September Update

With the official start of autumn, I thought I would take some time to write to all my followers to let them know what is going on with me.

???????????????????????????????A quick recap, August 7th – 10th was the Ontario Summer Games , which was  held in Windsor Ontario.  Since I am no longer eligible to compete at the Ontario Summer Games, because I have competed at the Canada Games, I decided to coach the Eastern Zone team.  This year was supposed to be Niagara Falls but there was a change in plans and the city of Windsor was kind enough to take over. They did a very good job with such sort short notice.

???????????????????????????????Being the coach at an event like this was a very different experience for me. At times I forgot that I was not shooting and other times various people forgot I was the coach.  One great experience was coaching my little brother Joshua, at 14 years old, in a very competitive field in his very first summer games.  The other athletes seemed to tower over him and yet he was able to capture the Men’s cadet recurve silver medal.  This year delivered the best results for the eastern zone archers since I have started participating, with almost half our athletes going home with medals.   I would like to believe in some small way my coaching assisted our athletes, probably not since they are all amazing athletes without my help, but it is nice to think about.

Recently, I had a couple of questions posted to my website and thought I would take time to answer them now….

My 3X10 arrows for 18M/40cm score is ~ 175 for a long time (both indoor and outdoor). I feel hard to improve the score/consistency. How can I make a breakthrough? I am a 12 years girl. Maybe I should buy more expensive arrows?

Having had been 12 at one point of my archery life, I can understand the frustration you are feeling. Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about your set up, or form, or even how much you practice. However, that being said this would be my advice to you. (Assuming form is fine) I would try to see if there is a better arrow spine that would work better for you and maybe try to see if you can increase your draw weight a little (do NOT jump too much if you can’t handle it). The draw weight should help you get some more speed off the arrow making it more forgiving. The arrow spine/type sounds like it could be the main issue, you may not have enough or you may have too much flexibility in your arrows for your draw weight so it is causing it to fly crazy. Keep in mind given your age you may have to change a lot because you are at a point in your life where your body is making a lot of changes too, like your height. Remember when you are making changes it is just like a science experiment, where you change only ONE factor at a time otherwise you don’t know if you are making it better or worse, and you won’t know what is causing it.  Also make sure you remember where everything was before you make changes so that you can go back to it if worse comes to worse.

How to avoid bow arm (and shoulder) drop right after release? My understanding is that the bow arm should be strong and straight, and only drop the bow hand (dog sit) with the help of sling. My bow is very heavy; I have a tendency not to hold the bow strong after release. Maybe my bow is too heavy. I also shoot very fast because of not to holding bow long enough. How can I overcome these bad habits?

If you are finding it hard to hold the weight you have, then yes you should take off enough weight so that you can hold and control the bow.  Periodically I take off the weight, so I can make sure I have the basics of archery correct. Don’t worry, practicing and training will allow you to reintroduce the weight back in no time whatsoever, but listen to your body first and foremost.

It is important to stay strong and straight throughout the shot however remember not to be tense. When you see other archers “dropping” their wrist, this is result of the stabilizer when it moves with ease, out of your hand and swings itself down. So it looks like your wrist is bending but it really isn’t, your wrist is just tagging along for the ride.

Concerning shooting too fast, if you are finding you don’t have enough energy between shots as you practice or compete, you should practice waiting a little bit of time between shots. This is the 10th step in the 10 steps of archery.  It is important to take your time as well as be fluid with your form, so that you are building up the power to shoot the shot.

I hope this helps, :)

redeemerunivThis summer was very nice, it was a much-needed break from the university grind and an opportunity to shoot, work and enjoy life. I’m kind of sad to see the summer ending and having to leave all my friends and family behind once more, but on the bright side I get to see all my new school friends again. This school year should be a lot of fun looking forward to it, and I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into my chosen field of study (Kinesiology) after completing most of my mandatory subjects.  This year will be special as my younger sister has also chosen Redeemer University to study and I will always have someone around who gets me and is ready to give me a hug if I need it.  She has chosen to study International Development in hopes that she can work for a NGO and change the world for the better.

I know I should be blogging more however my first priority is university, and if there is time for anything else I will do it.

Archery Skills Help Students in the Classroom

Awesome article posted by Shannon Rikard on December 18, 2013 in Archery Growth

030709 nasp tourney-19lores

“Once the kids realize they can only shoot if they follow the rules, they get it. I’ve seen even kids with the worst behavioral problems straighten up because they know if they follow the rules, they can shoot. It’s like magic.”

