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

Archery Lesson Plan for Olympic Archery Students

Q


"I’ve read that you like to teach traditional recurves bows before the Olympic recurve bow, does this mean that we won’t get a chance to learn the Olympic bows in this session, and that this will be taught in another session?"

- Cassandra T.

A

Hello Cassandra!

Yes, over the years I have determined it is easier for the beginner archery student to learn to shoot traditional recurves first and then switch to Olympic later on, which is stylistically different despite being very similar. Preferably after the 2nd lesson, so if that is something you want to learn it would be best to do it during the 3rd lesson and following that.

The stylistic challenges of shooting Olympic style is such a student shooting that style for the first time is more likely to be missing completely and losing arrows, because they have to learn everything a Traditional Recurve archer has to learn, plus they need to learn the following topics:

  1. How to use and tune a sight - a practice which is hampered if the student has not already learned good form. It is better to learn the form aspects first, then learn how to use a sight later.
  2. How to use a stabilizer, and how to determine if a stabilizer is too light or too heavy.
  3. How to do a Live Release with South Anchor (as opposed to a Dead Release with North Anchor), which is harder to learn to do properly.
  4. How to keep your bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through.
  5. How to control your breathing (into the belly, not the chest) in order to get more accuracy.
  6. How to handle mental stress, fatigue, and issues like "Gold Shy" + "Target Anxiety".
  7. How to use a Clicker to tell you when to release.
  8. And more.
And frankly it is a lot to learn in a single lesson. It makes more sense to learn good form during lessons 1 and 2, and then learn the additional things an Olympic archer is expected to learn in the lessons that follow.

Lesson Plan for Olympic Recurve

For my regular lesson plan, see Archery Lesson Plan.

Lesson One - Safety Lecture, Eye Test, Aiming Lecture, Form Lecture, Field Archery with Traditional Recurve.

Note - Field Archery involves shooting at a target at random (often unknown) distances and is especially handy for teaching students how to aim at different distances and how to adjust their aim, which is an import skill for beginner archers to learn.

Lesson Two - Target Archery with Traditional Recurve, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrrowheads

Note - Target Archery is your standard stationary target at the same distance, which is better for learning how to fine tune your aim at that one specific distance.

Lesson Three - Olympic Style Form Lecture + Target Archery, with a break in the middle for a Lecture on Arrow Spine. The lesson would focus on gradually teaching the student how to use a Olympic sight and stabilizer, and how to perform a "live release".

Note - Not all Olympic archers prefer live releases. Some prefer to use a dead release, although most do prefer a live release. I leave it up to the student to decide which they prefer.

South Korean archer Chang Hye-Jin

Lesson Four - Fine Tuning with the Olympic Recurve + possibly going to a further distance if the student is ready. Demo on how to wax a bowstring. The lesson may focus on aspects like keeping the bow hand relaxed during the Follow Through, how to control breathing, etc.

Olympic Archery Clicker
Lesson Five and Beyond

I find this really depends on the student's needs, as each student will have different problems they need to address. Topics would include:

  • How to shoot at longer distances.
  • How to compensate for wind conditions.
  • How to handle Mental Stress/Fatigue.
  • How to cure Gold Shy and Target Anxiety.
  • How to use a Clicker.
  • How to shoot in the rain (as competitions are sometimes rain or shine).
  • Other factors that are usually unique to Olympic archers. eg. Competition Anxiety.
Things Not Being Taught

There are certain topics that I don't teach Olympic students, because they are essentially useless to someone who only wants to shoot Olympic style competitively at 70 meters. For example:
  • How to shoot at a moving target.
  • How to shoot downhill or uphill.
  • How to shoot while in motion.
  • Stylistic differences between traditional recurve and longbows / flatbows / horsebows.
  • How to adjust your aim based on changing distances.
  • Advanced Field Archery.
  • Clout Archery.
  • Archery Games/Activities such as Popinjay or Roving.
  • Skywalking (style of aiming for extreme long distance shooting).
  • How to Overdraw on purpose.
  • How to Stringwalk on purpose.
  • How to Facewalk on purpose.
  • How to shoot around obstacles.
  • How to shoot while kneeling or sitting.
  • How to shoot faster.
  • How to shoot instinctively (which sadly many people misunderstand what counts as instinctive).
  • How to adjust and micro-adjust sights on a compound bow*.
  • Tricks for getting extra accuracy on a compound bow*.
  • How to synchronize the cams on a compound bow*.
  • How to change the poundage on a compound bow*.
  • Etc.
* I decided to include a few examples that are specifically just for compound shooters. Maybe someday I will post a lesson plan for compound archers.


Equipping the Olympic Archer

Around lesson five the student should be ready to buy their own archery equipment, if they have not done so already. I figured since I am writing about the lesson plan, I should also warn students about the financial costs of getting into Olympic Archery.

Expect to be spending about $700 + the cost of the arrows, which might cost an additional $180 or more depending on the quality of the arrows (the professionals use arrows that cost $600 for a dozen). Plus taxes. I didn't bother to even include 13% HST.

It is possible to get a cheaper Olympic bow (used maybe???) or a cheap counterfeit (no warranty!!!), or a poor / mediocre Olympic bow that does not even live up to the word "decent". To get a decent bow, expect to be spending $500 or more on the bow alone. Anything less than that and I question the quality and authenticity of the manufacturer.

And that is just for a decent Olympic bow. For a high end one you could be spending $750 USD (approx. $975 CDN) on just the riser, and another $750 USD on the limbs. No bowstring included, everything sold separately. (Plus the cost of shipping from the USA or South Korea, where the best Olympic bows are made.)

They will want to find the following.
  • A decent Olympic-style recurve bow, with bow limbs in a suitable poundage for their experience and strength.
  • Olympic stabilizer, preferably one that is not too heavy or light.
  • Shooting Tab
  • Clicker
  • Nock Bead
  • Sight
  • Arrow Rest
  • Bowstring Wax
  • Spare Bowstring (in case the first one breaks)
  • A dozen Olympic-style arrows, which are typically more expensive than regular arrows. The arrows need to be cut to the archer's precise draw length for their clicker.
Optional Items
  • Bracer / Arm Guard
  • Quiver
  • Archery Gear Backpack for transporting gear.
  • Chest Guard


Archery Chest Guards

    The Endangered Tiger Archery Target

    The wife of one of my students likes to make things out of Papier-mâché. She made the tiger head shown below. It isn't very big as you can see.



