Category Archives: Archery for Beginners

Buying your first bow: part 1

The 2 most likely questions for a budding archer to ask immediately after their first lesson are: “How much does a bow cost?” and “Where can I buy one?”. I generally recommend that any aspiring archer holds off buying a bow until they’ve been shooting regularly at a club for a while (6 months or more), but sooner or later we all hear the siren call of shiny new archery equipment.

Where can I buy a bow?

There are plenty of places you can buy a bow; Amazon and eBay are filled with beginner kits, second hand bows, and general equipment. Heidi, archer-in-chief at 2020, bought her first bow (a second hand beginner kit) via eBay and never looked back. However, while you might be able to find a bargain, many new archers may not know their draw length, required poundage, or simply how a bow fits together. Without the guiding hand of an expert, it is easy to end up with a duffer.

When buying your first bow, I think your best bet is to buy directly from a dedicated archery shop. Most archery shops these days have websites if you just want a quiver or a finger tab, but if you’re starting out with your first bow, you would be better off taking a trip to a physical brick and mortar store. Continue reading

traditional or freestyle bows

Two Tribes

When you feel that the time has come to buy your own bow, you have a decision to make that goes beyond your income and the distance to the nearest archery shop: traditional or modern?

2020 Archery teaches using a modern style – recurve training bows – and you can stick with the club bows (with no charge!) for as long as you need. But you’ll have seen club members using the full gamut of styles: longbows, flatbows (AKA the “American longbow”), horsebows, Olympic recurves, and the occasional compound bow. Broadly speaking, the former three cover the most popular styles of traditional archery, and the latter two are considered modern.

So what unseen force pushes the novice archer to follow one path over the other?

There was an economic aspect to my decision to go traditional: my first bow, a Buck Trail flatbow, cost around £130. That figure aligned far better with my bank balance than the £200-plus that a recurve could have set me back, even before all the accessories used with freestyle – long rod, V-bars, sights and what have you – were factored in. But even if I’d been feeling more flush, I think I’d still have gone trad. That’s partly because shooting a stick-and-string makes me feel closer to the historical archers I like to learn about, and partly down to a (somewhat masochistic) desire to find out just how far I can go with the uncompensated mechanics of my own body.

I don’t think traditional is in any way superior: it’s a very personal preference. But I was interested in what makes people, as a general rule, choose one school over the other. I was also curious as to how far people grow into their preferred style – how important is your shooting choice to your identity as an archer? Are you an archer who happens to prefer traditional, or are you firmly a Traditional Archer?

“I don’t differentiate between the two”, said Erin. “I’m currently shooting a recurve, but I definitely plan to buy a traditional bow in future.” Erin sees the positives of both: “With my modern bow I’m at the point where I’m confident my arrows will hit the target where I want them to, which is obviously a nice feeling. But I like the idea of trying out a bow that doesn’t have the sights and other accessories, to develop my style.”

Kat shoots a longbow, a style of archery that she’s been drawn to since a child. Her bow is made in the Victorian style – something I’d previously been unaware of, but Kat described a photograph, currently hanging in her hallway, of Victorian ladies shooting similar bows at Crystal Place. Whilst feeling a deep connection to the longbow, Kat has a good practical reason for her choice. “I’m dyspraxic, and the relative simplicity of the longbow suits me for that reason.”

I have oversimplified by defining the choice as simply Traditional versus Modern, of course. There is, at least some kind of, meeting point between the two in the form of recurve barebow and traditional barebow. The former is a good option for those who prefer to shoot a modern recurve, but without sights, stabilisers or draw check indicators. It’s not unusual to see a club member who usually shoots freestyle remove their sights and stabilisers, just to mix things up a bit. On such occasions, their fellow archers may be treated to said archer’s musings on how their “release feels different when I shoot it bare”, which certainly livens up the session. Recurve barebow is recognised by Archery GB in their national rankings, alongside freestyle recurve, compound and longbow.

Recurve traditional is similar to recurve barebow, but requires the use of wooden arrows, alongside a couple of other stipulations.

