The Single Most Important Part of Archery

When shooting, we all have had that one, maybe two or even three arrows that just do not hit where we want. Why is that? I mean why can we shoot the first arrow and hit right where we want but the second one is not even close?

This is something we all must deal with. Now if we were to asked five archers why that happened, we would get five different reasons.

So what is the single most important part? It must be the Arrow right? I mean nothing can be more important. From the proper spine, to the FOC (weight front of center). From Left or Right wing for the feathers.  Straight or Helical Flecthing, to how well your nock releases off the string. I mean it has to be the arrow right? Well ….., no. It is not the arrow, although I would say it is number two.

Well, if it is not the Arrow, then it has to be the bow. From finding the best draw weight, to finding the proper Brace height to having the perfect Tiller. It has to be the bow. Well ….., wrong again!

The single most important part of archery is your ……. Shot Cycle! Ask yourself this, why is it that some archers can shoot any bow well? What is the one thing that they did in common while shooting all those bows?

You see, a good solid shot cycle will allow you to shoot most bows with very little compensation. So what is your “Shot Cycle”?

In its simplest terms, it is everything that you must do to shoot an arrow. With that said, I believe in three words. The first is Consistent. The second is Repeatable and the third word is Comfortable.

If you want to be Consistent, your shot cycle must be Repeatable. In order for it to be repeatable, it must be Comfortable for you to do. Now, if your shot cycle is Comfortable, It will be Repeatable and that will make you Consistent. Yes, it is that simple.

People spend so much time tuning their bows and arrows, but so little time tuning their shot cycle. Spend some time on your shot cycle and I can promise that you will see the results.bullseye

 

 

Archery on the Cheap

I fully understand the cost of getting into Archery. The bow, the arrows, the glove, Brace and quiver. But guess what? Jeff Krug and I went on Ebay and bought some Fiberglass bows. Mine cost a whopping nine dollars.

Many people look down on those bows and I don’t get it. I can shoot really well with mine. As as a way to show that we shoot a very tough 3D Course with them. Best part? We shot it in the rain and cold and get this? I shot with my bow strung BACKWARDS!

Here is the video of it, enjoy

 

Taking 3D Archery to the next level

Well 2016 is here and the 3D Archery season has started. I have some plans for this year to take 3D Archery to the next level.

As part of the Long Bow extravaganza at Bristol, I gave away my PSE Sequoia Long Bow. We had sixty people qualify for it and the one lucky winner took it home. That is a $240 dollar bow right there. Now, I cannot afford to keep giving things away like that. But, i came up with an idea so I can. Patreon.

Patreon allows you to raise funds for different things and that is the answer to my problem. How not to go broke while giving away great stuff. If and when we raise the money to buy one, I will. I will then test it, review it and shoot at on a 3D Course. Once I do that i will give it away to one lucky person.

The first item we will try this with is the Samick Sage take down recurve. This is a great starter bow and is very popular right now. So, how do you get in to the raffle? Simply, just donate money on Patreon! For every dollar you donate, you earn one ticket for the raffle.

So, go to Patreon and check it out!

 

Cold Weather Tested

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This past Sunday I went to the Cabin Fever 3D Archery Shoot (yes, Valentine’s Day, and yes, my wife came with me!) hosted by the Ti Yogi Bowmen in Hyde Park, NY. So far it has been a mild winter, but noooooooo not this day. The old “Polar Vortex” struck and the temperature at start time was ……… 1 degree Fahrenheit! For those of you not stuck in the dark ages I believe that comes out to around -17 Celsius! So yeah, you could say it was cold.

I went to Dicks Sporting Goods on Saturday knowing that my daily pair of gloves wasn’t going to cut it. The average glove was over $30.00 and a nice pair was closer to $70.00. I’m cheap and I do not like to spend that much on a glove I will only use once in a while.

Then I stumbled onto these. They are wool with a liner made of “Thinsulate”. The best part was, as you can see in the picture, the front flipped up out of the way so I could shoot using my normal glove.

We went out on the course just before eleven AM and we finished just a little past two PM. That was three hours out in temps well below freezing and my hands were never cold! The open fingers allowed me to shoot like normal and gave me enough feel that it did not throw off my shot cycle. The only time I felt the cold was when I had the cover off for any extended period of time (talking over 30 seconds here). My fingers get cold easy, to the point that it is painful, that is a gift from my time in the service, training and living in the freezing weather, but not on this day. They were warm and I was happy.

