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Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts

Shorter Bows Vs Longer Bows

Q

Two Very Similar Questions

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

Dylan G."


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

Thanks again for all of your help,

Eric K."


A

The short answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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


The same goes with Olympic recurve archers.

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


WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARCHER?

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

And that is true. They all shot longbows.

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

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

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

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

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

So what made these three longbow men so great?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Usually zero.

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

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

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

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

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

Nope. Neither can I.

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


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

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

So what makes a great archer?

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

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

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

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

For example lets talk about E. T. Seton.

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

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

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

Pin Float Vs Reticular Drift

Q

Hey Charles!

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

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

Regards,
Jeffrey H.

A

Hey Jeffrey!

Basically the same thing.

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

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

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


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

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

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

However there are ways to minimize its effects.

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

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

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






SOMEWHAT OFF TOPIC

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

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

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

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

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

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


Backyard Archery Legality Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Where can I do archery?

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

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

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

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


Answers


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

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

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

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

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

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


#2. Yes and No. It depends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3. In Toronto, Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

#4. Outside the city limits.

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

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

#5. Yes, it definitely is possible.

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

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

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

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


Gap Shooting, An Intermediate Archery Skill

Q

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

Justin M."




A


Hello Justin!

It is called Gap Shooting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Recommended Exercises for Archery

Q

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


Joy F.


A

Hey Joy!

Okay, here is a list of posts to read.

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

Yoga is also very good.

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

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

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

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

If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca


Awa Kenzo

Youth Recurve Bow / Youth Archery Equipment

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

Good meeting you both on Saturday!

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


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

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


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


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


Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Fast Flight Bowstrings vs Vintage Bows

Q

"I have a question if you have a second.

That [vintage Black Hawk Scorpion] bow I sent pics of. My buddy Forrest made me a string for free but its ff [fast flight]. Will that hurt it?

- Parker S."


The bow in question, a Black Hawk Scorpion:





A

Hey Parker!

Risky. I wouldn't use fast flight on any of my vintage bows.

It was good you asked before trying it. Would be a real shame to see a Black Hawk ruined.

So weird thing... you know how bowstrings are usually 14 or 16 strands, right? So if people really want their bow to shoot faster they can also just make a bowstring that is 10 or 12 strands instead. The weight reduction on the bow string is what makes fast flight string faster, but other strings can do the same thing, you just have to use less of it. It does lower the life expectancy of the bowstring because it is then less durable, but if speed is what the person wants then it doesn't matter.
 
The downside of fast flight string is that it tends to damage bows by cutting into the wood / fibreglass. A friend of mine once experimented with making a bowstring made out of fishing line, which turned out to be a very idea. Even worse than FF judging by the amount of damage it did.

Parker: Ok thank you. I think he just wasn't thinking about it when he made it. What should I use? B50?

Yep.

Also if you ever get into making your own bowstrings, expect the first 5 to be horrible but usable. By the time you make #10 you will be probably be happy with their quality. It is a fast learning curve.

Parker: Ok thank you very much.


Where to find javelin lessons in Toronto?

Q

Hello, I live in the beaches area of Toronto and was looking for a contact or someone who can do one-on-one or small group sessions on throwing the javelin.  I am an athlete in many sports but haven't had the opportunity to try the javelin.  I would like to learn or at least try to see how good I could be in this sport and was hoping to have a few lessons to see if I like it before joining a throwing club and making a big financial commitment.  When I was quite young I threw the shot put but that was many years ago.  Also throwing the discus might interest me as well.

I will be 17 next month and am presently in grade 11 and will be participating in the TDSB track and field team in spring for my school.  I usually sprint and compete in the long jump but this year I would like to see if I could participate in the javelin only if I could gain some experience and see if I am good enough through some private or a few group lessons with an experienced thrower.  I was hoping you might be able to help me.

Thank you.
David T.

A


Hello David!

I tried javelin myself in high school and rather enjoyed it. I even made my own spears and a trident, for fun, while I was a teenager. (A few years ago I was visiting my parents and my brother-in-law broke my old trident.)

