Why Don’t Some Students Listen?

QandA logoOne of my favorite coach trainees sent in the following concern (he is currently coaching a college archery team):

“A common problem I’m noticing is that 75% of my students don’t seem to take archery seriously. For example, half of my students don’t come to practice regularly. For those that do come to practice, if I tell someone to do X, they will do it and say they understand it. But then on the following week, they’ve completely forgotten to continue doing X, or they have restarted making the mistake that I taught them to prevent. Others say ‘Well I know you told me to do this, but I just don’t feel like doing it.’”

“Is this normal with teaching? I have expectations that aren’t being met because people don’t regularly come to practice or follow instruction.”

To which I responded: Often our mental construct of coaching is from having observed highly competitive sports in which team members come close to killing themselves to “make the team” and then work their asses off just to stay on it, let alone play much. (I was an archetype for this kind of athlete.)

Actually, your students exemplify the current state of education as a whole, not just archery. So many students have gotten adequate grades/moderate success without any struggle that they have become very dilettantish (not their fault, but their problem).

Because of this we distinguish two groups of archery students: Recreational and Competitive. Our definitions (just ours) are Recreational Archers are in it for social reasons; they are characterized as not doing anything that is not fun. Competitive Archers are training to learn how to win/become better. They are characterized as those who practice and who will do dull drills to get better. Both types can be seen at any archery competition, so “attending a competition” is not a criterion either way.

Add to this scheme the proverb that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

I preserve my sanity through the following rule: I will work for a student only as hard as they work for themselves.

So, recognize that some team members are there only for the fun of flinging arrows and for socializing with other team members and some are there to get better. I spend the bulk of my time with the latter, but don’t neglect the others because you do not know whether or when the “switch will flip” and they become Competitive Archers. The usual scenario for youngsters is they are encouraged to attend (or dragged to) a competition and they do surprisingly well. Then they have the thought, “If I tried harder I think I could get good at this” or “win” or some such.

You might want to try to arrange a “dual meet” competition with another archery club as an introduction to competition. You might flip some of your team’s switches.

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Those Pesky Multi-spot Target Faces

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I got the following question from one of my college archers and I thought you might be interested in the discussion And maybe you have some wisdom to share.

“On the three spot target today, I was able to shoot out the 10 ring on one of the spots (using my compound). 50% of the time, I would score a 9 really close to the 10, the other 50% would be a flat out 10. On the other two spots, however, I kept getting 8’s. Since the ring that I kept getting 10’s on was at the top, I decided to switch the bottom two rings with the top ring, so that there would be two rings on top. But, I still kept getting 10’s in that one center ring. Thus, I concluded that it wasn’t the height of the target that helped me, but it was the fact that the center target was perfectly perpendicular with how I was standing. Given this, what can I do to get of all my arrows in the 10?”

Welcome to the wonderful world of Archery!

My guess is that your preliminary analysis is wrong. One obvious reason is that there are many other factors you ignore. For example, a target spot that gets many 10’s ends up with a hole in the middle that can appear as a dark spot from the target line. Studies show that such “dots” can help aiming. (One of the difficulties associated with the multicolored target face is that the 9-, 10- and X-rings are all the same color, which makes them hard to distinguish, one from the others, at full draw). Realize, though, that I have never been able to get the same pattern on all of the spots of a multi-spot target! Only the elite seem to be able to do it.

Here are things you can try:
#1 Always put the target in its proper orientation as that is how you will see it in competition.
#2 Shoot in one particular order: e.g. 1, 2, 3. Compare the groups you get (10-12 arrows per spot, minimum).
#3 Try a different sequence: e.g. 3, 2, 1 and repeat.
There are six separate sequences on a three-spot target. One of them will typically give you better results.

You also should examine the results based on first, second, and third shots (no matter the sequence). If, for example, your third shot is always the weakest, you are probably shooting too quickly. It takes about 30 seconds for muscles to fully recover their full function and if you are getting off three shots in one minute, the last shot may be with only 80% of muscle capacity (numbers made up).

