Vision – Glasses, Contacts and Archery

Being an archer, competitive or recreational, does not require perfect 20/20 vision. E Perez asked…

I’m not sure if you’ve worn glasses before but if so, do you have any suggestions on archers who used glasses and are now switching to contacts? I’ve recently switched from glasses to contacts and my aiming is way off!

I can relate to this question, when I started shooting I had 20/20 vision, and around high school I needed glasses. I have not tried contacts yet, however it was an adjustment. Remember, the purpose of a corrective lens helps refract the light or images into in focus so you can see. Check out this website that explains how your vision works and how corrective lenses affect vision.

Wearing glasses or contacts can sometimes be a challenge for archers, since we actually stand to the side of the bow, not directly behind it. Therefore we are always viewing things on an angle, add the complexity of a corrective lens and it may be difficult to clearly focus on the target. It depends on the strength and thickness of the corrective lenses. I have a friend who can not shoot with her contacts on. The angle of the bow, combined with the angle of her contacts and she can not see her string alignment at all, which can affect your group.

Picking glasses out also presents a challenge because of the angle of the lenses and the thickness of the frames. My sister can not shoot with her prescription glasses because the frames are too large for the angle of the bow and she can not see her string alignment. If you need corrective lenses, it may take some trial and error experimenting to find out what works best for you.

I’ve recently switched from glasses to contacts and my aiming is way off!

If you are able to see the target and string alignment in focus, consider your arrow groupings.

Groups open up: Your brain could be simply catching up with your new perception, give it some time and practice. If the groups do not get better, then try shooting with your glasses on again and comparing the results.

Groups still tight; just off center: Move the sight. Even the smallest change can affect everything else, your vision is a large change.

Moved your sight; no change: Check your form, since many things can affect your your arrows including plucking the string.

Vision is important however not as important as good form. In fact, you may have read my earlier blog about legally blind South Korean archer, Im Dong-hyun, who broke the world record at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Im Dong-hyun has only about 20% vision in his right eye and only 10% in his left eye.

Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them – Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars

Your vision is important, however you may want to focus on making sure the shot “feels” the same every time, this is the key to success. For me, my coach still insists everyone warm-up with the following exercise to help us focus on feel not vision.

Close-Open-Close Warm-up 

  1. Close your eyes and draw your bow to full draw; focusing on your form. Try to make sure all your muscles and bones are in the same position with the same amount of pressure
  2. Quickly open your eyes to move the sight to the target
  3. Close your eyes and then shoot.

I hope I have provided some guidance and answered your question. If any other readers have experienced changes from moving to contacts from glasses, we would love to hear from you.

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Getting Started in Archery

Archery is one of the best sports because it can be social, competitive, fun, and casual, you just need to decide what you want to get out of it.  Recently the interest in archery has sky-rocketed since the movies the Hunger Games, Brave and the Avengers.

Archery is so popular that Britain right now, with London Olympics finishing recently,  MPs are demanding its return and politicians have participated in training sessions with current and future Olympians.

This is not a local phenomenon either, there are tons of articles throughout North America about the increased interest in Archery. I am sure there are even more throughout the world since I have seen a lot of blogs about people who have or want to give it a try and I have also seen a lot of questions and comments about how to get started.

Well, here is a quick simple step-by-step guide.

  1. Find a archery club : Archery clubs exist everywhere; your school may even have an archery club. You can also contact your provincial, state or national archery organization. Most Provincal Sports Organization (PSO) or National Sports Organization (NSO) are now online and they will either have a listing of clubs or you can contact them directly for one
  2. Setup a take a beginner class or a private lesson : Most clubs offer regular lessons for both beginner and advanced archers. Alternatively you can contact a private coach, like myself, and setup a private session.

It’s that simple and once you have tried archery; you’ll be hooked.

Since, the hardest part about getting started in archery is finding information. Check out my links page for links to Ontario, Canada, USA, and International organizations to help you find an archery club close to you.  Once started, you can talk with your club or coach and they can provide some insight on how you can get the most out of archery.

2012 Paralympics Games

Wednesday will mark with start of the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London England. The Paralympics are the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Olympics. The Paralympic Games are linked directly to the Olympics. They follow the same schedule running every two years and alternating between summer and winter, and since Seoul 1988 (Summer Games) and Albertville 1992 (Winter Games) the games have taken place on the same venues following the Olympic Games. 