Oh, the price? Just $14.99, now I can live with that price.

 

League Night

I joined an indoor league, never done one before and I’m using it to perfect my form. It is an 450 round, what does that mean. That is the total number of possible points. What you do is shoot three arrows at the target. You do this 15 times. The target has circles with values of 10 down to 1. Unlike a 300 round in which if you get a one, you only lost a whopping four points, here is you score a one you lost nine points!

For the bow, I’m using my 1967 Ben Pearson Pinto. The bow is rated at 25 pounds, but I have a 30″ draw so it is closer to 29. I shot a few arrows through the chronograph and found that they are in the 141 to 145 range. For arrows I’m using Carbon Express Predator II’s, 800 spine with a 125 grain point.

 

I’m aiming using split vision. It is an off shoot of GAP, in act, I have become convinced that it is an advanced version of gap. I know my GAP, for this bow it is 11 inches down and 9 inches to the left. Instead of staring at that spot, to ensure my point is on it. I look at the “X” in the target and with my peripheral vision I make sure the point is there.

Last night I went from a glove to a tab and found that it changed my GAP slightly. Took me several ends to compensate, but once I did I was fine. I’m still a little too inconsistent, but that is why I’m there. My score? a 323.

Had a guy shoot next to me with a Fred Eichler Bow, 50 pounds. He is a writer for a hunting magazine. He is a big bow hunter. He has never shot targets and wanted to see what it is like. I smiled when he told me this and I had to tell him “Been there, I will warn you your ego and confidecne are about to be crushed”. Why did i say that, because I too thought “Hey, I can hit a target at 20 yards easy”. My score the first time I shot a 450 last year? A whopping 160!

After the second end, he was asking questions trying to figure out why his arrows were all over the place.

Yep, it is a challenge, it can crush you, but it can be so rewarding too.

 

 

 

Indoor Archery Tournament

With winter upon me, I do not get out to shoot 3D much, if at all. What I do have is a couple of Indoor Archery tournaments. Now, I will be the first to admit I’m no target archer. But I’m an archer, I actually like all forms of archery.

 

Last year in this tournament I placed fourth with a score of 180 (it is a 300 tournament). I’m a competitive person, winning isn’t so important to me as doing well. I’m also a realist, being my first time I was happy with my score of 180 and I knew that if I wanted to score higher I had better take it serious.

 

And I did. The first thing I did was find a target bow. I found it at ETAR at the swap meet. It is a 1967 Ben Pearson Pinto, 25 Pounds. Next I found some nice arrows for it. The Carbon Express Predator 2’s. I choose these because they come in 800 spine. I bare shafted them to the bow. Another thing I did was to learn how to shoot GAP. I found on this bow, my GAP is 11.5 inches down and get this ….. Nine inches to the left. This bow came with a rest, which was different for me since I normally shoot off the shelf.

A local archery club was running a fall league and I asked if I could come and just shoot (it was a 300 league). My first night I shot a 201, then a 231, 229 and a 239! I was feeling confident. But I have a problem, with my GAP so far down and to the left I kept wanting to look at the target and when I did, my arrow was off.

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So, me being me, the week before the tournament, I removed the rest and shot off the shelf, hoping that by having the arrow a little farther in would help. On the first practice I was lucky to even hit the target. I also developed a bad habit of smacking myself in the face and nose with the string. The nose I did not mind because it was broken in the Kickboxing ring and it is no longer straight. I just kept getting worse, Finally I decided to start all over, I switched the string (from a Flemish Twist to an Endless Loop), went from a tab to a glove. The glove cured the string slap (it got so bad that I cut my nose and I’m a bleeder). I redid my GAP and it came out to ….. 11.5 inches down and yep, nine inches left! I did a 300 and scored a 218. Needless to say I lost all confidence that I built up.

So the day of the event arrives. They had two lines shooting, a 10AM line and a 1PM line. I was signed up for the 1PM line, but I wanted to film the ten. As the ten line was warming up I spoke to the guy who ran it and he informed me the one line was full. This was not good because I had a friend coming to shoot with me at one and he did not pre-register. I asked if I could shot the ten and give my friend my spot. He said “yes, but you have one problem” “they are about to start”.

