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Fun Halloween Archery Ideas that won't make a Mess

 Every year some silly person brings a pumpkin to the archery range, makes a mess shooting at the pumpkin, and then leaves their stinky mess behind.

Also they make a huge mess on their arrows and then have to clean their arrows with rubbing alcohol, otherwise their arrows will smell like rotting pumpkins.

There is a better however!

And it is reasonably frugal...

#1. Halloween Skull from the Dollar Store

Your local dollar store sells a wide variety of Halloween items which makes for a fun (and less messy) archery target. It doesn't have to be a skull, but that is certainly an option. It could even be a glow in the dark skeleton suitable for night shooting.

#2. Zombie Archery Target

Sometimes your local archery stores sell a variety of zombie themed archery targets. Below is a zombie pizza man. They're pretty inexpensive too.

#3. Old Halloween Decorations

Chances are likely you have some old Halloween decorations you should throw out. But before you throw them out, why not reuse them as an archery target?

#4. Halloween Archery Target

Print out the following Halloween Archery Target using your printer or take it to Staples / Kinkos to print out a larger poster.

Or make/decorate your own archery target.



4 More Ways to Improve Your Archery Form

 Want to improve your archery form and accuracy? Pay attention to these 4 tips that will help to improve your form/accuracy.

Also see my old post from March titled "4 Ways to Improve Your Archery Form". If you read both then that is 8 tips on how to improve your form / accuracy.

1. Align your Torso / Bellybutton to 90 Degrees

It may sound weird, but when you begin pulling back you want your bellybutton to be aligned so it is 90 degrees away from the target. Doing this aligns your torso and allows you to use your upper back muscles (rhomboids) more efficiently, and it allows you to relax your shoulders more.

If you don't do this it results in your shoulders being more stressed and that extra strain on your bow shoulder will often result in a midshot "arm jerk" that will cause your arrow to go to the side. This is obviously bad for accuracy.

Likewise if your drawing shoulder isn't relaxed you are more likely to get a backwards pluck when you release, which will typically make your arrow go higher to the side.

Lastly, if you're not aligned then you aren't using consistent back power. You want to be using consistent back power with your rhomboids so that your arrows are shot with the same amount of power each time.

2. Keep your Drawing Fingers Perpendicular

Avoid drawing back the bowstring with your fingers on a diagonal angle. What you want is to keep them perpendicular so that they release evenly. If they're on a diagonal angle then you will release the bowstring unevenly, often resulting in the arrow flying in a "whale tailing" or "porpoising" manner, which reduces accuracy. The bowstring during the release will also make a more "snappy" sound and will sound weird.

3. Pull your Fingers Evenly

Often beginners will put less power on their third finger on their drawing hand. This likewise effects having an even release. What you need to do is pay attention to giving the third finger and little extra power so it matches the other two fingers.

Beginners aren't used to using the third finger so much and it is weaker compared to the other two fingers, but there is an exercise you can do to increase the strength in your third finger: Snap your third finger 50 times per day on days you are not doing archery. (Hand grips don't work to build muscle in your fingers, that is more for forearm strength. You want to target building muscle in your third finger.)

4. Three Fingers is Stronger than Two

Beginners sometimes try to shoot with just two fingers, because that is what little kids do... Or maybe they saw it in a poorly made movie... What you want to do is use three fingers and half your fingertips. Do not pull to the joints because that will result in more plucking during your releases and can also lead to joint pain in your fingers.

Bonus Tip

Also doesn't hurt to get archery lessons. Get archery lessons in Toronto from Cardio Trek.

In somewhat related news... I have started giving my 3-year-old son archery lessons. He is really enjoying it.

Also in somewhat related news, check out the cover of the September issue of Archery Focus Magazine.

 



Feel Vs Technique - Archery

"If it feels wrong, just start over."

Have you ever done an archery shot and it just felt wrong for some unknown reason?

This is the point when I tell students to just start over. The saying goes "If it feels wrong, just start over."

The execution of a shot should feel normal/natural. If something feels weird, odd, off... Just start over.

You could be doing everything you can think of technically correct, in terms of technique, but if something feels off - even if it is purely mental - I will still argue it is better to start over than to shoot a shot that feels wrong.

It is possible that an archery could be doing something weird with their neck or shoulders and they become aware that something feels off. They wouldn't necessarily notice that something is a bit off if it is something unusual that isn't on their normal checklist of things to do before releasing a shot.

Technique Vs Good Habits

Ideally what archers want to do is to chip away at their bad habits and replace them with good habits. You do this by fostering techniques (and technical knowledge of form) so that you can add it to the checklist of things you do before performing a shot.

Being aware of the technical issues of form is necessary to become self-aware of your form. You don't necessarily need to know the name of what you are doing correctly/wrong, it is more important that you simply know the issue exists and can add it to the things you are checking before shooting.