    Even at close range the tiger head looks quite small.

    According to my student, his wife makes all sorts of Papier-mâché animals. Owls, deer, bears, critters big and small.

    So for fun today he brought a Papier-mâché tiger head for us to shoot at. It seemed appropriate seeing his wife didn't want it anymore - it was a failed attempt.

    And she has many more failed attempts that she throws out regularly, into the recycling.

    Reducing her Papier-mâché is not an option, but Reusing them for archery certainly is.

    • Reduce
    • Reuse
    • Repair
    • Recycle

    And reusing old things as archery targets is something archers enjoy. Coffee lids, coffee cups, old photographs, old broken guitars...


    Each time my student hit the tiger head we moved it back three paces. By the end of the lesson it was a good distance out. Sometimes he would hit it so hard the head rolled over or spun around. Also the impacts would break chunks off, so the head was slowly shrinking as it got further away due to lost bits that had broken off.

    DISCLAIMER - I do not endorse the shooting of real tigers. Only fake ones. Or were-tigers. Are were-tigers real or fake? If you get bit by a were-tiger and become one, please let me know whether were-tigers are a real thing or not. Otherwise, yeah. Please do not shoot real tigers. They're endangered. Don't be a jerk.

    There are many other things you might consider using as an archery target. The following video below is of a group of archers shooting at a broken Walmart guitar. According to the owner it costs $50 for a new Walmart guitar, but a lot more than that to repair one. So what do you do with a broken Walmart guitar that is not worth repairing?

    Shoot at it of course!






    Job offer to teach archery in Japan

    Last week I received a job offer to teach archery in Japan at a resort. They are looking for an experienced instructor who can teach a variety of different kinds of archery to complete beginners. Woot? Or maybe not woot... keep reading!

    They were offering an annual salary of 2 million yen (roughly $23,000 CDN) plus free room and board at the resort.

    Sounds like a sweet offer, yes?

    Think again.

    #1. I am married and my wife just graduated law school, which means she is currently articling as a lawyer. Articling is sort of like an apprenticeship. So we are not going anywhere until she finishes articling.

    #2. My wife and I have a son now. I spend most of my weekdays looking after him and I usually only teach archery on weekends (although I can sometimes teach on Thursdays and Fridays). When in doubt, ask.

    #3. I happen to like my current routine of looking after my son and teaching archery when available.

    The resort wanted me to be available to teach 7 days per week, from 9 AM to 7 PM. With breaks whenever there was a lack of students. And I would be expected to work on holidays. So that is 10 hour days, 70 hour weeks. Practically sweatshop hours.

    Now I can do math.

    70 hour weeks... x 52 weeks. 3,640 hours per year. At $23,000 per year...

    Is $6.32 per hour.

    Which is less than Japan's minimum wage, but since I get free room and board, and breaks whenever there is *supposedly* a lack of students... apparently it circumvents Japan's minimum wage laws. Seems awfully fishy.

    Somehow I doubt there would be a lack of students and many breaks.

    So I would probably be working sweatshop hours and rarely get to see my son.

    #4. I used to teach English in South Korea many years ago. That whole experience made me distrustful of the corrupt "hagwon" system in Korea. Is the resorts in Japan similar to Korean hagwons? Maybe. I don't see any point in finding out.

    #5. I checked... the starting rate for teaching English in Japan is about 3 million yen per year. So it would actually make more sense for me to teach English instead of archery. Better pay.

    True, I love teaching archery - but teaching it 70 hours per week would take some of the fun out of it. My current system of less hours, better pay suits me just fine.

    #6. No pay for the first 3 months. Afterwards they would pay me 222,222 yen per month. This is to deter people who aren't serious about sticking around, so they claim. Makes me wonder what the turnover rate of new employees is.

    #7. This offer started to sound more and more like a scam. Trick foreigners into working in horrible conditions, pay them peanuts... most of them quit before 3 months.

    #8. Cost of living in Japan is very high. Korea and China are cheap in comparison.

    Would my wife and son be expected or welcome to just hang out at the resort all the time? Most likely they would get bored of it. Which means they are going out, taking taxis, eating out, etc. Such things add up and Japan is notoriously expensive to live in.

    #9. Free plane ticket for me, but what about my wife's and son's tickets? Who pays for that? Plus how big is this room? Is it big enough for a small family?

    #10. Why would I leave a successful business here in Canada, close to friends and family, for a job offer that is dubious?

    So yes. The offer sounds like a scam. Which is why I am recommending other archery instructors to be wary of such an offer. This is also why I am not mentioning the name of the resort, where it was located, etc. I don't want other archery instructors to get sucked in to this scam. If anything, I am now doing a public service by trying to warn other people.

    So even if I didn't have a wife and son, I still wouldn't be interested in this scam. There is too many IFs and irregularities in the offer.

    Would teaching archery in Japan be fun and interesting? Sure, but I would rather not have such a risky sounding offer.

    And I would rather do it on my own terms.

    8 hour days, 5 days per week, holidays off, 4 weeks of vacation time, 3,500 yen per hour (roughly $40 CDN per hour)... 10 paid sick days, health/dental insurance benefits for myself and my family.

    So that is 40 hours per week for 48 weeks, 3,500 yen per hour is... 6.72 million yen annually. ($76,800 CDN annually.) That is enough for a family of 3 to live on.

    But even then I still wouldn't take it, because my wife's earning potential as a lawyer is greater than mine.

    I would much rather stay here. Buy a house in Toronto, practice my woodworking skills, look after my son, teach archery because I enjoy it. Maybe eventually get that horse farm and teach equestrian archery.

    Japanese Yabusame (equestrian archery) would be interesting to see... but there are other ways to see that kind of archery don't involve so many risks, what ifs and poor pay.


