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

Second Wave of COVID, still open?

 At this time I am still accepting new archery students, but I am being pickier about who I am accepting with respect to students.

Depending upon what happens with future lockdowns I may end up suspending lessons until after any such lockdown. I am expecting the schools to get shutdown any day now because it is obvious that the province of Ontario has not figured out a safe way to reopen schools.

If they shut down the schools but maintain Stage Three then I will continue to offer lessons. If the province decides to do another big lockdown, going back to the same conditions we had in March then any remaining lessons might end up being delayed until Spring 2021.

Knowing this I totally get why some potential archery students might just decide to delay their archery lessons until 2021 in the first place... Whilst some others might prefer to have them now because they're hoping to learn archery for hunting purposes, in which case the argument is the sooner-the-better. A percentage of my students these days want to learn bowhunting because they're worried about the COVID shutdowns causing the equivalent of the Great Depression and food shortages.

Basically everyone has their own reasons for learning archery. Some people are just bored of being at home all of the time because they work from home these days and they just want to get outside and do something fun.

Fun and potentially useful? Yep, good to go.

Of course there is also the people who just have always wanted to do archery and they just keep procrastinating. Always a new excuse for procrastinators. If you're a procrastinator then you're probably thinking of an excuse right now while reading this.

But if you cannot think of a good excuse maybe now is the time to do.

Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto today. :)

In unrelated news check out the interesting and cool decorative arrowheads below. One of the archers I know makes them as a hobby.



Archery Trick Shooting


 My new article for Archery Focus Magazine is now available as of September 1st 2020. The topic is "Archery Trick Shooting". Unfortunately I am not posting it here. You will just have to visit the Archery Focus website and read it there.

Also kudos to fellow Toronto archer Crispin Duenas for his review of the BOWdometer.

An one year subscription to Archery Focus Magazine is $32 USD and gets you access to their back catalogue of magazines. Learn more by visiting archeryfocusmagazine.com.

Happy Shooting!





PS. You can also view my past articles for Archery Focus Magazine in the following issues:

  • "Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches", July 2017.
  • "A Lesson in Adaptive Archery", July 2018.
  • "Teaching Archery Through Narratives", November 2018.
  • "Rinehart Target Balls (and Alternatives)", January 2020.

Pain in Middle Finger after Archery Lesson

 Q

"Hi Charles, 

After the lesson today I noticed the last joint (closest to the tip) of my middle finger is quite sore. I noticed the same thing the last time I shot with my new glove, bow, etc. Is this normal for a new glove or is it an indication of something wrong, either with my form or the glove? 

Regards,
-Brian H."

 

A

Hey Brian!

That happens sometimes when the glove is either not protecting the fingers enough or the person is not used to pulling a higher poundage.

In your case however I did notice that you sometimes pulled the bowstring unevenly, wherein your middle finger was usually about half an inch further across the bowstring and the bowstring was then on the joint itself (as opposed to halfway on the fingertips). You were only doing it with your middle finger (and you didn't always do it so at the time I wasn't too worried about it because I felt you would eventually stop doing it) and you are not experiencing pain in any other fingers, correct? In the future I recommend making an effort to only use half your fingertips and see if that solves the problem.

You may recall me saying "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate." In this case however it could also be "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate, but also less painful." Half your fingertips also reduces the chances of plucking the bowstring during the release. Definitely something to build into a positive habit.

See you at the range!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

 

 

Are women more associated with archery?

 Q

"Can I ask you an archery question for research/my thesis?

Okay so I’m writing a thesis about gender and gender presentations in warrior women. I argue that gender is a construct and that objects should not be gendered when they are tools in one’s art of being a warrior, but my professor countered that bows and archery are more associated with women than men (not meant to offend anyone just looking for answers) is that true? Where does that come from? 

To me, when I think of archers I think of famous ones like Green Arrow, Robin Hood, and Legolas...Are there other archers in literature that you can think of that identify as a woman besides Susan Pevensie that would dominate the symbol of archers?"

