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Archery Lessons in Toronto + Do-It-Yourself Approach

Note - So years ago I wrote this article for "The Canadian Daily", an online magazine which has since disappeared. Since it is no more I realized I should republish the article here instead. Thus while the information here may be a little redundant when compared to some of my other articles, it is not wholly redundant. There are some useful parts in here that are not mentioned elsewhere on my website. Also I have updated parts of the article.



Hello!

My name is Charles and I am a personal trainer in Toronto. However on the side I also teach archery, boxing, swimming and ice skating. Depends on the season really.

When it comes to my sports training activities it is the archery lessons that get the most attention (thanks to all the movies and media fuss in 2012). However there simply aren’t a lot of places or people in Toronto that offer private archery lessons.

There are archery clubs (like Hart House at the University of Toronto) and even an archery school, but when people want private lessons and don’t want to spend a bundle there isn’t a lot of options.

(Update April 2014 – Toronto now has an archery club, the Toronto Archery Club on Meetup.com. So that is a new option for the Do-It-Yourselfers out there.)
There really is not a lot of options. Especially for kids, since many places don’t teach kids, with the exception of summer camps which exclusively teach kids - but often have shoddy equipment and sometimes even instructors who have never even touched a bow.

Now you could hire me – that is a given. But what I am going to do here is talk about the Do-It-Yourself Approach to Learning Archery. There are definite pros and cons to the DIY approach which I will explain.

#1. You will need to buy equipment. To get a decent beginner package of equipment you are going to need to spend approx. $300 to $350. If you want to get into Olympic archery you need to be thinking $1,000 to $1,500 – but I don’t recommend Olympic archery for beginners. If you want to get into compound archery / hunting / bowfishing you are looking at $500 to $1,000 depending on the type of compound bow you get. Again, I don’t recommend compounds for beginners either because they are more complicated since you have to learn how to tune them. I argue it is better to learn recurve first, and then you can switch to your chosen style of archery.
 
Note: Deciding what kind of archer you want to be is an important decision. I personally teach traditional recurve archery because all the truly great archers were traditional archers and my personal intent is to follow in their footsteps. This doesn’t mean you can’t go down the road of Olympic or Compound shooting, simply that it is a personal choice that each archer must make and their decision should be respected. You can even try to do more than one style of archery – but it would be a huge investment as you will need different sets of equipment. For myself my next bows will be a traditional Japanese yumi bow and a traditional Korean shortbow – because I want to explore other unique types of traditional archery.

#2. Where to buy equipment. The place I used to recommend the most is Tent City in North York, near Steeles and Dufferin, which had a fair selection and if they don’t have it then they can order it for you. Unfortunately Tent City is no longer there as they ran into financial troubles after a fire on their roof years ago. But there is also Bass Pro in Vaughan which caters more to compounds and hunting / bowfishing, and The Bow Shop in Waterloo which has a much bigger selection, but is evidently further away.

All else fails, you can purchase equipment via Amazon.ca or similar websites and just have it delivered.

#3. You will need to learn proper archery form. Beginners learning archery need to focus on form a lot. You need to learn how to stand, how to pull the bow, how to anchor your shot, how to aim, how to follow through, how to make lines and clusters, how to adjust your shot – and how to learn from your mistakes. Oh and how to multitask unconsciously because you’re expected to do a lot of this all at the same time without really thinking about it.

Note: You can get a lot of free archery tips off my website in the archery section. But even that only scratches the surface.

#4. To learn form it is best to have an archery instructor (like me!) who can coach you and tell you what to do, what you are doing wrong, and help train you away from bad habits you are making and steer you towards good habits which will increase the quality of your shots. However if you don’t want an instructor you are going to be relying on trial and error and complete guesswork – which will take forever because archery is a sport for perfectionists and you will be making lots of mistakes. Thus if you want the DIY route I do have a book to recommend you. It is called “Precision Archery” and is edited / written by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson (the editors of Archery Focus Magazine). The book is basically a list of the best articles from their magazine and has 14 chapters covering everything from equipment to form to aiming to competitions. There are other books I recommend reading too, but Precision Archery will cover a lot of the topics you will want to learn – and it covers multiple styles of archery.

#5. Weightlifting… Thanks to The Hunger Games, Brave, The Avengers, Arrow, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and even the British film Hanna archery is super popular right now. But many of these films present a false understanding of archery and people think that it is easy to pull a bow. It is not. Most beginners are stunned by how much more effort it requires just to pull a 24 lb recurve. The more powerful bows require quite a bit of strength to pull back and hold steady – strength that is beyond the average person.

To backtrack to equipment it is important that a person’s first bow be one they can actually pull back easily – but still has some physical challenge to it so that they are building extra muscle so that they improve physically with time. This is why I bring up the topic of weightlifting. If you want to have a physical edge in archery, to be able to hold the bow more steady, to pull more powerful bows, to get better range and accuracy, then you are going to need to do weightlifting that targets your back, shoulders and triceps. Forearm strength helps a bit too – which means using hand grips to build up those muscles.