    The 2018 Seton Archery Tournament at the Toronto Archery Range

    I will be judging / adjudicating an archery competition on June 23rd, namely the "E. T. Seton Archery Tournament" mentioned in the image further below. As an adjudicator I will basically be called upon for my math skills and to settle any disputes about whether an arrow is touching a line (in competitions if the arrow is touching the line, it counts as the higher amount of points).

    The location is at the Toronto Archery Range within E. T. Seton Park. If you have never been there before I recommend using a map.

    The tournament is free to join and there will be prizes, and a Potluck BBQ Lunch.

    People who want to take part in the tournament should be EARLY or ON TIME. If you are the type of person who is always running late, then you should really aim to be early. People need to be there on time in order to do their Ranking Rounds and then later enter the elimination rounds.




    Three Tips for Archery Competitions
    1. Eat, drink and be merry! Food, drink and laughter reduce stress. Hunger, dehydration and melancholy are a mental distraction.
    2. Relax during your shots and focus on the quality of your form and aim. Forget everything else.
    3. Ignore your rivals, instead focus on defeating the part of yourself that is holding you back.
    And Bonus! Pay attention to the wind conditions, but don't let the wind mess you up mentally either. Two years ago I took 2nd place in a compound competition because the wind started gusting during the final rounds and it was blowing me sideways while I was shooting. The frustration made me anxious and I messed up the final round, costing me 1st place. So my primary problem wasn't my rivals, it was myself getting frustrated by the wind conditions and allowing my anxiety to win. So I failed to follow my own tip in that scenario. Part of me was also tired and just wanted the competition to be over.

    Happy shooting!

    Archery Equipment Checklist 2018

    One of my former students from 2017 is ready to be buying her own archery equipment and wanted to know what equipment she should be looking for. At present she plans to buy a Samick Sage, but she wasn't sure what else she should be buying.

    Below is an edited version of my email reply to her questions.

    A few of my personal collection of bows.
    Bow

    A common bow for many beginners is the Samick Sage, which I like to describe as the "Ford F-150" of bows. Usually Samick Sage comes in poundages between 25 to 60 lbs, but it is possible to get 20 lb limbs that are compatible.

    However just because the Samick Sage is so popular doesn't mean you have to buy it. There are many other bow manufacturers to choose from.

    See Recurve Bow Brand Manufacturers and Models.

    You also don't have to get a recurve bow. You could get a longbow, a horsebow, a compound bow, a flatbow, or various kinds of exotic bows such as a Korean horsebow or a Scythian horsebow or a Japanese yumi bow.

    Arrows

    What poundage is your Samick Sage? If it is between 20 to 30 lbs, then 600 spine arrows would be best. Aim to get 28 inch arrows (longer is okay too) with feather fletching, 600 spine. Ten or a dozen is usually a good idea as people often break or lose 1 or 2.

    Arrowheads

    Don't forget these wee things. Arrows don't always come with them as they are frequently sold separately. I recommend beginners get 125 grain arrowheads.

    Arrow Rest

    A traditional Bear fur rest (not real fur!) is pretty common. There are also more expensive/fancy arrow rests that also work.

    Nock Bead

    Goes on the bowstring, prevents the nock of the arrow from sliding up and down, aka "stringwalking".

    Archery Glove

    I recommend the Neet brand, same one you used last year. Comes in various sizes. But there are plenty of other brands (and colours) to choose from.

    Bowstringer

    For stringing your bow without damaging the limbs. Various kinds available.

    Bow String Wax

    For waxing your bow string periodically. Lengthens the life span of the bow string, and oddly enough improves accuracy and arrow speed.

    Optional Equipment
    • Quiver
    • Bracer or Armguard
    • Archery Backpack
    • Stabilizer
    • Sight
    • Dampeners

    See also my:

    Archery Equipment Checklist

    and

    List of Optional Archery Equipment

    If you have additional questions just let me know. :)

    Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

    Regarding Archery Lessons...

    I have been thinking of making some time slots available on Thursdays - 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM for teaching archery lessons.

    UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

    At present I only teach on weekends and watch my infant son on weekdays, but in the near future I may be able to start teaching on Thursdays again, pending availability*.

    * I might not be available on all Thursdays. We shall see.

    Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

    Anyone interested in Thursday archery lessons should email cardiotrek@gmail.com and let me know what time slots you are thinking of and how many lessons you are interested in.

    To learn more please read my Archery Lessons page which provides all the necessary info regarding my rates, equipment, etc.

    And now, because I find them interesting and amusing, here are some photos of birds perched on arrows. Tada!


    Owl perched on a cluster of Arrows
    Peach Faced or Rosy Faced Lovebird Parakeet perched on an Arrow

    Fancy Bows for Archery, what difference do they make?




    The images above are from Flatline Bows, which I admit do make some very pretty looking bows.

    Note - Flatline Bows did not pay me any money to write this post or to mention their bows.

    Fancy Bows Vs Beginners

    So here is the thing...

    Beginner archers sometimes decide to buy a more expensive / fancy bow for their first bow. They do this for a variety of reasons:

    1. They are pretty nice to look at. Just like owning a sports car.
    2. They sometimes think that more expensive also means more accurate.
    3. They want to avoid buying a cheap bow, because they feel embarrassed.
    4. They want a fancier bow because it is a status symbol.

    It is a bit like Apple iPhones. Most people who buy them are not buying the iPhone for its operating system or quality, they are buying it because it is a fashion accessory and a status symbol, because there are other companies out there that produce phones that are better.

    Thus the same thing happens with beginner archers. They sometimes buy an expensive / fancy bow, and far too often in my opinion it ends up collecting dust in their closet.

    They bought the fancy bow, but then they discover the poundage was too difficult for them to shoot. They lose interest in archery. They stop coming to the local archery range. The bow and their other archery equipment collects dust in a closet.

    What Should Beginners Buy?

    It is my personal belief that beginner archers should find themselves a decent bow that works, preferably one that is a 3-piece recurve so that they can swap the limbs out whenever they want to switch to a heavier or lighter poundage.

