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

Temporarily Closed For Business

Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak my archery lessons are temporarily unavailable.

I am going to be using this break to spend time with family, work on some writing, read a few books (currently I am reading the Witcher series and also a series of books by British writer Anthony Ryan, which I totally recommend people check out), and perhaps do some woodworking/bowmaking.

I will also be working on writing a new magazine article for Archery Focus magazine.

Whenever the virus outbreak gets sorted out I will be resuming my normal routine of archery lessons, but for now I suppose I am on an "extended vacation".

So for now my bows are just going to hang for a bit until they are ready to be used again. (Asides from me getting some personal practice, of course.)

7+ Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Where can I do archery? Is it safe and legal to do it in my backyard?  Is there a designated place to do archery in my city?

In Toronto the best place to do archery is at the Toronto Archery Range, located in E. T. Seton Park (near the Ontario Science Centre).

Visit archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Range.html to see maps and parking info.
The legality of doing archery in your backyard depends upon how safe you are doing it. If a neighbour complains about your lack of safety precautions and police investigate they could charge you with reckless endangerment with a firearm. Since Toronto has a public archery range however it is generally accepted that you should really be practicing archery at the archery range.

What is the cost of equipment?  Do I have to shell out big bucks or can I do it on a budget?

Either. Nobody is forcing you to spend a lot of money. A typical beginners budget for equipment is about $350 CDN to buy bow, arrows, arrowheads, arrowrest, shooting glove or tab, bowstringer, etc. Alternatively you could just make your own equipment if you are skilled at woodworking and want to try your hand at bowmaking / fletching arrows.

What kind of equipment do I need to start out?  Should I just get a bow and some arrows or is there anything else I need?

Yes. You will want:


  • Arrowheads
  • Arrowrest
  • Shooting glove or tab
  • Bowstringer
  • A bag or box for carrying your equipment to and from the archery range.
  • Various optional items like a quiver, arm guard/bracer, arrow nock bead, paper targets, portable targets, 3D targets, and a variety of other accessories.

Do I need archery lessons?  Can I just go and shoot or do I need to be instructed on technique, safety, best practices, etc...?

No, you absolutely do not need lessons, but it is definitely helpful to have archery lessons and you should definitely pay attention and abide by all the safety bylaws as they are for your own protection and to protect others.

What types of bows are there?  I have seen some complicated contraptions and more Robin Hood looking bows, but what is the difference and which should I choose?

The most common styles of bows are:

  • Recurve Bows
  • Longbows / Flatbows
  • Horsebows / Shortbows
  • Olympic Recurve Bows
  • Compound Bows

Recurve Bows are the easiest to learn how to use. Longbows/Flatbows and Horsebows/Shortbows are stylistically similar, but have a more difficult learning curve. Olympic Recurves are more specialized and use gadgets to help the archery increase archery. Compound Bows are typically decked out with every gadget you can find. The biggest difference between the styles is how much the individual archer wants to embrace specific traditions or whether they prefer to use gadgets to get extra accuracy.


How long will it take me to be good?  Is it a long process or will I pick it up quickly?

It varies significantly upon a number of factors.


  • Whether or not you get archery lessons.
  • How many archery lessons you get.
  • Whether or not you buy/read any archery books or read websites about improving your archery form.
  • How good is your posture.
  • How often your practice.
  • What your definition of "good" is.

It takes years to get really good at archery. It isn't something that happens overnight. Getting archery lessons / reading a good book on the subject really speeds up the process.

What types of arrows are there?  What do you call the feathers at the end?  What is the best arrow I can buy?

There are many types of arrows, usually made from wood, bamboo, carbon fibre, aluminum or fibreglass. The feathers are called fletching. The "best arrow" depends on what you are using it for. An expensive arrow doesn't necessarily mean it is better at a specific task. Eg. A lightweight arrow would be better for long distance (flight archery), but a heavier arrow can often be better for hunting purposes. So it really depends.

Historically "footed shaft" arrows were considered to be the best of both worlds because they were heavier on the front and lighter on the back, which improved accuracy.

More Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Competing Against Yourself and Records

ARCHERY LESSONS TORONTO

One of the things I have done over the years of teaching archery is that I have started keeping records of how well my students do.

For example during the first lesson, which involves Field Archery Practice at target balls, I keep track of which students have managed to hit the target ball at the furthest distance.

During the first lesson the student starts shooting at a target ball at a distance of 10 yards. If they hit the ball I move it back 1 pace (roughly 1 yard). If they hit it twice in the same round, I move it back 2 paces.

Five times? Clearly that distance is too easy. Move it back 5 paces.

By the end of the lesson most students are shooting at the target balls at a distance of 21 to 25 yards. However some students have been quite good at this and manage to hit the ball enough times to get the ball out to an impressive distance.

The record for a beginner student during their first lesson is 37 yards (111 feet).

Recently one of my archery students managed to tie that record, and I got it on video. So now there are two students who managed to hit the target ball at 37 yards during their first lesson.




Competing Against Yourself

Keeping track of your personal record at various distances is handy and fun to do. It lets you know how much you have improved. For example I know my personal record at 20 yards when shooting at a 40cm FITA archery target is a perfect 50 out of 50, but I also know I only managed to get that score on a day when:

  • I was well rested and well fed.
  • I was mentally focused and not distracted.
  • There was almost no wind.
  • I was using a particular bow I had been shooting with for years.
  • I was using brand new arrows.
  • I had been trying to get a perfect score for almost a month.
 Getting to that perfect score out of 50 was very hard. I got a lot of 47s, 48s and 49s. I could get four 10s fairly easily, but getting a fifth was proving to be extremely difficult.

