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Showing posts with label Archery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archery. Show all posts

Why is September and October arguably the best time of year to do outdoor sports?

Q. Why is September and October arguably the best time of year to do certain sports?

A. There are many reasons why September and October are often considered favorable months for certain outdoor sports.

In the examples listed below we will look at many of the reasons why September and October are great months of the year to do archery, but many of these reasons will also apply to a variety of other outdoor sports.

  1. Weather Conditions: In many regions, September and October offer mild and comfortable weather. The heat of summer has usually subsided, and the cold of winter has not yet set in. This moderate temperature range can make practicing outdoor sports more enjoyable, as athletes don't have to deal with extreme heat or cold.

  2. Stable Atmosphere: During these months, the atmosphere tends to be more stable. This means there is less turbulence in the air, which can affect the trajectory of projectiles like arrows in archery. A stable atmosphere can result in more predictable and consistent shot placements, making it easier to focus on improving skills.

  3. Reduced Wind: Wind is a significant factor in many outdoor sports, especially archery. Windy conditions can greatly affect the flight of an arrow, making it difficult to maintain accuracy. During September and October, wind speeds are often lower compared to other times of the year, providing archers with more favorable shooting conditions. Also, wind direction during September and October (at least in the northern hemisphere) is more likely to be consistently from the north, which means the wind is also more predictable.

  4. Less Daylight Variability: As the days get shorter heading into fall, there is generally less variation in daylight hours compared to summer. This can provide more consistent lighting conditions, making it easier to judge distances and aim accurately in archery.

  5. Preparation for Hunting Season: For many archers, September and October mark the beginning of hunting seasons in various regions. As a result, these months are an excellent time to practice and refine archery skills to prepare for hunting activities. This gives archers the chance to practice their shots, accuracy, and stealth in conditions similar to those they will encounter during hunting season.

  6. Training and Tournaments: Many sports, including archery, schedule training sessions, workshops, and tournaments during the fall months. The favorable weather conditions and the absence of extreme temperature variations make it conducive to hosting outdoor events and competitions.

  7. Scenic Environment: The changing colors of foliage during the fall months create a visually appealing backdrop for outdoor sports. This can enhance the overall experience of practicing and participating in sports like archery.

  8. Cultural and Historical Significance: In some cultures, the fall season holds special significance for activities like archery. For example, traditional festivals or historical events related to archery might be celebrated during these months, motivating enthusiasts to participate and engage in the sport.

While September and October are indeed favorable for archery and other outdoor sports, it's important to note that the specific advantages can vary depending on the location, climate, and the sport itself.


New Archery Rates as of January 2024

Due to inflation I will be raising my archery rates on January 1st 2024. I haven't changed my rates since Summer 2020, so by January 2024 that will be roughly 3.5 years without any changes to my rates.

Below are my current archery lesson rates:

Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

1 Student, Weekdays or Weekends
$70 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $200; 5 Lessons - $320; 10 Lessons - $620.

2 Students, Weekdays or Weekends
$100 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $290; 5 Lessons - $470; 10 Lessons - $920.

Below are my new archery lesson rates starting January 1st 2024:

Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

1 Student, Weekdays or Weekends
$80 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $230; 5 Lessons - $370; 10 Lessons - $720.

2 Students, Weekdays or Weekends
$110 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $320; 5 Lessons - $520; 10 Lessons - $1020.

This $10 increase per lesson represents an approximately 14% increase in my rates for single lessons for one person. The inflation rate in Canada was only 0.72% during 2020, but was 3.4% in 2021 and 6.8% in 2022. So far in 2023 the inflation rate has been 2.8%, and could reach 4% by January 2024.

Keeping in mind that such inflation is compounded annually.

Thus a $100 worth of goods in 2020 would now cost $100 x 1.0072 x 1.034 x 1.068 x 1.028 (or 1.04) =

$114.34 (or $115.68 by January 2024)

Thus the compound interest during the past 3 years has been 14.34% and will reach approximately 15.68% by January 2024 when my rates go up.

So raising my archery lessons rates by approximately 14% is in line with the compounded interest rate from the past 3 years.

Note - Prebooking for lessons in 2024 means that people can lock in a cheaper rate before my prices go up in January. So if you are planning to get lessons in 2024 it is best to book now before my prices increase.

Plus hitting your own arrow (and breaking it) on a moving target gets more expensive as the price of arrows has also been going up.

Fletching 101

Fletching refers to the feathers or other materials attached to the shaft of an arrow to stabilize its flight. Different types of fletching can have varying effects on an arrow's performance, such as affecting the arrow's speed and accuracy.

Here's a list of different kinds of fletching used on arrows:

  1. Natural Feathers: Traditional fletching material made from the feathers of birds like turkey, goose, or eagle. These feathers are often cut and shaped to create the desired stabilization effect.

  2. Plastic Vanes: Modern fletching made from various types of plastic materials. They are usually more durable and consistent in shape compared to natural feathers.

  3. Spin-Wings (Helical Vanes): These are plastic vanes with a slight twist or helical shape. The spin imparted by these vanes helps stabilize the arrow's flight and counteract any spinning induced by the bow's release.

  4. Straight Vanes: These are plastic vanes that are attached to the arrow shaft in a straight configuration. They provide stability through drag and airflow manipulation.

  5. Shield Cut Vanes: Vanes that are shaped like a shield or teardrop. They offer a balance between stabilization and reduced drag, making them suitable for various shooting styles.