Note: I recommend specific exercises to my archery students, but the exercise I recommend most is good ol’ fashioned push ups. Do 20 push ups 5 times per day and you will be building up many of the muscles which will give you a physical edge in archery. Some archers even like to do push ups, stretches and other exercises before shooting to warm up their muscles. (Push ups targets the shoulders, triceps and pectorals. The shoulders and triceps are used a lot in archery, and the pectorals are mirror muscles for the back muscles – which is useful for maintaining balance and form. Over time many archers get overdeveloped back muscles and then their form and balance suffers because their pectorals are too weak. By doing push ups regularly it helps to rectify that problem while simultaneously building the shoulders and triceps.)

#6. Location. The place to go in Toronto is E.  T. Seton Archery Range (also known as The Toronto Public Archery Range) in E. T. Seton Park, near the corner of Don Mills Road and Gateway Boulevard. To get there take the 25 bus from Pape Station or if driving I recommend parking in the Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot near the Tim Hortons. Then walk down the hill westward on Gateway Boulevard and part way down the hill you will see several shortcuts after the fence which lead near the archery range.

Note: If you live outside of Toronto and unable to make the trip to E. T. Seton then you will need to find a suitable place to do archery. I do not recommend your back yard because that could get you charged with reckless endangerment. A better solution would be a grassy field on a farm.

#7. You are going to lose a lot of arrows if you don’t have someone coaching you. This is a given so remember to buy lots of arrows. My advice is that you don’t muck or fool about with your aim. When in doubt aim really low because the arrow will arc upwards and your first shots might even go over the target if it is only 20 yards away. Archery is part geometry and physics in that the arrows are going to arc and you need to learn where to aim in order to have your arrows hit dead center. Aim low, hit high.

#8. Don’t do archery in a place where you will break or lose arrows easily. eg. Shooting at a tree in the woods may look good in the movies, but you will break your arrows on the tree or lose them in the woods. You want a nice soft surface (like a professional archery target butt) and a grassy field or hill behind the target so you can find your arrows easily.

#9. Don’t expect to be amazingly good in an hurry. It takes years to master archery. Archery is a journey and it requires patience and lots of practice.

#10. If you change your mind and want archery lessons in Toronto you know where to find me. A couple lessons and I can have you set on the right track.

Happy Shooting!

Buying and Tuning Archery Equipment

Note - So years ago I wrote this article for "The Canadian Daily", an online magazine which has since disappeared. Since it is no more I realized I should republish the article here instead. Thus while the information here may be a little redundant when compared to some of my other articles, it is not wholly redundant. There are some useful parts in here that are not mentioned elsewhere on my website. Also I have updated part of the article, as the store "Tent City" no longer exists.


By Charles Moffat - November 2014. Updated February 2019.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is what equipment archery students should purchase, and how to tune it.

To answer this question I first need to balance how much a student wants to spend with whether they are planning to compete eventually – or if they want to jump straight into competitions, and if so, what kind of competitions because Olympic archery is really only one style of competitive shooting.
There is Arco Nudo (no gadgets), Flight Archery, Field Archery, Clout Shooting, 3D competitions, and some competitions even have moving targets. There is even more bizarre archery sports like Equestrian Archery (on horseback), Archery Biathalon (cross country skiing combined with archery), and other similar events. I personally think it would be fun if someone made an Archery Obstacle Course, wherein participants must make their way their way through an obstacle course as quickly as possible and score as many points as possible.

My recommendation regardless of what style of competition they are planning to get into is to get a beginner bow for that style – just to see if you like it. Or if you are not certain then you should start with the basic 3-piece takedown recurve. (To browse various types of 3-piece bows please read the reviews posted on ArcheryToronto.ca: Review of Three Piece Takedown Recurve Bows. The links below are hyperlinked to the individual reviews for the bows mentioned and will take you to that specific review.)

The recurve bows I recommend most for beginners on a budget are:

The Jandao Recurve is identical to the PSE Razorback, the only difference is the label and the price. The bow is available in 2 lb increments.

Price is $120, although prices vary so you may need it is a higher price at your local store.

The Samick Sage is prettier than the Jandao, but you have to be able to pull 25 lbs easily if you want to buy it because it is only available in 5 lb increments, starting at 25.

Price is $150, although prices vary so you may need it is a higher price at your local store.

Before purchasing either of these bows however I first need to test the strength of the beginning archer. Normally I do this while teaching the archery lesson, during which I start the student off with a light poundage bow – 18 lbs – and then have them shoot with it for 30 minutes or so to see how well they can pull it back, how easily they fatigue, and so forth.

Commonly beginners discover that archery involves a lot more physical strength than they were expecting – even to pull a 18 lb bow (which is considered to be a small amount when compared to more experienced archers that are typically pulling between 30 and 60 lbs). Don’t expect to be pulling large amounts in the beginning however because beginners often have weak back muscles and complementary muscles which are not used to the strain. Attempting to pull more than you can will result in arm, shoulder and back pain – and unlike weightlifters who like to claim “no pain no gain”, in this case pain can lead to chronic strain problems that will prevent you from practicing altogether, so why risk a disability when you can take your time and progress at a safer speed? Ego? Ego is the bane of archers and messes with both their body and their mind, both of which you need to be top form if you are to succeed.

If a person is petite or skinny I typically advise them to start with either an 18 or 20 lb bow, which means they will end up going for the Jandao bow mentioned above or a bow similar to that.