Getting that perfect score basically required everything to be alignment (like the moon and stars, etc) and I only ever did it once.

Once I did do it however I moved on to other things, like seeing what was the best score I could get at 33 yards (30 meters / 99 feet), also on a 40cm FITA target. I don't think I will ever get a perfect 50 at that distance on a target that small. (The 10 point circle only has a diameter of roughly 4 cm.)


Competing Against The Record

Find a record set by someone else that you think you could potentially beat.

For example the most amazing shot I have ever seen done by any of my students was last year when I was teaching one of my older students Clout Archery.

Clout Archery involves shooting at a flag pole at very large distances. So far away you need something like a flagpole so you can see what you are trying to hit.

One of my students hit the flagpole, right on the flag where it was attached to the pole, the middle point of it - and hit it so hard the flagpole fell over.

The distance was 85 yards (77.7 meters). For reference Olympic archers shoot at 70 meters.

In the video below you can hear me grumbling about how I need to come up with more difficult challenges for this particular student, who after so many years of lessons continues to amaze me with his ability to beat a challenge.



Warm Weather is Here / Archery Season in Toronto!

The 14 day weather forecast shows there being a slight dip in temperatures starting Wednesday until Saturday of this week, and then it getting a lot warmer in a hurry on March 1st.

By March 4th it will be 5 degrees outside and sunny.

For Toronto's Archery Community this means a return to shooting outdoors regularly, and seeing friends many of us haven't seen since October or November. (Sadly archery is very much a seasonal sport, even for private indoor locations the sport is largely seasonal.)

Speaking for myself I have been missing archery during the Winter so it is going to be a joy to be shooting again very soon.

The Toronto Archery Range on a Cloudy Day

Browse my archery lessons page to learn more about rates / discounts.

Read my archery lesson plan so you understand what you could be learning. Eg. Want to learn how to shoot long distances? Sign up for at least 3 lessons.

Lesson 1 - Short Distance Field Archery.
Lesson 2 - 20 Yard Target Archery.
Lesson 3 - Long Distance Field Archery.
Lesson 4 - Moving Targets.

Want to learn more about what is involved? Just email cardiotrek@gmail.com with any questions.

Happy Shooting!

Archery Products on Etsy

The best places to buy archery products are typically in a bricks and mortar store, followed by the various archery websites which ship such products (including both Amazon and eBay), and then there is one website that few archers ever discuss.

Etsy.

So the problem with Etsy is that the products on there are made by 3rd parties who may have wildly different standards for what they are making and selling.

A quick search on Etsy for "archery" garnered 24,067 results as of January 31st 2020.

By the time this post goes live on February 4th 2020 there will probably be more than that. 24,100? Maybe.

The first thing I did after doing that search was click the option to Sort By Top Customer Reviews.

This way I could see what products are super popular and people really like them.

One of the first items I saw was a two-in-one armguard with bow glove, designed for use with longbows or horsebows (shown below) with 717 reviews. It is not the most highly rated item on there, but I can see why it is ranked so high. And it comes with a bonus shooting tab.

Downside: It was $83 CDN.

 Now you may recall I purchased a similar two-in-one armguard and bow glove last year and did a post about it. I got it off Amazon.ca for a mere $19.99 CDN.

No shooting tab that came with it, but I have been very happy using it and very happy with the quality.

This one looks nice with the black and brown leather layers, but colour is just about aesthetics. I don't see anything that makes it functionally better or worse than the one I purchased from Amazon.

I also saw the following things on Etsy worthy of mention:

  • A bow rack / arrow rack for $300 with 90 reviews.
  • Bow gloves.
  • Finger gloves.
  • Tabs.
  • Quivers
  • Thumbrings for horsebows.
  • Replacement nocks.
  • Overpriced longbows with a dubious number of 5 star reviews.
  • LARP arrows.
  • A variety of archery themed shirts with varying numbers of reviews.
  • Jewelry.
  • Pants.
  • An annoying number of ads for firearm holsters, decorative hunting knives, slingshots and other things that are off topic for what I searched for...

By the end I was getting the impression that all of these products have an annoying number of 5 star reviews that they must be faking it. No product ever gets that many 5 star reviews.

So I have to conclude that the reviews must be fake. Completely bogus.

So that armguard above, did it really get 717 reviews? I admit it seems like an awfully big number, but if they are all faking it then perhaps it is really easy for people to fake the reviews.

And then I found out a fault in the reviews system...

The number being shown wasn't for the product. It was for SELLER. The seller had a total of 717 reviews. It isn't for the individual product at all.

When I went back and checked the armguard a second time I saw there was only 53 reviews for that specific armguard.

And everyone, for whatever reason, only seems give a 5 star review.

So it might as well just be a Thumbs Up/Down system.

So now I am skeptical about the whole idea of buying anything off Etsy with respect to archery equipment. I cannot trust the review system whatsoever.

To say nothing of the puffed up prices.

Amazon and eBay both have their faults too, but I think my preference will continue to be to shop at brick and mortar stores. I would have to see something truly special on Etsy to want to buy anything on there. And I don't see anything particularly spectacular.

Toronto Archery Lessons, 2020

My 50 lb horsebow balanced on three arrows.
February 1st 2020.

Spring is coming and I am looking forward to teaching archery again soon. March is almost here, but first we need to get over the "cold weather hump" that is February.

In the meantime I have been taking archery lesson bookings for Spring and Summer 2020.

If you are looking for archery lessons during the 2020 season I recommend booking now so you can get the best time slots before I become fully booked on certain days / specific months.