- J. E. T.

A

Gender is indeed a construct, much in the same way that identity is a social construct. Or Zodiac signs is a superstitious construct.

With respect to archery it is predominantly a male sport. For example, with respect to my local archery range, men make up over 80% of the archery range's users, and that the "regulars" are even more male dominated, making up at least 90% of the frequent users.

Archery is a sport requiring strength and endurance. Far too often non-archers are expecting the sport to be easy, and they are not at all prepared for how difficult or strength intensive this sport is.

Part of this misconception is the fault of mass media, Hollywood, and the types of body types depicted in films, television and literature. People see these depictions in a variety of media and then perpetuate the false idea that archers are a specific body type. Eg. Skinny Legolas.

There are a variety of films during the past 30 years wherein skinny female characters are depicted as archers. This depiction is a double edged sword: It creates the stereotype that skinny women are ideally suited for archery, promotes archery to women, but also pushes the idea that women are unsuited to hand-to-hand melee.

While I appreciate and applaud that Hollywood is pushing the idea of more women in archery, it is coming at the expense of saying women are unsuitable for using axes, lances, swords or a variety of other medieval era weaponry, while simultaneously pushing the idea that archery is not a sport of strength and endurance.

This all comes back to depictions of body types in my opinion. Eg. Try to think of a film that depicts a female archer as not being skinny. I cannot name one. Hollywood depicts female archers as being ballerina skinny (and usually Caucasian, Asian, or giant blue alien, but that is another topic entirely).

In reality archers are all kinds of body types, but there is one commonality with respect to experienced archers - They are all strong and have built up their back muscles so that they can pull higher poundage bows. Some archers started being reasonably strong, and then became stronger as they built up their rhomboids, deltoids and other muscles used for archery. Some were weaker, but built up the muscle groups over time. Even older archers are often surprisingly robust and strong for their age.

Thus even if an archer started as being skinny or overweight, after 20 years of doing the sport regularly they're going to have a more robust stature because they've built up the muscle groups.

This strength factor doesn't mean that women cannot excel at archery however. While women are certainly a minority, I have met plenty of women who excel at archery.

Eg. Back in March (a week before COVID shut everything down) I had the pleasure of teaching a dancer in her 40s who has what I would describe as having an Amazonian body type. Certainly more in the direction of an athlete, which was an asset and she did very well during her first lesson. You can see a video of her on my Cardio Trek YouTube channel. Her lessons are supposed to resume this Autumn.
 

So does having more of a Tom Boy / Amazonian / athletic physique help when doing archery? Absolutely it helps. It is a sport of strength and endurance after all. However that doesn't mean it is only body type that can excel at archery. An archer who is overweight can excel just as easily if they build up the needed muscle groups, and likewise a skinny will become stronger over time.

With respect to archers of literature like Green Arrow, Robin Hood and Legolas there is definitely one missing:

Hercules.

Now you might think "Wait, Hercules did archery?"

Indeed he did. He was supposedly extremely good at archery, owing to his demigod strength.

Here's another: Odysseus / Ulysses.

Ulysses returned after 20 years of fighting Trojans & being lost at sea to find his kingdom in turmoil and suitors trying to marry his wife and take his kingdom. But his wife was very smart. She said she would only marry a man who could string her husband's bow. All the suitors tried and failed. They weren't strong enough. Then Ulysses, now an old man in disguise, asked to try. He strung his bow easily and killed all the suitors. There is a lovely clip of this scene on YouTube wherein actor Kirk Douglas plays Ulysses in the scene from the 1954 film.
 

So what is Greek female equivalent of Hercules or Ulysses?

Atalanta, and to some extent the Amazons.

Atalanta was abandoned on a mountain and raised by bears. Away from the social constructs of her fellow Greeks. The Greek myth makers clearly understood that femininity is a social construct and apparently believed that the only way a woman could grow to maturity without such constructs was to be raised in the wild by animals.