You will find that expert archers number their arrows and shoot them in the same order because there are defects in arrows that aren’t visible and only show up in the target. If your #3 arrow scores poorly, replace it with another and see if that was the cause of your poor scoring (I use the bottom tube of my quiver as a “penalty box” during competition. I do not shoot arrows in the bottom tube, so if I suspect an arrow is substandard I will consign it to the bottom tube until I can examine it more carefully. This is why you always want to have spare arrows in your quiver.

Other factors that affect your patterning: lighting (this is a biggie!), and soft target butts. Compound archers tend to shoot fairly tight groups. A great many arrows shot into a single place create a soft spot in the butt. Subsequent arrows are deflected from the firm parts into the soft parts, which causes the arrows to move position during impact. We want you to move your target face around while practicing to preserve the butts but at a competition you don’t know the condition of the butts, so if you watch the elite archers, they will move their target faces if they detect they are shooting into a soft spot. (Although they can only be moved so far.) They want to create their own soft spot, dead center in each spot of their target, not someone’s from another target.

Have fun!


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Hey Coach “What’s In It For You?”

There are two levels we wish to address this question in this article: the first is “what is in it for you personally as an archery coach” and then again from an outside view as someone who is responsible for youth archery coaches in a program, which is “what’s in it for them?”

A very common arc for an archery coach is this: your son or daughter gets involved in an archery program and, voila, you are by definition “an archery parent.” If your child sticks to it so that you are involved for several years, your kid’s coach suggests that you help out and to help out you need to be certified, so you become a Level 1 Coach and start helping out with the team/classes. Along the way, you give archery a try and it is a lot of fun and you become a more or less committed archer yourself. As the years go on, you can find yourself in the position whereby the longtime coach retires from that position and asks someone to “step up” and take his position. Often many people look to you because you’ve been a helper for so very long and . . . sound familiar? I suspect that many of you recognize at least a part of this scenario.

It goes on. From the viewpoint of the youth coach, many times they find themselves two to three years past the point where their kids stopped participating and wonder “Why am I still doing this?”

We recommend that you look at this question from the beginning and re-examine it from time to time. It is one thing to do something to support a child’s hobby, but you could end up spending a great deal of precious family time, a great deal of money (on your own equipment, lessons, training programs, books, etc.) out of inertia, that is just by being involved.

We think you need get something out of this effort, being an archery coach, but we can’t tell you want that is. we suggest that you do a little exercise and write out your coaching philosophy. Steve Ruis, AFm Editor, has posted his several times so that will serve as an example.

My Coaching Philosophy
Steve Ruis
Last Updated Summer 2013

Because archery is not just an individual sport but is a sport with no opponent, almost all of the responsibility for a performance falls to the athlete. Consequently my goal is to create a situation in which the athlete becomes functionally self-sufficient. To do this, I:
•    describe my general approach (bring all parts of an archer’s shot up to parity and then rework the shot as many times as is desired to achieve the archer’s goals) but am open to other approaches an archer may desire.
•    endeavor to explain everything I am asking an athlete to do (but only up to the point they desire)
•    ask the athlete to make all final decisions regarding form changes, etc.
•    continually educate the athlete in techniques that can be used to self-educate him- or herself, e.g. process goals, journaling, learning how to analyze video (but only up to the point they desire).
•    break down complex tasks into doable parts as much as is possible, explaining to the athlete what is being done and why.
•    demonstrate a positive outlook, which is a requirement of successful coaching as much as successful archery.
•    educate the archer on his/her equipment with the goal of them taking full responsibility for their own equipment.
•    educate the archer on the requirements of competing successfully with the goal of them taking full responsibility for competition planning, preparation, and execution.
•    honor the athlete’s outcome goals and teach how one achieves outcomes through ladders of success and careful preparation and execution.
•    honor the fact that each student is a diverse individual and that I may not be the most, or even a very, substantial influence on their lives.
•    work as hard for my students as they do for themselves. If a student does not want to work toward their own goals, I will honor their decision but I will not continue to work with them.
•    will endeavor to point out how what they are learning from their bow and arrows carries over into other aspects of their lives.
•    will work with parents of underage athletes, necessarily, so that there is full communication between and among the archer’s support team.
•    work hard to improve my knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a coach.