  6. Parabolic Cut Vanes: Vanes with a parabolic or curved shape. They provide good stabilization and are often used in traditional archery and hunting arrows.

  7. Offset Vanes: In this configuration, one or more vanes are slightly offset from the rest. This can induce a spin in the arrow's flight for greater stability.

  8. 4-Fletch and 3-Fletch Configurations: Refers to the number of vanes used on an arrow. Four-fletch has four vanes equally spaced around the shaft, while three-fletch has three. The choice can affect arrow flight characteristics.

  9. Feather Length and Height: Both natural feathers and plastic vanes come in various lengths and heights. The choice of size can impact arrow stability and flight characteristics.

  10. Feather Colors: Fletching can be customized with different colors for aesthetic appeal, visibility, and identification purposes.

  11. Hybrid Fletching: Combining different types of vanes or feathers on a single arrow shaft. For example, using a combination of natural feathers and plastic vanes to balance tradition and modern technology.

  12. Cut-Out Vanes: Vanes with cut-out sections or perforations. These designs can reduce the overall weight of the fletching and influence arrow flight.

  13. Quick-Spin Vanes: These vanes are designed to quickly stabilize the arrow's flight, especially when shot from faster bows or crossbows.

  14. Low-Profile Vanes: Vanes with a reduced height profile, designed to minimize wind resistance and drag during flight.

Remember that the choice of fletching depends on various factors, including the type of archery you're engaged in (target shooting, hunting, traditional archery), the bow's draw weight and speed, and personal preferences in terms of arrow flight characteristics.

To learn more consider signing up for archery lessons with a local archery instructor. Looking for archery lessons in Toronto? Look no further. Cardio Trek can help you.

Arrow Glossary

The following glossary is not comprehensive. Indeed there are many more types of arrowheads, fletches, shafts and specialty nocks used for arrows that aren't listed here. Eg. Lighted LED nocks.

Arrow: A projectile used with a bow, consisting of a shaft with a pointed tip on one end and stabilizing feathers or vanes on the other.

Barbed Point: An arrowhead with barbs on its edges, designed to prevent easy removal from the target. Barbed points are often used in bowfishing.

Blunt Point or Bludgeon Point: A rounded or flat tip designed for hunting small game or birds. Blunt points will still kill a small target through blunt force.

Bodkin Point: A type of arrowhead characterized by a narrow, pointed tip. Bodkin points were historically used to penetrate armor or thick hides.

Broadhead: An arrowhead with wide blades designed for hunting. Broadheads have sharp cutting edges that cause significant damage to the target upon impact. They come in various designs, including fixed-blade and expandable-blade types.

Cock Fletch/Vane: Also known as the Rooster or Index fletch, it is a fletching that is coloured differently from the others to indicate the correct orientation when nocking the arrow.

Cresting: Decorative markings or designs applied to the shaft of an arrow. Cresting is often used for identification or aesthetic purposes.

Cresting Paint: Specialized paint used to apply decorative markings, designs, or patterns on the arrow shaft. Cresting paint is often durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Cresting Wheel: A rotating device used to apply cresting paint to the arrow shaft. The wheel allows for precise and consistent application of markings or designs.

Feather: Traditionally, arrows were fletched with feathers, usually from birds like turkeys. Feathers provide stability and can be either natural or synthetic.

Field Point: Also known as a bullet point or practice point, it is a simple conical tip used primarily for practice and target shooting. It is usually made of metal and has a smooth surface. Field points help prevent damage to targets.

Fletching: The feathers or vanes attached to the rear end of the arrow shaft, responsible for stabilizing the arrow's flight. Fletching helps to minimize drag and maintain accuracy.

Fletching Jig: A device used to position and attach fletching to arrow shafts. The jig ensures consistent placement and angles for optimal arrow flight.

Fletchings Orientation: Refers to the positioning of the feathers or vanes on an arrow shaft. The orientation can be helical (twisted) or straight, affecting arrow stability and spin.

Fletching Tape/Adhesive: The tape or adhesive used to secure the fletching to the arrow shaft. It can be in the form of double-sided tape, glue, or specialized adhesive.

Flu-Flu: A specialized type of fletching with large, full-length feathers or vanes. Flu-flu arrows are designed to slow down quickly and are easy to find, making them suitable for aerial target shooting or hunting birds in the woods. Flu Flu fletching is often brightly coloured (eg. bright yellow) in order to make them easy to find.

Insert: A component inserted into the front end of the arrow shaft, typically made of aluminum or other metal. Inserts provide a threaded connection for screw-in arrowheads and enhance durability.

Judo Point: A specialized arrowhead used for small game hunting. It features spring-loaded arms or wire prongs that prevent the arrow from burying too deep into the ground or vegetation.

Nock: A slot or groove at the rear end of the arrow, designed to engage with the bowstring, allowing the arrow to be properly positioned and released.

Nock Collar: A protective ring or sleeve placed around the rear end of the arrow shaft, near the nock. The nock collar adds strength and durability to the arrow and helps prevent damage.

Point/Tip: The front end of the arrow that pierces the target. Various types of arrowheads exist, each serving different purposes.

Screw-In Point: A type of arrowhead that can be screwed into the arrow shaft, allowing for easy replacement or customization of the point type for specific tasks.

Shaft: The main body of the arrow, typically made of materials like wood, carbon fiber, aluminum, or a combination.

Spine: The stiffness of an arrow shaft, usually measured in deflection or spine value. The spine affects how the arrow flexes during flight and interacts with the bow.