To book archery lessons in Toronto start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and state whether you prefer weekday or weekend lessons, and how many you are looking for. Browse www.cardiotrek.ca/p/archery-lessons.html for my rates and discount packages.

Whoops, hit the nock on this one shot on the left. Cannot complain about the accuracy.

Availability will be limited as I am still a stay-at-home dad while my wife works on her law career.

However on the plus side, with my son getting older I am hoping to be spending more personal time at the Toronto Archery Range so my son can do more archery.

During the winter I have been teaching him how to use a toy crossbow in the comfort of our living room, but I look forward to warmer weather when we can get outside and he can try the real thing with a children's recurve bow I have waiting for him.


In unrelated news I saw the following archery themed wall hook at Michael's recently and took a photo. Unfortunately I have no use for such a thing currently, but maybe if the wife and I purchase a home someday we can buy six of them for storing coats on.

You know you are true archery fanatic when you start decorating your home with archery themed items.

This is the true danger of learning archery and falling in love with the sport. You start buying archery things and obsessing about anything connected to the sport.


Get your True Love an Archery Lesson for Valentines

For a limited time, between now and February 14th 2019, I am offering a discount on people purchasing a single archery lesson for 1 or 2 people.

Weekday Rates
  • 1 Student, $55 for 90 minutes
  • 2 Students, $75 for 90 minutes

Weekend Rates

  • 1 Student, $82.50 for 90 mins
  • 2 Students, $112.50 for 90 mins 

The archery lesson in question does not take place on Valentines Day (like many people I am busy that day).

You or your Valentine can schedule the archery lesson any time before its expiry on August 31st 2021. The person receiving it has approximately 18.5 months to redeem it.

Simply print out the Valentines Gift Voucher shown below, fill out the appropriate names and add the Gift Voucher Number. Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to purchase a Gift Voucher Number.

If you want more than just 1 archery lesson check out my discount rates for people wanting 3 or more archery lessons in Toronto.

Have a Happy Valentines Day!


Archery Hindsight 2020

(Also my face when I see someone making a mistake.)
You know the phrase "Hindsight is 20/20"?

It means that after you do something you can look back on what you did and determine your mistakes. Assuming that you witnessed what you did wrong in the first place.

With respect to archery hindsight is something you do after every shot, but there is a few tricks to it.

#1. You have to know what to look for.

#2. You have to know how to fix your mistakes before doing the next shot.

#3. Knowing what mistakes you are doing and how to fix them is very difficult without an archery instructor (or possibly an archery how to book).

#4. How to spot your good habits that you should keep doing.

A person who is trying to teach themselves archery has several main areas they are going to struggle with. Whenever they make a mistake (or multiple mistakes at once) they don't immediately know what they did wrong. Yes, they will recognize they missed the target, but they won't know WHY they missed the target. Or the multiple whys they missed the target if they did multiple things wrong. Having an archery instructor is a bit like having a spotter while weightlifting. They can spot when you are doing something wrong and can immediately help you.

Thus having an archery instructor is incredibly valuable because they can watch and spot your mistakes while you are doing them and (hopefully) correct the mistakes before they happen. Then by practicing and perfecting proper archery form the new archer gets better and eventually becomes an intermediate archer ready for new challenges.

Even by some chance an archer who is teaching themselves realizes what mistake they are doing they don't necessarily know the best way to fix the mistake so they can replace their bad habits with good habits. Thus the archery instructor, or at very least an archery how to book, becomes very useful.

This goes double for also spotting your good habits. Beginner archers will have a tough time recognizing their bad habits, but they also won't know what things they are doing correctly either. Imagine for a moment fixing one bad habit, but then stopping a good habit and replacing it with a different bad habit. An archery instructor will notice this sudden change. eg. Lets say the student is very good at placing their feet in the proper position and reaching full draw, but they suffer from plucking the bow string during releases. Imagine they fix the plucking problem, but then become sloppy about their footing and full draws. They would just start making brand new mistakes and not know why they suddenly became worse at archery. This is where an archery instructor becomes a benefit because they will spot the change immediately and work to fix the student's footing and make sure they are full drawing the bow.

With respect to archery how to books they can make an excellent starting point for a new archer - provided you actually read it. Preferably from cover to cover, at least twice.

But even so a book is never going to be able to compete with the abundance of hands on teaching ability that an instructor can provide. Especially an experienced instructor who knows what they are teaching and how to teach it properly.

In April 2020 I will have been teaching archery for 11 years and practicing the sport for 31 years. I am frankly surprised that I turned archery into a career. Looking back with hindsight now I wish I had taken the sport more seriously when I was a teenager and during my 20s. I wish I had not waited until 2009 before I started taking it seriously.

So the lesson, the primary lesson for you the reader, is to take your activities seriously. Even if you just think it is a hobby for now, take a moment and consider what the future might hold. You might have a skill that you can hone over decades and become highly paid for. A skill you enjoy doing and would love to have it become a major part of your life.

Archery has become a major part of my life. A central part. Not just for me alone, but for my wife and son too. Archery has become a family activity for us. It is something I am very thankful for.

Which is part of hindsight too, I believe. To look back and not just recognize your mistakes, but also your blessings.


Anita Ekberg, Archer and Actress, 1960

DISCLAIMER

Please do not do what Anita Ekberg did in 1960. You probably will not get away with it like she did.

I probably should not be promoting this idea, but I did find it funny.

In a slightly related idea, since this is Canada and Prince Harry + Duchess Meghan Markle are soon to be living here, I would be somewhat amused if someone shot one of the paparazzi that follows them everywhere with an arrow.

Not that it would ever happen, I am just speculating on something that would be ironic in terms of history repeating itself. Do not take this as an endorsement of a course of action.

