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Is it too much to ask clients to remember the day of their lesson?

So imagine you are a personal trainer or some kind of sports trainer (eg. swimming instructor) and clients book specific days and times for their training session. This describes me and my business, as I am both a personal trainer and a sports instructor.

And lets imagine you teach certain sports and activities outdoors, even when it is one of the hottest days of the year. Like it was Saturday with the combined temperature and humidity putting Toronto in a bake you until you die 46 degrees Celsius. So crazy hot.

So you are there in the baking heat, so hot that a friend of yours sticks unbaked cookies inside their car on the dashboard and comes back later and their cookies are baked (and their car smells like freshly baked cookies now). True story.

So you are out there in the heat and you notice your client / student is running late. You check your email and see the following:

"I am so sorry for the last minute.
I am just getting back from Prague..
an I thought this was tomorrow."

And you should be rightfully annoyed. I know I was.

At 7:30 AM that morning I sent them an email warning them about the heat that day. Recommending they bring cold drinks with them.

Did they really get back from Prague? Who knows. Maybe.

Or maybe they just realized it was going to be super hot outside and wanted to reschedule based on the weather conditions. That is normal. Would not be the first time we have rescheduled because of rain, thunderstorms, too hot, too windy, snowing, blizzard, too cold, etc. Except weather was not their excuse. Their excuse was they thought the lesson was Sunday, even though they scheduled it for Saturday.

Not even showing up however and/or last minute cancellations... those are a personal pet peeve for me.

There is a reason why dentists charge patients if you forget your dentist appointment and don't show up. They were there. Their staff was there. Everything ready for the patient to arrive. And then they don't show up. The staff and everyone still needs to get paid, even if the patient forgets they had a dental appointment.

Same goes for me. I am out there in the weather, sometimes very hot weather, with all my equipment ready to go, and if a student / client doesn't show up for their lesson...

Well then that is just a clear forfeiture.

Because I was there. Where was the student?

Relaxing after getting back from Prague supposedly.

Years ago I ended up making a Terms of Service page to remind people what happens when they miss lessons or want to reschedule lessons. Rescheduling a lesson? No problem, I just need 24 hours notice so I don't end up outside in the heat or cold waiting for a student who decided last minute to not show up. Missing a lesson because you forgot? That is a forfeiture.

I am also not your Social Secretary. It is not my job to remind clients of when their lessons are. It is the client's job to remember to show up, just like it is my job to be there on time, ready to instruct.

Not knowing or remembering the day of the lesson (if that was truly the case) is clearly the fault of the client. After all, I am not their Social Secretary. It is not my job to remind them what days and times they have lessons on.

Is it too much to ask clients to remember the day of their lesson?

So after receiving the email I was annoyed. And overheating in the heat/humidity, and being in such a state is never good time to answer emails from people who have annoyed you.

I ended up waiting 24 hours before replying and politely explaining that they had forfeited the lessons because they had failed to give me 24 hour notice. Politely. Like a true Canadian would.

I have also noticed that some clients in the past are "problem clients". The type of people who reschedule lessons frequently, show up late, forget they have lessons, and even make up funny excuses. One such "problem client" years ago claimed she had somehow misplaced her children after a series of similar times when she had failed to show up for lessons on time or at all. She did it so often she ended up forfeiting all of her lessons by supposedly getting lost, claiming to be stuck in traffic for two hours, forgetting what day the lesson was, and finally the "I misplaced my children" excuse.

I eventually Googled her name and discovered she had been fired from her workplace for a serious case of office politics coupled with being accused of fraud. So her reputation was that of a person not to be trusted, and myself and others should probably avoid having any dealings with such an untrustworthy person who clearly makes up excuses and lies all the time.

So what should a person do with problem clients?

  1. Fulfill any remaining obligations.
  2. Issue a refund or partial refund if absolutely necessary.
  3. Once 1 and 2 have been accomplished, stop answering their emails.

I once had a client whom I was teaching his son archery, and he basically treated me like a babysitter - which I am not. His son also had behavioural issues which made him unsafe to be teaching a sport like archery. Somehow (long story) I gained the impression that the client was in the mafia and was not used to being told "no". So when he asked for more archery lessons for his son, after his lessons had been exhausted and my obligations had been met, I asked him to send me an email regarding booking more lessons. I then simply never replied to his email. I also later changed my policy regarding minimum age for archery lessons to 16.