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I ran out, put up my target and they announce “This end is for score”. Yep, there would be no practice for me. Shot a 19 in the first end, while scoring the guy in my group had PSE gear big time. He was shooting a PSE target bow and I asked him how much was his. He informed me he didn’t know, that PSE gave it to him, he was sponsored by them! He did say that he knows the risers alone cost six hundred dollars and that he thinks the whole thing would run around twelve hundred dollars! Being competitive I wanted to see how I compared to him. Later I found out that he is one of the best 3D traditional Archers in NY!

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Well I ended with a 235. The last arrow I shot was a one, I drew was ready and then out of the corner of my eye I saw something and lost all focus. Oh well. At least I salvaged a decent score.

The PSE shooter, he shot a 229! Yeah baby! Later in the day my friend was shooting, he was on fire. I swear he was on pace for a 250. After I helped in tallying the scores (I used the calculator on my phone) and he scored a 236! One point! That last arrow cost me big time. Then they compared scores with the other card and his was off, a few high and a few low. We re-did the math and he ended up with a ….231!

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Target archery if fun, no, it is blast. But it can also be cruel. It will show you every flaw in your shot cycle. I think that is why so many archers don’t like it, it can and will crush your ego. But once you get past that, it is an awesome way to grade your ability and consistency.

What amazes me if that if you hit nothing but fours (the max you can get is a five), you would score a 240. That means you lost 60 points. The hard part is that gains once you reach a certain level come much slower. I went from a 180 to a 235 in a year. A fifty five point increase and all I did was to reduce the number of bad shots. Now, that I’m shooting mainly fours, the only thing I can do is eliminate the bad shots and make better ones! Tough game indeed, but I’m hooked.

Thumb Ring Impressions

Back in July at ETAR, I had the chance to do a 3D shoot with Joel Turner, who is an awesome archer and a killer shot with a thumb ring. Well while we were shooting he made a comment to my wife that “By this time next year he will be using a thumb ring”. Yep, he put the bug in me. Now, I was curious about them before I met him and he gave me the nudge I needed.

I just finished my first 3D shoot (40 targets, all in the 23 yard or higher range). The only problem was that I have mainly used it in my basement which is a whopping 9 yards. I took it to an indoor range once which was 17 yards. So I really did a shoot in which I was not properly prepared.

I have to say, I’m very pleased with how I shot. I hit much more than I missed and it was on target 27 that I knew I had it. It was a Turkey target (which if you know me, I hate them) and I had a hard time drawing, so I drew down (again something hard for me to do), not once but three times. On the fourth draw, I adjusted my grip and the position of my wrist, and when I hit anchor, I just knew I was going to hit where I was looking and sure enough I did. So I shot three more arrows and all were in a great group.

Here is a video of me making a 50 yard shot.

50 Yard shot with a thumb ring

Some things I learned so far about thumb rings

  1. Size of the ring is critical, if the ring is not the perfect size (notice I didn’t say right, but perfect), it will hurt
  2. You do not have to shoot off the thumb, that is a myth. I use the thumb ring on my right hand and I shoot a right handed bow, which means the arrow is over my index finger. I have tried a left handed bow but I hate the sight picture.
  3. Where the string rest on the ring is critical, just like with fingers. It will take you some time to figure this one out and it will change as your draw changes
  4. Draw with your back, just like in fingers. You also need to keep that pressure when you release.
  5. When you first use a thumb ring your arrows will go off to one side big time. It takes a while to adjust, that is why most people just give up.
  6. The big advantage is that you cannot hit yourself in the face with the string. Due to the fact that you release the string away from you, unlike with fingers that go towards you.
  7. How you hook your thumb affects how smooth of a release you will have. The less thumb over the finger the better. BUT, when you first start if you use too little thumb you will release way to early.
  8. There is no better method for looking down the arrow. The best part here is the sight picture changes big time with the different anchors your use. You have to find the anchor / sight picture that works best for you.
  9. Thumb rings will give you at least two extra inches of draw. This means you bow is now more powerful.
  10. The thumb ring is not any better than fingers, they are about equal. But it is a ton of fun as they say to use one!