The Amazons it is now believed was one part myth and one part based on the Scythians (or the forebears of the Scythians), who were a nomadic group of hunters from Asia Minor wherein men and women both hunted, often from horseback, and they perfected the Scythian bow, which is a very complex recurve-decurve-recurve shape. As such they were phenomenal archers. It is small surprise that the Greeks mythologized such encounters with any warrior-women they encountered from Scythia as they were doubtlessly deadly with the bow.

Obviously I could keep going. I could probably write a nonfiction book on this subject.

So yes, in conclusion the idea that archery is strongly associated with women (and a skinny body type) is a stereotype perpetuated by the media. Largely due to Hollywood and anyone influenced by that false narrative. Archery is still very much a male dominated sport, it is a sport requiring strength and not agility (despite what Dungeons and Dragons would have people believe).

I would also assert that gender identity is not a factor in archery. People can identify as whatever gender they want to, it will make zero difference when you hand them a high poundage bow and ask them to pull it.

Anyone wishing to disagree can come to my local archery range and I will hand them a 50 lb Browning Wasp recurve bow, at which point we shall see if their perceptions of archery being "easy" or not requiring strength is remotely accurate. If they can't pull it I will give them a "much easier" 24 lb Ragim Matrix recurve bow. And if they still cannot pull that I will swap out the limbs for 18 lbs.

I have been teaching archery for almost 12 years now. Beginners are continually surprised at how physically exhausting the sport is. It is the reason why my lessons are 90 minutes long. Two hours is too long. People get tired and start making more mistakes close to the 90 minute mark.

There is a reason why I have blog posts on my website pertaining to weight training exercises specifically aimed at archers, so they can build more muscle in the needed areas of their body faster.

It truly is a sport of strength and endurance. Anyone who has fallen for the Hollywood fantasy that it is not... They're just perpetuating the false narrative.

My apologies if this is a bit of a rant. Archery is a lifestyle for me. I have been practicing the sport for over 31 years. Teaching for almost 12 years. My wife shoots. My 3-year-old son shoots. I write both fiction and nonfiction about archery. I am very passionate about promoting the virtues of the sport and it annoys me that there are so many false perceptions of it.

I recommend including my entire email in your appendices for your professor to peruse. If they have any questions or follow up they can address it to cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

What kind of bow should I get my wife?

Q

"Hello! My wife weighs 115 lbs and isn't very big. What kind of bow should I get her for getting into archery?

Matt M."

A

Hey Matt!

Her weight isn't the biggest concern, her height and strength are bigger factors. I am guessing she is petite?

Start her on a low poundage bow, like a 15 to 20 lb recurve. I recommend a 3 piece recurve where she can get more powerful limbs later so she can build more muscle as she progresses.

If she is short you should also consider a youth bow. Some of my adult archery students who are closer to 5 feet tall need to use a youth bow, so if your wife is 5'2" or shorter this is an option, otherwise she may have clearance issues with the bowstring rubbing against her side.

If you have any questions just email me at cardiotrek@gmail.com

Good luck and happy shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
 
 
Follow Up

"Thank you very much. This has been a big help. She is 5'3" so I am probably gonna go with a 3 piece so I can get her stronger limbs when she improves.

I was thinking the Samick Sage for her, but I'm worried the riser might be to big for her hands any other good starters you can recommend?"

A


Also the lowest poundage for the Sage is 25.

Perhaps the Samick Little Fox?

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-little-fox-48-takedown-bow.html

Maybe get 20 lbs and she can later get 25 lb limbs. By the time she is ready for 30 lbs or more you can look at more expensive bows.

Cartel has a slightly bigger 54" bow that would also suit her, also available in 20 lbs.

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/cartel-triple-54-takedown-recurve-bow-58177.html
 
Or the Galaxy Bullseye 54, if she prefers wood.

Due to her height try to find something in the 48 to 58 inches range. The bigger the bow the more likely she will have clearance issues. 60 to 66 inches might be too big and have clearance issues with the bowstring.