Once you have written out your own coaching philosophy, basically “what you do” and “how you do” it as a coach, go back through and ask yourself “why?” for each point. For some things you may find it stems from “wanting to do a good job” and you may find that you do others “because you like to help people.” Archery provides a short feedback loop such that you can make a suggestion to an archer and they can get positive results in very short order. Compared to the other “projects” in your life, like “being a good parent” or “raising your children well” or “getting a promotion at work in the next three years,” this is blazing fast proof that your activities are effective and important to others. That feels good.

Whatever you discover as to “what I am getting out of this,” we think that to do a good job, you have to want to do a good job and the “whys” are important.

Do You Supervise Other Coaches?
Or do you help “run” the program you coach in? Or are you in any way invested in the success of the program? If so, there is another aspect of this and that is if your other coaches aren’t getting something out of their participation they will be gone shortly and you will have to replace them.

In the long run, we think coaches need to be paid. They don’t have to be paid as if it were like being in a great job but youth coaches are doing work very similar to what paid teachers and paid recreation leaders do. There is a lot of work associated with running a program and coaching a bunch of student-archers. Coaches also incur out-of-pocket expenses. Do your coaches have whistles? Where’d they get them? (We give our coaches a whistle as part of their graduation ceremony when we train them.) Coaches end up buying all kinds of things out-of-pocket (even their own whistles). Since the vast majority of them are volunteers, they are in effect paying for the privilege of donating their services.

If you want your coaches to stick around, there are any number of things you can do to encourage that. Obviously treating them with respect is a given, but after that appreciation goes a long way to encouraging volunteer coaches. This can be as simple as thanking them publically, either at a picnic/dinner/party or in an ad in the local paper thanking them by name. Plaques of appreciation are welcome as are other tokens (windbreakers, shirts with “Coach” embroidered upon them, whistles, books on coaching archery, (subscriptions to Archery Focus magazine, Ed.), etc. If your program doesn’t have much money, you can ask the parents to support a “coach gift” or as we did for a long time, we printed appreciation certificates designed on a computer. It is the thought that counts, not so much the money, but sometimes it is the money: to pay for a coach training program, to buy a bow for themselves, to allow for the coach to travel to an important event to be with the team. Parents will often donate all kinds of things if you ask for help. We have had parents donate round-trip airfare coupons they had to allow us to bring in a coach for a special team training session for one of our JOAD groups. Other parents offered to house and feed the guest coach and drive him around, others offered to pick him up and drop him off at the airport, and we collected enough cash to pay his fee for the session. We didn’t ask for anything specific, we just pointed to the opportunity and the parents did the rest.

You need to think about the “care and feeding of volunteer coaches” and how you can enhance the experience of your coaches. They will be happier, stay with you longer, and speak more positively about the program than they will if they are just taken for granted.

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How Do I Shut Off Conscious Thinking During My Shot

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Okay, we all know archery is a mental game. We gather a lot of shooting info in our heads but when it comes time to score what do you do to shut it off and let the subconscious take over?
Tony Bergh, President, Archery Shooter Systems
(through the Archery Networking Group on LinkedIn.com)

Nice question. I will think about it some more but let me give you an analogy. Sometimes it is important to focus your vision intently on some task. What you are focused on becomes a large part of your reality as everything else fades away. Sometimes it is necessary to not be focused visually. If someone says there is a deer out that direction, do your eyes flit from bush to tree to find them or would it be more successful to relax the focus of your eyes and wait for some motion to draw your attention. Mentally, being focused unconsciously is like that. You avoid “concentrating” which I claim is a conscious activity and “focus” unconsciously upon the task at hand.