We also have a few compound shooters in our club. These bows are fast, accurate and comparatively easier to hold at full draw (although, remember that you DO have to pull it through the peak draw weight so you need to be able to control the full weight of the bow). Like recurves, compounds can be shot with or without stabilisers and sights. You can read Archery GB’s detailed explanation of the various bow styles in the Rules of Shooting.

So is tribalism in archery a big thing? Not in our club, it seems. Even those firmly attached to their preferred style have chosen it for personal or practical, not ideological, reasons, and everybody I spoke to expressed an interest in learning about the choices of others. Archers, it seems, are curious folk. In a good way.

But since this is my blog post and I’m a traditionalist, I’m going to end with YouTube archer NUSensei’s fine demonstration of the difference between freestyle and traditional shooting. The defence rests (on the arrow shelf).

Why do some archers shoot with a tab not a glove?

Your hands are one of the most important elements in archery. They are the crucial connection between archer and bow. Correct hand positioning can be the difference between hitting the golden ten… or the neighbouring target. Your hands and fingers as an archer are arguably your most important asset (and indeed in life!). It is therefore essential that one wears protection to prevent any blisters, numbness and nerve damage, whilst also aiding your string release and performance as far as possible. Therefore every archer, whether Olympic gold medallist or novice, will need to work out some finger protection. But how do you choose from the multitude of styles available?

One of the deciding factors which will help with this decision, is determining the style of archery you wish to pursue. When shooting a traditional style bow, gloves are inherently more advantageous. They provide superb protection through reinforced fingertips (particularly helpful for bows with a heavy draw weight) and as gloves tend to be made out of thick leather, they therefore provide product longevity. For practicality purposes, gloves give the archer the ability to be “hands-free” to do other things, such as, retrieve arrows (or rearrange their Robin Hood hats). Many traditional archers not only feel that it synchronizes with their style of going “old school”, but that there is a more intuitive, natural release when shooting with a glove.

That said, the most common finger protection among archers is the finger tab. Modern Olympic-style shooters will find the tab the most universal piece of equipment. A basic finger tab is simply a piece of leather with a retaining loop or holes to keep the tab in position. More upgraded versions might have a platform, plate and/or a spacer. Although from the perspective of protecting your fingers tabs may be thinner than gloves, this does give the archer more sensitivity allowing them to innately fine tune and reflect on their release. Importantly, tabs provide a smoother release by having a lower friction surface, ensuring the least interference with your arrows. Many tab designs, such as the shelf tab, will further ensure this by stopping the archer from pinching the arrow (which is what makes for that frustrating arrow swing whilst drawing back). Many archers also find that their shooting becomes more accurate when using a shelf tab as it allows them to anchor the string better with their fingers.

All in all, gloves and fingers tabs basically do the same thing, with subtle differences. Gloves and tab products have a range of price points, they aren’t an expensive investment and they are usually one of the first pieces of equipment a beginner archer will buy. Although the style of archery tends to inform the style of finger protection, there is no reason why an archer cannot shoot a traditional bow with a tab or an Olympic-style recurve with a glove. Archery is very personal and therefore it is important that you ask yourself, which elements resonate with you. Consider the following criteria when choosing: protection, sensitivity, smoothness of release and practicality.

And finally as with everything else in archery we tend to teach what works best for the majority of people. There’s a reason that no-one has ever won an Olympic gold medal shooting a freestyle recurve with a lovely tooled leather glove. Conversely if you shoot a hunting style American flatbow you’re going to pick up somewhat strange looks if you’re rocking a Cavalier Elite Cordovan top of the range shelf tab while trying to master your instinctive ‘at one with the arrow’ shooting style.

Finger Tab

Archery Glove

 

Should I buy second hand archery gear?

As we’re coming up to Christmas it seemed like a good time to tackle this question which we often get asked at the club.

Is it ever a good idea to buy second hand archery gear?

Well, I think the short answer is,

“Yes! Sometimes it can be a good idea… but sometimes it can be a terrible idea.”

So, what do you need to look out for?