Also seeing as how the paparazzi killed Princess Diana I would see this as karmic against the profession of paparazzi.

Should archers believe in karma? Or luck?

Perhaps they should.

I find I shoot best when I have clear conscience and I am feeling good about the world. An archer who is stressed, angry, upset, hungry, distracted, etc is typically going to be shooting poorly that day. An archer who behaves badly will often reap the rewards of their misbehaviour on the archery range because they did something which upset themselves and ultimately leads to distraction.

Likewise paparazzi should probably learn to just mind their own business and find a different way to make money that doesn't involve following people like a bunch of creepy psychopaths. That cannot be good for their personal karma.

My 4th article in Archery Focus Magazine

My 4th article in 'Archery Focus Magazine' is now available as of today.
 
The article in question focuses on portable archery targets, Reinhart Target Balls in particular, and alternative methods of making portable targets. The article also covers the types of activities target balls can be used for and a few tips.

For those people interested 1 year and 2 year subscriptions to Archery Focus Magazine are $32 / $54 USD respectively and include digital access to all previous magazines dating back all the way to 1997.

My previous articles in Archery Focus Magazine include:
  • "Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches", Archery Focus Magazine, July 2017.
  • "A Lesson in Adaptive Archery", Archery Focus Magazine, July 2018.
  • "Teaching Archery Through Narratives", Archery Focus Magazine, November 2018.
 



People looking for archery lessons in Toronto starting in Spring or Summer 2020 are welcome to contact me to book lessons. My availability is limited so it is recommended people contact me sooner to get their desired time slots.

Happy New Year! Is 2020 the year you will start doing Archery?

Happy New Year!

I am scheduling this post to go live at 12:01 AM on January 1st 2020.

While I am writing this on December 31st 2019 it is technically already 2020 in Tokyo Japan, so I guess 2020 has already started.

Many people do New Years Resolutions, but personally I started my New Years Resolutions a few months ago.

After all, why wait for January 1st 2020 when you can start your new resolutions RIGHT NOW. Or in my case, back in November.

So what are my resolutions for 2020 (some of which I started doing early)?

#1. Do More Archery.

As a Toronto archery instructor it is a guarantee that I will be doing archery, but on a personal level what I really want is to do more personal practice. More time for me to do archery myself, or possibly while just hanging out with my son or my friends who are also archery fanatics.

For those people looking for archery lessons in Toronto I recommend prebooking your Spring or Summer archery lessons now to get the best time slots which suit your schedule. After all, if you don't get your ideal time slots that will interfere with your goal of "doing more archery".

For those people who have been procrastinating about starting archery, for whatever reason, now is your chance. I provide all of the archery equipment during lessons so you don't need to buy anything. Just book the lesson(s), show up, and be ready to shoot.

#2. Eat More Salads.

My wife and I started doing this one back in November.

What makes it easier is we having been buying lettuce, cleaning the lettuce leaves, and ripping it up into smaller pieces which we then store in ziplock bags in the fridge. Then whenever we want a salad it is very easy to just grab a handful of lettuce from the bag, toss it in a bowl, add salad dressing, croutons, etc and it is ready to eat.

Having the extra steps of having to clean lettuce leaves when you are trying to decide what to eat (and possibly feeling lazy) discourages a person from choosing the salad option. Since they are already cleaned and ripped it makes you more likely to choose the salad.

#3. Write More Magazine Articles.

Okay, this is more of a personal resolution for myself, but maybe some of you out there are also writers.

I regularly write and submit articles to Archery Focus Magazine. Sent a new one back at the beginning of December 2019, so this is another of the resolutions that I have already started.

However I don't want to limit myself to one magazine. I want to start submitting more articles to other magazines, both those about archery and other topics as well.

#4. Publish More Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Another personal resolution for myself. In 2019 I published three fantasy paperbacks. A novel, a novella and an anthology. My next book "The Blizzard's Daughter" is due out March 1st 2020 and is currently available for preorder.

I am hoping to publish four new fantasy books during 2020.

I have also been working on a work of non-fiction, about archery, which I hope to publish September 1st 2020.

#5. Go to the Beach More.

Going to the beach with my wife and son is a fun family activity. We get to build sandcastles, shoot stones into Lake Ontario using slingshots, throw frisbees around, and even swim.

#6. Go Bicycling More.

I own 8 bicycles and I would really like to use them more often. However in my case this means I may need to purchase some kind of trailer for towing my son around with me.

Bike trailers typically range in price from $160 to $800, with many of the mid-range trailers being about $300 to $500.

Now you might think "Gee, that is awfully expensive!" But when you consider a gym membership is about $900 to $1200 per year that it doesn't seem so bad, as this allows you to get outside and exercise with the toddler in tow. (I don't know any gyms that allow toddlers to come exercise with you.)

You can also find used bike trailers fairly easily as parents with toddlers eventually switch to bicycles and want to get rid of their old bike trailer, which is probably in decent condition if they barely used it. So if I could find one half price that is in decent condition that will satisfy our needs.



#7. Take my son Sledding.

In 2019 my wife purchased a red sled for our son to ride inside during the winter. So during January and February of 2020 I want to make use of the sled by taking him sledding. For me this is effectively exercise and an excuse to take photographs of my son.

Hopefully he has fond memories of sledding when he is older.


#8. Do More Chores.

I have a list of tasks I want done around the home.

#9. Take More Naps.

Do chores then take a nap. Sounds like a plan!

#10. Spend Quality Time with Friends and Family.

Something to do in the evenings? Better than staying home and watching Netflix and Disney+. (BTW, I am really disappointed with Disney+. It is very glitchy. It is so bad I would rather read a book when Disney+ starts glitching constantly.)

