Rests

Basically an arrow rest is part of your bow setup that holds the arrow in place, ready to be shot. Allen asked…

What kind of rest would you recommend for a beginner recurve shooter? I’m a COMPLETE newbie to archery, so I blindly went with the archery shop guy’s recommendations when buying my first bow. I ended up buying a Samick Polaris that he set up with a rug rest. Is this a bad kind of rest to use? Wouldn’t the two non-index fletches hit the bow on the way out? My arrows tend to hit the target at an angle instead of perpendicular, so I wonder if the rest could be causing it.

First lets cover the various types, most people say there are four basic types of arrows however I believe there are five; shoot-thru, containment, drop-away, pressure/plunger rests and the additional shelf. The shelf is often overlooked because it is part of the bow, however you do “rest” the arrow on it.

Here is a general overview of each type.

Shoot-thru (or prong) rest : A two-pronged arrow rest with a gap between and spaced about two-thirds of the width of the arrow to create a cradle. The arrow sits on top of the prongs with one fletching pointing down between them and is usually spring-loaded to allow additional clearance for the fletchings. These rests can be tricky for beginners because the arrow can fall off with wind or bad form.  They are best for hunting and the use of a mechanical release.

Containment rest : A totally encircled or a simultaneous 3-point contact arrow rest holding the arrow completely in place until release. These are the most common choice for archery hunting, they are relatively easy to install and tune. Great for beginner hunters since the arrow will not fall off the rest.

Drop-away (or fall-away) rest : Designed to drop out of the way upon release and therefore eliminate any chance of contact with the arrow. Activated by the release of the string, the rest holds the arrow long enough to keep straight and needs to drop out of the way before the fletching reaches the rest. Since this can be very tricky to tune; it is best suited for a compound bow. It is popular for hunting with large fixed-blade broad heads and helical fletchings.

Pressure/Plunger rest: Used commonly by finger shooters (no-mechanical release), they are designed to counter-act the horizontal oscillation from release with your fingers. Standard type bows without a cut-away, typically use a simple flipper rest (a rest with an additional “flipper” that acts like a plunger to help push-back against the pressure). Bows designed with a cut-away for your center shot typically use a rest along with an adjustable plunger. A pressure rest is used on Olympic bows and can be used be any finger shooter.

Shelf: Most traditional longbows and modern recurves bows are now designed with a cut-away area in the riser which includes a shelf area. For this type of bow instead of a pressure rest you can choose to shoot off the shelf. An arrow rest is attached to the shelf of your bow and is usually installed with an arrow plate to the side. They serve as protection for the bow and arrow and act as a soft, smooth surface for the arrow to be shot from.

Selecting a rest depends on a list of things including…

  • Type of bow (compound or recurve)
  • Chosen application (hunting or target shooting),
  • Type of release (finger or mechanical)
  • Budget (cold hard cash)
  • Experience (your ability to tune the rest and bow)
  • Form (some rests are more forgiving)
  • Tradition and historical nostalgia
  • Competition division (division restrictions)
  • And personal preference (bling factor)

There are a ton of rests available on the market and most bow manufacturers follow the same AMO (Archery Manufacturers Organization) standards. Therefore the drilling and tapping for the majority of bows are universal however before you purchase or upgrade make sure a selected rest will work and function with your bow.

A rug rest is a type of rest for a shelf and could be a very good selection for your shooting style if you are shooting traditional however it would not be the best selection for an Olympic archer or a compound hunter.  I am not in a position to recommend the best rest for your bow, since the bow is only as good as the alignment between the rest, release and nocking point. Obliviously, a better quality rest for your style of shooting can impact your accuracy.

To specifically address… My arrows tend to hit the target at an angle instead of perpendicular, so I wonder if the rest could be causing it.

A rest is only one small piece of the bow, and has very little to do with controlling the oscillation of the arrow. I would personally need to watch you shoot and inspect your bow to provide any valued and specific advice. There are a ton of things that can cause your arrow to impact the target on an angle. The bow may need tuning, you may be plucking the string, the arrows may be too stiff or too flexible, and a lot of other things.