    So for example they could buy a Samick Sage (typically about $150), which is the bow I bought my girlfriend/wife years ago, and she later married me and she is still shooting that bow.

    I have written previously about the Samick Sage multiple times. It is basically the "Ford F-150 of bows". It is an affordable, commonly used bow that is everything you need in a beginner bow.

    Some of my past posts:

    The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

    What kind of bow should I purchase?

    Recurve Bow Brands and Models

    The last post talks about different manufacturers who make bows similar, cheaper, more expensive than the Samick Sage. There are lots of manufacturers to choose from too. PSE, Martin and Bear all sell recurves for a variety of price ranges. Just because I recommend the Samick Sage regularly, it doesn't mean it is the only bow I recommend.

    Years ago I also decided to get a Samick, but I opted for a slightly more expensive version: The Samick Red Stag 3-piece recurve. (They also made a 1-piece version and a longbow version of the Red Stag.)

    So someone who still wants a slightly fancier bow could simply go up 1 price margin to the next more expensive model.

    3-Piece Recurves Vs 1-Piece Recurves

    So here is the thing. If you break something on a 3-piece recurve, you just replace that limb or riser with a new one.

    If you break something on a 1-piece recurve, you have to replace the whole bow. (Or be really good at fixing things.)

    I have in my foyer closet a 1-piece recurve (a Stemmler Jaguar) that I found broken at the Toronto Archery Range. The previous owner broke one of the limbs and threw the whole thing in the trash. Me? I looked at it and speculated about whether it could be repaired in some manner.
    • I could cut both limbs off it, add bolts and turn it in a 3-piece recurve.
    • I could cut both limbs off it and add the limbs to a crossbow stock.
    Either way, I will eventually figure out a way to fix it and make it usable.

    But the average person isn't going to go through all that extra trouble.

    So to the average people who are looking to buy their first bow, get a 3-piece recurve.

    Preferably one that is affordable.

    And then if you really get into archery as you progress, you can buy more expensive bows later on. In which case then you can start thinking about buying the 1-piece recurves. You can see some of my collection of 1-piece recurves in the photo above behind the the Stemmler Jaguar limb.

    So are fancier bows more accurate?

    Nope.

    They sure do like nice, but no, generally speaking, they are not more accurate. It is the archer that makes the big difference.

    In 29 years of shooting, I have determined cheap brand name bows can go toe to toe with more expensive brand name bows and there is very little difference in their accuracy, and that the major difference lies with the archers themselves. The type of arrow rest being used effects the arrow more than the bow does, so if you are going to invest money in hopes of getting more accuracy, then you should invest in a nicer arrow rest.

    Longer bows are also more forgiving, which is why longbows are considered to be quite accurate. You can sometimes make a mistake with a longbow and still hit the target.

    A shortbow or horsebow is not very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you probably missed the target by a foot or two.

    Same thing goes with compound bows. Yes, more expensive, but the longer compound bows (measured from axle to axle) are often the more forgiving and accurate bows when compared to shorter axle to axle compound bows.

    Some people will spend a tiny fortune having a custom bow made out of exotic woods - Flatline Bows for example exclusively makes custom bows. Having all those expensive exotic woods in the bow doesn't make it any more accurate. It just makes it more expensive.

    You could add diamonds and rubies to a bow too, it won't make it shoot any more accurately.

    Flatline does make some pretty bows... but seeing as I currently need to repair that broken Stemmler, my efforts and money are probably best directed at finishing that project first before going out and buying any more bows.


    PS. I actually have a flatbow for sale if anyone in Toronto is interested. It is an Eastern Woodlands flatbow made by Rudder Bows of California. Barely used. I bought it around the same time I ordered a custom pyramid bow from a local Toronto bowyer, and I very much prefer the custom pyramid bow. I only shot the Eastern Woodlands bow a few times. I am asking $180 for it. Send me an email to learn more: cardiotrek@gmail.com.

    At what temperature does archery equipment become brittle?

    Q


    "At what cold temperature does archery equipment become more brittle and more likely to break?"


    A

    Depends on the material used in the construction of the archery equipment.

    Fiberglass (commonly used in bow limbs) becomes brittle and increasingly brittle at a temperature of 0° C. For this reason my personal preference is to never do archery if the temperature is -5° C or colder. (That and I don't like freezing outside when it is super cold conditions.)

    Carbon Fibre (commonly used to make arrows) becomes brittle at -60° C. So not as much of a concern.

    Aluminum actually becomes stronger at colder temperatures. It is at high temperatures (above 100° C) that aluminum becomes increasingly weaker.

    Leather, Feather Fletching, Glues, etc - Honestly, I don't know, but I am going to guess certain glues and epoxies do become brittle at low temperatures and that it varies on the type of glue or epoxy. Leather and feathers I would not worry about. Same goes with plastic fletching, I am going to assume that is pretty durable.

    Wood is more resistant but not indestructible. It also varies on the type of wood being used, but the rule of thumb is that the harder a wood is, the more brittle it becomes at lower temperatures. So the problem here is that many longbows (and some other styles of bows) use various kinds of hardwood - and that typically the best hardwoods make really good bows.

    Other factors effect how brittle wood is, like the following:

    Moisture Content - Because wood contains water, when the water turns into ice it expands - thus damaging the wood itself. The higher the moisture content in wood, the more brittle it can become.

    Type of Wood - Certain types of wood, like pine or spruce, are excellent for making structures outdoors because they are more resistant to water and ice damage. However pine and spruce is horrible for making bows. In contrast oak, hard maple, and other hardwoods are great for making bows - but are very vulnerable to water and ice damage.

    Oils and Finishes - This protects the wood from gaining additional water content. A well oiled bow is more protected from water damage and mildew, but that doesn't mean it cannot be effected by ice damage from the preexisting moisture content.

    Kiln Dried Wood vs Acclimating Moisture - Kiln dried wood has its moisture content reduces and if then sealed with oil and finishes, it will be more resistant to ice damage. However there is a problem... if the wood after it was kiln dried was given time to acclimate to the surrounding moisture content in the air before being sealed - or worse, it was never sealed - then it will have the same moisture content as regular wood anyway.