However I haven't touched a javelin in over 20 years and I am certainly not qualified to teach it. If you wanted archery lessons I could help you, but you don't seem to be interested in that. Although if you are, let me know and we can arrange some archery lessons.

My recommendation would be to find someone who competed in javelin, however briefly, and ask if they would be willing to teach a few lessons.

Another possibility you might look into, just because it is similar, is spearfishing. I personally think that would be fun to try. Legally, spearfishing in Ontario is governed by the same laws as bowfishing.
You might also ask around at various Toronto high schools and see if any of them have a javelin program. There should be a few Phys Ed teachers who teach it.

You could also try contacting professional Canadian athletes or their coaches, and ask if they can recommend someone in Toronto.

I am going to do a post on my website however and maybe (hopefully) someone will contact me who knows more about teaching javelin, and then I can refer you to them.

Best of luck to you!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca



Follow Up

I really appreciate all your input and information.  It's great to hear about your experiences.  Thank you very much for your advice and I'll continue to research all avenues and hopefully find someone nearby.  I'm also going to think about the archery.

David T.



When do you become an archer?

Q

Someone posted this on Facebook awhile back:

"When do you become an archer?"



And below is how I responded to this question:


When you first start you become an amateur archer.


When you compete, you become a competitive archer.


When you get paid to do archery you become a professional archer.

When you teach it and people come back for more lessons and tell their friends how great you are, you become an archery instructor (possibly by accident like I did).

When you have learned everything in terms of the physical aspects of archery and have to constantly challenge yourself mentally, you have become an archery master.

The master already knows how to shoot. That is not their problem. Their problem is finding challenges (often mental challenges) that allow them to continue learning something new.
A round of shots on January 24th 2019. The one shot clipped a nock and the nock went flying off.

Now you will notice that, yes, that is a very tight cluster. And yes, I did clip the nock so that it went flying off.

But what you might not notice is the date. January 24th and it was freezing cold outside. Here is some more photos from that day. To shoot that well in those conditions... it is mostly mental.

Eventually it got so cold I decided to go home.






Panarama of the Toronto Archery Range!

Archery Biathlon Lessons in Toronto

Q


"Hi I came across an old post about archery ski instruction out of Toronto.
Wondering if you’re still coaching or if you can point me in the direction of someone who is in the Toronto area (or somewhere within a drive ).
Thanks



E. M."


A


Hello E!

Yes, I still coach that but only on weekends.

Would you like to book for January?

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Have a good day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
Follow Up Comments
So yes, I still teach Archery Biathlon - but I rarely get requests for that. Not many people want archery lessons during the winter, and even less are interested in learning the sport of Archery Biathlon.
So E's email made me realize I should do a post that confirms, yes, I do still offer archery biathlon lessons (and winter archery lessons), and there has been a few changes and I do want to remind people of the following.
#1. I only teach Archery Biathlon during the weekends.
#2. Winter Archery Lessons are likewise only available on weekends.
#3. Winter lessons of either are one-on-one only. No pairs or groups of 3.
#4. You will need your own skis and ski gear. I do not provide those for you. I only provide the archery equipment, if you need it. If you have your own archery equipment and prefer to use it, that is fine too.

#5. Remember to dress for the weather, using multiple tight-fitting layers of warm clothing. Avoid bulky sleeves and bulky jackets.

#6. Definitely remember to bring a hot drink with you. Snacks are a good idea too.

#7. Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson 1 will include a Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Lecture on Aiming, Lecture on Proper Form, Archery Biathlon Practice combined with Field Archery Practice (aka "Field Archery Biathlon").
  • Lessons 2 will start with "Target Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrowheads.
  • Lesson 3 will focus on "Long Distance Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrow spine.
  • Lesson 4 will introduce how to use a Sight and Stabilizer and focus on "Target Archery Biathlon". At some point during the lesson we will be waxing the bowstring and waxing the skis.
  • Lesson 5 will focus on "Archery Biathlon Speed Shooting" - because it is fun, and why not do something fun for the final lesson?
How many lessons a person signs up for is up to them, but we should be able to schedule in 5 lessons during January / February when there is ample snow on the ground. If the snow starts melting too much towards the end of winter we may simply be doing "archery lessons" and skip the skiing aspect.