Mastering archery requires skill, concentration and perseverance. It’s a sport that’s fun, but also allows participants of any age or skill level to compete against others or challenge themselves individually. The sport has long helped archers gain confidence and physical strength, but two Texas teachers have discovered archery also helps students with math.

Mike Duncan and Raeann Melvin, who teach physical education at Nolanville Elementary School in Nolanville, Texas, started an archery class two years ago to help third- through fifth-grade students understand how to determine area and perimeter in geometry.

Read More…

Crispin DUENAS: “I know I’ll never stop archery”

Great article about my friend Crispin Duenas on the World Archery website…

0716_DUENAS2Following a one-year break from competition to focus on his studies, two-time Canadian Olympian Crispin DUENAS is making his return to the international scene this week in Medellin.

DUENAS, who started archery in 2000 at the age of 14, is among the most experienced archers on the world circuit. His best individual results were a second place at the Santo Domingo World Cup in 2009, and a second place at the Pan American Games in 2011, when he lost the final to then world N°1 Brady ELLISON (USA). Competing in his first World Cup event of the year in Medellin, DUENAS told us about his sport career, his studies, and his dreams. Read More…

Bowstring Wax

Applying bowstring wax is part of regular maintenance and the main purpose is to help prolong the life of your string. It also helps keep the string together longer, maintain the number of twists in the string and protect the string from fraying and moisture.

uvbowwaxUsually manufactured strings are purchase pre-waxed and only need to be maintained. How often depends on the amount you shoot and the condition of the string. Often you can tell if your bowstring needs waxing as small “hairs” or “fuzz” appear on your string. This happens because bowstrings are made-up of multiple strands and the fibers get dried-out and separate from regular shooting and the elements.

To re-apply bowstring wax to an existing string, apply wax to all sides of the string (avoiding the center serving) and use your fingers and rub it up and down 360 degrees of the string, this will heat the wax up so that it is able to soak into the string.

Quick Tip: You can use a piece of dental floss to spread the wax by wrapping the floss around the string once, holding both ends and dragging it up and down. Note: It has been my understanding that using leather is another option however this must be done very carefully as it can also damage the string.

For those of you who choose to make your own strings, you will need to apply bowstring wax several times before shooting the bow the first time.

Bowstring Wax is usually a silcone-based wax sold in tube form for easy application and is usually available at almost archery retailer or repair shops. Alternatively some archers use bees wax mixed with other materials to produce their own recipes. Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web include

  1. 2 parts beeswax to 1 part anhydrous lanolin (available from pharmacies)
  2. 4 parts beeswax to 1 part pine sap
  3. One pound of bees wax and one wax toilet ring seal, melted together
  4. 3 parts beeswax and 1 part coco butter
  5. 50% bear grease (rendered bear fat) and 50% beeswax
  6. 3 parts bees wax and 1 part toilet bowl wax ring.
  7. OR Pure bees wax needs no softening, it is perfect like it is

Proper maintenance will help keep your string in tip-top shape and tournament ready and help make a string last several years. However there are times when you should replace your string and in the next blog we will discuss string replacement.

String Alignment

Consistency is the key to a successful archer. In an earlier blog, we developed a consistent anchor point to develop a starting point for your hand and grip to help develop consistent vertical groupings. Now we need to address consistent horizontal groupings through the use of string alignment.

IMG_8525So, while at full draw at your anchor point, you should be able see a blurred image of your string; align this “blurry” image of the string with the riser. If it’s slightly off, rotating your head either left or right slightly will correct this. (Remember to maintain your anchor as you quickly check for this alignment). If the string picture is in the wrong place, then your aiming accuracy will be off and the result will be groups which are spread horizontally.

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Quick Tip : Note that sometimes a dark string is difficult to see against a dark riser, therefore try adding a small strip of white tape along the inside of a dark riser to help see the string.

Ideally, you should try to use the same spot for all distances, however this can be different for all people. It can help some archers by aligning the string on the inside of riser for close distances, middle of the riser for middle distances, and outside of the riser for long distances. The best alignment it is different for everyone because everyone has different head and nose structures. Therefore, you will need to experiment with the string alignment until you have the perfect string alignment for you.