If a person is stronger / more robust they might be able to handle a 24, 25 or 26 lb bow, which means they can choose between a 24 or 26 lb Jandao or a 25 lb Samick Sage.

Someone who is quite strong (football player esque) can handle a 28, 30 or 32 lb bow, which means they can choose between a 28, 30 or 32 lb Jandao or a 30 lb Samick Sage.

Exception – If you are purchasing a compound bow and plan to be hunting with it you will want to set it up for 40 to 50 lbs. Have them do that in the store for you when you purchase it. Preferably buy one that is easy to adjust (the Diamond Infinite Edge for example is very easy to adjust and available at Bass Pro in Vaughan). When choosing what weight to use you will want at least the minimum poundage legally required for whatever you are hunting. Hopefully the compound bow you are choosing has a high let off rate (70 to 85% would be nice). Make sure you can actually pull it back and hold it steady.

Some people will likely ignore my recommendations when it comes to starting with a low poundage bow. People are certainly free to choose bows that are more powerful than they can properly handle and I won’t be surprised when such people tire too easily, give up because it is too difficult, etc. You have to think of it a bit like you are at the gym and you go over to the dumbbells. Which set of dumbbells do you pick? The big 30 lb dumbbells, the medium-sized 25 lb dumbbells, or the smaller 15 or 20 lb dumbbells. Wisdom tells us that we should start low and work our way up. Ego tells you “Pick the biggest one! Pick the biggest one!”

However there is a trick to this. The advantage to three-piece recurves is that the brand model limbs can be purchased separately and are interchangeable, which means you can always buy more powerful limbs later on. Thus my strong recommendation is that you start low, with a comfortable number, and then after you’ve been shooting for a good period of time (3 months or more) then when you feel ready you can come back and buy an extra pair of limbs for your bow which are more powerful.

Thus if you purchase a 25 lb Samick Sage for example you might come back later and buy 30 or 35 lb limbs when you feel you are ready for a challenge.

I have seen beginner archers go out and buy a 60 lb bow they can’t even string properly, let alone pull. Presumably the bow they purchased either ends up in the closet collecting dust or they sell it for a loss and buy one they can actually use properly.

Tuning your Arrows

When it comes to tuning your arrows you want arrows that have the correct spine (flexibility) for the bow you are using. An arrow that is too flexible will snap and break. An arrow that is not flexible enough won’t flex properly as it flies through the air, will be too heavy, less accurate, etc. To get the most accuracy you want arrows that are the correct spine.

To do this we first need to determine your draw length. With your bow arm extended (for most people this will be your left arm) measure the distance from the base of your thumb (not the tip, just the base, closer to your wrist) to the right corner of your mouth. The measurement, depending on your height, will usually be between 26 and 32 inches. For most people it will be about 28 to 30 inches. This indicates the length of the arrow you should be purchasing in order to attain full draw. Some people also add an extra 1/2 or 1 inch to the total just for safety’s sake or to give them the ability to overdraw the arrow.

In a store they will sometimes have an arrow or a stick with measurements on it they can use to give you an accurate measurement.

Many stores have 29 inch pre-cut arrows that are for sale, which will suit most people who are of average height. Anyone shorter than that can choose between leaving them that length (will be less accurate) or having them cut shorter so they fit your draw length better.

Next you need to read the following chart, which is also available on my website at Three Frequently Asked Questions about Archery Equipment. Using the draw length measurements across the top, compare that with the weight of your bow going down the left side – then find the corresponding 3-digit Arrow Spine Number in the middle. So if you are using a 25 lb Samick Sage and have a 29 inch draw, then you should purchase 600 spine arrows.


A big mistake many beginners make is that they end up with a pile of mismatched arrows. Maybe they lost a bunch, maybe they found some (and neglected to put them in the lost and found box), or maybe they even found broken arrows and decided to fix them (giving new life to broken arrows is a personal hobby of mine). What you will find however is that these arrows will be different weights, different spines, different lengths, and consequently each arrow will shoot differently – which means your chance of making clusters of arrows on the target will be dramatically reduced. (To learn more about how to shoot arrow clusters read some of the posts on my Archery Tips page.) Ideally you want to have arrows which weigh the same, are the same length, the same spine, everything is identical. Including the Arrowhead.

Tuning your Arrowheads

To get a better understanding of this please read my post “What the eff is FOC Weight?” which explains the acronym Front-Of-Center and how it applies to arrow balance. Basically what you want is at close range you want to be using arrowheads that are suited to the task, which in this case are heavier and moves the balancing point closer to the tip of the arrow – and makes them more accurate. At longer distances you want to be using lightweight arrowheads, which moves the balancing point closer to the middle – but still Front of the Center of the arrow.

  • At 20 to 30 yards you want to be using 125 to 150 grain arrowheads.*
  • At 40 to 50 yards you want to be using 85 to 100 grain arrowheads.*
  • At 60 yards or more you want to be using 50 to 75 grain arrowheads.*
* This is just an example and is not always true. Depending on the weight of the arrow, it may be more optimal to use specific weights at different distances.

When it comes to tuning your arrowheads there is no “one size fits all”. For beginners it is recommended you buy 125 grain arrowheads (150s are harder to find in stores and are often made for wider shaft arrows) and then stick to the closer targets anyway until your skill has improved to the point that your arrow clusters are the size of a doughnut – and you are scoring at least 40 out of 50 every round with 5 arrows on a standard FITA 40 cm target. If you cannot shoot at least a score of 40 with 5 arrows regularly on the short distances then you are simply not ready to be trying to hit the longer distances.