You notice also that E. asked about other locations where she could learn archery biathlon. Unfortunately I am unaware of anyone else in Toronto (or remotely near the GTA) who teaches archery biathlon.
To sign up for Winter Archery Lessons or Archery Biathlon send an email to

What is my favourite bow to shoot?

So I was talking back and forth with one of my previous students about archery equipment, answering any and all questions he had, and I mentioned I had recently purchased a vintage bow off eBay, bringing my total number of bows to 32.

To which they responded and added a postscript:


" P.S. 32 bows!! At least you must have a sweet collection. Which one is your favorite bow? "

I had to seriously think about that question because I had never chosen a favourite out of them.

So I responded with the following:

Honestly, very difficult to choose a favourite. It really depends on my mood what I feel like shooting on a particular day. I definitely prefer the older recurves I have collected from the 1970s. I also have other older bows from the 40s, 50s and 60s... the oldest of which is from 1942. Obviously I don't shoot the really old ones that often because I consider them to be "shootable museum pieces", and thus I prefer to only shoot those on rare occasions when the weather is favourable - don't want to shoot them when it is too hot, too cold, or too wet.

Of the bows from the 70s my favourite is probably the Black Hawk Avenger from 1972. It is a rather pretty "magnum style" recurve. It is called a magnum style because it is shorter and designed for hunters to easily move around with, less worry about it getting caught on branches etc. The problem with that design however is that it makes the bow less forgiving. A longer bow is more forgiving, you can make a mistake and still hit the target. With an unforgiving bow, you make a mistake and miss completely. Thus while it is a small beautiful bow, it is very challenging to shoot accurately and perhaps that is why I enjoy it more - because I like the challenge it presents.

Photos below, the Black Hawk Avenger. I really should take more photos of this bow. These photos do not do it justice. I also have a Black Hawk Chief Scout (compound bow) which is the prettiest wooden compound bow I have ever seen. They don't make them like that any more.
 
 
 


How to get the best of both worlds when buying archery equipment

A


"Hey Charles, hope all is good with you. This is Aadil, I took lessons with you like over two years ago, unfortunately have not practiced archery since. I want to get back into it, and maybe down the line take more lessons.

I wanted to ask if you could recommend arrows and bows:

For bow, I am looking at the Samick Sage Takedown @ 40 lbs.

http://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-sage-takedown-recurve-bow.html

For arrows, I am a bit confused about because there are so many. Would you be able to recommend any?

Would love to hear you again, and perhaps maybe catch you on the field someday.

Best,
Aadil S."

A

Hey Aadil!

Long time no see!

I never recommend starting at 40 lbs when getting your first bow, but if you really want to get 40 here is my recommendation:

Get two sets of limbs, 25 lbs and 40 lbs. This way you can practice form on the 25 lb limbs and when you are later ready to shoot 40 (to build muscle, to hunt deer / small game) you can switch to the more powerful limbs. This then gives you the best of both worlds... A lighter set of limbs which are easier for a beginner to practice form on, and a stronger set of limbs for when they want to build muscle, shoot longer distances, practice for hunting, etc.

What I don't like to see is when a beginner gets a 40 lb bow, finds out that shooting it is exhausting, the exhaustion takes the fun out of it, and then their bow collects dust in the closet most of the year. Having the lighter limbs allows them to have more fun, still practice, practice more often, and has the bonus feature that you can give the 25 lb bow to a friend / sibling / etc and they can still hopefully shoot it.

Since you are looking at getting a 40 lb bow, I recommend getting 500 spine arrows. Depending on your draw length you might need different arrows, so please consult the chart on the following page:

http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2014/05/3-frequently-asked-archery-equipment.html


The 500 spine arrows will be a bit too stiff for 25 lbs, but better to be too stiff than to be too easily broken.

Also with respect to arrow fletching, aim for 3 to 4" fletching. 5" fletching is great on a day when there is zero wind, but we live in Toronto and there is ALWAYS wind here. 3" fletching will be less effected by the wind. 4" fletching will be more accurate when there is less wind. Pros and Cons to both.

I wouldn't worry too much about brand names. Get 500 spine and 3 or 4" fletching and you should be fine.