    Treated Woods and Specialty Woods - Some woods are treated with resin to create brandname woods like "DiamondWood" and "FutureWood", like those used by the Bear Archery Co. The resins make the wood more durable and water resistant - and thus more likely to be able to take extreme colds. There is also woods like Accoya®* wood, which is treated with acetic anhydride, which increases the wood's durability, "dimensional stability" (whatever that means), resistant to rot, and makes very resistant to both water and cold damage.

    * Apparently adding ® is more or less a requirement when talking about Accoya® wood. It is mostly used for outdoor purposes. To my knowledge nobody has ever made a bow out of it. It would probably be good for making arrows however. If anyone does make arrows out of Accoya®, please email me some photos and let me know how well they work.



    Note - Nobody really asked the question, but I felt the topic needed to be discussed and that other people would benefit from learning everything above.

    How to become a professional archer faster and more efficiently

    Q


    "Hello Charles!

    I saw you answer archery questions and I have one I am hoping you can answer.

    I have been thinking of getting into competitive archery and I was wondering if there was any training techniques you would recommend in order to become a better archer that would allow me to progress faster than the Average Joe (or Jane in my case). Basically I want to stand out and I am looking for ways to do that via training.

    Regards,
    Angie B., North Dakota"

    A

    Hello Angie!

    Actually there is many different ways to get a competitive edge through training, but what I am going to recommend is a comprehensive approach because your fellow competitors, if they are remotely serious, are probably doing at least 1 or 2 of these techniques.

    My impression from what you are asking is that you want to really stand out from the other competitors, and that means doing a lot more than just a few techniques, but instead doing all of them in a more comprehensive manner.

    The two most common things competitors do are:

    #1. Practice Archery Regularly

    Usually 3 to 4 times per week. For some archers this is often the only thing they do.

    #2. Regular Non-Archery Exercise

    This could be weightlifting, cardio, resistance exercises, yoga and a variety of other methods of improving strength, endurance, balance, posture and so forth. The problem with getting regular exercise is that many people in North America are loath to do it, so it makes sense that a country like South Korea (where regular exercise is more popular and people routinely go hiking in the mountains for the fun of it) wins roughly 75% of all medals at international competitions.

    So right there, you can see that South Korea and similar countries where regular exercise is popular already has a distinct advantage that allows them to stand out.

    Another problem with archers is that they often think "Practicing archery counts as exercise, so I don't need to do other kinds of exercise."

    Thus many archers don't exercise outside of doing archery itself. Unfortunately a lack of comprehensive exercises results in muscle imbalances which actually hinder the archer's endurance and strength. So this idea that professional archers "only need archery to exercise" is a myth.



    And now we get into the topics that most archers do NOT do, including so-called professionals.

    #3. Comprehensive Exercises

    So Regular Exercise and Comprehensive Exercises are two different things. One just means regular repetition adding up to a quantity of exercise. Comprehensive means that the exercises you are doing cover a broad range of topics for different purposes.

    Above I mentioned the following types of exercises:

    Cardio - Specifically things like jogging or swimming, your goal here is to boost endurance and your heart's strength. Your heart controls the blood flow to your lungs, your muscles, your brain... this increases endurance, strength, and reduces mental fatigue. You want to avoid exercises that focus too much on speed, like sprinting short distances. Jogging is more effective because it builds the heart muscles more.

    Weightlifting and Resistance Exercises - Your goals here are to increase overall physical strength and endurance. This will have some effect on heart strength, but not in the same way that cardio does. This is why you need to do both. The weightlifting/resistance exercises need to be done slowly so that you can build endurance more efficiently. The beauty of this is that you can target specific muscles or muscle groups, but you also need to building the "whole set" so to speak. If you focus too much on building a single muscle, you won't achieve much results. That is why targeting muscle groups is more efficient, so that all the muscles build up cooperatively. Thus, you also need to be comprehensive in your approach and target all the muscle groups.

    Imagine for a moment an archer who only targets their upper back muscles, and does nothing for their chest, shoulders, arms, lower back - clearly will get a few benefits from building up their back, but their back muscles eventually reach a point where it starts compensating for a lack of strength in other areas. This leads to other muscles becoming weaker and eventually a muscle imbalance develops. This can also lead to bad posture and a host of other problems.

    Yoga - If you have never done yoga you will never know how tiring it is and how much it uses your own body weight to increase your strength, endurance, balance and posture. Think of the simple push up, which is a common old school exercise for building the muscles in, arms, shoulders, pectorals and upper back. It uses your body weight to create resistance. Yoga follows the same principle, but applies it to a multitude of other muscle groups. In my experience, people who do yoga regularly tend to do remarkably well at archery. (Yoga also has the added effect of boosting mental endurance. There are also Yogic breathing exercises which are handy for archers who want to learn to control their breathing while executing a shot.)

    #4. Healthy Diet Habits

    This is another thing many archers in North America don't take seriously (and another reason why countries like South Korea have a distinct advantage competitively).

    Imagine two archers who do the same training regimen, but the only difference is that one archer has a typical North American diet and the other archer has a healthy diet which focuses on protein, vegetables, calcium, vitamins and nutrients. Which one do you think will have more strength, more endurance and a healthier balance of chemicals in their brain (which effects mental conditioning)?

    The obvious answer is the archer with the healthy diet. And because many archers don't embrace a healthy diet, this is one definite way to get a competitive edge over the 90% of other archers who frankly probably have horrible dieting habits.

    #5. Reading Books

    Honestly, this is very important and I am going to recommend you read the first book most of all.

    • Precision Archery by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson. Read the whole book, even the chapters you don't think will effect you. Just read it all.
    • The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Soho. This is a good introduction to mental conditioning. The book is actually a series of letters from a Buddhist monk to samurais of the time, and while he talks about swords the same advice also applies to mental conditioning for archers. (Do not read "Zen in the Art of Archery". That book is horrid.)
    I have a book titled "High Performance Sports Conditioning", edited by Bill Foran, but I don't think it is still available. Instead I recommend finding a newer book on the same topic of Sports Conditioning. The book I have is basically a big 366 page textbook for athletes who want to do sports conditioning, so you need to be looking for the equivalent.