Tuning your Fletching

Normally the fletching comes with the arrows, so unless you want to be cutting the fletching off and gluing on new fletching you probably are not going to be tuning this so much as you are going to be purchasing arrows with the fletching already on there – or ordering custom made arrows with the fletching you want.

The colour of the fletching doesn’t matter with respect to accuracy – although having bright, easy to find colours on there certainly helps if you ever lose an arrow.
 
What matters more with fletching is the length of the fletch, the width of the fletch, the shape of the fletch – and the type of fletching you are using.

If you are using a compound bow you will want to be using Vane Fletching – vanes are stiff pieces of plastic, and are typically either short or long fletch.

If you are using a longbow, traditional recurve, shortbow, etc then you will want Feather Fletching – which comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and is typically between 2 and 5 inches long.

If you plan on shooting at birds or doing small game hunting (or competing in 3D events) you will likely want Flu Flu Feathers – which are extra wide (2″ or so) feather fletched arrows that are often brightly coloured to make them very easy to spot.

The length of fletching effects its accuracy at different distances, depending on the wind conditions. Longer fletches are more accurate on a non-windy day, shorter fletches are more accurate on a windy day. At short distances there won’t be a huge difference in accuracy because the arrow isn’t in the air long enough for the wind to effect it overly much, but at longer distances the longer fletch arrows will give you more accuracy under normal conditions because it keeps the arrow going straighter – whereas shorter fletch will be more accurate if it is windy because the wind will catch the larger fletching sideways and turn the arrow so it loses much of its accuracy. (Obviously you don’t want to be using Flu Flu Arrows on a windy day.)

When it comes to shape of the fletching there are many different kinds, including:
Parabolic, Shield and Traditional are pretty commonly used. Banana, Low-Banana, Swift, T-Hawk, and Pope & Young all have their pros and cons.

The shape and size of the fletching effects how straight it flies, how fast it flies, how much it contacts the arrowrest (or in the case of longbow/shortbow archers shooting off their glove, how much it contacts their glove).

The Swift fletch design for example is basically identical to the Parabolic, but has been trimmed somewhat to make it thinner and lighter in an effort to give it more speed. The Low-Banana is the same idea – nearly identical to the Banana, but designed for speed instead of accuracy.

What style of fletching an archer chooses often depends on the style of shooting you are using the arrows for and whether you want more speed, more accuracy or maybe you just don’t want the fletch rubbing against the arrowrest so much.

Tuning your Arrowrest

If you are completely new to archery you might not know what an arrowrest is. Scroll up, look a the photo at the top. That is the riser from a Samick Sage with a cheap plastic arrowrest on there.
Now pay attention. Your arrowrest is arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment you will own.

 Why? It is because every time an arrow leaves your bow the first and last thing it touches will be the arrowrest, and you want your arrowrest to be accurate and consistent. If you buy a cheap plastic arrowrest don’t expect it to stay the same with every shot you do. With every shot the plastic wears down, it becomes uneven, it starts to rip, and it will eventually fall apart and have to be replaced. There is also the matter that the harder and more durable a plastic arrowrest is the more it rubs against the fletching during each shot, which can lead to inaccuracy if it is rubbing too much or rubbing inconsistently.

More traditional archers like to use fur arrowrests (available at various archery stores) which allows the arrow to slide across the surface of the fur gently and this cushion of fur allows the arrow to not be rubbing against anything too hard that would cause it to lose accuracy.

Example: The bow on the right features a traditional fur arrowrest which has been glued in place.

Now the fur will eventually wear down, but the good news is that fur is surprisingly durable despite being so soft and it should last a good long time before it needs to be replaced.

Another option is to buy a more modern arrowrest made of metal and other materials.
Your options are drop down arrowrests, drop away arrowrests, spring loaded arrowrests, wire arrowrests, whisker biscuit arrowrests and hostage arrowrests. There are many more types, but I am not going to list them all.

When it comes to these modern arrowrests (many of which are most commonly used on compound bows) they usually come with instructions on how to tune them. This will usually require you to tune the arrowrest to the weight of the arrow, to adjust it to left or right, up or down, to make certain it is centered on both the X and Y axis, and so forth.

For best results read the instructions that come with the arrowrest so you can tune it properly. I am not going to give the tuning instructions here for the literally hundreds of different arrowrests that are available out there.

If you purchased a compound bow then your bow likely came with either a whisker biscuit or a hostage arrowrest. Both are quite good and you likely won’t even need to tune them if they were already tuned in the factory.

Tuning your Hand Gear

How you release your shot is equally important as what you are using. Regardless of whether you choose to go with a tab, gloves or mechanical release you will want one that works well for you. Some people (myself included) find tabs annoying. I would rather shoot with a thumb ring than shoot with a tab. This is an area of shooting that comes down to personal preference (unless you are shooting compound, in which case you have only two choices: mechanical or gloves).