#11. Read More Books.

I have a stack of books waiting to be read, by a variety of authors.

#12. Work on my cooking skills.

One of the best ways to take control of your health is to learn how to make healthy food. I admit most of my cooking skills however lean towards foods that are fattening / high in cholesterol. In 2020 I would like to learn healthier recipes and learn how to control my intake of fat and cholesterol.

I am not getting any younger. I need to eat healthy.

And so should you. Many of us suffer from a lack of healthy cooking knowledge.

One of the things I do is I am subscribed to a number of cooking channels on YouTube and they show up in my YouTube feed when I watching YouTube. Whenever I spot a recipe that looks interesting I watch it, and sometimes I end up trying the recipes.

Here are two cooking channels I recommend:
  1. Food Wishes
  2. Townsends
Food Wishes is all modern cooking, and includes a variety of healthy and non-healthy options. But learning both are potentially useful as you are still learning cooking skills.

Townends is likewise interesting as it focuses on traditional recipes from the 17th and 18th centuries, many of which are healthy options. Townsends isn't all cooking either. They also talk about other topics from those periods.

Archery inside the Eatons Centre, Toronto 1976

The following two photos were sent to me in 2019 from Sheila Brown (seen upclose in the 2nd photo further below), and are from a collection of photographs and news clippings that she kept from her illustrious Olympic archery career.

The photographs were taken by journalist Tibor Kelly in 1976 during the construction of the Eaton's Centre in downtown Toronto.

The photographs were taken as part of a photo shoot in which the archers at least pretended to aim down the length of the Eaton's Centre. It is unclear whether they actually shot any arrows or if they just posed for the camera a few times.

It is an odd piece of Toronto archery history and I am thankful to Sheila for sending me the photographs and news clippings.

Gap Shooting at Moving Targets


One of my archery students shot these back in September and I took a few photos.

At the time in September I wrote a post about Gap Shooting, which is a style of aiming which is handy for shooting at moving targets. I typically teach it to my more intermediate students (you have to sign up for at least 4 lessons to get to learn how to do gap shooting).

The lesson order of the first 4 lessons typically goes like this:

1 - Field Archery, Close Range.

2 - Target Archery, 20 Yards.

3 - Field Archery, Long Range.

4 - Gap Shooting at Moving Targets.

There are sometimes exceptions however. Sometimes I have to cater the lessons to the student's needs, so if a student for example had no interest in learning how to do long range archery we might bump Gap Shooting up to lesson 3.

For archery lessons in Toronto please browse my archery lessons page for rates and discounts and then email cardiotrek@gmail.com to book your archery lessons.

Shorter Bows Vs Longer Bows

Q

Two Very Similar Questions

"I have a question. I'm 19 and started off when I was 2 years old shooting traditional. As I got older I started shooting compound. I have a bear kodiak super magnum and I am really wanting to be able to harvest my first deer with traditional equipment this year but my shooting is all over the place. Earlier I went in the garage and got out a bear grizzly the my dad doesn't use anymore. Now the grizzly is significantly longer than the kodiak magnum. I started shooting it and was shooting way better than with the magnum. Could the size difference of the bow be the reason I was shooting worse/better?

Dylan G."


"[A] question that I have is in regards to the length of bows in general. What would be the biggest difference I would feel if I used a 62" bow compared to the 66" bow that we have been using. Would it still work well with the 28" draw length or would I just be overdrawing the bow all the time?

Thanks again for all of your help,

Eric K."


A

The short answer:

Longer bows are more forgiving. You can make a mistake and often still hit the target.
Shorter bows are unforgiving. You make a mistake and miss completely.

The long answer... it is complicated. It comes down to the physics and the design of the bow, the canting of the bow, the angle of the bowstring to tip of the bow, lateral physics, whether the bow is more bottom heavy and other factors. But yes, generally speaking, longer bows are usually more forgiving than shorter bows.

This is also true of compound bows too, which are measured from axle to axle.

Axle-to-Axle, or more commonly called by the acronym ATA, is the distance measured between each axle of a compound bow. Each cam operates on an axle and taking the length between those two axles is going to be your ATA measurement. There are compound bows with a long ATA, short ATA and some with a middle of the road ATA.

The longer ATA compound bows are always more forgiving of mistakes. However many hunters favour shorter ATA compound bows because they want a bow that weighs less, allows them to maneuver easier around branches when shooting from a tree stand, etc.

With competitive compound shooters however they don't need to worry about weight and maneuvrability. They just want as much accuracy as they can get. Thus competitive compounds are often quite long from axle to axle.


The same goes with Olympic recurve archers.

When it comes to Olympic recurves they are usually 66, 68 or 70 inches long. The extra bit of length gives the bow a bit more accuracy and Olympic archers want all the accuracy they can get. Thus it would be rare to see an Olympic recurve which is 64 inches or less. Most manufacturers that make such bows don't even make limbs and riser combos that go that short.


WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARCHER?

Now you may have also heard previously that when it comes to feats of accuracy and skill the three best archers of the last century all shot longbows: Awa Kenzo, Howard Hill, Byron Ferguson - sometimes listed in that order.

And that is true. They all shot longbows.

Awa Kenzo shot a Japanese yumi longbow. Yumi longbows are typically 7 to 9 feet long.

Howard Hill shot a traditional English longbow which had a modified handle he designed himself.

Byron Ferguson is still alive and shoots a "radical reflex-deflex longbow". Rather a complicated longbow design, but there it is.

So why did they shoot a longer bow even though these archers were already great at what they do?

Because even great archers still make mistakes. And when you know mistakes still happen you want to get the extra consistency that a longer bow affords you.