    #6. Sports Conditioning and Training with a Coach

    This is unfortunately where money comes into the equation.

    Having a coach that can advise the athlete on training techniques, exercises, diet, mental preparedness for competitions... this gives the archer a distinct advantage. A good coach will challenge the archer in new ways that will keep their training regimen interesting, interactive and ever changing.

    #7. Start Competing and Learning from the Competitive Experience

    You probably won't do so well in the first so many competitions, but your goal here is not to win. It is to learn how to compete and start learning how your mind is effected by the challenges of competition.

    I know first hand from competing that you can be winning and suddenly flub a shot or two close to the end because I was not mentally prepared for what to do if the wind suddenly picks up and I am getting tired of holding shots while trying to time the wind conditions. That really messes with your head, trying to time a shot in-between wind gusts while you are tired and you grow anxious... and before you know it, you are stressing out and mess up a shot or two because you are basically having an anxiety attack.

    And that is what makes the difference between coming in first and coming in second. Stress and mental conditioning can make that tiny bit of difference on the score card.

    The trick I think is to try and remember "It doesn't really matter. Just relax and shoot. Even if you miss, will it really make a big difference to the grand scheme of things?" Because it doesn't matter. Nobody ten years, a hundred years or a thousand years is going to care that you missed a shot.

    But competing and learning how to accept that defeat when you almost won, and then learning from the experience will make you a stronger and more mentally prepared competitor in the long term.

    #8. Practice in all Weather Conditions

    If you practice even on the days when it is cold and rainy, the day will come when it rains during a competition and you will be mentally ready for it. The other archers might not be ready because maybe they never practiced in the rain. But you have, so that makes you the better archer when it comes to shooting in the slop.

    Best of luck to you in your competitive career!

    Sincerely,
    Charles Moffat
    CardioTrek.ca





    Looking forward to teaching archery again

    Hey Toronto! Happy New Year!

    Starting in March 2018 I will be offering archery lessons again, however this year I will be limited to teaching archery mostly on weekends.

    People who want Archery Lessons in Toronto should contact me via email - cardiotrek@gmail.com - to arrange lessons.

    The time restrictions is because on weekdays I am looking after my son Richard, who is currently 6 months old, while my wife is attending university. There may sometimes be weekdays during which I am available, but I would not wager on it.

    That said, I am looking forward to teaching archery again. I taught a dozen or so lessons back in September and October, on weekends, and so it has been several months and I miss being outside teaching.

    Although admittedly it is winter right now, and I do not normally teach much during the winter anyway. Still, the snow will melt and it will be Spring soon enough. It will be good to get back to teaching, even if it is only on weekends.


    A Handful of Interesting Archery Photos

    December 31st 2017.

    The following archery photos were taken in 2017:

    Careful you don't poke your eyeball out.

    Distracting, but on the plus side she gets to see how good her form is.

    Who doesn't like pink fletching?

    Always nice to see an arrow caught by a camera midshot.

    So some of the photos below are not from 2017, but some of them are. The first one below for example is actually a mixture of both 2017 and a photo from 1936.

    Berlin Olympic Games 1936 vs 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup also in Berlin.

    This guy needs a horse for his horsebow, but will have to make do.

    Just some bows chilling on a rack at the Toronto Archery Range.

    Happy Halloween!

    That is a pretty nice collection of bows.

    Some of my personal collection of bows.

    This gal has a horse, and she decides to up her game even further.

    A local Toronto archer readies her shot. Photo by Simon Lam.

    Another poor guy who wishes he had a horse.
     Well this was fun. Hope everyone had a great 2017 and have an even better 2018! :)

    Technically not archery, but I included this because it is funny.

    No Winter Archery This Year, Winter 2017-18

    Hello Would-Be Archery Students in Toronto!

    I will not be teaching archery this winter, but I will be resuming teaching archery lessons (weekends only) in March 2018.

    Anyone wishing to have archery lessons in 2018 should prebook now as availability may be limited.



    Brace Height on a Jandao Recurve Bow

    Q

    Hello I have a jandao and I was trying to go all over the internet to find the brace height but I'm sol. 

    Do you know what the brace height is if I'm shooting 28#66"?

    Or where I can ask?

    Thanks,
    Dwayne
    A

    Should be approx. 7 or 8 inches.

    If you cannot be certain of the brace height I recommend experimenting with it to see which brace height gives you the most speed. Don't worry about accuracy yet, just try to see which brace height gives you the most speed from the arrow. When you find that it will also turn out to be the most accurate, but speed is easier to spot.

    If you have difficulty trying to determine which brace height is fastest by yourself, try having a friend or two stand by and judge the speed of the arrows.

    Due to personal preference some people will sometimes prefer a slightly higher or lower brace height, still very close to the "ideal brace height", but within a margin of error that some archers find more comfortable.

    Sincerely,
    Charles Moffat
    CardioTrek.ca

    PS. Regardless of what the poundage is, the brace height on Jandao should still be the same. So it doesn't really matter if it is 28 lbs, 20 lbs or 38 lbs... same ideal brace height.

    Three Frequently Asked Questions: Stump Shooting, Different Elevations, Obstacles

    Below are three frequently asked archery questions related to shooting in the wilderness:

    "I heard there is something called Stump Shooting. What is it?"

    Stump Shooting is the act of shooting at old rotten stumps of trees - rotting tree trunks. The rotting stumps make excellent targets in the woods because they are so soft your arrows go in and come back out easily, without damaging your arrows.

    The beauty of stump shooting is that you can wander around in the woods, look for stumps that make great targets - and then practice shooting at it from different angles, different distances, and even different elevations. As an activity it is truly a fun one.

    Learn more about Stump Shooting: An Archer's Guide to Stump Shooting


    "Do you aim differently when aiming downhill or uphill at a target?"