Reply

"Thank you very much again. Very helpful."

New Archery Lesson Rates

Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

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


Notes

My new rates are effective as of July 8th 2020. See my Older Pre-COVID19 Archery Rates.

I no longer offer pairs/couples or groups of 3 lessons. All lessons are now one-on-one.

Older archery students from 2019 or earlier who are returning for more lessons get a discount. Ask for details.

Please be advised that I no longer offer evening time slots.

Ask about my 10% Seniors Discount if you are over 65. Ask about my 10% Veterans Discount if you are a former or current member of the Canadian Armed Forces. (Discounts are not cumulative.)


Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to Schedule a Lesson.
Notice
Anyone who previously purchased an Archery Gift Voucher for single, pairs or group lessons will still have their gift voucher honoured and as previously announced I have extended the expiration date for Gift Vouchers due to COVID19 throwing a wrench into the scheduling of lessons during 2020. See Gift Voucher Extension of Expiry for more details.

Anyone wishing to purchase Archery Gift Vouchers can still do so and the expiration date is similarly extended, but they can only purchase gift vouchers for one-on-one lessons at this time. No pairs or group lessons.

New Arrows for Archery Lessons in Toronto

Purchased new arrows yesterday for archery lessons.

There is something about unboxing brand new arrows that always brings a smile to my face. They are shiny, perfect, pristine...

It is very satisfying.

And these arrows should hopefully last a long time.

In other news I have resumed teaching archery lessons, as of today (July 3rd), but I am limiting the number of archery lessons I am willing to teach and invoking the following new rules due to COVID.

#1. All lessons will be conducted using physical distancing of 6+ feet.

#2. No more couples or group lessons. All lessons going forward will be taught one-on-one.

#3. Equipment will be cleaned before and after lessons. Possibly also during lessons.

#4. No more 30% deposits. Students booking lessons must pay the full amount in advance. This is prevent cash being handled by both the instructor and student(s).

#5. Students will be expected to fetch and clean arrows themselves during the lessons. No more will the instructor be fetching arrows and then handing them to the student between shots.

#6. Instructor will only be available to teach a limited number of lessons / students per month. This will apply to all lessons being taught in July and August. September and October will have more availability.

#7. Additional rules may be applied based on circumstances.


If you want to book Archery Lessons in Toronto or have any questions please email cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Older / Pre-COVID Archery Rates

I have decided to update my archery lesson rates due to COVID and have made some other changes.

For record keeping further below are my older "pre-COVID19" rates for archery lessons. My new archery rates are listed on my archery lessons in Toronto page.

Starting in July 2020 the new archery rates come into effect.


Weekday Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

1 Student
$60 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $170; 5 Lessons - $270; 10 Lessons - $520.

2 Students
$80 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $225; 5 Lessons - $360; 10 Lessons - $700.

3 Students
$100 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $285; 5 Lessons - $450; 10 Lessons - $880.

Weekend Rates

1 Student
$90 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $255; 5 Lessons - $405; 10 Lessons - $780.

2 Students
$120 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $337.50; 5 Lessons - $540; 10 Lessons - $1050.

3 Students
$150 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $427.50; 5 Lessons - $675; 10 Lessons - $1320.


New Changes


My new archery lesson rates come with some big changes.

#1. No more different rates for weekdays and weekends. One rate regardless of the day of the week.

#2. No more pairs/couples or groups of 3 lessons. All lessons going forward are one-on-one. Doesn't that mean I am making less money? Yes, yes it does. Teaching 2 or 3 students at once is definitely more profitable, but due to COVID I will no longer be teaching any kind of pairs/group lessons.

#3. Compared to my old weekday rate my prices are going up by $10 per lesson. Compared to my weekend rate my prices are going down by roughly $20 per lesson. The new base price for a single lesson is $70.

#4. In previous years due to sheer demand I charged a 50% premium for weekend lessons, hence the price differences listed above for the older rates. Due to COVID19 the demand has pretty much disappeared. Not a lot of people are looking for archery lessons any more.