It helps at first if you use a “trigger” to create this state. Golfers do this while putting. They tap their putter on the ground or do a forward press or … or … just before they begin to putt the ball. It can also be something like a phrase of key words to start the process (e.g. Here we go!).

The only way I know of to train yourself to not think consciously while shooting is committing wholeheartedly to “the Rule of Discipline” which says

If anything—mental or physical, anything at all—
intrudes from a prior step or from outside the shot,
you must let down and start over.

The application here is that in practice and competition if a conscious thought pops up while you are immersed in your shot, you must let down and start over. If you do this religiously, you will train yourself to not have conscious thinking during your shots. It needs to be where it belongs: between your shots.

I assume you know why this needs to be, no? If not: you can consciously think about only one thing at a time, while subconsciously you can think of many things at once. Being only able to think of one thing at a time is no problem through much of the shot sequence because you need to be focused on just what you are doing “now.” The problem lies when you get to “aiming.” When you are aiming you must split your attention so that part of it is on aiming and part of it is on finishing your shot (hopefully something associated with your back tension). If you are thinking consciously at that point your mind will flit back and forth between the target and your back (or its surrogate). Everyone who has tried to do this consciously has reported failure.


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What to Do About Overenthusiastic Archery Shoppers

QandA logoMy friend Tammy Besser sent in a clump of questions for the blog (Bless you, Tammy!) of which this is one: Any advice on how to stop or at least slow down archers who go out and but too much equipment and too expensive equipment, equipment that is beyond their skill level?

The normal situation is people are clueless and need all your help to figure out what they should be buying and when, but these situations do happen. I remember one young archer who, after his first lesson, got his grandparents to buy him a bow and arrows and they went out shooting from the trails of the local state park. (After hearing this story from Grandma and after getting up off of the ground from having fainted due to blood loss to my brain, I explained that it was illegal, dangerous, etc. They didn’t know.)

So, the question is what to do with people whose pocketbooks outweigh their judgment when it comes to archery gear. The answer is simple: you have to educate them. How to do just that isn’t simple; it is hard.

Suggestion #1 Prepare some equipment handouts
The important points to make are: (a) that a beginners’ archery form changes quite a bit and therefore it is almost impossible to recommend equipment until it settles down, (b) buying the wrong equipment can actual retard an archer’s progress to the point they get frustrated and even quit, and (c) getting “advanced” equipment can be a waste of money as many of the features of the advanced equipment can only be taken advantage by expert archers.

I can back all of these up with stories, but if you can or can’t also offer solid advice. Maybe the best advice is that archers need equipment that is matched to their skill: beginners need beginner-level equipment; intermediate archers need intermediate-level equipment; advanced/elite archers need advanced/elite equipment. Cost is an indicator of these stages, but it is not the only one, so make specific suggestions in your handouts.

Suggestion #2 If you do group instruction, schedule classes where the topic is equipment.
Do bow and arrow fittings. (I include a handout on where and how to shop for archery gear based upon local providers. Help students who have their own equipment to realize what they can do to tailor that equipment to improve their shooting. Do equipment checks. (I had a younger student who has been struggling with left-right arrow patterns. So, I took her plunger off of her recurve bow to find out that three of the four set screws that held the settings of the plunger were missing, meaning her centershot and side pressure were changing with every shot!) Beginning archers do not know how to check their own equipment, nor how to document it. You might want to pass out bow/arrow documentation forms at those meetings. (I posted one at http://www.archeryeducationresources.com/Coaching_Resources.html if you want an example of such a thing.

