Twisted Limbs

Arguably, the MOST important part of the bow are the limbs, since the movement of the limbs transfers energy to drive the arrows to the target. Investing in well-manufactured limbs can be the best move any archer can make. Since consistency is the number one requirement for any archer, you want to avoid any twists. Wood/Fibreglass limbs perform well however can be prone to warping in areas where temperature changes a lot. Carbon fibre layers help strengthen the limb and reduce the tendency to twist.

After purchasing a new set of limbs, one of the first things an archer should do is align their limbs to their riser. Alignment of the limbs means the string should appear to run right down the center of the limbs thru the center of the riser.

I highly recommend the purchase of a new set of limbs for any archer; however, the purchase of a good used set can be an option for a new archer who is still learning the sport. When purchasing a used set remember any twist will cause inconsistent flight of arrows, check for limb distortion (often called limb twist). Viewing the bow strung with the limbs from either end of the bow, if one or both of the limbs have a slight twist, you may have limb twist.  If the distortion is only slight sometimes it can be cured with one of three methods.

1)       Cold Bump Method

Attempt to straighten the limb using the “cold bump” method. If a limb has developed a slight twist from improper stringing, this method often will correct the problem. Grab the bow by the riser with your dominant hand. Use your other hand to grip the bow limb slightly above the twist. Slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion, and then quickly release the limb. Repeat this process several times until the limb properly is aligned.

2)       Warm Wet Submerge Method

Submerge the twisted limb in a tub of hot water for 3 to 4 minutes. The water should be no warmer than a hot bath, around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just hot enough to mildly loosen the glues in a laminate. Remove the limb from the water, then slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion. Release the twist slowly and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the twisting procedure several times until the limb is straight.

3)       Low Heat Method

Twist the limb in the direction opposite the distortion and hold it in place. Have an assistant heat the limb using a hair dryer. Hold the hair dryer 6 to 10 inches from the limb, and slowly move it up and down the length of the limb. Heat the limb slowly for 2 to 3 minutes, then release your hold and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the heating procedure as necessary until the limb is straight.

In my opinion, it is not worth playing with twisted limbs or possible physical injury and especially where ranking is important, competitive archers should not risk the possible performance dip . New well-manufactured limbs are very forgiving of a poor release, feel smooth and are more affordable than ever. Cartel Doosung and Bow Korea offer a complete line of limbs for everyone including introductory limbs, the new Midas MPS limbs for intermediate archers and MK Archery Vera/1440 limbs for competitive archers.

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Competing while Sick

While at the Canadian National Archery Championship in Delisle, Saskatchewan this past month I got sick with stomach flu. We drove out to Saskatchewan in just three days and I originally thought it was the car ride, however shortly after arriving at the campsite I started to get worse; Dilemma. What do I do? I pressed onward and shot the Field Championships capturing the Silver medal however, I did not shoot well nor did I feel better. Should I stop? No, I kept shooting the Target Championships and the Canadian Open, placing fourth in both.

Did I make the right decision? I am not sure however, I did learn something.

Participating at any level while you are not feeling well is not an easy thing to accomplish.  Your body is weak and your concentration is not at its best, since your focus is on feeling better. Competing while you are sick with a virus such as influenza presents enormous challenges of exhaustion as your body fights the infection and you are unable to eat and provide your body additional fuel.

“Food is your body’s fuel. Without fuel, your body wants to shut down.” Ken Hill

Deciding to press onward is a personal choice and should not be taken lightly. Ask yourself one question “What is on the line with this competition?”  If the answers are World Championship, Olympics, National team, and perhaps future funding maybe you do need to force yourself to participate.

Medicine can help when you are not feeling well; however, not all medicines are approved for sport. All athletes that compete at an elite level will be subject to anti-doping testing and if you choose to take any medicine do so with great caution and consult the NSF website for those approved for sport.

Therefore, in a tournament, it is important to provide your body with some kind of fuel to maintain your strength for strong shooting; shooting weak results in weak inconsistent shots that translate into lower scores.  . You should also rest as often as you can and maintain a regular pace so to not over extend your body and lead to long term damage.

I drank orange juice and beef broth and I sat down as often as I could to maintain my strength. This allowed me to finish the tournament, even if it was not my best performance.