#5. See my new archery lesson rates to see the changes.



COVID Themed Archery Targets

For your amusement / archery practice.


GIFT VOUCHER, Extension of Expiry Date due to COVID


1. Gift Voucher Expiry Extension

Anyone who has an older Gift Voucher for Archery Lessons from Cardio Trek which was set to expiry during 2020 can still redeem their Gift Voucher in 2021.

I am extending all such older gift vouchers which would be expiring at any time during 2020 so that they now expiry in December 2021. (I may amend this later if the Covid Crisis + Lockdown lasts into 2021, although I doubt that will happen. I am currently expecting to be teaching archery lessons as soon as September 2020.)

2. New Expiry Policy

Where previously Gift Vouchers had an expiry of 18 months, giving recipients a sum of 1.5 years to redeem the gift voucher before it expires, starting immediately new Gift Vouchers will now have a 30 month (2.5 years) period before they expire. That should cover the duration of the COVID Lockdown and then some extra.

Notes

If anyone has any questions about Archery Lesson Gift Vouchers feel free to ask by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.

If you are really anxious to begin learning archery NOW I can recommend the following:

  • "Precision Archery", an impressively good book by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson.
  • "Archery Focus Magazine", edited by Steve Ruis (with articles by myself and other archers).



International Archery Day, Second Saturday in May

Saturday, May 2nd 2020.

Today is the first Saturday in May. Next week, the Saturday, will be International Archery Day.

International Archery Day (also known as "National Archery Day" in the USA) is observed annually on the second Saturday in May. The date was chosen because it is usually fairly good weather and it doesn't interfere with any popular holidays or events (eg. Mother's Day).

One of the oldest sports still in existence, archery has been around for tens of thousands of years, with some of the oldest bows ever found dating back to 8,000 to 9,000 BC. The oldest bow thus far found is an elm Holmegaard bow dated to 9,000 BC and was found in Denmark.

Cave drawings, other artifacts and similar stone age depictions are dated much further back, suggesting that archery is significantly older. At least 65,000 years old.


When celebrating International Archery Day it is traditional to invite a friend to try archery out for the first time. So get out there, invite a friend to try archery (or learn archery yourself) and enjoy one of the oldest sports known to mankind.

International Archery Day falls on the following dates in upcoming years:

  • May 9, 2020
  • May 8, 2021
  • May 14, 2022
  • May 13, 2023
  • May 11, 2024
  • May 10, 2025
  • May 9, 2026
  • May 8, 2027
  • May 13, 2028
  • May 12, 2029

 Happy Shooting!

How to Practice Archery while Social Distancing

#1. Practice archery in your basement.


#2. Practice archery in your attic or garage.


#3. Practice archery in your home.

While it is not generally recommended, some people have been known to set up a mini archery range in their living room, a hallway, or other location. You will need to make an effort to avoid damaging the floors, walls, furniture, etc.

#4. Practice archery in your backyard.

You will need to make efforts to make the space you are using SAFE as you don't want neighbours getting injured or complaining about the lack of safety precautions. If they call the police then the cops will want to check to see what efforts you have made in order to ensure safety.


If you have lots of spare time currently to build things you could even convert your backyard into an archery dojo.


#5. Build an archery range in the countryside.

Find a place in the countryside which you can periodically visit and practice your archery skills. Helps if you already own land in the countryside.

If you have friends or family who live in the countryside then you could ask them if you could build a small 3D archery range / walking trail on their property. No social interactions necessary beyond phone calls and emails. You could give even gift them with alcohol/chocolate/etc to show your appreciation.

If you don't have friends or family who own land in the countryside you could potentially rent a wooded area on a section of farmland. All you need to do is find a farmer who has wooded areas of their property that are unused and is willing to rent that property to you for a small monthly fee.

Then you build some homemade archery targets and set them up on a walking trail within the wooded area.

I don't recommend going out and purchasing a big 3D target because there is certainly the chance it could get stolen.


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.

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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