Suggestion #3 If there is a local archery shop in town (Hallelujah!) create a relationship with them.
Go there, introduce yourself. Ask about what equipment and services they offer that your archers might need. If they are cooperative, refer students to that shop. (I used to have handouts to pass out including the shop’s name, contact information, directions on how to get their, hours of operation, and if there was a specialist in beginner’s equipment who to ask for.) Work with them over time to serve your students better. It will be good for their business, your business, and your archers.

And, of course, whatever they buy they will need help with setting it up and adapting it to them. This is especially true for all y’all who don’t have a good archery shop nearby.


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Musing About Strings

QandA logoI have a student I am teaching to make bowstrings (recurve, not compound) and he has a great many questions, quite a few of which I cannot answer. Those questions, though, got me speculating about a number of things, specifically nock fit and string diameters, in that arena. I would love somebody more knowledgeable about these things to comment on this!

One of the questions involved a discussion of the numbers of strands used to make a bowstring and hence its diameter. Please recognize that I am speculating more than quite a bit here.

Back in the old days (when string materials were natural and more easily broken, the pattern became: heavier drawing bows required thicker strings. the string materials: silk, linen, hemp, etc. were not particularly strong and so strings broke fairly easily. (I remember one war bow researcher stating that a string on one of those heavy bows might last six shots!) Thicker strings were made of more strands. Arrow nocks were generally just a slot cut in the back of the arrow (self nocks) and the fit wasn’t particularly a concern as the arrow was pinched between the fingers.

Easton Super Nock

Easton Super Nock

When manufactured nocks came into being, they were made in four different throat sizes to allow for this. Heavier bows required larger arrows (to get more stiffness, wooden arrows were just made thicker), and larger arrows required bigger nocks (think glue-on nocks at this time) and the larger nocks had bigger nock grooves because the bows had thicker strings. Smaller shafts used smaller nocks which had smaller grooves because those bows had smaller strings (in diameter/numbers of strands).

Fast forward to modern bowstring materials (Fastflight and beyond). These materials are much stronger and more resistant to wear/abrasion and breakage than the old materials but they were introduced into a system that was already created for the older materials. If you look at the breaking strengths, it only takes a few (roughly four) strands to carry the load for any recurve bow. The additional strands tend to be for nock fit. You have an example of this in aluminum arrows. Easton sells its line leader X7s with inserts for Super Nocks (large groove) if 20/64˝ diameter or larger and G Nocks for the smaller shafts (both large and small grooved G Nocks have smaller grooves than the one in a Super Nock). The assumption is still that the larger arrows are stiffer, going to be used on a heavier bow, with a larger diameter string.

I think modern materials have provided us with all kinds of options we aren’t taking advantage of. We can use strings of fewer strands on heavier bows, which would make them (marginally) faster. Some barebow archers use a triple center serving in lieu of using a tab (or a thicker one). We can use heavier strings on lighter bows but there are few advantages to this. We can put smaller nocks on bigger arrows. (Before Easton started making G Nock inserts for their larger arrows, I took ACC 3-71 nock inserts and epoxied them into Super Nock bushings to create the equivalent (so I wouldn’t have to change the bowstrings I was using to use those arrows with Super Nocks).

I think this is one of those examples of a system created under vastly different circumstances but which is maintained now to create some continuity with the past. I suspect that the number of strands recommendations by the various string material vendors is based more on nock fit than it is on having a strong enough string. Maybe secondary to nock fit is a thicker string distributes the pressure better on the draw fingers and therefore makes shooting more comfortable. I’d even place that in front of string strength as a guide to how many strands are needed to make up a string.

Easton G Nocks

Easton G Nocks

Another example of these phenomena is aluminum arrow sixes, e.g. 2114, in which the first two digits is the size of the shaft in 64ths of an inch. Sixty-fourths was chosen because the common wood arrow diameters were: 1/4˝, 3/8˝, 5/16˝, 11/32˝, etc. All of these are translatable into 64ths (being 16, 24, 20, and 22 sixty-fourths respectively). The benefit of any such connect (between aluminum and wood shafts) has dubious value in my mind, other than making aluminums more acceptable to those who were used to the sizes of wood shafts.