Quick Insight: “Bows only perform actions as directed by you; so make sure you have good form first.”

For more information on good form check out my website page The 10 Basic Steps of Archery and to understand controlling arrow movement such as oscillation, check-out the complete Arrow – The series.

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2012 Ontario Target Championships

This past weekend, Algoma Rod and Gun Club in the Sault Ste Marie hosted the Ontario Provincial Target Championships. Sault Ste Marie is situated in Northern Ontario on the eastern point of Lake Superior and 12 hours away from Kingston. Wow, what a long drive for my family, and to give some perspective, in Europe you could travel from Rome, Italy to Frankfurt Germany in the same amount of time. Although it was a long drive 85 of the top archers from around the province travelled to compete in the two-day tournament with a FITA 1440 on day one and a FITA 720 on the second day.

Upon return from the National Championships in British Columbia, I finally received my amazing new bow from Cartel Doosung.  With only two weeks of practice, typically you wouldn’t change anything however this bow is perfectly suited for me; possibly the best bow I have ever shot. Since this is really the last competitive tournament of the outdoor season, I decided to use it.  In my opinion, it was a very good decision. The winds were extremely tricky; flags on targets beside each were other pointing in opposite directions. Every one was having troubles with them. For only two-weeks practice I feel I shot extremely well, perhaps the best I have shot all season, and was able to capture the Bronze medal.  I know this will translate into success in the upcoming indoor season and next year’s outdoor season.

This tournament was also a complete family event as all my siblings participated. My sister Sydney competed in the female cadet recurve division finishing fourth. Joshua competed in the Male Cub Recurve division finishing second, even though he could not complete the tournament because of a shoulder injury. Last and not least, my youngest brother Cole competed in the Male Pre-cub Recurve Division also capturing silver.

It was a great successful tournament and a great family trip since we camped at the KOA campgrounds. I am already looking forward to next year’s family tournament trip.

Ontario Field Championships

This weekend, York County Bowman in New Market Ontario hosted the Ontario Provincial Field Championships, a two-day IFAA tournament with field round the first day and a hunter round the second day. IFAA field tournaments differ slightly from FITA field tournaments, besides being in yards not meters, there are stations with walk-ups or fan shooting and hunter includes odd distances like 53 yards and 20 feet.

I really enjoy shooting in field tournaments, they are just pure fun. Walking through the bush shooting at various size targets from various distances. You shoot up and down hills and over streams with the opportunity to shoot in various stances, on rough ground and at various angles to the target. This year, it was a great opportunity to shoot and practice angles in preparation of the upcoming National Field Championship in Victoria British Columbia next week.

It also marked the first outdoor tournament for my youngest brother Cole who is nine.  Being the youngest of four, it has been a challenge for him living in the shadow of his older brothers and sisters. He has always wanted to do things that we are doing.  Earlier in the year, he shot his first indoor tournament however came up just short of medaling. This time he would not be denied, it was a lot of walking for him however it was all worth it when he received his Gold medal in the Pre-cub recurve division.

Congratulations Cole!

Getting more Distance

Summer is here and with it the outdoor archery season. One of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor archery, other than weather, is distance to the target.

Indoors everyone typically shoots at 18M however outdoors, depending on your age, division and category, you can shoot anywhere from 15M (Peewee) to 90M (Senior Male). As young archers get older and move up in division so do the distances they are asked to shoot. For instance, a pre-cub only needs to shoot maximum 30M in a target competition, however as a cub they need to shoot 50M. I remember trying to shoot Junior/Senior distances as a Cadet; 70 meters was a challenge. My sight was at the bottom and I was still not getting the distance I needed.

If you are struggling with a new distance you can make some equipment changes that can help such as ….

  • Heavier Limbs

Increasing draw weight will give you more force and therefore greater distance.

  • Move the entire sight down

Some sights, like the Cartel Mighty sight, you can move the entire T-bar lower. This allows you to lower the scope. Just remember to keep it out of the arrows flight.