So there are more than one way for a client to be considered to be a "problem client" in my opinion. Chronic lateness/not showing up at all is certainly one way. Me becoming worried that the client is a criminal (or hires other people to commit crimes) is certainly another way. Treating me like a babysitter or having a spoiled kid who is a safety hazard, that is also another way.

Most of My Clients are Wonderful

99.7% of my clients show up on time. Or if they are running late, they let me know via text message or email.

They are a joy to teach. They don't make up lies or excuses either.

It is really the few bad eggs out of thousands of clients I have taught over the page 9 years that cause me headaches. I don't lose sleep over these people. I just point to the Terms of Service so they know what happens when they miss lessons and the proper way to reschedule a lesson.

Or at least, the proper way to lie about it. People who are sick or severely injured get a free ride when it comes to rescheduling lessons. Here is how to lie about it:

Contact me BEFORE the lesson begins and just say you are sick and unable to make it. Contacting me after the lesson has begun (or was supposed to have begun), well that still counts as a forfeiture, because you knew you were sick or injured hours before the lesson and there is no reason not to have let me know as soon as possible.

If the lesson start time comes and a client is clearly late I typically contact them after 10-15 minutes with a polite "Running late?" If they then say they are sick, that is unfortunately a forfeiture because they failed to notify me of their illness BEFORE the lesson time began.

Jetlag is not an adequate excuse because the person knew they would have jetlag when they returned from a trip, and it is neither an illness or an injury. There is no reason they should not have been able to email me 24 hours before the lesson and let me know they want to reschedule.

If a client is going to lie and make up an excuse, at least say you are sick. And do try to let me know before the lesson start time. Preferably before 8:30 AM, but definitely before the scheduled time slot.



Happy Canada Day!

On Sunday the wife, son, and I visited my mother-in-law for Canada Day. I never book archery lessons that day (or other holidays) because people have a tendency to reschedule anyway.

Monday (a holiday thanks to Canada Day being on a weekend this year) we went to the beach and it was so crazy hot we got slushies en route to the beach. Slushies are not very healthy, but I said to the wife:

"I would rather have brain-freeze than have heatstroke."


And to paraphrase myself on this true topic of this post:

"I would rather have clients who show up on time and remember their lessons than to have clients who do not."


Sample Rules for an Archery Competition

June 22nd, 2018.

There are many ways to run an archery competition.

For example the "300" method is for archers to shoot 30 arrows on targets with scoring 1 to 10 and get a score out of 300. Person with the highest score out of 300 wins. There is also variations of this that call for 600, 1000, etc - to say nothing of other methods of competing.

However watching archers shoot 10 ends of 3 arrows per end is rather boring - or 3 ends of 10 arrows per end, whatever combination they decide to go with, still pretty boring. It is a simple way of conducting a competition, but it is admittedly pretty boring for spectators.

Thus various archery competitions now use a system of "archery duels" in which two archers compete against one another in order to move up the rankings during the rounds and eventually make it to the final round.


For example, the upcoming 2018 Seton Archery Competition on June 23rd (tomorrow, unless it rains) will be using the following rules. Update - Because of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, the competition was rescheduled for Sunday, July 29th.

#1. The Ranking Round ↣

All the competitors (in their separate categories of Olympic recurve, compound and barebow) will do a ranking round where they are not competing against anyone per se, but are simply trying to get a good or decent score which will allow them to be ranked and sorted according to their scores. You cannot fail the Ranking Round. All it determines is who you will be facing first in the Elimination Rounds, as the highest scoring person will be facing the lowest scoring person. The second highest scoring person will face the second lowest scoring person, etc.

Strategy - The better you score during the ranking round, the more likely you are to face an opponent who is not as good as you in the first elimination round.

#2. The Elimination Rounds

Your goal during the elimination rounds is to stay in the competition and not get knocked out via Double Elimination. You can lose one round and still be fine, but lose two rounds and you are out.

During each round the competitors will take turns shooting 3 arrows per end, with a total of 3 ends. So 3 sets of 3 arrows, with scores out of 30 for each of the sets.