So what made these three longbow men so great?

Well, Awa Kenzo was known for his trick shooting. He could shoot a bullseye in the dark and then repeat the shot with such accuracy that he Robin Hooded the first arrow.

Howard Hill was renown for his hunting skills. One of my favourite stories about him is shooting an eagle at 150 yards, roughly twice the distance that Olympic archers shoot at (70 meters).

And Byron Ferguson does a combination of both trick shooting and long distance shooting. He can shoot a tiny moving target, like an aspirin in the air at 30 feet.

So then you might wonder, wait, so if Olympic recurves are so great, why aren't there any really famous Olympic archers?

Because they come and go. The average length of a competitive archer's career is less than 10 years. Even the most successful Olympic archers only ever compete in 1 or 2 Olympic Games and spend most of their time competing in local competitions, and there is very little money in it.

Plus the Koreans keep winning 75% of all the big competitions.

This comes down to money. In Korea Olympic archers often get big sponsors like Hyundai and Samsung supporting their careers. There is far more money in the sport in South Korea.

In contrast guess how much a Canadian Olympic archer earns in a year from sponsors?

Usually zero.

So eventually as Olympic archers get older they need to stop competing in order to pay for bills. They get married, have a few kids, the usual deal.

Even great archers like Awa Kenzo, Howard Hill, and Byron Ferguson had/have their sources of income. Awa Kenzo taught archery and martial arts, opening his own dojo. Howard Hill was in a lot of films between the 1930s and 1960s, promoting archery via film. Byron Ferguson writes books about archery.

So what made them great wasn't just their skill, but also their ability to keep doing archery because they made it part of their livelihood. Teaching, promoting, writing.

Olympic archers after they retire from competitions rarely go into archery as a business. A tiny few will end up coaching, while most of them will get an university degree or a college diploma and pursue a different passion.

Can you name an Olympic archer who was active during the 1980s or 1990s who is still famous, still competing and shooting amazingly today?

Nope. Neither can I.

Below is two photos of three Olympic archers shooting inside the Eaton's Centre while it was being built in May 1976. The photographs were taken by reporter/photographer Tibor Kelly. The archers in the photo are Wayne Pullen, Ron Lippert and Sheila Brown.


I had never heard of any of those three archers until a few months ago. And oddly enough, despite all their medals and accolades, these photographs might be the most historically important thing they ever did as archers. No doubt they contributed personally to the sport, encouraging others, teaching a bit, being supportive. Tiny ripples of influence in the river of history.

The three of them collectively probably had boxes of medals and trophies. So many they didn't know what to do with. But once an archer's competitive archery career is over, then what?
 
Some might shoot recreationally.
 
A rare few might get into bowhunting.
 
A tiny few might get into coaching, if they have the necessary skills to teach it properly.
 
Extremely few will write a How To Book, as that implies they first got into coaching and also had the necessary skills required to write a book about it.

So what makes a great archer?

In my opinion it is more than merely competing for 10 years (or less) of your life. Great archers shoot for decades and they leave a lasting contribution to the sport.

Awa Kenzo didn't just found an archery school. He founded a whole branch of Japanese archery, breaking from the ritualized kyudo to focus more on zen and Buddhist principles, a branch of Japanese archery that is still practiced today as his disciples passed on his teachings.

Howard Hill performed some amazing feats of archery. But in North America he also caused an archery fad that lasted from the late 1930s to early 1970s. An archery fad that lasted decades and effected the sport on the global level. (In contrast The Hunger Games fad only lasted a few years.) If it wasn't for Howard Hill there wouldn't even by "Olympic archery". They brought the sport back to the Olympics in 1972 after a 52 year hiatus.

And Byron Ferguson continues to teach, write and amaze. His contributions to the sport are not yet tallied.

For example lets talk about E. T. Seton.

E. T. Seton was an author of children's books. Yes, he did archery, but he wasn't particularly great at it. But he did manage to leave a lasting impression on Toronto's Archery community by donating in his will the land that became E. T. Seton Park and now contains the Toronto Archery Range.

Thus his biggest contribution to archery was land. A place for archers to practice.

Was E. T. Seton a great archer? Probably not. But we could say that he was a good person and a good archer. Certainly a generous archer.

Prebook Weekend Archery Lessons for 2020 and Get 10% Off

Hello Would-Be Archers (and Returning Archery Students)!

Are you looking to prebook weekend archery lessons for 2020 ?

Well, good news. Book now and you can get 10% off the weekend rate for archery lessons*.

* Notes
  • Offer only applies to weekend archery rates.
  • Offer applies regardless of whether a person is signing up for 1 lesson or 10.
  • Offer can also be used to purchase archery lessons as a gift for a friend or family member. Ask about my Archery Gift Vouchers.
  • Offer is good until December 31st 2019. After which normal rates apply.
  • Offer does not stack or combine with other discount offers for Seniors or Canadian Military Veterans.
  • Offer only applies to archery lessons beginning in 2020, from January to December 2020.

So for example if you signed up for 10 weekend lessons (normally $780) the price would be $702 instead.

50 lb Horsebow balanced on three arrows. Just waiting to be shot.

Pin Float Vs Reticular Drift

Q

Hey Charles!

I was speaking to a fellow compound shooter and I mentioned how hard it is to aim sometimes when the sight pin keeps moving around. He referred to this as "Pin Float".

Is Pin Float different from Reticular Drift or are they basically the same thing?

Regards,
Jeffrey H.

A

Hey Jeffrey!

Basically the same thing.

Reticular Drift is a term largely used by military snipers to describe when they are aiming through a scope and the crosshairs keep moving about while they are trying to perfect their aim.