With respect to more lessons I sometimes have discounts, so if you check my website once in awhile I sometimes post a discount. So if you are thinking of getting more archery lessons, perhaps subscribe / come back to my site regularly and you will probably see a discount posted.

If you have more questions feel free to ask. See you at the range!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Is traditional archery the same as instinctive archery? Nope.

Q

"Hi Charles,
Is what we did last class considered instinctive shooting, since we didn't use sights?

D."

A

Hey D!

That would a misnomer to call traditional aiming/style the same thing as instinctive. The two things are very different.

Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion/misinformation about what instinctive aiming / instinctive style is (Lars Anderson is not helping either, his videos are full of misinformation), and this is not the first time I have had to explain the difference. Compound Shooters and Olympic Shooters have an awful habit of looking at traditional style and thinking that it is instinctive, but they don't know that there is an aiming methodology to what the traditional archer is doing, and that there is a specific form.

Traditional Aiming - Aiming off the tip of the arrowhead.

Gap Shooting - Aiming using the gap between the side of the bow and the target, using memory to remember where to aim. Sort of like an imaginary sight.

Aiming with Sights - A gadget commonly used by Olympic and Compound shooters that tells them where to aim.

Instinctive Aiming - Not really aiming, but rather just "shooting from the hip" using "gut instinct", like you might see in a Western quick draw duel.

Traditional Recurve Style - Following form principles designed to increase accuracy through repetition, muscle memory, stable footing/form, consistent back power, etc.

Olympic Recurve Style - Very similar to Traditional Recurve Style, but with several changes to take full advantage of gadgets commonly used in Olympic archery.

Compound Style - Form wise it appears similar to the other two, but compound shooters are less worried about form as the gadgets on the typical modern compound bow basically allow a complete beginner to shoot with a remarkable amount of accuracy with little to no knowledge about how form could improve their accuracy.

Howard Hill Style - Commonly used by longbowmen and some traditional recurve shooters, the Howard Hill Style is similar to Traditional Recurve Style and is for archers who prefer to cant their bow while shooting. (You saw me demonstrating this style on Sunday with my 1972 Black Hawk Avenger bow, although with the aided flair of me kneeling during the shots.)

English Longbow Style - No canting, often involves aiming to the side a bit. In the case of an English Warbow there is a different method of holding the bowstring and releasing.

Horseman Style - Nearly identical to the Howard Hill Style, but with a Horseman's Release and/or a Thumb Ring. Often with a much more profound cant on the bow.

Instinctive Style - Formless. Just pull back any which way and shoot. No form needed. So for example if I lifted one leg and pulled the bowstring back underneath my leg (like a showoff would) and then shot, that would count as instinctive shooting. Pull back the bow from behind my back, over my head, partial draw, overdrawing way off to the side, etc - that would all be instinctive. The downside of this formless style is that the archer is really just guessing where the arrow will go. With practice they get better at guessing, but it is really only remotely accurate at very close distances. Any mid to long range distance and instinctive style/aiming is useless.

Little kids who have never done archery before basically shoot instinctively.

What I prefer to teach is ALL the different methodologies of shooting, starting with traditional and progressing in the directions the student is more interested in. If they later want to learn how to use sights, I will teach them how to use sights. If they want to learn Horseman Style, a horseman's release, etc - then I will steer the teaching in that direction. If they express an interest in longbows, then I will typically teach them the Howard Hill Style and show the differences between English Longbow and Howard Hill style. Thus if they want to learn multiple styles, I will teach them multiple styles.

So what you did on Sunday was:
  • Traditional Aiming.
  • Traditional Recurve Style.
  • Field Archery - In terms of what you were aiming at and the random distances. As opposed to say "Target Archery", "Flight Archery", "Clout Shooting", "Popinjay"... "3D Shooting" would be pretty similar to Field Archery, but would often involve shooting uphill or downhill.
If you want to learn more about Instinctive Style during lessons let me know and I shall demonstrate some shots and you can try it out too to see how you like the formless style of shooting.

(I decided to use this question and answer for an article on my website. I will list your name as "D." for privacy's sake.)

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

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





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 took a break 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 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

Signature Message - I took a break 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.
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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