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.

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New Finger Tab

Like an old well worked in baseball glove is to a season baseball player, so is a well worked in finger tab to any archer.  A finger tab should allow you to feel the string while at full draw and not interfere with the shot as you release the string. Once an archer has worked in and moulded their finger tab, it becomes a trusted part of their equipment and it is extremely difficult to give it up.

For many reasons, eventually every archer will need to switch to another finger tab. Archer can lose them in the field, they will eventually wear out, and for younger archers you will get bigger and the finger tab just will not fit.  Other reasons for changing finger tabs is because of necessity as better technology and features such as finger spacers and/or a finger tab shelf is needed.

Every archer should have a backup finger tab in their quiver or bow case, especially if you compete at any level.  You should fit it to your hand and practice with it on the regular basis so that if disaster should happen at a tournament you are not learning how to use new equipment in competition.

Rarely does a finger tab fit perfect right off the shelf, so here are a couple of help you prepare your new finger tab.

  • Adjust the length by cutting it down so that it only comes to the end of your fingers while you are holding the string. Young archers may want to leave a little extra since they grow faster.
  • A little baseball glove softener will help start to loosen up a stiff leather finger tab or you can use a metal ruler to stretch the leather quicker
  • For those finger tabs with three layers, you can remove the center rubber one to improve your ability to feel the string and speed up the work-in process
  • For a finger tab with a shelf, adjust it to a comfortable height so it does not hurt your jaw on release
  • For a finger tab with a spacer, you may need to grind it back if you feel it is interfering with your string on release

If you are in the market for a new or backup finger tab, check out Cartel Doosung’s new Midas Finger tab.