In archery we also use the term Reticular Drift, but when we do we are talking about aiming off the arrowhead and likewise attempted to perfect our aim while the arrowhead is moving about.

Pin Float is a bit more specific to compound shooting, as compound sights usually have 3 or more pins to choose from (with the pins usually set by the archer to 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, etc). When shooting at 20 yards they would use the 20 yard pin. While aiming if the pin is moving around, making it difficult to aim, it is called Pin Float.


So how does an archer prevent Reticular Drift or Pin Float?

The short answer, you don't. It never truly goes away.

Reticular Drift is caused by the archer being in motion. The archer is breathing. Their muscles are contracting in order to maintain their draw length. The more the archer is moving the worse the Reticular Drift will be. eg. If the archer is shaking in some manner the Reticular Drift will be really bad.

However there are ways to minimize its effects.

One, use proper archery form. This will reduce shaking.

Two, learn how to breathe into the belly (as opposed to the chest) so that the shoulders are not moving up and down when you breathe.

Three, build stronger back and shoulder muscles so that they are more relaxed when put under pressure.






SOMEWHAT OFF TOPIC

In video games archers are often depicted as being super steady with the bow and there is no Reticular Drift at all.

However there is one video game I do want to applaud, because the realism in the archery depicted in the game is amazing. "Kingdom Come Deliverance" has the most realistic archery I have ever seen in a video game.

The hero (Henry) starts off in the game being horrible at archery. When Henry is first shooting he is horrible at it and the Reticular Drift is so bad it is very difficult to aim. However as the player gets better at aiming their Archery skill goes up ranks from 0 to 20, and their Strength ability and other scores likewise goes up. The Strength ability/etc is necessary in order to be able to use more powerful bows in the game properly.

Now I have heard people complaining about the game and whining about the archery system being so difficult... but frankly these people have been coddled by games like Skyrim where the character automatically is perfectly steady with their aim. They don't get that archery is supposed to be difficult. But, once the player has gotten Henry's Archery skill up and his Strength score likewise up, Archery is arguably the best combat skill in the game because it allows the player to kill enemies from distances (often while staying hidden), whereas the other combat skills require getting within melee range - in which case the swordplay system is likewise hard at the beginning to simulate Henry sucking at it.

Does the Reticular Drift in the game make it harder? Yes, at the beginning. And it never truly goes away either, it just decreases significantly as Henry gets stronger and better at archery. But that is the whole point. The game is based on reality as much as possible. Even the castles/locations are real places in Bohemia where tourists can visit. So for example the archery range in the image below next to the castle walls? You can visit the location and go there. There is no archery range there (at least not any more), but you can visit the castle.

Disclaimer - Nobody paid me to write this. I am just a fan of the game. I prefer realism in my books and my games.


Backyard Archery Legality Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Where can I do archery?

#2. Is it safe and legal to do it in my backyard or similar locations?

#3. Is there a designated place to do archery in my city?

#4. Where else can someone go to do archery?

#5. Is it possible to get permission to shoot inside certain buildings?


Answers


 #1. The short answer: Anywhere that is safe and legal to do so.

The long answer is more complicated as it varies on your location and local laws.

In Toronto it is illegal to do archery in a public park, unless you have a permit or if it is a designated area that is purposely for archery. This is governed by Toronto Bylaw 608-4.

608-4. Firearms and offensive weapons.
  • A. While in a park, no person shall be in possession of or use a firearm, air gun, cross bow, bow and arrow, axe, paint guns or offensive weapon of any kind unless authorized by permit.
  • B. Despite Subsection A, bows and arrows may be used in designated areas in accordance with posted conditions.

So with respect to public parks a person can do archery if they either (A) get a permit or (B) only do archery in the designated locations (eg. The Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park).

Now we should also note it is also possible to do archery on private property. Such locations are typically private archery ranges located at universities, indoor archery ranges, archery tag locations, etc.


#2. Yes and No. It depends.

Depending on the city you live in it is usually legal to do archery in your backyard, garage, basement, or other indoor facilities. What really matters here is two factors:

  1. Whether your city has banned any kind of outdoor shooting, release or throwing of items considered to be weapons. Some cities have outright banned the "release" or firing of such weapons. eg. Toronto has banned it in public parks, but there is no general ban.
  2. Whether you have taken steps to ensure the safety of your neighbours, passersby, etc. If the archer is recklessly shooting in a place with no safety precautions, then that is illegal regardless because it is Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm.

Imagine for example if someone was doing archery in their front yard and people walking by on the sidewalk are in danger of being injured (and possibly killed). Well then that constitutes Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm, which carries a penalty of a $4,000 fine and possible prison time.

So the backyard, garage, basement, etc is definitely safer, but in the case of a backyard the archer should also be taking steps to ensure that it is even more safe. eg. High fences would be ideal, shooting on a downward angle at a target placed on the ground, and exercising clear safety rules.

The safest alternative obviously is to only be shooting indoors in a garage, basement or similar location. eg. I know of several people who have convinced their employers to let them shoot in their warehouse during their lunch break, using stacks of old cardboard boxes in the warehouse as targets - cardboard doomed to recycled anyway.

That doesn't mean however that it isn't possible or legal to shoot in a backyard however. The person doing so simply needs to take various safety measures so that if they are ever asked by police about their backyard archery practice that they can prove that they are doing it in a safe manner that is not endangering anyone.

So for example a neighbour could phone the police and complain, and when police investigate and interview you then you would be able to show that you are using high fences, arrow netting, shooting on a downward angle towards a target on the ground and similar precautions. The police would then determine that there is no point in arresting you as you've proven that you've taken the necessary safety precautions and that you are not shooting recklessly over any fences and into the properties of your neighbours.