The situation regarding nocks and strings is that I think you can use any nock on any string for any reason and still be safe. I know Larry Wise preferred small groove G nocks over large grooved ones as they presently less of a target for another arrow’s point and a glance-off costing him points. Any reason can be good, the possibilities are very large, so feel free to experiment.

Toute réponse?


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Another Hot Off the Press Announcement!

We have formally launched the Watching Arrows Fly Coaching Library with the release of Larry Wise’s new archery coaching book Larry Wise on Coaching Archery. This book is now available on Amazon.com and I just put the finishing touches on a Kindle version for those of you who prefer that (plus it is only $9.95 — and for some strange reason the two editions are listed separately, so you have to search for the Kindle edicition separately).

If you don’t know Larry Wise, he is one of the premier compound coaches in the world. Currently he is helping the USA Archery folks write up the National Training System for compound archers. His new book is full of advice for compound and bowhunting coaches and was written also for those coaching themselves. This book fills a very large hole in the coaching literature as Larry address not only what to teach but how to teach it.

LWonCA Cover v4 (large)


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Hot Off the Press!

ACHT Cover v2I promised (threatened?) I was writing a “how to” book for archery coaches. Well, Archery Coaching How To’s is out and available on Amazon.com! In this book I tried to describe what I consider to be teaching techniques tf contents:


Table of Contents

General Caveats

How To’s

  • How to . . . Introduce Clickers
    ·   How to . . . Manage Draw Weight
    ·   How to . . . Teach Release Aids
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Slings
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Stabilizers
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Bow Sights
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Finger Tabs
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Peep Sights
    ·   How to . . . Introduce New Arrows

How To’s
Form and Execution

  • How to . . . Teach the Use of Back Tension
    ·   How to . . . Teach Shooting Off of the Point
    ·   How to . . . Teach Stringwalking
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Anchors
    ·   How to . . . Teach Different String Grips
    ·   How to . . . Teach a Finger Release
    ·   How to . . . Develop A Strong Bow Arm
    ·   How to . . . Create A Good Followthrough
    ·   How to . . . Create A Surprise Release (Compound)
    ·   How to . . . Adapt to New Bows

How To’s
New Experiences

  • How to . . . Introduce Field Archery
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Target Archery
    ·   How to . . . Introduce Competition
    Sidebar: Who Competes? Against Whom or What?

Having a Written Coaching Philosophy
Coaching Rationales

If you read it, please post a review on Amazon.com to help others with their buying decisions. Thanks.





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Should I Emulate/Recommend Elite Technique?

Often what we read about how to shoot arrows from bows are descriptions of elite technique. Unfortunately these authors rarely include “this is what you need to do to build this technique.”

Some coaches, on one hand, recommend that you emulate what elite athletes do until you become one. This “fake it until you make it” approach might work but I doubt it. As an absurd example, consider a young high jumper who puts up a bar at seven feet and then tries repeatedly to jump over it. Such an approach is quite unlikely to help anyone. Consider young athletes in any other sport, say baseball or football. Would you recommend that they try to do things like the pros do? Probably not. The reasons are manifold. First, they probably do not understand the game well enough to even comprehend what you were asking them to do. Second, it is unlikely that they have developed the requisite muscle strength to do those things. And, third, it is unlikely that they will have developed enough skill and coordination to do those things. (There’s more.) So, what do youth coaches in those sports recommend? They emphasize “the fundamentals.” In other words, you teach the basics to build a foundation upon which those more refined skills might take root, later. At the same time they teach and encourage conditioning and strength development.

This, I believe, is true for youths and also for adult beginners, who might have more fully developed musculatures in general, but probably not their “archery muscles” so much.

It is my position that there are some things elite archers do that you and your athletes should not do. I urge my students to adopt good basic form to learn how to execute good shots with good alignment. I teach relaxation. I teach the shot cycle. I teach the mental game. I teach equipment maintenance and tuning. There is much to learn before the elements of elite technique come into play.