The competitor who wins at least 2 of the 3 ends wins the Elimination Round and moves on to the next Elimination Round.

If a competitor loses two Elimination Rounds, they are out. (Yes, in theory they could place 3rd, but this is highly unlikely to matter due to the ranking process, having already sorted archers based on their Ranking Round, as that process quickly knocks out the archers who tend to score lower, and they would need to be beaten by both the first place and second place winners during the Elimination Rounds, which is also unlikely due to the ranking system.)

The Elimination Rounds continue until there is only 4 competitors left at the top of the rankings.

#3. Rules on Scoring Points

Archers should not touch any of the arrows until after the scoring has been recorded. Tampering with the arrows will result in a judge being called to see if the scoring has been effected by possible tampering.

If a judge believes an arrow's position has been tampered with, they will score the arrow the lower amount of points in the records.

If an arrow is touching or breaking a line, it counts as the greater number of points. eg. The arrow is clearly on the 8, but it is touching the line for 9, then it counts as a 9. When in doubt about whether it is touching or not, call a judge to determine whether it is touching or breaking the line. (A common method of cheating is to tamper with an arrow to get 1 extra point so that it is touching a line.)

If an arrow is on the bullseye it doesn't receive any extra points, but it should be marked X in the records. Furthermore, if the end was a tie, the competitor with the most bullseyes wins that end.

Optional - Some competitions also have a rule that ties can be broken by whomever had the most arrows on the target. For example if one archer gets two 9s and a 0 (having missed 1 shot completely), and the other archer gets three 6s, they both have a score of 18. Under this rule, the archer with more of their arrows on the target wins the tie for that set. Since it is rare that someone manages to tie a round, but still missed the target that round, this rule is rarely used.

After 3 ends, if there is somehow still a tie (eg. 1 person won the first round, the other person won the second round, and they tied the third round) then the two archers will do a Shoot Off wherein they each shoot 1 arrow, and the winner is whomever is closest to the bullseye.

Optional - If after 2 rounds one archer has already won the first two ends, the other archer can - at their choosing - concede defeat for the round. There is no pressure to do so, or they can continue to the 3rd end and score it just to see what score they would have got. (With the pressure off, the gracious winner might even score poorly that 3rd round because they are not worried about getting a nice score any more having already won the round.)

#4. The Finals

During the final rounds of the competition there is typically 3 rounds left to shoot.

Losing the first round makes you a contender for 3rd place. Winning the first round makes you a contender for 1st or 2nd place.

The other two competitors do the same, and thus you end up with two winners who go on to compete for 1st and 2nd, and the two remaining archers compete for 3rd and 4th.

#5. The Awards Ceremony

Typically this follows soon after the competition is complete, wherein trophies, medals, and awards are given out. Often followed by drinking and food.

The trophies and medals shown below are for the 2018 Seton Archery Competition.


Personal Note ↢

Unless it rains tomorrow, I will have the honour of judging the competition tomorrow. So it will be my responsibility to make sure people are scoring properly, not tampering with arrows, adjudicating any disputes, etc.

If it does rain, the competition will be held Sunday - in which case I will be spending Sunday with family for my son's birthday and someone else will have the honour of judging the competition. Oh well.

Either way, I am bringing watermelon to at least 1 event this weekend.

Update - Because of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, the competition was rescheduled for Sunday, July 29th.

The watermelon was still tasty. Ate it at my son's birthday.

The 2018 Seton Archery Competition

NOTICE - Due to rain/thunderstorms on both the Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th, the competition has been reschedule for Sunday, July 29th.

The 2018 Seton Archery Competition is coming up this Saturday, June 23rd Sunday, July 29th, and I shall be adjudicating and judging the competition this year. Which is basically a fancy way of saying I will be doing lots of math and making sure people follow the rules.


Note that the deadline for taking part is 11 AM. Meaning if you show up late, you won't be able to ranked and take part. So it is very important that people show up early or on time. SHOW UP ON TIME.

You do not need to register to take part, but you do need to show up on time.

Location: The Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park.