Just like buying anything else from ebay / Craigs List etc – don’t spend more than you could afford to possibly lose. Ebay isn’t too bad because you have the paypal guarantee and their feedback system is pretty awesome. (Obviously as long as you do check the feedback of the person who is selling!).

What you may not realise if you’re inexperienced though, is that a lot of us have seen basic, second hand equipment actually sell on ebay for more than it’s worth new! So make sure you’ve thoroughly priced up whatever you’re looking at through a reputable store. Exceptions to this are things listed in the wrong categories and left handed bows. There just aren’t as many ‘special people’ (i.e. lefties) out there so trying to get rid of a left handed 36lb Seb Flute recurve with all its accessories is just that little bit harder than getting rid of a right handed one.

Which brings us to… make sure you are absolutely sure of what the person is selling and preferably engage in conversation with them. They shouldn’t have any issue in telling you when they bought the gear / where they bought it from, what club they shot at, what they’re upgrading to and if they experienced any issues with the kit. If it isn’t listed as left handed or right handed you probably don’t want it! It’s fine to buy gear from an experienced archer that has moved on in the sport and is ready to sell off their old pre-loved kit.. but that’s just it. Is it pre-loved? If it’s something found in the back of a garage or, worse, on the road side or, worse still, stolen… then you do not want it.

So, what could go wrong? Well, it could be not at all what you expect. This can be fixed by only buying locally and arranging to have a look first. It can also – usually – be fixed by a good back and forth with an honest seller, looking at the pictures carefully and doing your research.

The biggest issue with buying old or vintage gear is probably twisted or warped limbs. Depending on the type of bow it may be worth the money and taking the risk of having some issues – or you may end up with a potentially dangerous bow taking up space in your garage instead of theirs! As a sub-set of this you need to think about whether you are qualified to know whether it’s safe and – if not – is there anyone available to help you once you’ve bought it?

Most clubs will at least have a few experienced archers available to help you out even if there isn’t a qualified coach to spare.. but no-one will be thrilled to see you turn up with something that was probably not in great shape in 1973, and now has everyone double checking their liability policies…

The last thing is to say that when using ebay, if you can possibly restrain yourself, try not to bid until the last ten seconds. I personally love esnipe but, of course, you can always set an alarm and do it manually for free!

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!

Give Archery A Go!

Whilst opportunities to join your local football or rugby club might be more obvious, team sports – or ball sports – are not for everyone. Luckily, there are many more pastimes available to you in your local area than you might think. Archery is just one of them – and we think it’s high time that you picked up a bow & a quiver full of arrows and gave target practice (or the fantastic Archery Tag in London) a little bit of a try if you haven’t done so already! There’s more to hitting the odd bullseye with a few arrows than you may think – and there are many reasons as to why you should be thinking about getting your aiming arms limbered up and ready to hit a few targets.

 

Archery, unlike other sports, is a pastime that can be enjoyed in all weathers – unlike football or golf which can be largely dependent on whether or not you’re going to have a wet or dry day – archery can also be done very successfully indoors which means that you can practice rain or shine – without needing wellies and waterproofs! Check out indoor archery clubs – like 2020 Archery which has a great location near to London Bridge – and you’ll be welcomed by experienced, friendly archers with open arms.

 

It’s also incredibly easy to get started in archery, too.

 

Practise at your local club

Local clubs welcome professional and recreational archers alike, regardless of skill level – and also offer coaching and mentoring to get your game up to scratch should you wish to excel. However, it should be noted that archery isn’t a sport that is necessarily easy to master right away – as with many sports and skills, you’d be considered little short of a miracle worker if you have instant form and bullseye-bashing talents from the off. If you have the patience, the will and the interest, it’s likely that you will find archery an extremely rewarding hobby long-term – even more so if you become good enough to perform in local or national competitions.

 

Archery is great for the whole family

Archery is a great sport for all ages – meaning that kids, parents and grandparents require little other than some safety training and a couple of initial lessons to get started. At 2020 Archery Juniors we have a thriving junior archery club which welcomes archers from the age of 8 upwards. As long as you book a place in advance we have a rolling start programme so no need to wait weeks or months for a beginners course to be scheduled. We provide all the equipment and tuition you need – plus parents can shoot alongside their budding Robin Hoods! All you need is enthusiasm and enough arm strength to wield a bow and arrows – with little more than a genuine interest in the sport required, you’ll soon be on target!