    At short distances, no, not really. While it may seem like a target is further away because of the angle, the amount of time the arrow is in the air makes little or no difference whether you are shooting at a target from an upward or downward angle - what really matters is how much gravity effects the arrow during its flight. While it is true that the arrow would go slightly faster downhill and slightly slower uphill, at short distances the differences is so negligible that it makes really no difference.
    At longer distances - extreme heights and such - then you can see a huge difference in terms of where you need to aim.

    I can recommend shooting at different heights and practicing aiming uphill and downhill so you can perfect your form and get better at aiming upwards and downwards.
    Regardless of the height, the arrow is only in the air for 20 yards of distance - thus gravity effects it the same.


    "What is the best way to deal with obstacles in the way when you are trying to shoot?"

    There is not one single answer to this, but rather multiple answers. The "best way" really depends on the circumstances and the obstacles.

    In some situations kneeling might produce better results. In others you might actually want to get more elevation to shoot over an obstacle. Or you might decide to move sideways to get a clearer shot from a different angle.

    I recommend practicing all three so you get really good at figuring out how to solve the problem.

    So the long winded answer I guess is "Practice everything and you can do everything."

    Is my 15-year-old son still eligible to learn archery?

    Q

    "Hi, my son is very interested in learning archery. However he is just under 15 years of age. I know you have an age minimum, please advise if he is still eligible?

    Do you have any spots open for Saturdays in the morning? Full package.

    my thanks,
    Nancy H."

    A

    Hey Nancy!

    I retired from teaching archery about a week ago to spend more time with my son while my wife works on her career. My weekends are pretty busy indefinitely so my availability even on weekends is best described as "fully booked". So I am not available any more to teach, regardless of your son's age.

    Sorry if there is some mixed messages with respect to my Retirement Signature Message. I should update that.

    However I do have a suggestion. Sign your son up for Boy Scouts (when he turns 15 he can switch to Venturer Scouts, which is for ages 15 to 17).
    • Beaver Scouts (Ages 5-7)
    • Cub Scouts (Ages 8-10)
    • Scouts (Ages 11-14)
    • Venturer Scouts (Ages 15-17)
    • Rover Scouts (Ages 18-26)

    I can also recommend an excellent book:

    Precision Archery
    By Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson
    https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/precision-archery/9780736046343-item.html


    If you have any questions (such as questions about buying archery equipment) let me know and I will help the best I can. Have a good day!

    Sincerely,
    Charles Moffat
    CardioTrek.ca

    Retirement Signature Message - I officially retired from being a personal trainer / sports coach as of August 28th to pursue being a full time stay-at-home-dad while my wife pursues her career. I will be using the time to finish writing an archery book and I may sometimes teach Archery Lessons (weekends only), depending on my availability. In the meantime please browse free archery tips on CardioTrek.ca, testimonials, and check out what else Cardio Trek has to offer.

    OFFICIAL RETIREMENT, AUGUST 28TH 2017

    1975 Browning Wasp, at the Toronto Archery Range
    August 28th 2017

    Hello!

    If you are here looking for archery lessons in Toronto, I have some sad news for you: I am official retired, as of today.

    I announced my upcoming and now present retirement back in July in the following post: My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training. The details and reasons for my retirement are listed there.

    Unofficially I may still end up teaching a few archery lessons in the future, only on weekends, and only when my new schedule allows me a little extra time to teach.

    Otherwise you will just have to shop around for a different archery instructor, which I am sorry to say there are few archery instructors who have the knowledge and experience that I have, having done archery for 28 years and having taught archery for 8 of those years.

    Furthermore I teach all 5 major styles of archery:
    1. Traditional Recurve
    2. Olympic Recurve
    3. Horsebow / Shortbow
    4. Longbow / Flatbow
    5. Compound
    I know a few archery instructors who teach 1 or 2 styles, but I know of no other instructor who is qualified and experienced at teaching all 5 styles.

    I have been told that my retirement will be "a loss to the Toronto Archery Community" and I am not going to dispute that I have made some contributions to the promotion of the sport in Toronto. In the 8 years that I was teaching I taught well over a thousand different people. I don't know the precise number because I did not keep accurate records in the beginning, but I do estimate that I was teaching approx. 150 to 200 different students each year. The exact number is likely in the 1,200 to 1,600 people range.

    Many of my former students now visit the Toronto Archery Range on a weekly or monthly basis to continue practicing their sport. Some of my former students have gone on to compete, including several Olympic contenders from overseas.

    Some students came from very far away to study with me. From South Korea, from Japan, from the USA, Britain, Ireland, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia and a variety of other locales. Some of them came all that distance just to study archery under me.

    I do not discriminate with students. I have taught young and old. As the years went by I began cutting back on the younger students, preferring to teach people who are 16 years old or older - but I sometimes made exceptions and taught younger students if they were exceptionally interested in archery and showed a keen obsession with the sport. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching seniors.

    In the photo below is two police officers who were visiting the Toronto Archery Range, one of my former students from 2014 (John G.), and myself in the sunglasses / Ducks Unlimited hat. This photo was taken recently, on August 14th 2017. John has become a regular at the archery range over the past 3 years and students like him have been a highlight of my archery teaching career and one of the reasons I give discounts to seniors.


    I am going to miss teaching archery.

    It has been the most enjoyable career I have had thus far. I got to meet lots of interesting people, make all sorts of archery jokes, educate people on the history of archery / the sport of archery, and promote one of the greatest pastimes of all time.

    It therefore makes sense that I won't be giving it up completely. I will continue to teach from time to time, schedule permitting, but it will be very different from my current schedule of teaching approx. 10 to 15 lessons per week.

    There was a time a few years ago when I was teaching 18 to 21 lessons per week, and frankly feeling exhausted after teaching 5 lessons in a single day. I eventually realized that I needed to cutback on teaching so many lessons and relax more. Around that time I raised my rates, cut back on my total number of lessons I was willing to teach per week, and started scheduling more vacation time.

    Such vacations likely helped in the wooing of my wife and resulted in our marriage in August 2016. Quickly followed by a Honeymoon in Montreal.

