High-ho, High-ho…

ArcheryAlmost everyone knows that students need to work during the summer to help pay for school; I am not special. Once school finished I started looking for a summer job to help me pay for my education too, however getting that job has not been very easy so far. Since I am studying Kinesiology, I was hoping to get some work experience in a physiotherapy office or something similar. I have applied at several places but have had no luck yet.

leahurstSince,  I am a certified NCCP Intermediate level archery coach, I thought in the meantime I could continue to coach during the summers or whenever I had free time. So far, I have been doing a lot of advertising like making business cards and posters, to help promote archery lessons. Hopefully I’ll soon have some students sign-up for lessons. I love teaching everybody about the sport of archery, helping students improve and learn to love the sport as much as I do.

I also have been tossing the idea around about doing private lessons online (via Skype, or video chat). I remember getting comments from a couple of followers that they do not have a lot of coaching options. Although, I can only offer lessons in English, if anyone is interested in trying coaching over the web, please let me know. We can setup a lessons and handle payment through Paypal.

Cartel’s New Clothing Guard

Full pic (Small)Recently I got a new clothing guard cartel, the Midas 201 chest guard. For those who have used the original Cartel 101, you know it is an excellent, comfortable, essential piece of archery equipment, and the good news is that Cartel has has build on this and made some significant improvements with the new Midas 201 chest guard.

ImprovementsAdjust 2 (Small)

  • Increased meshed material to help reduce extra heat when outdoors.
  • New Rubberized Strap helps reduce the amount movement of the closing guard on your body
  • Additional adjustment points: Provides 3-5 more points to adjust allow a better custom fitting
  • Adjust 1 (Small)New Colours: 6 colours adjust to your personal style including 2 new colours green and orange.

Rubber band (Small)I have already shot several training sessions with the new Midas 201 chest guard and have a total positive experience and I am very excited to use it this summer in several upcoming tournaments.

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.

Bow Tuning – A Simplified Series for Beginners

IMG_7304Your bow is  very personal to you and should be tuned specifically to you and your shooting style. Since there are tons of in-depth, technical articles about bow tuning produced by many organizations and manufacturers, my goal is to simplify the concepts for beginner archers. Although, my primarily focus will be an Olympic recurve bow, some or most, if not all, the principals can be applied to other disciplines.

In this series we will discuss, but not limit to, nocking points, bowstring fit, centering, clearance, brace height, sight alignment, tiller, clicker, plunger adjustment and discuss various tuning methods. Remember that basic step-up and tuning can be done quickly to get you started however advanced tuning is a time consuming task through trial and error.  Proper shooting technique is the first thing every archer should focus on. If you are still struggling with the basics then get your bow basically setup and work on consistency. From there, a well tuned bow can help compensate for personal idiosyncrasies and help you achieve the maximum performance.

So, in preparation for this series, review and ensure you have the correct equipment for you. You need to have equipment you can use. If the bow is too small or light, or alternatively too heavy, in-depth tuning is not going to provide many advantages. Alternatively, if your equipment is just above or below were you need to be; advanced tuning can help rein a bow in. Also, make sure you have selected the correct arrows for your setup. Review my Arrow Series about arrow selection to make sure you have selected arrows that are best for you.

StudyingAlways remember that there are several steps to properly tune your bow for maximum performance. You should record every adjustment so you are able to retrace your steps should an adjustment provide negative results. Remember to adjust only one thing at a time and then test. Remember that even one piece of new equipment will require bow tuning and the amount will depend on the importance of that piece. For example, a new plunger a little bit of tuning and new limbs with higher poundage means you may be starting from square one.

Bow tuning is an advanced technique and should be only attempted by archers with at least a good understanding the bow mechanics. I recommend you employ the knowledge and experience of a trained coach. I still work with my coach to tune any new bow that I receive, since a second or third pair of eyes can really help make the difference between a good tuning and perfection.