Vane: Modern arrows often use plastic vanes instead of feathers. Vanes are typically made of materials like plastic or rubber and offer improved durability and consistency.

Whistling Arrowheads: Arrowheads with holes cut within them and a hollow interior that make a loud whistling noise when shot. Tibetan and Mongolian archers also used howling arrowheads / howling broadheads, which had the added benefit of demoralizing the enemy in addition to wounding/killing them.

Wrap: A decorative tape or shrinkable tube applied to the arrow shaft. Wraps can feature designs, patterns, or personalization and provide additional protection to the shaft.

A Guide to Adaptive Archery

See Also: A Lesson in Adaptive Archery by Charles Moffat, an article in Archery Focus Magazine.

Adaptive Archery is a form of archery that caters to individuals with physical disabilities or limitations, allowing them to participate and enjoy the sport. It embraces the principles of inclusivity, accessibility and adaptability, providing modified techniques and equipment to accommodate different needs. 

Whether you have a mobility impairment, limb difference, or other physical challenges, Adaptive Archery can offer an empowering and fulfilling experience. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Find a Qualified Instructor: Look for an archery instructor who has experience and knowledge in Adaptive Archery. They should have expertise in working with individuals with disabilities and be able to provide the necessary guidance and support.

  2. Discuss Your Needs: Communicate with your instructor about your specific needs, limitations, and goals. Share any relevant medical information or concerns. This will help the instructor tailor the training and equipment to suit your requirements.

  3. Equipment Selection: Depending on your abilities, the instructor will assist you in selecting appropriate adaptive archery equipment. This may include adaptive bows, release aids, stabilizers, or customized modifications. The equipment should be properly fitted and adjusted to ensure comfort and optimal performance.

  4. Warm-up and Stretching: Engage in a warm-up routine to prepare your body for archery. Gentle stretching exercises can help loosen muscles and improve flexibility. Focus on areas that may need extra attention due to your specific condition.

  5. Proper Technique and Form: Learn the fundamentals of archery technique, focusing on a modified form that accommodates your physical abilities. The instructor will guide you on how to position your body, grip the bow, draw the string, and release the arrow safely and efficiently. Practice proper posture and alignment to enhance accuracy and minimize the risk of injury.

  6. Adaptations and Modifications: Depending on your needs, the instructor may introduce specific adaptations or modifications. This could involve using a shooting rest or support system, adjusting the draw weight of the bow, or employing assistive devices for gripping or releasing the bowstring.

  7. Safety Measures: Archery safety is crucial for everyone. Ensure you understand and follow all safety guidelines, including range rules and procedures. Learn how to handle the equipment safely, how to use protective gear, and how to communicate effectively with others on the range.

  8. Progress Gradually: Archery is a skill that requires practice and patience. Start with shorter shooting distances and gradually increase the distance as you gain confidence and improve your skills. Celebrate your progress along the way and embrace the joy of the learning process.

  9. Focus on Mindfulness: Archery provides an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and mental focus. Practice being fully present in each shot, paying attention to your breath, body alignment, and the process of releasing the arrow. Embrace the meditative aspects of archery to enhance your overall well-being.

  10. Join Adaptive Archery Communities: Seek out local or online communities dedicated to Adaptive Archery. Engaging with others who share similar experiences can provide support, inspiration, and opportunities for further learning and participation in adaptive archery events or competitions.

Remember, Adaptive Archery is about finding joy in the sport, overcoming challenges, and embracing your abilities. With the right instruction, equipment, and mindset, archery can become a fulfilling and empowering activity regardless of physical limitations.

5 Exercises for Building Muscles for Archery

Here are five exercises that engage similar muscle groups as archery:

  1. Resistance Band Rows: This exercise targets the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and arms, which are heavily involved in archery. Attach a resistance band to a stable object at waist height. Hold the ends of the band, step back to create tension, and pull your hands towards your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  2. Standing Dumbbell Rows: Similar to resistance band rows, this exercise targets the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and arms. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight, and let the dumbbells hang at arm's length. Pull the dumbbells up towards your body, leading with your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  3. Push-ups: Push-ups engage the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and arms, which are utilized during the drawing and holding phases of archery. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides, until your chest nearly touches the ground. Push back up to the starting position.

  4. Plank: The plank exercise strengthens the core muscles, including the abdominal muscles and lower back, which provide stability during archery. Start in a push-up position, but with your elbows resting on the ground directly under your shoulders. Keep your body straight from head to toe, engaging your core muscles. Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.

  5. Standing Cable Rotations: This exercise targets the muscles of the core, including the obliques, which are crucial for stability and rotational movements in archery. Stand facing a cable machine with the cable set at chest height. Hold the handle with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and rotate your upper body away from the machine while keeping your hips and lower body stable. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can help strengthen the muscles used in archery and improve overall stability and control.

Happy Shooting!

5 Ways to Practice Archery after you get Archery Lessons

Let's pretend for a moment that you've already got archery lessons in Toronto. Once you've already been trained by an archery instructor / coach, what are some good ways to practice by yourself?

If you've already had lessons (I recommend 3 or more if you're planning to buy your equipment) then you should already have done the following during your lessons:

  1. Learned Proper Safety Etiquette
  2. Purchased Equipment that is suitable for your Needs
  3. Learned How to Aim
  4. Learned Proper Form
  5. Practiced during your Lessons

So if you've already done all of theses things (either with me or a different instructor) what we really want to be talking is the following:

1. Small Target Practice

I recommend using small targets, something about the size of a coffee lid, so that you have to truly focus and concentrate on what you're doing in order to hit it. The smaller the target the more you have to concentrate on your form in order to hit it.