#3. In Toronto, Yes.

In Toronto we are fortunate to have the Toronto Archery Range, a free public archery range that is open 24/7 all year long. It is, to my knowledge, the only free public archery range in North America. (Burnaby has a similar public archery range, but it isn't free to use.)

You can learn more about the Toronto Archery Range by visiting:
http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Range.html

Are there any other "designated areas" in Toronto where you can do archery outdoors? No, but there are a few indoor archery ranges that are privately run by universities and archery tag locations.

Very few cities have their own outdoor archery range. eg. Montreal has one, which I believe is privately owned. (If you know whether this is true or false please correct me in the comments.)

If you know of other cities or towns that have their own public archery range please post it in the comments.

#4. Outside the city limits.

If you leave the city limits of Toronto there are a variety of places where a person can do archery. Private archery ranges are at the top of the list, but a person could potentially also rent a small chunk of land from a farmer and build a small private archery range for use by themselves and their friends.

If you have family who owns farmland or a cabin up north or similar property you could ask your family if its okay to visit and shoot on their property. eg. I keep a recurve bow and assorted equipment at my parents' farm just for this express purpose, this way I don't have to bring archery equipment with me when I visit, it is already there.

#5. Yes, it definitely is possible.

Although it is difficult to obtain, some locations will sometimes allow archers to shoot on their premises. Especially if it is for a publicity stunt.

The photos below are of Canadian archery champions Wayne Pullen, Ron Lippert and Sheila Brown shooting inside the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto prior to the 860 foot long shopping mall being opened. The photos were taken by Globe and Mail photographer Tibor Kelly in May 1976. (It is from the cover of the May 17th 1976 issue.)

In order to be able to shoot in the Eaton Centre the three champions had to don hard hats in case anything fell on them. We assume the construction crew was on lunch break at the time they took the photos, and the three champion archers and the Globe and Mail photographer certainly had the permission of the Eaton Corporation. These aren't the kinds of photographs you could get without obtaining permission first.

The photographs are from newspaper clippings saved by Sheila Brown. We can all thank her for having the foresight to save a copy of this historical moment in Toronto archery history.


Gap Shooting, An Intermediate Archery Skill

Q

"New to traditional archery. Am I the only one to use the part circled to aim? Is it a bad habit I should break?

Justin M."




A


Hello Justin!

It is called Gap Shooting.

Rare for a beginner. It is more of an intermediate skill that archers learn after they have been shooting for a longer time period.

Gap Shooting is useful for shooting at moving targets; Aiming off the arrowhead is slower to adjust your aim compared to Gap Shooting which lets you keep your eye on the target.

Gap Shooting is not so good for shooting long distances as it means you are aiming above the target and often cannot see it any more because the bow is physically in the way.

If you learn both styles of aiming (traditional aiming off the arrowhead and gap shooting) it makes you a more versatile archer.
Some archers even put marks and/or dots on the side of the riser next to where they are aiming so they can improve their accuracy. This is known as a "Gap Shooting Cheat Sheet". It isn't really cheating, it just makes it easier to remember exactly where you are aiming.

In the example to the right is a "Gap Shooting Cheat Sheet" which uses an alternating dot pattern, making it easier to remember which set of dots you are using for aiming purposes.

The archer then aims to the side of the marks or dots, using the gap between the target and the side of the bow as a measuring device. An archer using a right handed bow with too much gap would see their arrow go to the right. Too small of a gap and their arrow goes left. (For archers using a left handed bow the reverse would be true.)

Happy Shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Recommended Exercises for Archery

Q

Thank you for getting back to me. You have given me a lot to consider and just as soon as I finish organizing my schedule for the next while, I will be in touch to arrange to book [archery] lessons.
Meanwhile, I’d like to improve my strength and endurance, and would welcome any exercise suggestions and recommendations you offer.


Joy F.


A

Hey Joy!

Okay, here is a list of posts to read.

I strongly recommend the Warm Up Exercises / Stretches. You may want to ignore the weightlifting exercises and focus on the stretches. Don't do anything that is too challenging (eg. headstand pushups is not for everyone).

Yoga is also very good.

Warm Up Exercises and Stretches
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/04/archery-warmup-exercises-stretches.html

More Advanced Stuff / Weightlifting
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/04/how-to-train-for-archery-at-home.html

Weightlifting Tips for Archers
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/05/10-weightlifting-tips-for-archers.html

More Weightlifting Tips for Archers
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2015/06/10-weightlifting-tips-for-archers-part.html

If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca


Awa Kenzo

Youth Recurve Bow / Youth Archery Equipment

The following is a follow up email I sent to a client after teaching his daughter this past weekend. After the lesson he had a series of questions about purchasing equipment that I answered, during which I mentioned my Archery Equipment Checklist.
 
Hey I!

Good meeting you both on Saturday!

If you are considering buying equipment here is that equipment checklist that I mentioned after the lesson:


The biggest change is that you will be looking for a youth recurve bow instead of an adult recurve bow given in the example. When your daughter is 12 roughly she should be tall enough for an adult bow, in which case you could sell the youth bow and buy a new one. (The good news is used archery equipment, if you take good care of it, usually has a fairly good resale value of about 80% of what you paid for it.)

So for example you could get something similar to a Samick youth bow in 14 lbs. (She was shooting 12 lbs on Saturday, but an extra 2 lbs will be okay.)


Youth Samick Recurve Bow - Priced at $159.85 CDN on Amazon.ca


If you have any follow up questions feel free to ask. Have a great day!


Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
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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