Quick Tip: If you are having difficulty seeing your string, try closing you non-dominant eye.

Remember once you have your string alignment, changing things such bow length, draw length, arrows or anything else can effect your “perfect spot”. Consistent form is vital for consistent groupings, if you get a consistent string alignment, the bow will be at a consistent horizontal angle, and your horizontal grouping should improve.

Archery takes you places

ArcheryOnce you decide to become a competitive archer you will need to start planning to travel. Traveling is a big part of competitive archery, and the higher the level of competition, the further you need to travel.

Indoor archery can take you all over the planet at the upper levels however most competitions can be “mailed-in” because the conditions are controllable. For indoor archery, I have had the pleasure of visiting Louisville, Kentucky a couple of times for the NFAA Indoor Championships and Las Vegas, Nevada for the World Indoor Championships.

bb45s5817Since, hosting any outdoor archery tournament requires a fair amount of space, in Canada, you will need to travel a lot. Canada is the world’s second largest country by total area and stretches about 5000 KM (3000 Miles) from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.  Since 2009 to participate in the Canadian National Outdoor Championships I have visited Laval, Quebec; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Delisle, Saskatchewan; Victoria, British Columbia and this year our family will travel to Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Even competing at the provincial level requires a lot of travel since the province of Ontario is larger than Egypt, Spain or France and therefore even for Provincial competitions you will have to travel a lot. I have visited London, Sudbury, Ottawa, New Market, Petawawa, Caledon, Athens, Peterborough, Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie. All this and I do not participate in every tournament.

Budget is a large factor in participation; our family uses our family vacation budget to participate in tournaments. Unfortunately, only the highest level of Canadian archer receive funding to help pay for travel, lodgings, tournament fees and equipment. For the rest of us, it often falls on us or our parents to help fund those Olympic dreams.

So if you are planning to venture in the realms of competitive archery, I offer the same advice that was afforded to me when I started. “Start saving now” however be assured that it is a worthwhile investment.

Getting Information

better-wayOne of the main reasons I started this blog was to help beginner archers find archery information. The biggest challenge I found starting out was getting information about various tournaments, equipment, etc…. thankfully I have an extremely helpful and knowledgeable coach who helped me find the information I wanted.

A lot of my readers are beginner archers and utilize this blog and many others to find archery information. Do you know other locations to find reliable archery information besides blogs?

world_archery_smallWorldwide the main governing body for archery is the World Archery Federation formerly known as Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc (FITA). It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is composed of 140 national archery associations, and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Wikipedia

IFAA logoFor Field Archery the Worldwide governing body is the International Field Archery Association. The IFAA is an archery association that was founded 1970 when a group of field archers from the USA, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales and Canada agreed on a set of basic rules by which Field Archery tournaments would be run. The IFAA now represents over 50 000 field archers in over 40 member countries from all continents.

Additionally, the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) that was created in 1984 by a dedicated group of bowhunters who shared the desire to ensure that bowhunting and the ideals of wildlife conservation will survive, expand and flourish to be shared, enjoyed and passed on to future generations. 

Archery Canada LogoFor North Americans there are a couple of major archery associations including the Archery Canada (formerly known as the Federation of Canada Archers or FCA). Archery Canada is members of both the World Archery Association and International Field Archery Association and is composed of nine provincial archery associations including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Yukon.  Archers who are members of the provincial clubs are automatically members of Archery Canada and are eligible to participate in national tournaments.

US ArcheryIn the United States, there are separate associations that are affiliated with the two major organizations. USA Archery is the member of World Archery Federation and the National Field Archery Association is the member of International Field Archery Association. Each USA association are comprised of state archery associations. Additional USA Archery has a special Junior Development Program known as JOAD. NFAA logoThe Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) is a program of USA Archery that teaches archery to young people, provides great opportunities for awarding achievement, and helps archers to enjoy the sport recreationally or progress to the excitement of competition!

At the local level, most archery clubs are affiliated with an Archery association and can provide information about national membership, opportunities for development, upcoming tournaments, and provide insight and order various archery equipment. To find an archery association in your area, start with the Wikipedia national members for World Archery Federation and for local clubs in your area try searching the web.

Please continue to visit my website for all kinds of information about archery, training, tips and tricks, upcoming tournaments and all things archery and continue to ask any questions you may have.