    A few months later we began planning the birth of our son Richard who arrived in late June 2017. (2.5 weeks before his due date, I guess he was impatient to meet us.) Below is a photo of our son Richard with a slingshot during a recent trip to the beach. He doesn't know how to shoot it yet, but I had fun shooting beach pebbles into Lake Ontario.


    In a few short years he will be shooting that very slingshot and learning how to shoot his first bow. With both parents doing archery and a number of other relatives who do archery (including my cousin Ken who is the 1990 and 1991 Traditional Recurve North American Champion and had so many trophies he was throwing them out...) Richard will raised thinking archery is something that many people do - and frankly many people do archery, it is just not as much as say soccer or baseball.

    Richard will be raised with an active lifestyle, something I am looking forward to, with a heavy emphasis on appreciation for nature, science and the world around him. Everything from bird-watching to rock-climbing to geology to astronomy to the wonderful languages and food our world has to offer. (As a polyglot myself, I hope to have him learning a variety of languages during his summers when he is not attending school.)

    My Future

    I have a long list of things I want to do with my life, outside of raising my son with my wonderful wife. I listed some of those things on my previous post announcing my retirement.

    One of the things I most would like to do is to buy a horse farm, raise horses and teach equestrian archery. To me that would truly be living the dream. If I could add Falconry to that dream, that would be fun too.

    The Future of CardioTrek.ca

    The website isn't going to disappear, I can tell you that. I am going to keep using it to promote exercise and a variety of sports, including archery of course.

    By the end of 2017 I expect there to be a total of 830 posts on this website and I will continue to do 5 to 10 posts per month indefinitely.

    The big change will be that I will be adding Google Ads on the side of the website, and I will be allowing advertisers to post sponsored articles in the future for a reasonable fee. (I have a baby to feed and clothe after all, and babies are not cheap, so I see nothing wrong with allowing some advertising.) All ads will be family friendly and abide my sense of good morals.

    Happy shooting!

    Archery Lessons in Toronto, Limited Time Slots Left

    Hey Toronto!

    So I am looking at my schedule and I only have 8 time slots for teaching archery left before I retire. (See My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training for more information about my upcoming retirement.)

    So if anyone still wants archery lessons, the time to book is NOW before my retirement arrives.

    In unrelated archery news...

    Below is a photo of a Toronto police officer who visited the Toronto Archery Range on August 18th and was checking out a vintage Bear Takedown Recurve Bow. The Toronto Police were in the area looking for a homeless person with mental issues who is believed to be camping out in the park surrounding the archery range. The homeless person has been making threats and shouting at people.


    And yes, that is a shotgun slung across his back. That particular shotgun shoots non lethal bean bags in order to subdue targets.

    The photo below is from August 14th and is a selfie taken by the officer on the left - who was kind enough to send me a copy. In the photo is himself, my old student John G. who I taught in 2014 and is now a frequent visitor to the archery range, the officer's partner, and myself in the sunglasses. (The bow I am carrying is a vintage 1972 Black Hawk Avenger.)


    The two officers above said they were just patrolling the park, but I now have a hunch they were also there searching for the same homeless person. The homeless person is considered a threat because they keep shouting threats against people and making references to the terrorist organization ISIS.

    Expensive Compound Bows Vs Super Adjustable Compound Bows

    Q

    Hey Charles.

    Question for you on Bows...

    I'm really interested in getting a decent composite bow off the start (after a few lessons of course). The one I'm thinking of getting is the Oneida Kestrel or Pheonix. Do you think that's a bad idea? I read online that it's ok to go with more expensive bows as it just means I won't grow out of the bow quickly. I know online comments aren't always accurate, so I'd like to hear from a pro. Thoughts?

    - Geoffrey C.

    A

    Hey Geoffrey!

    The Oneida Kestrel as seen on the popular "Arrow" TV show.
    The bow has seen a boost in sales thanks to the show.
    Well, the Oneida Kestrel/Pheonix are definitely more expensive hybrid recurve compound bows. I only know of two people who even own Oneida bows, as they are pretty rare. I should note that older Oneida's can also be very accurate, judging from the one I shot a few years ago and it was made during the 1990s.

    I would disagree with the statement that "people don't grow out of more expensive bows as quickly" because obviously there is going to be exceptions to that statement, and since there are so many different kinds of expensive bows, that is quite a few exceptions.

    A better statement would be:

    "A compound bow that is easy to adjust, fully adjustable, and has a broad range of power settings, draw length settings, and even comfort settings is the kind of bow a person will not easily grow out of."

    This weekend I met a guy who had purchased a compound bow with two comfort settings. The first one had a hard Wall, but faster FPS arrow speed, while the second setting was more comfortable with a soft Wall, but slower FPS arrow speed. Modern compound bows are becoming ever more complicated, and this is largely due to manufacturers trying to make bows which are more easily adjustable and have more options for adjustment to suit the user's needs.

    Consequently having more options / more adjustability can make a compound bow more expensive...

    However not all compound bows are super adjustable. Some are quite the opposite, they are very narrow in how much they can be adjusted because the manufacturer has decided to focus on making a bow super powerful, faster FPS arrow speed, a harder Wall, more let off, extra gadgets for the sake of accuracy, more durability, lighter, better balanced, more expensive materials, etc.

    There are many ways to make a compound bow more expensive. The ability to not grow out of it too quickly doesn't necessarily factor in to the ways a particular bow is more expensive.

    With expensive bows there is always the chance a person ends up buying the wrong bow too and ends up regretting it because it was too powerful, not adjustable enough that it was suitable for the individual, etc.

    eg. I saw a guy a few weeks ago who bought his girlfriend a compound bow expecting her to be able to use it, and unfortunately she wasn't strong enough to pull it even at the lowest possible setting because the bow he had purchased was not adjustable enough. She then ended up shooting his bow instead - which was super adjustable and could be adjusted to her draw length and power needs. Later he ended up shooting her bow instead of his own. (Maybe that was his evil plan all along, to get himself a new bow?)

    If you have additional questions let me know. Have a great day!

    Sincerely,
    Charles Moffat
    CardioTrek.ca

    The Oneida Eagle Phoenix Hybrid Recurve Compound Bow
    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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