Pick the method you find to be the most comfortable for you and learn to shoot with that as best you can. As time progresses try other styles of gloves, tabs, etc and find the one that works best for you.
For example I have 6 different styles of shooting gloves in a box at home, I also have 3 different tabs, 2 thumb rings, and 2 mechanical releases. Of these I have determined that of all the equipment I use, I prefer the Neet gloves (size large), the Regent Archery Persian-style gloves (size medium), and the more expensive mechanical release because it just works better and is less fussy to use – not because it is more expensive, simply because it is the easiest to use.

Tuning what hand gear you use for shooting with will be something you play with along the way. For beginners I recommend you find a pair of Neet gloves in your size and then experiment with other styles of releasing as you progress. Don’t go trying to skip to thumb rings or something more difficult to learn until you have mastered how to shoot using something simpler.

Other Gadgets

If you are looking to tune a sight, find the right stabilizer that suits you and tune other gadgets then we are getting into more complex topics. You will need to sign up for archery lessons if you want instructions on how to tune such things. I teach all of the topics listed above and much more, but I have to go do some personal practice now so that will have to wait for another day.

When do you become an archer?

Q

Someone posted this on Facebook awhile back:

"When do you become an archer?"



And below is how I responded to this question:


When you first start you become an amateur archer.


When you compete, you become a competitive archer.


When you get paid to do archery you become a professional archer.

When you teach it and people come back for more lessons and tell their friends how great you are, you become an archery instructor (possibly by accident like I did).

When you have learned everything in terms of the physical aspects of archery and have to constantly challenge yourself mentally, you have become an archery master.

The master already knows how to shoot. That is not their problem. Their problem is finding challenges (often mental challenges) that allow them to continue learning something new.
A round of shots on January 24th 2019. The one shot clipped a nock and the nock went flying off.

Now you will notice that, yes, that is a very tight cluster. And yes, I did clip the nock so that it went flying off.

But what you might not notice is the date. January 24th and it was freezing cold outside. Here is some more photos from that day. To shoot that well in those conditions... it is mostly mental.

Eventually it got so cold I decided to go home.






Panarama of the Toronto Archery Range!

Private Archery Ranges near Toronto

One of my students asked me about private archery ranges near Richmond Hill, and in response I have made the following list of private archery ranges near the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) - which includes Richmond Hill.

I was originally thinking of organizing this list alphabetically, but then I changed my mind and decided to organize by categories as some of these locations are university clubs, archery tag locations, and only a few are wholly private archery ranges.

PRIVATE ARCHERY RANGES IN THE GTA

Archers of Caledon
archersofcaledon.org

Located North-West of Brampton, this club/private range was once known as the Humber Valley Archers, but changed the name when they moved the club to Caledon Hills north west of Toronto. The club hosts indoor and outdoor tournaments, and international tournaments as well.

The Archers of Caledon has a 30 x 15 meter heated indoor range, with 10 shooting lanes.

Outdoors, Archers of Caledon has:
  • A 30 to 90 meter target range.
  • A 10 to 80 meter practice range, which includes both field archery and target archery.
  • A 28 target field archery / 3D range course with animal targets ranging from 6 to 65 meters.

Durham Archers
durhamarchers.com
Two ranges located north of Oshawa, this members only club offers a 3D shooting range (only from Spring to Autumn, the 3D targets are put in storage during the winter to prevent ice damage), target ranges, and field archery. They also host a variety of tournaments.

Note - There is no indoor range.


Peel Archery Club
peelarchery.ca

Located in Peel/Brampton (north west of Pearson International Airport), this indoor range offers both target and 3D options, with the comfort of heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. It also boasts Canada's only 70 meter indoor archery range. (Currently the only one. This may change in the future.) They also host a variety of indoor tournaments.

Note - There is no outdoor range.


York County Bowmen
yorkcountybowmen.com

Located east of Newmarket (north of Toronto), York County Bowmen is a club/private range that boasts the following:

  • An indoor 18 meter (20 yards) range  with 12 shooting lanes.
  • Over 50 acres of 3D target ranges, with 14 field archery shooting lanes.
  • A target practice range, with targets spaced from 10 to 60 yards.


ARCHERY TAG INDOOR RANGES

The following is a short list of archery tag locations which also operate archery ranges, the trick being that most of the time the space is being used for archery tag, and they only rarely open the space up as an archery range. So for example some archery tag locations only open up the space for practice 1 day per week, so don't expect a lot of availability that matches your schedule. The size of the space varies on the locations, but don't expect anything larger than 30 meters as these locations are typically about the size of a high school gymnasium. The good news however is that you don't need a membership for these indoor ranges and can just pay an hourly rate to use the space.
  • Archers Arena in North York
  • Archery Circuit located south of Markham
  • Archery District in Etobicoke
  • Archery 2 You in Ajax
  • Battle Sports in North York
  • Stryke Archery Range in Brampton and York

UNIVERSITY ARCHERY RANGES

Joining an university archery club can be a bit trickier. It generally helps if you are already a student or alumni for that university. With university archery clubs there is typically specific times when the range is open, so you really need to find out what their hours operations are before deciding whether to make the effort to join one of these clubs.
  • University of Ryerson Archery Club
  • University of Toronto Archery Club @ Hart House
  • York University Archery Club

PLACES TO AVOID

Sharon Gun Club - Located north-east of Newmarket, this club does NOT offer archery. Contrary to what a Google search dictates, this club does NOT do archery at all. It is purely a gun club. So don't waste your time on this one.