As an archer's form technique improves likewise they start to develop more good habits, habits which eventually effectively replace technique and you stop consciously thinking about it because it is "just habit".

The problem exists however when an archer persists in a bad habit because they're not aware of it. If they're aware of it then they can consciously work to correct the bad habit, but if they're not aware of it at all then they are hampering their progress because they don't know what they are doing wrong.

If an archer doesn't know what they are doing wrong that is a good time to consult an archery instructor or ask a fellow archer to watch them shoot and hopefully they will spot what they are doing wrong.

Eg. I had an Olympic archer approach me years ago who couldn't figure out why his shots were going erratically to the left. I watched him shoot just a few shots and determined he was unnecessarily tensing his anterior deltoid (also known as the front deltoid) and that this was causing his arm to jerk to the left during shots. This isn't normally a muscle archers even think about when shooting, and with beginner archers it is usually the posterior deltoid (rear deltoid) that they end up tensing by accident. He was doing the opposite and wasn't aware what he was doing wrong, he just knew that something "felt wrong".


In A Nutshell

A beginner archer learns technique, and keeps doing it until they chip away their bad habits and replace them with good habits. Learning the various aspects of form can be technically challenging, and a beginner cannot learn everything all at once. It takes time. It takes practice. Eventually, with ample time, the habits start to take over.

An experienced* archer shoots based upon feel. Everything they do when performing a shot should be based upon habit and feel. If something feels wrong then they remember the technique and double check what they might be doing wrong.


* Obviously there are different levels of experience when it comes to archery. An archer who has been shooting for 30+ years (like myself) will be shooting (and feeling) their shots differently from someone who has only been shooting for a year or two. 

An "experienced archer" may have different fortes (things that they're good at). Some might be better / more experienced at shooting longer distances. Some might be more familiar with shooting at moving targets. Some might also be more versatile. My goal during my archery lessons is to give students a comprehensive knowledge of archery so that they are more versatile and can reach higher plateaus of excellence by having constant challenges.

It has been my experience that stagnation happens when an archer stops looking for challenges and is no longer pushing themselves to get better. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this. Some archers are simply content with their current level of skill and want to maintain it through practice, and if they happen to get better over time due to regular practice then they are content with that too.

I would argue therefore that sometimes even so-called "experienced archers" should try to challenge themselves / learn new things in order to become better archers.

 

The learning process only ever reaches a plateau when you stop trying to reach new heights.

Where to buy Archery Winter Gloves

Q

"I shoot down to a temp of just above zero but my hands get cold. Do you know of any cold weather gloves I could try?"

- Mark M. 

A

Hey Mark!

There are archery winter gloves you can look into. I got a set years ago from England, from a company called Merlin Archery Centre:




 
Then I showed them to Gary at Basically Bows, and he ended up finding a supplier who makes the same gloves with a different company logo on them. You can see the gloves on his website at https://basically-bows1.webnode.com/accessories/, but you will need to make an appointment and go to his physical shop if you want to purchase. He does apparently do online orders too, so you could just order over the phone or via email.

Historically, before I got the archery winter gloves from Merlin, I would just cut three fingers off a cheap pair of gloves from the Dollarama and then shoot like that.


GOT AN ARCHERY QUESTION???

JUST EMAIL cardiotrek@gmail.com AND I SHALL ANSWER IT FOR YOU.

HAPPY SHOOTING! 

 

 



Second Wave of COVID, still open?

 At this time I am still accepting new archery students, but I am being pickier about who I am accepting with respect to students.

Depending upon what happens with future lockdowns I may end up suspending lessons until after any such lockdown. I am expecting the schools to get shutdown any day now because it is obvious that the province of Ontario has not figured out a safe way to reopen schools.

If they shut down the schools but maintain Stage Three then I will continue to offer lessons. If the province decides to do another big lockdown, going back to the same conditions we had in March then any remaining lessons might end up being delayed until Spring 2021.

Knowing this I totally get why some potential archery students might just decide to delay their archery lessons until 2021 in the first place... Whilst some others might prefer to have them now because they're hoping to learn archery for hunting purposes, in which case the argument is the sooner-the-better. A percentage of my students these days want to learn bowhunting because they're worried about the COVID shutdowns causing the equivalent of the Great Depression and food shortages.

Basically everyone has their own reasons for learning archery. Some people are just bored of being at home all of the time because they work from home these days and they just want to get outside and do something fun.

Fun and potentially useful? Yep, good to go.

Of course there is also the people who just have always wanted to do archery and they just keep procrastinating. Always a new excuse for procrastinators. If you're a procrastinator then you're probably thinking of an excuse right now while reading this.

But if you cannot think of a good excuse maybe now is the time to do.

Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto today. :)

In unrelated news check out the interesting and cool decorative arrowheads below. One of the archers I know makes them as a hobby.



Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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