tend to be a bit louder than the blade style ones which on a busy shooting line can be helpful to prevent you releasing on your neighbours clicker. These clickers can also allow a bit more length on an arrow if, like me, a blade one puts you at the end of the extension plate.

The third type are the sight bar mounted clickers. These slide onto your sight bar and as a result can be moved along the bar for positioning. I’ve not used one of these myself but can see the benefits for archers with long arrows. But you do need to bear in mind that these ones are adding a bit more weight forward of your pivot point, not necessarily a bad thing. But they can also be problematic when trying to put your sight back into the sight case as they protrude a fair bit. Other than this they work in the same way as the sight block mounted magnetic clickers.

Next time I’ll be looking at the love / hate relationship with clickers, setting the clicker correctly and how I’m learning to relax through the clicker.

Until then – Good ends to all!

Josie : Archery as meditation

I’m exploring the meditative qualities of archery at the moment as a method of channeling focus and maximising potential (and also because it makes shooting a wonderfully stress-free pastime after the working week). I find it takes shooting to a new level that removes the frustration and enhances the enjoyment. This extract is based around one work: Paulo Coehlo’s “The Way of The Bow”. I would strongly recommend finding and reading it. The book was written for dissemination on the internet and is available as a free (legit) download.

Let’s start with the bow: 

“[The bow] is a prolongation of the hand and desire of the archer.”

Take care of the bow and it will serve you well. Use it with right intentions and respect its power. Mistakes are never the fault of the bow. They are the fault of the archer, either by lack of care or intent. The same holds true when choosing a bow. If the bow is an extension of the archer it must be well-matched and feel responsive to the archer’s touch. A mismatched bow will mask the archer’s skill. Try several before deciding to be sure you’re making the right choice.

“The arrow is the intention. It is what unites the strength of the bow with the centre of the target.”

Every arrow is its own lifetime; its own journey. From the moment you place your feet on the line the path stretches before you and a lifetime will pass before the next arrow can be perceived. If the journey doesn’t end as you had hoped, don’t think “that was a poor shot, I’m shooting so badly”. Think instead “that didn’t end where I expected, what can I learn from this?” Your next arrow is a whole new journey and shouldn’t be overshadowed by memories of a past which can’t be altered. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: an archer can learn more from gesture repetition than from where the arrow falls. If the first arrow goes off track, don’t let it change your style. Shoot the remaining arrows the same way and see what happens. Sometimes the grouping is more important than the score. When you can group all of your arrows tightly every time, the score will come.

The arrow contacts the string at a single point – the nock: the point of energy transfer and stability. All of the archer’s intent must be channeled to this point and into the arrow. A combination of knowledge, experience and instinct will inform release and guide the arrow on the proper course. The arrow must leave at the exact moment the archer, bow and target exist on the same alignment: instinct will inform when the arrow is ready to fly. Shoot with serenity and certainty. Serenity will steady your hand and certainty will define the shot.

“Once the arrow has gone, it will not come back, so it is better to interrupt a shot because the movements that led up to it were not sufficiently precise and correct, than to act carelessly, simply because the bow was fully drawn and the target was waiting.”

In addition to the bow and arrow, one mustn’t neglect the target. An open channel of communication between the archer and the target should be established and maintained throughout the whole round, not just during each end. If the target is neglected between ends then each time you pick up the bow you must reacquaint yourself with the target. Keep the relationship constant and it becomes a closer and more familiar goal.

Archery is performed as a quartet between the archer, the bow, the arrow and the target. Without any one element the end cannot be realised and the purpose it lost. To consider every aspect one facet of a single whole will introduce a fluidity and synchronicity to each movement that informs and respects the relationship and act of shooting.

“Then comes the moment when he no longer has to think what he is doing. From then on, the archer becomes his bow, his arrow and his target.”

Bryn : Can you click it? Yes you can!

Hi folks, I thought I’d put together some of my thoughts and experiences with clickers in the hope that some of you may find it useful.

A little background on me first though. I did a beginners course back in Feb/March 2012 at 2020 so have been shooting for about 10 months. After my beginners course I shot an 18lb club bow for a while before moving up to a 24lb for about a month then bought my own bow in June. I shot this for a few months and then added a clicker in September. I usually shoot three or four times a week.

Oh and here’s the disclaimer. What follows is not rules or necessarily what coaches may teach about clickers, it’s purely my own experiences and thoughts that have resulted from my own explorations and I continue to learn more with every session.