Shooting Academy Canada - Located in Scarborough, this location does offer both guns and archery (as well as throwing knives, airsoft, and BB), and boasts a tiny 15 yard indoor target range. There is no outdoor range. No field archery, no 3D archery targets, etc. Hence why I decided to list it down here and not with the wholly private archery ranges. Plus since they are using firearms indoors, users should really be wearing hearing protection - which many archers might object to as it would feel weird wearing hearing protection while doing archery. So it is not a location I would recommend to students.

Target Sports Canada - Located north of Markham, this is another location that does NOT offer archery. It is another gun range that could be easily confused as an archery range, mostly due to faulty Google search results.


See Also

List of Archery Clubs in Ontario

Why you SUCK at archery

I admit I do not own this book.

I don't need it. I don't suck at archery, ergo I do not need this book.

So this is not a book review, because I admit I have not read this book.

However, the book was written by Steve Ruis, who is the editor of Archery Focus Magazine. (Cough cough, the guy who keeps publishing my articles in his magazine. I am up to 3 articles so far. Visit archeryfocusmagazine.com to learn more.)

I do however find the title of the book funny and appropriate. And I don't mind returning the favour by giving him some free advertising, and I hope he does the same when it comes time to promote some of my own archery books.

I also recommend Steve's other book "Precision Archery". Getting a book like that is the next best thing to getting archery lessons from an instructor. So given his track record of previous books and magazines, the new book is doubtlessly a good one and worth reading if you are a beginner - or if you suck at archery and need to rectify that problem.



Online you can buy the Kindle version or the Paperback version on Amazon.ca.

Kindle - https://www.amazon.ca/Why-You-Suck-at-Archery-ebook/dp/B00BM925AQ/
Paperback - https://www.amazon.ca/Why-You-Suck-at-Archery/dp/0984886036/

The paperback version is currently $19.59 CDN, whereas the Kindle version is $9.14 CDN.


Meanwhile, I do actually have 1 archery book available of my own... although it is admittedly a poetry book... about archery. I am still working on my guide / how to book, and I am in the planning stages of a 3rd and 4th books.

Dreaming of Zen Archery

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/dreaming-of-zen-archery


The Best New Years Resolution for 2019

Looking for a really good New Years Resolution?

Want to get off your butt and exercise?

Want to eat healthier?

Well, there is one New Years Resolution that is flexible and suits your needs...

It is "Just Do It Now." That is it. No fancy goals like "I want to lose 20 pounds during the next 20 weeks." or other specific goals. Just a simple motto of getting stuff done, now, without procrastination.




For Example:

Want to sign up for archery lessons? Always wanted to do archery? Just do it now. Just click the link below, email me via cardiotrek@gmail.com, and sign up for archery lessons. Done.

http://www.cardiotrek.ca/p/archery-lessons.html


Now you may have noticed that usually we post 12 New Years Resolutions. But this year the focus is really just on the one concept. Just do it now. But for those who need a bit extra, here goes.

12 New Years Resolutions for 2019

  1. Just do it now.
  2. Not later, now.
  3. It might rain later again anyway, so do it now.
  4. Just get it over with and do it now.
  5. People who accomplish things with their life just get things done and over with.
  6. Bored? Go do something and get it done.
  7. Tired? Have a nap and then get something done.
  8. Stressed? People who worry suffer twice, so get it done and then you won't have to worry about it anymore.
  9. Great things come to people who wait, but why wait when you can do great things now?
  10. Happiness is getting your tasks done and then relaxing, knowing you already did them.
  11. A clean house helps create a clean mind. Cleaning is exercise, so why not do both?
  12. That task you said you would do later? Just do it now.


Cardio Trek End of 2018 Notes

You may have noticed that the number of posts I do per year has gone down in recent years and I currently only post 60 new articles per year.
►  2018 (60)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (100)
►  2015 (120)
►  2014 (120)
►  2013 (230)
►  2012 (180)
►  2011 (10)
You can also tell that 2014-2015 had a different standard of 120 posts per year, that 2016 was a transition period, and that 2013 I evidently went crazy by doing about 19 posts per month.

What has been happening has multiple reasons.

#1. In 2016 I got married.

#2. In 2017 we had our first son Richard. In Autumn of 2017 I technically retired from actively teaching archery lessons, but unfortunately that didn't last very long and thus I still teach 2 to 3 days per week regularly.

#3. Ever since then I have devoted more of my writing time (what little I have since I am looking after an infant regularly) to other tasks. I find it difficult to keep up the schedule of making new posts for Cardio Trek constantly.

#4. Redundancy. This is a problem. After talking about an unknown number of topics I am running out of things to write about without repeating myself. I don't like being redundant, so when I do write something that feels repetitively I try to improve upon it by making it better and more useful in some manner.

#5. Book. For several years now I have been compiling a book about archery. This likewise drains my time and digs into the time I dedicate towards other kinds of writing.

#6. Writing for "Archery Focus Magazine" once in awhile. This is not a huge drain on my time as I don't write that often for the magazine, but on the plus side I do get paid every time I write something new for the magazine. (And then I go spend it on diapers or archery equipment...)