 

Make new friends!

Archery clubs are a great way to meet new people and make new friends – and it’s also a fantastic opportunity to sample the local competition, maybe building up a friendly rivalry or two while doing so. Here at 2020 Archery we’re also very sociable with a regular pub ‘debrief’ after Saturday shooting.. and a few more ad hoc trips here and there post session depending on the day.

 

Getting started with gear

At 2020 Archery we provide everything that you need to get started shooting.. and you can use our gear to practice for as long as you want. We do know that you’ll soon want to start building up gear of your own though. If you are looking for professional, high quality archery wear, accessories and equipment with a leaning towards traditional leather based gear, have a peek at Shire Archery’s online store. These guys have a great range of archery essentials and are experienced at supplying gear to individuals, clubs and various sports festivals. They pride themselves on their fantastic collection of hand tooled archery arm bracers, lovely leather gloves and tabs, and a whole range of other gear to help archers reach the top of their game (whilst looking pretty stylish) as soon as they can.

greenman-brace

Traditional leather ‘Greenman’ archery arm guard available from Shire Archery

How to Play Archery Tag!

————————————-

 

The battlefield where you get to shoot your friends!

We all know about paintball, dodgeball and laser tag; but do you know about Archery Tag? Archery Tag is an awesome combat game where two or more teams fight each other using bows and arrows. But don’t be scared, there’s no blood involved and we don’t even leave bruises (not like paintball – ouch)!

 

The arrows used in Archery Tag games have great big marshmallow-style tips making it much less painful than paintball! You get to shoot your friends (or your boss!), there’s no pain involved and you feel like Robin Hood. I bet we caught your attention, so let’s get into the equipment and rules of this fantastic game!

 

 

Equipment

archery tag equipment

1. Bow – a basic lightweight recurve bow.

 

2. Arrows – patented ‘safe’ tips, carefully weighted and spined to match the bows.

 

3. Mask – even though ‘head shots’ are illegal in the game, a bit of extra protection never went amiss.

 

Rules

To play this game, we need teams. The minimum number of people needed to play is 8 in order that we can split the group into two teams of 4 people each. This is the absolute minimum needed to play – the standard number of people per team is 5. Once teams are sorted out, they need a team name. This is when Archery Tag gets creative (no, we’re not divulging our best team names for you… you have to come up with them yourselves although do feel free to give us your best effort in the comments!)

 

Can and can’t do’s

Can: – Shoot everyone who wears a mask. – Move around your side of the battlefield. – Stay behind the barricades or not. – Collect as many arrows as you can. – Deflect arrows using your bow (be careful the marshmallow tip doesn’t hit it).

 

Can’t: – Shoot someone who doesn’t wear a mask. – Cross to the enemy’s side of the battle field. – Move barricades. – Load or shoot in ‘No Man’s Land’ central zone. – Dry fire a bow (shooting without an arrow loaded). – Head shots.

 

Game play

Games last for 5 minutes or until one team completely knocks out (tags!) the other. At the beginning of the game, each person has 2 arrows to shoot. Sometimes, there will be extra arrows placed in ‘No Man’s Land’. These arrows can be picked up by any team (you can’t be hit whilst in No Man’s Land but you might need to arrange for covering fire to get safely in and our from behind your barricade).

 

Once the game starts, each team tries to tag as many enemies as they can. If an arrow hits you or your bow, you’re out. This means you have to move to the side (keep your helmet on!) and wait until your team mates save you.

 

How can my team mates save me I hear you ask? Well, there are two foam 5 spots targets – one for each team. If your team mate shoots out a spot you’re back on side. Once this happens, the first person to die is the first to go back into the game. Good.

 

But, what if you have dead team mates but you don’t have any dots left to shoot at? Well, our crack-team of only slightly-bribeable referees will be replacing them as fast as you can shoot them but, there’s also another way to save team mates!