2. Setting Goals + Tracking Progress

Some archers like to establish specific goals for each practice session, whether it's improving their groupings or hitting a certain score. Keep a record of your progress to track your development over time. However this isn't for everyone. Some people prefer a more relaxed / less regimented practice session.

3. Incorporate Drills and Exercises

Include various drills in your practice routine to work on specific aspects of your shooting, such as target archery and trying to beat a certain score, field archery at various distances, or possibly more complicated things like shooting at moving targets or shooting while walking (I teach these more advanced things to my students who get 5 or more lessons).

4. Mental Focus

Over time it isn't the physical aspect of archery that becomes the tricky part. It is the mental stuff that starts to mess with the archer's head. Some archers will get into relaxation techniques, practice breathing control, and imagining/visualizing a successful shot.

I personally like reading/writing zen poetry, but that isn't for everyone. But for those people interested in such topics I recommend the following books

Zen Bow, Zen Arrow by John Stevens

Dreaming of Zen Archery by Charles Moffat

5. To Video Record or Not To Video Record

There are Pros and Cons to recording your practice sessions from different angles to review your form and identify areas for improvement. It helps if you already know proper form and you know what problem areas you need to be paying attention to.

Some people will also use the videos to compare your technique to instructional videos or to seek feedback from online archery communities, but because there are many different types of archery (including stringwalkers and facewalkers) you're more likely to get confused by the broad range of responses you will get from the community, many of whom may have only been shooting for a short period of time, so you might be getting a lot of bad advice from people. Instead I recommend only showing the video to an archery instructor who teaches the style of archery you are practicing. Otherwise the deluge of bad advice could end up making the quality of your shooting worse.

It is also possible to mentally psyche yourself out by watching the videos of yourself and mess up your mental focus.

Bonus! Join an Archery Club / Community

Socializing with other archers in person is a great way to seek advice, ask questions, and learn from their experiences to enhance your learning journey. Doing this in-person is fundamental because it allows you to better gauge the experience of the archers you are talking to and how seriously you should take their advice. Also if you join a club it gives you an excuse to practice more often and make friends within the community.

New Gift Voucher Artwork for Cardio Trek Archery Lessons

Okay, so many years now I have been using the same design for Cardio Trek's Gift Vouchers with respect to archery lessons.

And it occurred to me recently that perhaps it was time to make a new design.

So here are the old designs. First up the Regular design:

And the Valentines Day version.

I still like the concept of the gift box in the image, but I felt it was time for something new. Plus I wanted to use the same font used for the Cardio Trek logo.


Now immediately I know some people are going to prefer the old versions... But whatever. It doesn't matter which version people want to use. What really matters is the Gift Voucher Number when people contact me to book their archery lessons in Toronto.

Want to give a friend, loved one or coworker a gift? Why not archery lessons?! Just contact me via to get started.

Happy Shooting!

Archery Equipment Guide for Beginners

A bow and an arrow. That's all you need, right?

Well, not exactly. There's a lot more things you need. See my Archery Equipment Checklist. But I don't go into a lot of details on that Checklist, but today I am going to do so. Here's what you really need... and Why!

Traditional Recurve Archery Equipment Guide

Recurve Bow

You want to start with a bow with a fairly low poundage so that you can focus on form first and build strength gradually over time. Generally someone new to archery should start with a 20 to 25 lb bow, depending upon their strength and size. Even people who are very strong should start with a maximum of 25 lbs and then as they progress they can purchase higher poundage limbs or more powerful bows.

This is similar to a person at the gym doing weightlifting: You don't start with the 50 lb dumbbells and start doing bicep curls. You start with the 15s or 20s and work your way up gradually. Someone who starts with a bow that is too powerful will get tired very quickly and their form will suffer as a result, causing a lot of inaccuracy.

Right: Samick Sage Recurve Bow.

There are many different brands and models of Traditional Recurve Bows to choose from. A very popular model is the Samick Sage (which my wife uses), but there are lots to choose from. When buying your first bow however try to get one that is the desired poundage. Don't worry so much about brand and model, poundage is much more important. You can always get a fancy bow later after your skill has improved significantly.

12 Arrows

So... Funny thing. Beginners have a tendency to lose arrows or break arrows quite often. So if you start with 6 arrows, you're probably going to lose/break half of them during the first month. This is why I recommend starting with 12, because if you break/lose 3 of them then you still have 9 left.

You also want to make certain that the arrows you purchase are spined correctly for the bow you are shooting. If they're too stiff then it reduces accuracy, but if they're too weak then it increases the chances of the arrows spontaneously breaking (and possibly hurting the archer).

See my old article: Three Frequently Asked Questions about Archery.


A fairly simple device used for stringing your bow easily and without damaging the bow. If you string a recurve bow using the leg method (or the knee method) then you void the warranty. So you really want to string it properly using a bowstringer.

If you are getting archery lessons then your instructor can show you how to use a bowstringer properly, otherwise you can also ask someone in an archery store to demonstrate how to use it. Failing that there are also YouTube videos on how to use a bowstringer.

During a student's first archery lesson I often tell a story during the demonstration of how to use a bowstringer. The story is about Ulysses (Odysseus) and his return to Ithaca and how he strung his bow after being gone for 20 years and returning to Ithaca an old man. Or you can watch the 1954 version starring Kirk Douglas.