#7. Project Gridless, the sibling website to Cardio Trek has been taking up more of my writing time in recent years. You will note the number of posts per year for Project Gridless has gone up during the last 2 years, whilst Cardio Trek has been holding steady at 60 posts per year (and for the foreseeable future).


Project Gridless
►  2018 (90)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (20)
►  2015 (25)
I have also been trying to do more Project Gridless videos for YouTube, but finding time to do that is likewise difficult. In theory I could do more archery and fishing videos, but since I am cursed at fishing I am wondering if I should focus on bowfishing instead.

So what will 2019 and 2020 bring?

I have no idea. I hope to maintain the schedule of 60 posts per year, but honestly my writing schedule is such that I am writing something every day and still have difficulty maintaining my writing commitments for everything I do.

And I haven't even talked about my fiction work. For those of you who don't know, I have written 8 fantasy novels, 4 anthologies and 2 poetry books. I have several more novels, an anthology of fables, and another poetry book that is due out sometime in the next two years.

Combined this means I am constantly writing both fiction and nonfiction, and I am publishing books, anthologies, magazine articles, and blog posts.

Plus son. Plus wife. Plus a very active archery lessons business. Plus everything else I am not mentioning here, like hobbies, binge-watching Netflix, painting, woodworking and other activities. And sleep.

You would possibly expect me to be half-insane and pulling my hair out, but the truth is I am very much enjoying my life. I am enjoying teaching archery and meeting awesome students, and I am enjoying writing. Writing gives me such great joy.

So while it is becoming more difficult to maintain 60 posts per year, I am going to continue to set that goal and achieve it.

In other news, Merry Christmas!

I got a new archery glove for Christmas and a vintage bow from the 1970s. Below my son Richard helps me to unwrap my bow.


5 Reasons Why Dancing Is Good For Your Health

Photo credit: David Hoffman
By Wendy Dessler

After reading the title of this article, you are probably expecting to read how dance is good exercise. You are probably settling in to read how many calories you will burn during a particular type of dance. This is good information, but it is common knowledge. We would like to dig a bit deeper and perhaps to spark your curiosity about giving dance a try.

Social Benefits

The current generation of children is less socially motivated than generations pasts. Before the dawn of the era of technology, children played together after school. They gathered at parks and played sports. Organized clubs such as scouting were popular for boys and girls. Neighbors knew each other and communities depended on each other to watch over the children.

Today, children and teens “meet friends” through social media. They speak to each other online or on the favorite messenger program. The problem is, a child may be socially active on social media and totally ill-equipped to handle a face-to-face interaction. This often creates teenagers who have charismatic personalities when they are staring into a smartphone or a laptop computer. They express themselves with typewritten words but have trouble looking into a person's eyes and express their thoughts.

Dancing Defines Us

When a child is placed in dance class, they learn to be part of a team. They soon realize that their actions affect others. They learn to lead and they learn to follow. They find the control over their bodies. They have a new way of seeing and interacting with their peers.

Young dancers find a passion for performing. They accept help when they need it and they help others when they can. This is a great way to expose our internet hungry children to find the joy of living in the moment.

Self-Esteem

Bullying of our children by school-mates and adults of low moral standards. The internet is usually where it start and absolutely where is is relently applied. The victim is called names and made fun of on social media for the entire world to see. Parents have little hope stopping this. While we can prevent our child from using the internet, their schoolmates do and someone will show them the insults, posters, and even lies made up about a child. The problem has lead to many children, teens, and even some adults to taking their own lives to escape. Day by day the attacks chip away a child's self esteem. They adopt the attitude that they are flawed, and not fit for this world.

A bullied child will not absorb the praise and reassurance they get from their parents at this point. They think, “You have to say that, you’re my mom.” The way to build self-esteem is to allow them to learn something new. There are many types of dances. The child learns the steps with others who are also just learning the steps. With every movement, they celebrate as a team. The child sees that they can succeed and they are special. Every practice and performance they complete builds them up. When they begin to grow their self-esteem, they can look adversity in the eye and not take in the pain others are trying to inflict.

Stress and Depression

After reading the above information, it should come as no surprise to you that children suffer from stress-related illnesses, anxiety, and depression in record numbers. This is why we read so much about violence in the schools. It is not just the kids who are bullied that are stressed. The children who are hurting other children are just showing the other side of the same coin. These kids are depressed and angry.

We put more pressure on our children than ever before in the schools. Not only do they have an extremely fast-paced education curriculum, but they are required to do many pages of homework each night. They have little time to just be kids.

Photo credit: Kiana Bosman
One Hour A Week Makes A Difference

Putting your child in dance gives them one hour a week to be active. They dance and socialize and prepare for performances. They dress up and let their imaginations grow. The great thing is that nowadays you can get every costume you’ll ever need for your kids online. It is a low maintenance activity for a parent but it changes the world of an overworked and under stimulated child. This is often the first steps to recovery from depression.

Building Muscle Mass

As a person grows in their dancing abilities, they begin to see a wonderful side-effect. They begin to build strong and larger muscles. A dancer takes more punishment than a football player and they do it while controlling every muscle in their body while smiling.

The person will see the difference in the mirror. Other people see it too. It is sad to say that we are judged by our looks, but it is still a fact. If this person is a child, they will become more popular and they are less likely to be the victim of others. The conclusion is that gaining healthy muscles is good for our health, and it offers some extra benefits.