If you need another analogy consider a beginning archer: if you were to offer him or her a full professional-level bow and arrow setup, would it improve or hurt their development? Would their scores skyrocket or would they struggle to use “touchy” or heavy draw weight elite equipment?

If, and when, my students decide they want to become very, very good, then I will recommend some of the things the elites do, realizing that many of those are built upon a well-built basic form and upon excellent physical conditioning.

I call upon authors of works describing shooting techniques to (a) clearly identify to whom they address their comments and (b) build foundations to learn those techniques including all necessary preliminary stages and bridges between them. This has not been the case so far, but I think it would advance our sport a great deal, especially if a consensus can be achieved among coaches regarding these things.



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Q&A Do You Want a Heavy Bow or a Light One?

QandA logoI got this question from one of my University of Chicago archers: “I have often heard a heated debate over whether one should shoot a heavy bow vs. a light one. Today, I was reminded of that debate today when I was using my somewhat heavy compound bow. Camp A says that people should always use lighter bows, because with lighter bows, it’s easier to be stable due to the lack of significant strain on the muscles used to hold up the bow. Camp B says that people should always use heavier bows, because with heavier bows, it stabilizes your shot since more weight equals more inertia. Are both sides correct, and is it just personal preference?” Vincent Chen

The answer to the question has to do with time. With a recurve bow or longbow, you experience peak draw force at full draw, which means whatever you are going to do at full draw, you want to be quick about it. Because of the letoff of a compound bow, you experience a great deal less draw force at full draw (considerably less than half of the maximum or “peak” draw weight), so you have quite a bit more time available.

Little weights at the tips of those rods are much more effective in providing stability than if they were just added to the riser.

Little weights at the tips of those rods are much more effective in providing stability than if they were just added to the riser.

If you have to make positional changes in the bow at full draw, to get your sight’s aperture or arrow point on your point of aim, and you have little time, you want the bow to have less mass (= less inertia, meaning it is easier to move), so it can be moved while still having time to settle down from that movement. ( I use the metaphor of cartoon characters that run and then stop abruptly, vibrating to a stop, which isn’t quite correct, but it does take a little time after a gross movement for “stillness” to occur, plus you need to assure yourself that stillness has been achieved and you can only do that through observation over time.) If you have more time at full draw, you can afford the extra mass (which would slow such repositionings down). That extra mass really comes into play when the arrow is loosed in that the bow is barely being held when the string is loosed, so how much it moves is dependent upon inertia and the forces acting on the bow. Since the bow acts on the arrow and vice-versa, the only big other player is gravity.

Make sense? Olympic Recurve archers want lighter bows, compound archers want heavier bows.

This Italian barebow riser is massive and that's before the weights that fit into the two round holes are installed!

This Italian barebow riser is massive and that’s before the weights that fit into the two round holes are installed!

Now, recurve barebow archers, they are different. Since they are forbidden to take small amounts of mass and spread them out in space via stabilizers, like Olympic Recurve archers, they are forced to maximize what they have, which is the bow’s mass. Recurve bows made specifically for barebow tend to be quite heavy indeed as there is no other stabilization allowed. This then requires some extra time at full draw when shooting, unavoidably so. For example, I bought the riser of a bow shot by a world championship bronze medalist barebow archer. He had the grip taken off and then made into a mold to cast a replacement . . . in brass. I didn’t measure the weight difference between a large plastic grip piece and one of the same shape in brass but it was more than a pound. It made the bow heavier yet didn’t stick out far enough to fall prey to the “no stabilizer” rules.

A secondary question is whether the archers have enough strength in their deltoid muscle (on their upper bow arm) to hold up that much weight. Most beginning archers do not, especially youths and beginners with little upper body development, so I recommend that these folks “keep it light.” Over time those muscles will get stronger and adding weight to must bows then is relatively easy.

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