  • Finger tab with a Shelf

Some finger tabs, like the Cartel Midas Finger Tab, have a shelf. If you adjust the shelf to be fully extended, you can lower your anchor point.

  • Spin vanes

For target archers you use synthetic feather fletchings, switching to plastic spin-wing vanes manufactured by Range-O-Matic can help a lot. Spin-wing vanes are lighter, offer less drag and are more forgiving as they help the arrows get into a tighter spin earlier.

Some times equipment changes are not an option because of cost, physical limitations and some times they only get you part way. Here are a couple of simple tricks that may help you reach those last couple of meters.

  • Wear a Mouth-Guard

Using a mouth-guard (or a piece Lego between your teeth) keeps your jaw open lowering your anchor point.

  • Mount your Sight Backwards

Mounting your sight backwards inside your bow, moves your sight marks lower and therefore changes the trajectory.

  • Use your Limbs as a Sight

In clout, a long distance (100M to 200M) sport you use your bottom limb as the sight. This can work for target archery as well. Pick a spot near the top of your lower limb to aim with for your possible distance.

If you have any tricks or tips to help gain more distance, I encourage you to share them.

2012 OFSAA Archery Invitational Tournament

On May 16th to May 17th 2012 Richmond Green Community Sports Centre again hosted the Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, a sanctioned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) event.

Once again, I was able to compete on behalf of my high school Kingston Colligate and Vocational Institute alongside my sister Sydney.  We had a great time meeting up with several of our archery friends from all over the province.

This year, well over a hundred girls competed in Olympic Individual division which produced a close competition, a difference of only 34 points separated the top 10 finishers. I was fortunate to capture the Silver Medal between friends Odelia Wong of Parkdale CI and my MICA teammate Lindsay Fulmerton of St. Michael’s School. My sister shot extremely well and improved on last year’s performance to finish 17th. The new KCVI Archery Club, for which we are founders and I am the coach, has been making progress towards participating in the annual OFSAA tournament. Next year we should be ready to enter a team in the Girls Olympic & Standard Divisions. I hope that we will have enough interest to have a Boys’ Teams as well.

This tournament was a lot of fun and hopefully, the results for the entire tournament will be posted on the Ontario Association of Archers shortly. Any high-school that has or is thinking of starting an Archery Club should really consider participating in this OFSAA sanctioned event. It is an awesome event to gauge your archery club’s development and it is a lot of fun.

Mission Accomplished

No one can experience things for you. They can describe them in detail, draw pictures, give you a slide show, but you need to be there to truly understand what it’s like. That describes my trip to World Indoor Archery Championships in Las Vegas, NV.

I have been back for a week now, and thought I should blog about my experience. My goals before leaving were very simple; learn and enjoy the complete experience. If all I bring back is the knowledge of what it takes to compete that the World level, I will succeed.

Well mission accomplished, I gained the experience I was looking for and I now know what it takes to compete at the international level.

Although, I really enjoyed the learning experience and met several new friends from various other countries, it was extremely nerve racking. Prior to the competition beginning, I was shooting extremely well right up to the minute the announcer came on and declared “Welcome to the World Championships” and this set the wheels in motion. I was finally here competing for my country, and the whole world is watching.

My coach, Kathy Millar, tries to prepare us for this type of thing. Every couple of weeks in class we practice with distractions however nothing can prepare you for that level of distraction with loud fans, multi-lingual teams, and the constant commentators. It started with the introductions, world champion here, junior world champion there and me. Then the distraction of the commentator constantly announcing scores and who is shooting and what they did or needed to do. He even declared the winner in our of the bronze medal match even before we shot our final arrow.

Although individually I finished tied for 17th in the recurve junior women division; my junior women’s team set a new national record, even though we lost in the bronze medal match on the final end to the host Americans. Also congratulations to all my Canadian team members, although none of us medaled in this competition, we all preformed well and showed the world that the Canadians can compete at any level.