 

You or your team mates just need to catch an arrow in mid air (piece of cake)! You need to take care not to be hit by the tip when you’re attempting this otherwise you’ll tag yourself. If an arrow bounces (hits a wall, the floor or a barricade) and then hits you, it doesn’t count as a hit and you carry on playing. However, if it hits a team mate and then it hits another, it’s a double kill! If an arrow bounces (hits a wall, the floor or a barricade) and then you catch it in mid air without touching the marshmallow tip, it is valid, so you’ve just saved a team mate! Well done!

 

Games move fast so we recommend loose clothing and staying on the ball as we rotate teams on and off the courts. Our maximum group size is 25 people and we have it all pre-organised tournament style to guarantee an even number of games in the style AvB, CvD, BvC etc. We play at a great indoor spot in Whitechapel with a bar and a Thai food concession. Yes, we could play in the rain.. but why would you want to when you can guarantee the weather and have a quick half-pint while the other teams are out there ‘killing’ each other?

 

Do you have a group of friends? Are you organising a stag party or having a birthday in the near future? Archery Tag is a fantastic option to have a great time while having fun and getting yourself moving – which is always good! And, there’s always the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse to consider – getting in a bit of practice at a moving target beforehand won’t do you any harm at all.

 

What are you waiting for? Book a session today! Fully online booking system – get on that date checker now!

 

http://www.2020archery.co.uk/archery-tag

 

warrior womancol-1

Now where's that third arrow?

Archery for the Average by Corrinne

 

“So, how long have you been shooting?” asks the course member, eyeing my distinctly un-grouped triumvirate of arrows. “Well, about three months …” I begin, to which she responds with an understanding nod of the head. “And, uh, a year.”

 

The course member blinks. Tumbleweed rolls, accusingly, along the shooting line.

 

It’s fair to say I’ll never be the best in t’club –my scores are currently drifting lazily about in the lower quarter of the Traditional scoreboard, like leaves in a late September breeze. That doesn’t bother me – I’m only out to compete against myself. What does bother me is that Myself sometimes plays dirty. Like a lot of people, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to shooting. But of late, I’ve developed a better awareness of when my own mind is getting in the way of a good shot. How so? Oh, let me count the ways:

 

Fighting with the bow

Yeah, I initially did that classic newbie thing of overbowing myself. Partly ‘cause I got cocky and told myself that being a 5-foot-1 woman was no barrier to shooting what the big boys shoot. Pfffft. Your bow should feel like an extension of your body, not a demon determined to take you down. If your arms hurt, your draw is jerky, and you feel like the bloody thing is shooting you, not the other way round – go down a few pounds. 30 lb is my limit.

 

Lack of concentra … ooh, helicopter!

It’s really easy for me to drift off somewhere in between nocking and releasing (as the nurse said to the vicar … honestly, who came up with these terms?). Gotta keep focus on that target all the way through. Harder than it sounds for someone like me, but it makes a big difference. Tune out the chatter – other peoples and your own bloody head’s.

 

Rushing, rushing

There’ll be time for everyone to shoot their ends (and there’s that vicar again). I always have to guard against rushing, doing that overly-self-conscious thing of wanting to get myself out of the way so my target partner – a better archer, in my head, regardless of who they are – can shoot. Don’t rush. Give yourself permission to be there.

 

Going instinctive too soon

No, I am not Byron Ferguson, nor was meant to be. I stopped consciously counting out my sequence, and damn, I sucked for a while. Going back to that stance-nock-set-hands-etc. malarkey has made a big difference.

 

Grumbling

Yeah, you missed. So what? During a round, try not to have an emotional response to any shot, good or bad. Getting annoyed at a bad shot will have a knock-on effect on your next.  Conversely, getting too cocky at a good couple of shots will only lead to Third Arrow Syndrome, and we all know how annoying that is. Do your celebrating in the brewery afterwards.  Quietly, preferably.

 

Now where's that third arrow?

Now where’s that third arrow?

 

Now, where could that third arrow be?

