Importance of Footwear

Shooting requires a good strong foundation therefore comfort and stability as equally important, so you need proper footwear to be successful. When shooting indoors, you need to make certain you are comfortable in the shoes or boots you wear.  Since indoor floors are level, you are able to distribute your weight evenly on your feet, the important things to remember include good arch support, low or minimal heel and lightweight.

Shooting outdoors presents various challenges including weather, location, and safety. Various types of tournaments with various types of weather create different types of obstacles for archers. For target archers who shoot on a relatively level field, the weather is the largest factor. An archer needs comfortable footwear however they also should be prepared for bad weather and/or wet ground to trek through.  You do not want to be stuck shooting in wet feet for several hours; therefore warm, dry feet should be the priority. Rain boots or waterproof footwear are recommended.

If you choose to participate in field and/or 3D tournaments, you are often trekking through the woods and shooting on uneven ground. Once you add in weather conditions, you might have to deal with mud, puddles, slippery conditions as well as bush, vermin and insects. I would recommend you invest in a good set of waterproof boots or Gore-Tex hiking boots. Boots help protect the foot and ankle from brush, and provide traction on uneven or muddy ground. A shoe covering that goes over the ankle is recommended in any place that wood ticks can be present.

Therefore, for outdoor shooting things to consider depending on the types of tournaments you choose to participate in, are comfort, good arch support, low or minimal heel, lightweight, warm, waterproof, breathable, good traction and decent quality. A good quality shoe or boot will help with your posture and in turn improve your scores.

Also, remember to practice frequently in all your different footwear, since every pair can have a slightly different fit and have a different feeling during shooting. A tournament is not the time to be adjusting to a new set of shoes.

The Perfect Hat

There have been many different studies on the use of a hat during athletics.  There are two trains of thought, some feel wearing a hat outdoors may reduce the level of thermal stress by limiting the amount of solar radiation to the head, but others feel that covering the head may also impede convective and evaporative heat loss during extreme heat.

In my opinion, it is very important for an archer to wear the proper hat while shooting. A light brimmed hat helps protect your from the sun so you do not burn and more importantly provides shade to your eyes so you can see the target while you are at full draw.  In rainy conditions, a brimmed hat has the additional benefits of keeping your head dry and protecting your glasses from raindrops.

It is important to find a hat that not only feels right and looks good but also does not interfere with the bowstring. For compound archers, their bows have a narrower string angles at full draw that enables them to choose hats with a larger brims such as a baseball cap. For most recurve archers the bowstring angle is much wider, and therefore they will need to choose hats with a shorter brim.  A lot of recurve archers choose to use a bucket hat similar to the hat Gilligan wore on the 60’s popular TV show.

Finding the perfect hat for you is not always easy and may require some trial and error. Remember, the hat should have some shade protection for your eyes, some sun protection for your head, it needs to fit right, and feel comfortable, somewhat breathable, and most important not interfere with your bowstring.  Even if you choose not wear a hat regularly while shooting, you should always have one with you, just in case.

Rain, Rain go away…

For some archer’s rain can be a real pain, since it is not like shooting under a calm clear blue sky. However, for those archers who prepare and train for it, it is an awesome opportunity to excel.  To be prepared for shooting in the rain, there are only three things to prepare and train for; arrow flight, keep your equipment dry as possible, keep warm, and dry.

Unlike wind, which can blow your arrows off the target, rain only adds weight to the arrow and causes the arrow to fly a little lower.  Try to remember to keep strong through the entire shot and aim a little high. If your shots were weaker than normal, the rain will make that mistake 10 times more noticeable than it would be  in clear weather conditions and produce lower scores.

Dry equipment is just easier to work with, it functions better and is easier to draw and hold. Keep your equipment under your tent or umbrella while you are not shooting. Towel-dry your bow, arrows and your hands between ends.

  • Quick Tip:  Keep a small dry piece of cloth in your quiver so when you go and get your arrows from the target you can dry the shafts of the arrows to help you remove them for the target easier.

For any type of athletics, it is more important to keep warm even if you get wet. You can use good waterproof jacket, however make sure it does not interfere with your bow arm rotation, you are able to draw back your bowstring, and it does not get in the away of the string. Otherwise, wear several layers of shirts and a form-fitting sweater that you can shed. Make sure you have dry clothes you can change into between ends and afterwards.

  • Quick Tip: Get a light waterproof zip-up sport jacket and wear it with your bow arm exposed and the arm pinned out of the way. This way you will at least be warm and dry everywhere else.

Remember, that you can avoid a poor performance by being be prepared, and the advantage of being prepared for those unexpected weather conditions such as rain can help give you a great opportunity to excel.

Official Cartel Doosung Team Member

This week I received my official Cartel Doosung training gear. Although I have been sponsored by Cartel Doosung for almost a year now, receiving official team gear makes me really feel like an official team member. It is an honour to be sponsored alongside Cartel Doosung’s other amazing archers; the Doosung Compound Team who recently competed in the first Asian Archery Grand Prix in Bangkok, Thailand.  The Doosung Compound Team finished fourth in the ranking round and went on to captured the bronze medal narrowly defeating host country Thailand. Congratulations to my fellow team members.

Being part of the successful team inspires you to strive higher and work harder and share in their triumphs and successes. However, all athletes need to be cautious about trying too hard to prove their worth, you have to be careful not to over-strive or work beyond your capabilities. Young athletes need to remember to stick to the training program as outlined by their coaches otherwise they can suffer minor setbacks or even worse suffer a long term injury.

Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.” – H. Jackson Brown

Dress for Success

In other blogs I have talked about having the right bow equipment when shooting.  Clothing is important piece equipment that needs to fit properly.  Any clothing that you wear would vary depending on the weather and where you shoot.  If you are in a cold room you may want long sleeves on or a sweater on when shooting to keep you warm, or if you are in a warm area you may want to wear a T-shirt or a tank top on to keep you cool.

It is very important to remember that any shirts or sweaters that you are wearing when you are shooting must not interfere with the string when shooting.  The sleeves of these shirts have to be fairly well fitted to avoid interference, but the shirt still has to be loose enough for you to rotate your shoulder when drawing back on the string.

Regardless of the weather, every tournament has a dress code. This dress code usually revolves around common sense and generally states that you must wear solid colours, nothing that says anything inappropriate, and clothing must cover the  body to be respectable.  Check with your local, provincial, national and international rules to verify any clothing requirement before attending any tournaments.