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Stringwalking vs Facewalking at Traditional Archery Competitions

Awhile back a friend on Facebook showed me the following document for a competition he is taking part in. On it the organization has clearly laid out that Stringwalking and Facewalking will not be allowed during the competition and will basically be considered cheating.


I will never understand why some people like Stringwalking and making their arrows slower, less accurate and more unstable during flight. Sure it allows them to be lazy about how they aim, but the negatives to their accuracy far outweigh any benefits due to laziness.

Stringwalking follows the principle that if the arrow is angle differently by changing the position of the arrow on the string that is will travel at a different speed and thus land in a different spot. Advocates of Stringwalking use it so they can avoid changing their aim so much and instead just change where the arrow is nocked on the string. However doing so causes the arrow to be off-center on the bowstring, resulting in top and bottom limbs of the bow doing different amounts of work during the shot - which in turn changes the speed and acceleration of the limbs bouncing back to their non-drawn position. That change of speed hurts the speed, stability and accuracy of the arrow and ultimately results in an inferior shot.

Stringwalking Amateur

Facewalking in contrast at least makes some logical sense and doesn't reduce arrow speed or accuracy. The arrow maintains its level of accuracy during flight, the only thing that has changed is the anchor point drawn to on the face of the archer.

eg. A low anchor point for targets further away. A higher anchor point for targets closer to the archer.

The problem with Facewalking is that it involves a lot of guesswork for determining the distance to the target. The archer would have to deliberately train and practice doing Facewalking at many different distances in order to get even a semblance of accuracy.

An Amazing Example of What Not To Do

As opposed to the traditional method of shooting which is to use the same nock point on the string during every shot, the same anchor spot all the time, and the only thing changing is where you aim based on the distance to the target.

Stringwalking and Facewalking are basically old archers tricks for adjusting their aim, but they are problematic because they are not that accurate, and notoriously frowned upon by veteran archers. They are commonly used these days by amateurs who think, mistakenly, that it will somehow improve their accuracy. Amateurs who haven't yet figured out how to gauge distances and adjust their aim accordingly. Which unfortunately is no good for Facewalkers, because they still haven't learned how to gauge distances and are just guessing at the distance or are relying on being told what the range to the target is.

Thus when I saw the above rule for the archery competition above, I laughed.

Why did I laugh?

Because they are basically banning inferior methods of adjusting your aim. Stringwalking is notoriously bad for the accuracy and arrow flight, whereas Facewalking is notoriously problematic because it still requires the archer learn how to gauge distances, a skill they have deliberately avoided learning and have wasted their time trying to learn a way to "cheat" that doesn't actually work.

As an analogy lets ask what would happen if the Summer Olympics banned sprinters from wearing extra weights on them while sprinting.

Extra weight isn't going to help sprinters to go faster. It will make them go slower. It isn't cheating, quite the opposite it is a negative.

It would be like golfers not being allowed to hop on one foot while attempting to whack the golf ball with their favourite driver. Hopping on one foot certainly wouldn't be cheating, it would be a severe disadvantage.

Or it would be like a professional boxer not being allowed to take 10 sleeping pills before going in to the ring. Chances are likely the boxer will either be knocked unconscious, he or she will likely fall asleep mid-fight when the pills kick in.

Now you understand why I find the banning of Stringwalking / Facewalking laughable. The organizers of the event clearly want to discourage such an amateur method of aiming, not because it is cheating but because they know how notoriously bad those two styles are and instead choosing to discourage those styles in an effort to encourage beginner archers to learn how to gauge distances and adjust their aim the traditional way.

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