That’s it for now. Just a few more things, afore I go:

 

  • It’s meant to be fun. Try to find that balance between performing at your best, and not letting your hobby become another source of stress.

 

  • Get a mate to film you. It does help. No, you don’t look like a twat. This video someone took of me helped me see I was yanking that string like an old-fashioned bog chain: https://vine.co/v/OFY1AvdD3hM

 

  • I didn’t get better without ongoing support from the coaches.  If you can’t figure out where you’re going wrong, do ask them for advice.

 

Time for my evening beverage. Happy shooting, one and all.

Ask the Experts – Why do people put twists in their bowstring?

This is a great question and something that is often confusing for beginners. It’s all to do with something called ‘Brace Height’ which is the distance between the bow and the bowstring. You usually measure this from the button (hole in the riser near the arrow rest if there isn’t an actual button yet) to the string using a bow square. There will be a general guide for each individual riser – this is a starting point. From the starting point (usually around 8.5-9” for a 68” bow.. can be slightly less for a shorter bow and 9-9.5” for a 70”) you then need to do some basic tuning to determine what the perfect brace height for your bow is.

 

bow square

 

Couple of things :

 

1. You should always have the SAME brace height. If you lose ½” of brace height you might lose 20 points on a Portsmouth (or more). Remember that archery is “the art of repetition” and its all about reducing variation. Check your brace height at the start of every shoot.

 

2. Putting in twists will make the string effectively shorter (think about twisting up a piece of string) which will increase the brace height; taking twists out will effectively give you a longer string and therefore smaller brace height.

 

To do the tuning – start with the lowest sensible brace height and shoot 3 arrows. Take off string and put in a few twists (you’ll probably need to miss an end to do this). Re-measure brace height and shoot 3 arrows. Listen to the noise the string makes and note your grouping. If you have a bad end and you know you shot badly you might want to repeat another 3 arrows at the same brace height. Keep doing this until you have explored the full range (8”ish to 9.5”ish). You should find two ‘sweet spots’ where the bow sounds quietest and shoots the best – one will be at the lower end of the range and one will be at the higher end of the range. I’ve never been madly successful with hearing this.. but you can usually tell that the bow just feels better. Choose the higher brace height out of the two not the lower. Remember this or mark it down somewhere.

 

Store the string by doing a simple loop through loop knot (any experienced archer can quickly show you how to do this) in order not to lose twists and have to start from scratch the next time you shoot.

 

Here’s a little You Tube video I found showing this : http://youtu.be/em_BP1uz2Gw?t=32s

 

Quick tip : you know that the brace height is too low if the string hits your wrist. As longbows need a much lower brace height than recurves the string ALWAYS smashes into your wrist. This is why longbow archers wear much thicker arm guards and they tend to be worn much lower down the arm.

 

Nocked Longbow

 

P.S. its also a good idea to check the brace height on club bows. We try and check them as often as we can.. but the more club members take the responsibility the better they’ll shoot. Just ask an instructor where the nearest bow square is.

How to fill in an archery scoresheet

So, this is a kind of “Ask the experts” as we got a great question from a relatively new club member asking about scoresheets. It’s something that causes a lot of confusion for new members so we thought it’d be helpful to write a bit of a Master Class on what it’s all about. We’ll put up some info about handicaps in our next post.
Heidi scoresheet

So, at 2020 Archery Roger is responsible for collecting in our scoresheets, collating them into ‘leader boards’ (here : http://www.2020archery.co.uk/club-6/club-scores-and-handicaps) and working out handicaps. Just ask one of the instructors or an experienced club member (Tim said I’m not allowed to call them Old Timers any more as it makes him feel old) where to find scoresheets, pens and clipboards if you’re not sure. They’ll also know where you should file the completed ones when you’re done.

