Not a True Test . . . But . . .

Check out this YouTube video ( It has two archers shooting an indoor round, one using a €2000 bow and the other a €200 bow. (Guess which one wins!)

We did a similar test in Archery Focus, but that was a true test in that the same archer shot both bows. In our test, the wooden bow was problematic in that it didn’t have enough sight window cutout to allow for a correct centershot setting. Still the results with the cheap bow were not far from those for the vastly more expensive bow.

There is an old saying in field archery (“It is not the arrow, it’s the Indian.”) which points out the obvious. The archer is responsible for accuracy. All the bow does is to impart energy to the arrow. If it does that consistently, a great deal of accuracy is possible even from quite modest equipment.

You may want to save the link to share with young archers who are whining/whinging that their lack of new arrows (or a new bow, or a new sight, or a new . . .) is preventing them from achieving their goals.

One of the wisest things I have heard about equipment (and that is a pun because it was from Larry Wise) is that archery is about one third equipment, physical prowess, and mental ability . . . each. The physical aspects can be trained in and the equipment refined and tuned in leaving the mental part at about 90% of what is left for an archery performance.

Equipment is important. But a tuned wooden bow system is not vastly inferior to a tuned high end system.

Disclaimer I have a pet peeve in that youth archers are rushed into metal-risered bows that are too heavy for them to hold up through their shots so they spend years practicing “dropping their bow arm.” Sticking with a lower mass bow will lead to greater progress in young archers. Of course, they are “youngins” who can pick me up and press me overhead, and equally of course, they can shoot any weight bow they want, but most youths do not develop their deltoid muscles (aka bow holding up muscles) until they are 18 or so.


Filed under For All Coaches

6 responses to “Not a True Test . . . But . . .

  1. Tom D

    Wonderful article, Steve!
    A few things to add here. I see so many people asking about “upgrading” their bowsight to one of the new “high quality” multi-adjustable bowsights out there for $300-$500 or more. Personally, when I finally “upgraded” my bowsights away from the Killian Chek-it bowsight and Magna-site scope, I didn’t see any improvement at all in my ability or my score, period. Yes, the new ones held the adjustment better, and had added bells and whistles, but it didn’t really improve anything. The new ones do make it easier to get sight settings entered into the computerized sight mark systems and to make tapes. But other than that….
    The next one is the big one! “I shot this score with my HUNTING BOW. I can imagine how much better it could be with a TARGET bow. Say what? About the only difference these days between the “hunting bow” and the Target bow is the finish on the bow. If both are properly setup and tuned, they BOTH will produce the same scores, period. The Hunting bows of the same “model” are the same bow, excepting the finish…camo vs bright shiny pretty color.
    The next one is MASS WEIGHT. Over the years, I’ve seen people start to brag about how their 11 POUNDS of mass weight they have with their bow is as solid as a rock and so on and so forth. With that has come an upsurgence in SHOULDER INJURIES that are making doctors rich. Your shoulder isn’t designed to be a shock absorber for that much weight extended out in front of you some 32 inches or more. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Rotator cuff and other shoulder and elbow injuries are going to happen if a person shoots that kind of mass weight for very long. Over time, this builds and sooner or later….(fill in the blank). I also have many friends that shoot a lot of poundage AND mass weight. Most of them have to lay off shooting for a few days or even a week after a long shooting session or tournament because their shoulder or elbow hurts so bad they cannot draw their bow without pain! DAH!
    I have been shooting bows for well over 60 years. I have NEVER and I mean NEVER had to lay off shooting because my shoulders or elbow hurt so bad I couldn’t lift or draw back my bow! NEVER! I shoot as light of a mass weight as I can, and I also have never shot a bow at a peak weight of over 57 pounds, period. I hunted with 50# peak weight for years. I shoot target at 47# peak weight and have shot that poundage for years as well.
    I hate to see fathers bring their sons and daughters into the range to get them a bow and are telling the shop and their kids that they MUST start at the least weight of 40# so they can get ready for hunting! The kids sky draw the bow, elbow down against their torso, twist and point the bow to the side instead of down range, and most actually turn their head away from the line of fire to get to full draw. Sad, sad, sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I see frequent queries on hunting websites about whether a hunter’s deer hunting will suffer if they shoot less than 70# … 70#. I think there was some positive feedback involved in this. Foe some reason, 70# became the most popular bow Mathews sold. So, when shops ordered their bows (in January) for the coming season (starting in August) they ordered a bunch of 70# bows as they were told that this was the most popular model. So, guess which bows the shops pushed from January to August?


  2. Coach Rama

    Hello Sir.
    So happy to see this article and the video made me smile / happy.
    For many years, when asked by an archer, to recommend a ‘new / fancy’ bow fully loaded with accesories, I have repeated one phrase –
    “A fast car, does not make you a better driver”.
    There are coaches that recommend that a youngster go straight into using good equipment, with minimal priority given over to form or biological strengthening.
    Personally, I have no issue with this. Maybe the parents have the money to spend on little Johnny / Sarah, maybe the coach has little knowledge in the area of formation or maybe the person is just doing it as a leisure activity but wants what others have.
    I suppose I should also point out, that the really good stuff, is pricey but that there are more cheaper bows available now, that look like good stuff than ever before.
    I have all sorts of personal bows. Uukha, Win&Win, Spigarelli, fibrebow….. but my favourites are my cheap wooden training bows. Go figure

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really agree with this about the importance of the youngsters (and older women and gents) getting fitted with light enough bows so they can raise and hold still long enough to aim anchor and shoot as well as possible. I think I raised eyebrows from some when I purchased a high-end hunting compound for target use just because it was constructed of carbon instead of aluminum and weighs just at 5 lbs. loaded with stabilizers/weights, rest and sight. Works well for me as I am a Master’s archer and not especially very strong yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know archers who have added five pounds of extra weight to their bows. A 5# compound bow is very, very light.

    Liked by 1 person

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