Archery Glove or Tab or Thumbring

Protects your fingers. Traditionally archers wore leather gloves of various styles to protect their fingers while shooting. If you shoot regularly without protection it will hurt your fingers and damage the nerve endings.

In the image on the right you can see the character Bran (from A Game of Thrones) wearing an archery glove. The glove in question is actually just a Neet Archery Glove that has had the label removed and the image has been tinted so it appears to be darker.

I saw someone about a decade ago shooting with zero protection. He was insisting on "doing it the traditional way", even though people traditionally used some kind of hand protection. His fingers during the summer turned black and blue because of all the damage he did to the nerve endings. We never saw him again after that summer. I am guessing his fingers had to be amputated. So yes, definitely wear protection. Wearing a glove, tab or thumbring is very traditional.

Below: An example of someone using a thumb draw with a thumbring. Thumbrings are usually used by people shooting horsebows (shortbows), but I have also experimented with using them to shoot longbows and flatbows.

Arrow Rest

Most bows (unless you buy a kit) don't come with an arrow rest. My biggest piece of advice on this topic is: DO NOT BUY THE CHEAP PLASTIC ARROW RESTS.

They break very easily.

Instead I recommend getting a steel or fur arrow rest. See my older post Five Styles of Arrow Rests for more on that topic.

For beginners what I generally ask is: Do you want something more traditional or more modern?

If the new archer says traditional I point them at the fur arrow rest (which isn't made of real fur), which you can see to the right.

And if they want something more modern then I point them at either a Flipper style arrow rest or a spring loaded arrow rest. I particularly like the QuikTune by NAP and I use it when teaching beginners because the arrow doesn't fall off easily when they cant the bow to the left. Beginner archers have a habit of canting the bow left and right and then the arrow slides off the arrow rest.

Nock Bead

The nock bead is a tiny brass bead that goes on the bowstring and acts as a guide for wear to nock the arrow on the bowstring, and prevents the arrow from sliding around on the bowstring.

Some archers will even put two nock beads on there, one above the arrow and below it, so it is even less likely to slide around.


So yeah... Arrows don't usually come with arrowheads. Some do, but not all.

Also there are many different kinds of arrowheads, and they're measured in grains. (There are 7000 grains in 1 lb.)

I generally recommend that beginners start with 125 grain field point arrowheads, and if they want to shoot longer distances they can get 100 grain field points for shooting medium distances (30 to 50 yards) and 75 grain field points for shooting long distances (60 yards or further). You swap out the arrowheads for shooting longer distances so you can save on weight/increase arrow speed, but at medium or close distances you want a heavier arrowhead because it increases accuracy.

If the arrow itself is heavier than normal then you might even want a heavier arrowhead in order to change the FOC balancing point of the arrow. See my old article on the subject: What the eff is FOC Weight?

So yes...

That is everything that you "NEED".

You may have noticed that having an arm guard (arm bracer) or a quiver isn't actually a necessity. Those are really more optional. Below is a list of Optional Archery Equipment or you can browse Optional Archery Equipment for more details.

  • Arm guard or Bracer - arguably a necessity for some people, but not everyone needs one.
  • A spare bowstring. (In case the first one breaks.)
  • Spare Parts for Arrows - spare nocks, spare fletching, fletching glue, spare arrowheads, spare inserts. This is in case you ever need to repair arrows.
  • A quiver of some kind - possibly a back quiver, side quiver, hip quiver, ground quiver - or you can just make your own.
  • Dampeners - puffy balls that make your bowstring quieter.
  • Archery Backpack - to carry your gear in.
  • Bow Sock - for storing a longbow or one-piece recurve in.
  • 3D Targets - for shooting at fake rabbits and such.
  • Portable Archery Targets - for when you don't have anything else to shoot at.
  • Stabilizer - a gadget to help prevent people from canting the bow.
  • Decorative Limbs Skins - purely for decoration.
  • Wrist Strap - so you don't accidentally drop your bow.
  • Bow Racks / Bow Stands - for storing your bow when you are not shooting it.
  • Strange Arrowheads - Whistling arrowheads, Tibetan howling arrowheads, blunt arrowheads, glass arrowheads, flint, obsidian - there are quite a variety available.


Below are two examples of some whistling arrowheads.

Becoming an Experienced Archer in 10 Weeks

Is it possible to become an Experienced Archer in just 10 Weeks?

Well, yes, but it depends upon how you define "Experienced".

Experienced doesn't necessarily mean that are good at something. You can be experienced at rowing a canoe, but that doesn't mean you are very good at it.

Using that definition a toddler could be "experienced at archery", but that doesn't mean they're good at it. [Photo on the right is my son Arthur, who is 11 months old in this picture. It is going to be many years before he is an "experienced archer". My older son Richard (currently 5) meanwhile can shoot moving bubbles in the backyard while barely trying.]

But for the purpose of exploring hypotheticals, how do you go from just starting archery as a complete beginner to becoming an experienced archer in just 10 weeks?

Well, it is certainly possible to do it with a lot of practice, but I believe it is easiest when you have an archery instructor. Becoming "good" at archery is many times slower if a person is trying to do it by being self-taught, but you speed the process up significantly by having an instructor who can help you avoid common mistakes that many beginners get stuck on and they don't know what they're doing wrong.