This annual (usually) event is free to take part in and includes a Potluck BBQ for everyone who attends. So if you want to show up and just watch the competition, absolutely. Bring some food to share, a picnic blanket or a lawn chair, and have a fun time watching the competition.

Myself, as a judge, I will be bringing a lawn chair so I can enjoy watching and eating (and adjudicating / doing math).

In the event of rain on Saturday the competition will be moved to Sunday (in which case I will not be the person judging, as I will be busy with my son's birthday party that day). Or rescheduled for July evidently.


Archery Lesson Plan for Olympic Archery Students

Q


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

- Cassandra T.

A

Hello Cassandra!

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

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

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

Lesson Plan for Olympic Recurve

For my regular lesson plan, see Archery Lesson Plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Korean archer Chang Hye-Jin

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

Olympic Archery Clicker
Lesson Five and Beyond

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

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

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


Equipping the Olympic Archer

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

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

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

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

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


Archery Chest Guards

    Job offer to teach archery in Japan

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

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

    Sounds like a sweet offer, yes?

    Think again.

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

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

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

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

    Now I can do math.

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

    Is $6.32 per hour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And I would rather do it on my own terms.

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

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

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

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

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


    The 2018 Seton Archery Tournament at the Toronto Archery Range

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

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

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

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




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

    Happy shooting!

    Archery Equipment Checklist 2018

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

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

    A few of my personal collection of bows.
    Bow

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

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

    See Recurve Bow Brand Manufacturers and Models.

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

    Arrows

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

    Arrowheads

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

    Arrow Rest

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

    Nock Bead

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

    Archery Glove

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

    Bowstringer

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

    Bow String Wax

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

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

    See also my:

    Archery Equipment Checklist

    and

    List of Optional Archery Equipment

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

    Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

    Regarding Archery Lessons...

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

    UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

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

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

    Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

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

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

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


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

    Fancy Bows for Archery, what difference do they make?




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

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

    Fancy Bows Vs Beginners

    So here is the thing...

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

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

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

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

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

    What Should Beginners Buy?

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

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

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

    Some of my past posts:

    The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

    What kind of bow should I purchase?

    Recurve Bow Brands and Models

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

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

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

    3-Piece Recurves Vs 1-Piece Recurves

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

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

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

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

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

    Preferably one that is affordable.

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

    So are fancier bows more accurate?

    Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    5 Slimming Foods that are also Fast Foods

    Out and about and need to eat in a hurry, but you want to eat something healthier that actually helps you lose weight? Here are 5 items on the menu you should consider.

    #1. Ice Water or Lemon Water

    Drinking ice water actually burns calories. The colder the water and the more ice water you drink, the more calories your body burns in order to warm the water up to the temperature of your body.

    The clear benefit here is that you are also avoiding the sugary soda pop you usually find on fast food menus. However fast food franchises are more than happy to give you ice water instead.

    Starbucks also routinely gives out ice water for free, so the next time you are feeling thirsty on a hot day (or even a cold one) that is an option too.

    Lemon water (with ice cubes) is also good, as it improves digestion and has a host of health benefits.

    See The 8 Benefits of Lemon Water for your Diet

    #2. The Big Salad - skip the dressing!

    Typically any kind of salad, including egg salad and chicken salad, will be slimming. The trick here is to skip the dressing, as that is often the most fattening part of the food.

    If they have a "Big Salad" option on the menu you can literally fill up on salad as your meal.

    If you are ordering a burger combo and there is an option to get a salad instead of fries, get the salad. Easy!

    #3. Chili

    Some fast food places have chili as a side dish on the menu, but you could order 2 or 3 of them. The reason why this is a good option is because of all the beans and legumes found in chili - which are slimming.

    #4. Soup

    Watery, filling, and to save money they often add lots of veggies in there. Soup is an excellent option. Just avoid adding too much salt, as too much sodium makes you retain water.

    #5. Get the Chicken or Vegan Burger!

    The mundane chicken burger is basically on the menu for the people who want to eat healthier. If the place you are also has a vegan burger option, that is also a possible solution.

    Tuna and salmon, if available, are also slimming foods you can choose. Lean beef is also good, as it has only slightly more calories than chicken.

    So a sample burger combo could be: Chicken burger, side salad instead of fries, and ice water instead of soda pop.


    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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