When to add a clicker

This is a matter of much debate and the argument rages on many archery forums. Some folks say to add a clicker straight away, while others say to let your draw and form stabilise first.

For me, as I mentioned above, I shot my bow for about 3 months before adding a clicker. Before I added a clicker I had gotten to a point where my draw and anchor were pretty stable and my arrows were grouping well horizontally. However, although I thought my execution was pretty repeatable I was having quite a few issues with vertical grouping due to differences in back tension on each shot. The logical solution was to add a clicker to regulate the draw length and the amount of power I was transferring to the arrow. W

I think if I’d have started with a clicker when I got my bow then it would probably have been more of a distraction than a help as there are so many other factors to work on at that stage.

The purpose of a clicker

Many a school teacher has stated, “That bell is not to tell you when you can leave it’s to tell me when I can release you” or words to that effect. In my view the same goes for clickers and admittedly this can be seen as a matter of semantics but the key thing is about who’s in charge here.

Before I added a clicker I spoke with a lot of club members and asked their view on clickers. I heard tales of people tending to release when not fully sighted on the target because their clicker had clicked. This set up a bit of a challenge to me to not be controlled by the clicker. So I gave myself a little mantra and an exercise to avoid this. I told myself that the clicker was to indicate when I had reached a certain repeatable draw length and not to tell me when to execute the shot.

And here’s the exercise I went through to impress this on my subconscious:

1. Nock an arrow and come to full draw.

2. Ensure that the power was transferred to the back muscles.

3. Extend through the clicker and hold for a second, checking the arrow tip briefly to make sure there was no forward creep.

4. Don’t release, come down, un-nock and relax.

5. Rinse and repeat.

Now whilst I obviously do release the moment my clicker clicks it’s proactive rather than reactive when I’m behaving myself. Also if I click early in the shot cycle now more often than not I can hold the draw length and be sure I’m properly sighted before deciding to release.

In the next post I’ll be giving you a whistle stop tour of different clicker types and the benefits and woes of each from my own experience.

Until then – Good ends to all!

Josie: Good Morning Ladies and Gents….


Good morning ladies and gents, my name is Josie and I shall be one of your flight attendants on this voyage. Please read the safety instructions provided and ensure your seat belt is engaged. One of my colleagues will be along shortly with the menu, so sit back and enjoy the ride…
I’ve been shooting with 2020 since last April (2012) after doing the 5-week intro course with Asher. I had shot before back in Devon in a casual way so it was great to finally get a decent grounding in proper archery technique. Immediately afterwards I joined the club and there aren’t many weeks I haven’t shot since. It’s seriously addictive!
My first bow was purchased back in August last year. After much deliberation, questioning club members and a bit of testing I settled on the Hoyt Formula Excel with Formula Excel 30lb limbs; and what a choice she was. I still think she is far and away the best choice for me and I never tire of shooting her.
The starting set-up was quite simple: just the bow, string, Joomong Scorpion sight (which is a good beginner sight if you’re strapped for cash, although the bracket can shake loose if you don’t Loctite it) and a plastic Hoyt Super rest. Since then I’ve added a Shibuya DX button, Spigarelli Evo II rest and Easton X10 long-rod to the equation which has made a considerable improvement. In terms of arrows I shoot Easton X7 Eclipse at the moment, though that will be changing. More on that later.
I can usually be found shooting at 2020 on the weekends; either Saturday, Sunday or both if I have the time. I try to score as often as I can and chart my progress (which isn’t always upwards!) so I have a good idea what effect any changes to my bow or technique make. To give you a rough idea, my very first Portsmouth (shot on 19th May last year) scored 213. On 23rdDecember I shot 500. 
My goal is to try and join the 550 ranks this year. It’s a tough goal but I’m sticking to it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Our First Club Member Blogger

So, we’ve invited a couple of club members to write some posts for this.. as interesting as I am (!) I don’t get much time to shoot any more so I thought that it would be more useful to have club members doing the posting. We’re also inviting a couple of the instructors to post about their own shooting and experiences teaching. If you’re a club member (or interested in starting) and you’d like to write for this blog just drop me a line and I can fill you in on what you need to do.

The idea is that we’ll ask people to keep track of their experiences in the club and tell us about their equipment and shooting for about 6 months or so. There should be a couple of posts each week (if it all goes to plan).

Our first guest club member to write for us is Josie. She can introduce herself…