A good book on the subject can also help, but a book cannot spot your errors when you make them and if you don't know what errors you are making then it cannot teach you how to avoid those bad habits while reinforcing good habits.

One of the biggest factors, in my opinion, is how serious the student is about learning archery. A child who is more interested in staring at their phone isn't going to get as much out of 10 archery lessons than a similar child who pays attention and is excited/enthusiastic about learning archery. Same goes with an adult who is similarly addicted to their phone versus an adult who really wants to learn archery. This isn't so much an age issue as it is a maturity issue.

Speaking on behalf of myself and my archery lessons you can learn quite a bit in 10 lessons, however just because I offer 10 lessons doesn't necesssarily mean that you cannot learn more. I have had some students who keep coming back for more lessons. 20? 50? More than that?

It happens. One of my students (Adam) just keeps coming back for more lessons every year. He was a teenager when he started, now he's in his 20s.

Some archers just want to be challenged constantly and they yearn to learn more things as they progress, possibly learning other styles of archery, other techniques, and more obscure topics that aren't covered in my normal block of 10 lessons.

See my Archery Lesson Plan + How many lessons should you do? post on the subject to learn more about the types of things you can learn during 10 weeks of archery lessons.

Refresher Course Archery Lessons

Good Morning!

There is no shame in getting a refresher course.

If you haven't done archery in a long time and you are worried you've forgotten a few things, or perhaps you've been doing it regularly, but you feel the need to improve on a few things that you feel you are having difficulty with, well then there's nothing wrong with getting a refresher course.

And judging by the pleasant sunny weather outside, spring is coming early.

So to all my former archery students, welcome back! Come get a refresher course. Refresh your memory and pick up some new archery skills too. Plus I thought it would be nice to see some of my old students from a decade ago.

Happy Shooting!

Charles M.

PS. Below is a needlessly cute of my son Arthur that I took this morning after changing his diaper and getting him dressed for the day. I gave him one of Richard's old plastic bows and snapped a photo of Arthur plucking the bowstring.

Global Warming = More Archery?

The birds are chirping like it is spring outside.

I spoke to my mother yesterday (who lives up north) and she saw a black and orange caterpillar two days ago, a sure sign of spring.

Almost all the snow is melted in my front yard and back yard.

The forecast for today is a high of 8 Celsius (46.4 Fahrenheit). So that isn't exactly warm, but it isn't freezing either.

Supposed to go up to 13 Celsius on Wednesday (and rain), but otherwise it is going to be unseasonably warm and mild for mid February. (Usually we should be expecting a big snowstorm around this time of year.)

Spring is Coming.

We can thank Global Warming, I suppose. I see this as a silver lining. In the future I may be able to teach archery more often in February and November, and perhaps take a few weeks off in July/August to enjoy a vacation when it is too hot.

Which means I can book archery lessons for 2023 for anyone who isn't afraid of a little cold.

Or you can prebook for March, April or May. Whatever weather suits your fancy.

Contact to book your archery lessons in Toronto today!

Archery Lessons for Valentines Day

Looking for something fun to give a loved one for Valentines Day in Toronto?

Why not give them an Archery Lesson for Two?

Or Archery Lessons...

2 Students, Weekdays or Weekends
$100 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $290; 5 Lessons - $470; 10 Lessons - $920.

Contact to get a Gift Voucher Number and have a Happy Valentines Day!

3 Ways to get into Archery

If you have never done archery (or have very little experience) there are essentially three ways to get into the sport.

 #1. Get Archery Lessons

Obviously this is me tooting my own horn, but if you're looking for archery lessons in Toronto then I invite you to contact me to book archery lessons. Archery lessons are the fastest and easiest way to learn the sport, but they are more expensive and thus geared towards people who are more serious about wanting to learn archery in a hurry and want to excel at it.

If you have a friend who does archery they can also try to teach you, but this is often a test of patience on their part as they may not have a lot of experience teaching archery (or anything else). So when getting archery lessons I do recommend hiring someone with a lot of experience teaching archery and know what they're doing.

Speaking for myself: I have been teaching archery since 2009, and I have been doing archery since 1989.

#2. Buy an Archery How To Book

The book I currently recommend is by my colleagues Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson: "Precision Archery".

You can try to find the book at your local bookstore, and if they don't have it then you can order it from the store using the ISBN number... Or order it online.

ISBN 9780736046343

And if you want to go a step further you can also get yourself a subscription to Archery Focus Magazine, which gives you access to their back catalogue of magazine PDFs.

Which coincidentally also gives you access to various articles that I wrote for Archery Focus Magazine:

  • "Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches", July 2017.
  • "A Lesson in Adaptive Archery", July 2018.
  • "Teaching Archery Through Narratives", November 2018.
  • "Rinehart Target Balls (and Alternatives)", January 2020.
  • "Archery Trick Shooting", September 2020. 
  • "Gap Shooting: Aiming for Versatility", November 2021.

 Oh and I am working on my own nonfiction Archery How To Book. So stayed for that to be released.

Note - Reading a book about how to do archery isn't perfect. Ideally you want an archery instructor, but if you don't have one then a book is the next best thing. There are other books on the subject, but "Precision Archery" is the best book currently available in my opinion.

#3. Teach Yourself / Watch YouTube Videos

I have a low opinion on the subject of YouTube videos teaching archery and while there is the potential for someone to learn that way, I firmly believe it is a bit like "the blind leading the blind" because often the people making such videos are beginners themselves.