Heidi scoresheet

To fill in the sheet you have two choices – you can do it yourself (in which case you won’t have a Target Captain) or you can ‘cross-score’ which is better and more like competitive archery. If you cross score you sign each other’s score sheet (or if you’re scoring as 4 people on a target one of you could sign them all as target captain) this means someone is verifying that it was done correctly with no cheating. When cross-scoring you should call the numbers from high to low i.e. 9,9,6. Never say “two nines” as invariably your scorer will write “2, 9” and then have to cross out the 2! This should be read out as “nine, nine, six”. Incidentally you must never touch your arrows when scoring in a competition. I know it’d be super difficult to manhandle it into a different zone but.. still.. it isn’t allowed. Try not to do it. We will accept scoresheets that have been filled in by the archer but its good to indicate this by not filling in the target captain. It also means there’s more chance of Roger double checking the scores (your target captain should do this if you’ve cross scored).

 

The scoresheet gets filled in horizontally with each dozen recorded and the E/T (end total) being the total for the first 6 arrows of the dozen and then the total for the second 6 arrows of the dozen. This is mainly because we shoot in ends of 6 arrows outdoors (further to walk to collect them). Now for the most frequent question that we get asked : what does the H G IG Sc and RT mean? Well, once you know its pretty simple with only one curveball. H = Hits (how many scoring arrows you achieved in the dozen), G = Gold (how many 10s and Xs you achieved). Yep, that’s right – 10s and Xs. A 9 doesn’t count as a gold on an archery scoresheet. No, I don’t know why. It’s just what I was told when I was a novice and I believed them. Any updates / suggestions about this please post in comments! IG = inner gold (very obvious – how many X’s), SC = score (total for the dozen) and RT = running total (all those dozen scores added together as you go).

 

So, this is an edit a week after the original post.. I asked for comments and boy did I get them! Sadly none of them would write their names in the comments box below *sigh*… the upshot seems to be that the X is not allowable for GNAS scoring but the situation on FITA rounds is a bit less clear.. this is slightly another topic (rounds and competitions) but basically the usual round we shoot at 2020 is a Portsmouth and this is a GNAS (Grand National Archery Society i.e. traditional British shooting) round. An example of a FITA round would be a FITA 18 which is very similar to the Portsmouth but shot at 18m on a smaller target face. So, apparently we shouldn’t be recording X’s on Portsmouths even though the target faces we use allow you to see how many you’ve got. The FITA target faces don’t have an X ring which means its impossible to record them.. apparently FITA rounds no longer count X’s for tie-breaks either, they look at number of 10s and then number of 9s. However, it can be a nice way to track your increasing accuracy so our scoring master (Roger – new title, great no?) is happy to accept scoresheets for Portsmouths where you have recorded the Xs.

 

I’ve filled in a fakey scoresheet with some of the salient bits highlighted. Please indicate if you’re shooting barebow, compound (lightweight obviously at our club), flatbow, longbow or any other permutation. We will assume your score is regular freestyle (sighted) recurve unless otherwise indicated. PLEASE write your name legibly. Roger’s eyesight isn’t getting any better despite all the archery practice and he needs all the help he can get. If you are on the leader board as e.g. Heidi Nickell instead of Nicholl drop us an email and we’ll yell at Roger. Or possibly scan and upload your dreadful writing for the rest of the club to laugh at (we won’t I promise – I win all the worst writing in the club competitions by a giant margin). Dates and club should be filled in for the sake of completeness. Theoretically you’re welcome to submit scores from elsewhere if you’ve pulled a blinder while visiting another club.

 

Do keep handing in scores – it keeps Roger out of trouble. Your handicap (and leaderboard position) will only change when a higher score is submitted but its good practice to keep scoring and measuring your progress (although its also good not to get obsessed and occasionally have a ‘fun’ unpressured practice shoot). Do feel free to ask questions in the comments section and do keep sending in “Ask the Experts” as they occur to you.

Heidi scoresheet

Heidi scoresheet

Ask the Experts : What’s the Difference Between a ‘Recurve’ Bow and a ‘Traditional’ Bow?

So, we’ve decided to move our occasional “Ask the Expert” series away from facebook and onto our blog. Mainly because our experts (our instructors) are chronically unable to write a short answer when asked anything about archery. Be warned if you’re at the club and you start a query with, “Quick question…” it might be a quick question but it’s usually a lengthy answer!