The paralympic games were the dream of Dr. Guttmann, a German born British neurologist interested in helping world War II veterans with spinal injuries. Dr. Guttmann was an archer and setup an archery demonstration between two teams of paraplegics that coincided with the 1948 London Olympics.

His dream was of a worldwide sports competition for people with disabilities to be held every four years as “the equivalent of the Olympic Games.” Twelve years later, his dream became a reality.

The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally, only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically. The present-day Paralympic Games include five major classifications of athletes: persons with visual impairments, persons with physical disabilities, amputee athletes, people with cerebral palsy, people with spinal cord injuries and Les Autres – athletes with a physical disability that are not included in the categories mentioned above (e.g., people with Muscular Dystrophy). History of the Paralympics Games

Canada is internationally renowned as a leader of the Paralympic movement and has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games since Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968. Canada has sent an archery team to every Paralympic games since 1968 with only one exception being the 2004 games in Athens.

My coach Kathy Millar of South Nation Archery was interviewed last Friday by CTV Morning Live to discuss Paralympic Archery ahead of the Paralympic Summer Games. She explains Paralympic archery and how Paralympic archers use different muscle sets when competing depending on the disability or limitation of the archer. You can check out the entire interview here.

For these games Canada is sending a team of 5 archers including Kevin EVANS (Jaffray, BC), Bob HUDSON (Leoville, SK), Karen VAN NEST (Wiarton, ON), Lyne TREMBLAY (Magog, QC), Norbert MURPHY (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC), and Rob COX (Winnipeg, MB). Good luck to all the athletes and GO CANADA GO!

Canada’s wait continues

Canada’s wait for it’s first Olympic medal will unfortunately be extended four more years. Both Crispin Duenas of Ontario and Marie-Pier Beaudet of Quebec were eliminated in their opening match in London.

Crispin Duenas : http://www.tsn.ca/story/?id=402049

Marie-Pier Beaudet : http://www.tsn.ca/story/?id=401855

Nonetheless, I am very proud of them. While watching these games, I can empathize with the pressure that they are experiencing. After participating in the World Championship in Las Vegas this past winter, I have a new appreciation of the pressure that is cast-upon athletes at these competitions.

At large competitions like the Olympics and World Championships they try to make archery more viewer friendly for the spectators through the addition of commentators. This can be very nerve racking for the archers as they announce each shot and various competitors’ scores, sometimes right at the very moment of your release. In my team bronze medal match, the commentators were already declaring victory for the other team before we had finished shooting. It is almost impossible to block it out, at this level it is about who can manage their nerves and the pressure since they are all excellent shooters.

I have also read comments of news stories, blogs and twitter asking “Why is archery an Olympic sport?”.  For those people, I challenge you to pull 50 pounds, hold for 7 seconds with enough calm composure to hit an apple 70 meters away, adjusting on the fly for all the elements. Now repeat 72 times, consistently. It takes strength, endurance, and composure, just like any other sport.

All of these archers are amazing athletes and deserve to represent their respective countries at these games. For Canada, eighth and twenty-ninth in the world are awesome!

Congratulations, Team Canada on a job well done.

2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies

On Friday, London, England will host the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. Over the years, there have been some awesome opening ceremonies including the last Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. For me, last year’s ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia was amazing and has a special place in the heart of every Canadian. However, recently I watched the 1992 Barcelona Olympic opening on YouTube, and I think I have found a new favourite, as should every archer.

Check it out the entire 1992 opening ceremonies in HD.

Good luck to all athletes and a special cheer to both Crispin Duenas of Ontario and Marie-Pier Beaudet of Quebec as they compete in archery and attempt to bring home the first Olympic archery medal in Canadian history. All of Canada is pulling for you.

GO CANADA GO.

London 2012 – Archery Guide

Check out this article published by The Telegraph in the United Kingdom. It provides an overview of Olympic archery including Tactics and Techniques. It also has a very nice introduction to archery video by 5 time Great Britain Olympian, Alison Williamson.

A sport’s guide to the archery event at the London 2012 Olympics.

Crispin Duenas in the Toronto Star

Fellow archer and World Indoor Championship teammate, Crispin Duenas was featured in the Toronto Star as he takes aim at the Olympic Games in London.

Check out the article : London Olympics: Canadian archer Crispin Duenas takes dead aim at return to Games