Or if they are experienced archers they're not necessarily good at teaching it or explaining it properly.

And then there's the YouTube feuds...

For example, there are two specific YouTubers I am thinking of who argue back and forth in their videos about the proper way to do something. Just two men (and their egos) arguing.

Honestly, rather than watch YouTube videos you might be better off just being completely self taught, assuming you cannot find a book on the subject or cannot find an archery instructor.

Being self-taught really comes down to practicing regularly and socializing with other archers, because you will learn so much about the sport by talking to your fellow archers and observing them while they shoot to see what they are doing correctly, but also what they are doing wrong. If you can learn from their mistakes and triumphs it will speed up the process of teaching yourself. (Of course, you would learn even faster if you had an instructor to teach you what to be looking for.)


A combination of options #1 and #2 above is arguably the best you can do. Getting both an instructor and the aforementioned book on the subject, so you get the best of both worlds.

Or options #1 and #2 and buy a whole library of archery books (which is what I have on my bookshelves). In some cases I even have multiple copies of the same book, the result of people gifting me books that I already have copies of.

"Hey, there's an archery book! I should get that for Charles!"

And unfortunately I have copies of almost every archery book in the English language. Plus I am such an archery dork that I write nonfiction (and fiction) on the subject.

And I have 5 different books just on the subject of bowmaking and arrow making.

So yes, if you want to get really good at archery... Just copy everything I've done. Get archery lessons, buy ALL the books (even the bowmaking books), practice multiple days per week, get really good at it, learn multiple styles of archery, become an archery instructor, and of course publish articles on the subject... And start writing a How To Book on archery.


I think the point I am trying to make (again and again) is that you should either get archery lessons or buy a book like "Precision Archery". Or both.

Practice makes perfect. Aim small miss small. Have Some Apple Pie.

Happy Halloween from Cardio Trek


Print out the above image to have a Spooky archery target this Halloween. Enjoy!

Arrow Hitting Bottle and Catapulting Back

 One of my archery students back in July sent me this GIF of their arrow hitting a bottle and then catapulting backwards. Seen in a loop it creates the impression that the arrow is hitting the bottle and just bouncing back and forth, while the lid goes flying each time.


Photography Credit: Robin Kuniski /

A Beginner's Guide to Clout Archery

Look closely and you'll spot the arrows close to the flag pole shown in the photos on the right.

So what's the big deal?

Well, the flag is approx. 70 yards (210 feet) away from where the archery student was standing... And this was only their 5th archery lesson.

Oh and it was a tad windy that day.

That's why such results are worth taking photos of.

So what is Clout Archery?

Clout Archery is a long distance sport wherein archers compete to see who can get their arrows closest to the flag pole, which is generally placed really far away.

Usually 140 to 180 yards away, which are the competitive distances for Clout Archery.

However since the Toronto Archery Range is only 140 yards long (and lots of trees behind that) we have to use a shorter distance which is still challenging for a beginner, but also surprisingly a lot of fun.

Getting a cluster of arrows to land near the flag pole is also very challenging, even for experienced archers who are used to getting their arrows in clusters at shorter distances.

If you look closely at the photos on the right you will note that some of the arrows are touching or almost touching. That is some very good consistency for a beginner archer.

This isn't unheard of for my archery students however. I have periodically had students hit the flag pole or the flag itself at distances of 80 yards, 90 yards or more.

Getting to the point that you can do Clout Archery with this degree of accuracy isn't for beginners really. I generally only teach this to my archery students who sign up for 5 or more archery lessons.

When students sign up for 5 archery lessons they generally (I will sometimes customize the lessons for the needs of the student) get the following:

Lesson 1: Safety Lecture, Eye Test, Lecture on How to Aim Traditionally, Lecture on Proper Form, Field Archery Practice.

Lesson 2: Target Archery Practice, Lecture on Arrowheads.

Lesson 3: Long Distance Field Archery Practice, Lecture on Arrow Spine.

Lesson 4: Target Archery Practice, Lecture on How to Aim using Gap Shooting, Moving Target Practice.

Lesson 5: Clout Archery or Gap Shooting Field Archery (varies on the student).

Thus it really depends upon the student. Some students are more into learning Gap Shooting and others are more interested in long distance shooting.

Note - When someone signs up for 10 or more lessons I don't really have to choose so much. I will just teach them both, but I will still be customizing the lessons to the student's needs or interests.

Clout Archery Tips

Because the archer will usually have to aim at the sky in order to get their arrows to go that far you need to come up with a system for how to aim at the same spot on the sky.

Don't aim at clouds. They move. Instead you need to measure on the sky where you want to aim. I teach several different techniques for how to measure and aim at the sky so that students can choose which method works best for them.

Proper Form! If you don't know how to properly perform a shot then you should either get archery lessons or buy a book on the subject (I recommend "Precision Archery" by Steve Ruis & Claudia Stevenson).

And if you're in Toronto or the GTA you have no excuse not to get archery lessons from a dedicated professional like myself who teaches multiple different styles of archery and different archery sports like Clout Archery.

Browse the links below to learn more. Happy Shooting!

See Also

The Benefits of Clout Archery

Archery Lessons in Toronto


Students who don't Listen

Today I had a bonding experience with a fellow archery instructor during which the topic of "students who don't listen" came up. For me this experience of commiserating with a fellow archery instructor was cathartic.

What is the point of getting archery lessons (or any other kind of lesson) if you're not going to listen to the instructor?