Long-term Health Benefits

Children who take dance often continue as they become adults. We all know dance speeds up your metabolism which naturally slows down as we age. But, you may not know that the effects dance has on the muscles, joints, and the way we metabolize our food reduces the impact on our bodies due to illness and disease.

Conclusion

It is true that dance is good exercise. It makes our hearts beat faster and it builds our muscles and endurance. It is true that dance will help you lose and maintain your weight. But, dance can offer much more than just weight control.

Our physical bodies become stronger and we are less likely to become sick. Our mental state is heightened due to the hormones dance releases in our brains. Dance is a natural antidepressant. But dance helps us develop socially, and mentally and boosts our self-esteem. So, unplug your kid, tell them how wonderful they are and enroll them in something that will give them lifetime benefits.



Editor's Note

One of my favourite dance videos on YouTube surpassed 100 million views 5 months ago. It is a rather addictive dance video.


Nasdaq crashing, requests for archery lessons up

So with the stock market in the USA crashing currently (and Forbes predicting a 20% reduction) I have seen a spike in the number of people asking for archery lessons in Spring 2019.

This happens every time there is economic uncertainty. Every time the economy sees a downturn, people get worried, and suddenly more archery students pop up asking for lessons.

I think it is a reaction to the economic situation that people instinctively start thinking about bowhunting for food and survivalism. Even though, oddly enough, the people asking for archery lessons are still primarily thinking of recreation and only thinking "useful hunting skill" in the back of their mind.

How bad is it? Well, the Nasdaq has lost about 1,100 points since September. And the Dow Jones is down 2,600 points.

The numbers themselves are not the issue. The real problem is how the stock market is an indicator for the economy. A sort of canary in the coal mine. If the canary suddenly dies, the miners are in danger too. So if the stock market tanks, it means the economy is in danger.

And with Trump's Trade War hurting various economies, it was really just a matter of time before we saw a market correction.

Historical Fact: The biggest trade war in the USA was in 1929, right before the big stock market crash. If you know your history, you can guess trade wars aren't a great idea for the economy.

So I guess I should be thanking the fool in the White House for his silly trade war which has ultimately hurt the U.S. economy and caused this uptick in people worried about the economy and asking for archery lessons.

I won't be thanking him, but I will take advantage of this opportunity and remind people that I also have a Limited Time Discount Offer for people prebooking archery lessons for March / April 2019.

Limited Time Discount Offer:
Prebook your lessons now and get 10% off.

  • This discount offer expires at Midnight December 31st 2018.
  • Only applies to archery lessons prebooked for March / April 2019.

Oh and in case you are wondering, here are photographs from March 10th, March 11th and March 17th 2018... so you have an idea of what the weather looks like in March. The photos below were used in an older post from March 20th 2018, titled Winter Archery Photography.

So as you can see, the weather in March is quite mild and enjoyable. Also this is apparently supposed to be a very mild winter thanks to El Nino, so I might end up teaching more lessons during the winter.




Reviewing Comments on CardioTrek.ca

So it is the end of the year and I am reviewing comments people have made on CardioTrek.ca.

Over 300 comments from the last two years, 2017 and 2018.

I managed to review (and delete) 100 comments before I got bored of looking at spam comments. Over 90% of the comments are spam / contain links. So by the time I eventually review all 300+ comments, there will probably be less than 30 comments that are genuine and get approved.

The spam comments are selling things like diet pills, detox pills, weight lifting gloves, weight lifting belts, exercise bicycles, health supplements, protein  powders, rhinoplasty, plastic surgery...

And even off topic things like promoting criminal defense lawyers, vacations, spas, viagra (of course!), hair growth pills (for bald people), gambling and such. I am not going to list them all, but clearly some spammers don't care if they are spamming a topic that is even relevant.

All of which gets marked as spam and deleted. Never even seen by the general public.

Because frankly that is how I roll. All comments are hidden until I have approved them.

Which means all the spammers (and spambots) are just wasting their time (and mine).

Even the posts I do approve are double-checked to make sure they didn't hide a spam link in a comment that at a glance looks genuine.

I have half of a mind to just delete ALL of the comments and turn off the commenting function. It would save me time from having to review them and make certain they are genuine comments that don't contain a spam link.

But I do like receiving the genuine comments.

  • The people who say thank you.
  • The people who say "keep up the great work".
  • The people who say "I learned something today thanks to you".
  • The people who are asking questions, which potentially can be used for my Exercise Questions posts.
And of course comments from my clients / students, which are often more personal and anecdotal.

Those are the comments I really enjoy, so clearly I cannot get rid of the commenting function entirely. I just have to weather the storm, delete the spam, and not check/review comments for 2 years again.

Two years from now I should be nearing the 1,000 posts mark (currently hovering around 880 and doing 60 per year) so it is a lot of posts for people to leave comments on.


Note

To the people wanting to sell boxing gloves, weightlifting equipment and other exercise equipment... don't spam! Send me product samples instead and I will do a product review. I will even post a copy of the review on Amazon if you ask nicely. Product reviews from genuine sources are a far better way of advertising your product and getting the positive word out there.

But spamming. Nope. Deleted. Good day sir! Hope you enjoyed wasting your time!
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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