 

So, this “Ask the Experts” is from Roger (well done Roger!) and gives an account of the differences between Recurve Bows (as used in the modern Olympics), Longbows (think Agincourt, Robin Hood etc), Horsebows (the short ones with leather webbing around them that you sometimes see in the club) and finally a little bit on crossbows. Please do add any other “Ask the Experts” questions in the comments below – we love talking bows and arrows!

 

Over to Roger :

 

“The difference between a modern recurve bow, a long bow and a horse bow is fundamentally one of curves and materials.

 

When unstrung an English (or Welsh or Scottish) long bow was – and is – a straight stave (wooden pole) with a D shaped cross section where the flat part faces away from the archer. They are typically 3” longer than the archer is tall.  When strung, the bow takes a regular uniform curve towards the archer. They were traditionally made either from using several layers of different woods laminated together, or from a single stave of wood (self-bows). Laminated bows are made using woods that favour compression on the belly of the bow (the side that faces the archer), and woods that stretch well on the back of the bow (the side that faces the target). Self-bows tend to be slower and weaker although self bows made of yew or osage orange can be stronger as it is possible to find differing qualities of compression and tensional strength in a single stave, providing the same benefits as a laminated bow. The advantage of the long bow design is that it can be made very strong and can be tensioned to very high draw weights. In some cases these bows can reach over 180lb in draw weight (usually known as war-bows) – this allowed bowyers to manufacture bows that were capable of shooting an arrow through medieval plate armour at ranges as far as fifty yards or more.

 

The modern recurve bow is so called because the limb-tips of the bow ‘re-curve’ back away Recurve Bow in Clubfrom the archer after the usual longbow curve. They usually have a static (unbending) riser and curved limbs. They also have a window cut into the bow to allow the arrow to take a straighter path through the bow. The window helps with accuracy as it allows the use of a stiffer arrow that can fly straighter than those released from a traditional bow where the arrow must bend itself back around the bow as its released in order to reach the target. The rationale behind the limbs “re-curving” away from the archer at the tips is so that the very ends of the limbs can be accelerated faster than the rest of the limb – this results in energy being transferred more efficiently. Ultimately this results in faster arrow speeds and improved accuracy on the target. Modern recurve bows are now typically fitted with various accessories such as artificial sights, stabilisers and vibration dampers to provide a more consistent shot.

 

The horse bow or reflex bow is the original recurve bow. They were common in Eastern European countries, the Middle East and throughout Asia and parts of Africa in pre-gunpowder days. They are characterised by their short length and exceptionally recurved limbs. When unstrung a traditional horse bow will curve away from the archer forming a complete C shape, but in some instances are so flexible that the limb tips almost touch forming an O shape. Their short profile made them highly successful as hunting bows (as they’re more manouverable than longer bows). They were originally made of wood laminated with horn and animal sinew although today they may be made with synthetic materials which make the bow cheaper to make and easier to use.

 

Finally, while we’re thinking about traditional bows, a crossbow can be loosely described as a Crossbowshort bow that is allowed to lie horizontally on a stock from which position it can have an arrow loaded and released using a trigger mechanism in a similar configuration to a rifle. The main advantage of a crossbow as a weapon is that once the string is drawn back it can be locked into place until the trigger is pulled. This allows the weapon to be loaded without being pointed at the target and without requiring any extra energy to be held at full draw for extended periods of time. Crossbows typically have much higher draw weights as the hold is done mechanically. Drawing or ‘cocking’ the bow can also be achieved with mechanical assistance by using a cocking aid. This means that bows over 100lb may be loaded with the aid of a winch by a single person. Cross bow limb design covers most types of bow shape and materials ranging from un-recurved basic wood through reflexed horn and sinew, to space-age material and radical modern design.”

As well as Target Archery there are many other disciplines that use both / all types of bows. You can get involved in everything from clout shooting, Archery Tag, field archery, bowfishing and the curiously named ‘Popinjay’ shoots… but what they all are will be for another post…!

As always, comments and questions are welcomed and suggestions for other “Ask the Experts” are especially useful!