There is nothing more annoying to an instructor than trying to teach someone who refuses to listen. I have, historically, refunded lessons to people who didn't listen and I didn't want to bother teaching them.

Especially if I considered them to be a danger to themselves and others. It would be irresponsible, in my opinion, to teach someone I consider to be dangerously ignorant and refuses to correct their mistakes or listen to the instructor.

This is one of the reasons why I rarely teach children any more. There is a measure of responsibility and maturity on the part of the student that needs to be there before I even agree to teach archery to a child... And if they later turn out to be the type of person who doesn't listen then guess who is getting the remainder of their lessons canceled and refunded*...?

* Partly because of liability issues in which I don't want to be legally responsible for a child (or adult) who is a danger to themselves and others. So this isn't really a choice for me. It is basically a legal requirement on my part to be responsible about who I choose to teach.

As noted by my colleague and myself, this problem of students who don't listen is mostly an issue of children who lack maturity. It is rare to meet an adult with this particular problem, although not unheard of. I sometimes come across an adult or even a senior who has become set in their ways and doesn't want to listen, even when they know it is in their best interest to do so.

The problem I find often stems from students thinking that they know more than the instructor because they have been watching too much television/movies, did archery at summer camp with someone who didn't know how to teach archery, or they've bought into misinformation about the sport they learned from other sources (fictional books, YouTube, Facebook, etc). This is why, in my opinion, it is often better to teach a student who is a blank slate. The less misinformation they have previously received the better.

Just because you saw a cartoon character doing archery a certain way doesn't mean that you know more than the archery instructor. You don't. Get over it.


Trying to teach someone like that also makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration. I don't need the added stress. My knee jerk reaction to meeting a student who doesn't want to listen is to cancel the lessons and refund the money. The liability and the stress just isn't worth it.

Plus why take lessons in something that you don't want to learn???

I get it when parents sign up their kids for ice skating lessons or swimming lessons... And the child would rather be looking at their cellphone than paying attention to the lesson. But if the parent knows that their child isn't actually interested then you should just find them a different activity that does interest them. Not every child wants to swim, do ice skating or archery. Find them something else they actually want to do. Tae kwon do lessons perhaps. Rock climbing. Krav maga. Golf. Violin. Ballet. Parkour.

Don't force them to do a sport they're clearly not interested in.

The Benefits of Practicing Clout Archery

Clout Archery is a sport in which archers compete at shooting a "clout of arrows" as close to a target flag pole as possible, often at really long distances such as 140 or 180 yards away.

For people new to clout archery (or when the field is shorter than desirable) you may want to use shorter distances such as 60, 70, 80 yards, etc. Or if you have a really large field available, you could even try shooting longer distances like 200 yards or more.

The image below shows the results of 1 round of shooting with one of my archery students recently on June 4th 2022, shooting at a distance of 60 yards (180 feet). She got two clusters near the flag pole as you can see, nearly hitting the flag pole despite windy conditions that day.

Which brings me to the topic of what makes Clout Archery something that is useful to learn:

#1. Clout Archery is really good for archers learning how to adjust for wind conditions.

#2. Clout Archery is very good at teaching people how to shoot long distances accurately, with the distances often being more than that used by Olympic archers (70 meters).

#3. Because shooting long distances magnifies any mistakes the archer makes it forces the archer to be more of a perfectionist than shooting short distances in comparison.


Shooting such long distances can also be quite fun as there is a level of joy in watching an arrow fly so far and yet manage to land near the flag pole (or on rare occasions, even hit the flag pole).

For extra fun you can also use whistling arrowheads.

To make it easier to find your arrows (depending on the distance) you can also use wingnuts behind your screwed on field points so that when they hit the ground they dig in like an anchor and are easier to find. Alternatively, you can also use large (flu flu) fletching on your arrows.

Clout Archery Lessons?

Anyone wanting to learn archery (and specifically Clout Archery) can sign up for archery lessons in Toronto and mention that you want to learn Clout Archery.

How to Fix Holey Archery Targets


As time goes by eventually your archery targets will get holey (or fall down) in which case you either need to replace the material or repair it in some manner.

Repairing Natural Tentest Targets

In the case of Natural Tentest targets, like those at the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park shown above, one way to repair the big gaping holes is to wait until one of the target butts collapses and falls down - often due to heavy rain and/or wind - and then you can use the broken fallen pieces of Natural Tentest to stuff the holes in the other targets.

And for fun, you can also add a large water container to the target butt which collapsed so that people can still potentially shoot at something until that target's tentest is replaced.

Repairing 3D Targets

In the case of 3D targets (deer, raccoons, etc) that are popular with hunters one of the best ways to repair them is with foam, like in the video below. What brand or style of foam you use doesn't really matter, what is really important is that you don't overfill the holes you are repairing because otherwise excess material will leak out (as demonstrated in the video below). A "less is better" approach is best for that scenario.

Repairing DIY Cardboard Targets

The beauty of cardboard targets is that they're super easy to repair and cost effective. Just make a habit of saving any large pieces of cardboard from your home and/or workplace and you can easily just rip out any damaged pieces of cardboard from your DIY targets and replace with new cardboard.

Best of all, the old cardboard is still recyclable so it has simply been reused before eventually reaching the recycling bin.

Your cardboard archery target doesn't need to be fancy either (like the one in the image below). It simply could be a cardboard box which is filled with cardboard. Having a wooden frame is really unnecessary for most people's purposes. But once you have a cardboard target they're very easy to repair.

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


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