Bow weights for beginners and Juniors

At a recent coaching course I was co-running, the question of bow draw weights for beginners and junior archers was raised. This is both a very important question and a complex one, with no easy answer.
The true answer is partly dependent on what age the archer is when they start along with their physical development. Everyone is different and trying to standardise and prescribe anything in stone simply doesn’t work. So here are some points to consider to help you decide.
  • If you start with too high a poundage in draw weight  for the newbie they can become fatigued quickly and their form will suffer as the archer struggles to cope.
  • Too heavy a mass weight can tire the arms of young archers, resulting in dropping their arm.
  • Another factor that is worth considering is how some young archers develop in height earlier than others but this does not mean they have muscle development for longer draws.
There are other elements that play a part here too, such as peer pressure which can occur when coaching a group or even a family if there are two siblings that try to compete with one another. Peer pressure can cause anxiety and increased stress associated with being watched and not doing as well as others or drawing the same poundage as their fellow archers.
I was lucky enough to be shown the specifications that the scouting organisation in the UK use which provides some good guidance on potential draw weights for different age ranges.
Age Range Maximum bow weight at start of course Maximum draw weight by end of the course
Up to 12 yrs old 14 lbs 16 lbs
13-14 16 lbs 18 lbs
15-16 18 lbs 22 lbs
17-18 20 lbs 24 lbs
19+ 20 lbs 24 lbs

I have to say I am a fan of using small “jelly bows” that are very low draw weight and light in hand. Ideal for under 10 year old. We bought a couple of these from Merlin Archery ( though we don’t use the arrows provided.

On take down recurves I start low 10lb or 12lb and let them see how it feels. We have a selection of limbs which we can swap out and have found this of great benefit. Again we bought some bows from Merlin – the Core Pulse in both 54 inch and 64 inch.
When I get the opportunity I will write up a review of these bows in the near future.
The best advice I can give anyone is start with a low draw weight and light bow. If they aren’t having to fight the bow or struggle holding the mass weight they are more likely to learn and in turn succeed.
Thanks for reading.
Sharon shooting a 3D between the trees

Shoot report – Spirit of Sherwood – December 2018

Spirit of Sherwood December shoot

Spirit of Sherwood December shoot

On a chilly and slightly damp Sunday Sharon and I headed to the Spirit of Sherwood grounds. It is a course we have shot numerous times before and you can check out the previous review here. This shoot would be a wooden arrow only

Sadly this was the first time I have ever had to withdraw from a shoot but after falling fowl of a chesty cough I did not feel up to shooting the entire course and withdrew after a few shots. A couple of days later and following a visit to the local doctors surgery I would be diagnosed with a chest infection and on a course of antibiotics. So this is a bit of a short review.

Anyway back to the somewhat brief shoot report. There were 36 targets on the course mostly 3Ds, sadly I only got to see a few, but he ones I did view were set to the normal high standards expected of SOS courses.

One of the more open shots

One of the more open shots

I spoke to a few people who said they had a long slow day, having to wait on targets. I think might be due to the popularity of Spirit of Sherwood. It attracts a lot of archers of all levels, which is great but can sometimes cause delays.

Sharon shooting a 3D goat

Sharon shooting a 3D goat

Of the few shots I did get to see was a very nicely set Ram 3D positioned by a tree stump. I think it was a great bit of course laying and what made it a good shot was that you weren’t sure of the size of the target or exact angle of the 3D.

Close up of the 3D goat shot

Close up of the 3D goat shot

I think Sharon probably had the luckiest shot of the day where she managed to get a very lucky shot on a 3D bear.

Sharon showing off her trick shooting with a lucky shot on a 3D bear

Sharon showing off her trick shooting with a lucky shot on a 3D bear

As has become a trademark of the Christmas shoot at Spirit of Sherwood there were boxes of quality street boxes located round the course.

The woodland terrain is flat with the course arranged in three loops round a central admin and catering spot, making it pretty easy to get round.

The course layers make good use of the tree covers affording for framed shots using the trees to provide avenues for archers to negotiate.

Another thing that Spirit are famous for is their cake stall and if you ever have the chance of shooting there make sure you get the cakes early as they disappear very quickly.

Archers gathering at the Spirit of Sherwood cake stall

Archers gathering at the Spirit of Sherwood cake stall

I do wonder what the future will hold for the club as their grounds are due to be visited by loggers in the next few months and going by the number of trees marked for removal I wonder what the woods will look like. Here’s hoping for the best for the club as they set some of the best courses in the NFAS in my view.

As always thanks for reading. I would also like to say thanks for following this blog over the past year. I appreciate all the comments on here or in person.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Christmas, with safe journeys and great memories. Good luck for the New Year too.

Me trying to remember to shoot

a quest for perfect form, couple of video views?

Just a quick note to say sorry there’s not been much from me recently. Long days at work sat in front of a computer screen means the last thing I want to do is boot up the computer when I get home. Added to this are shorter days which make it impossible to practice at night and weekends being spent with lots of work going on at the Briar Rose club’s new wood means I’m pretty busy.

Despite or maybe because of this I have had some time to review a couple of videos that have recently been posted on YouTube by a couple of archery channels, both talking about archery form,  Archery Adventures and NUSensei 

You can watch both below and make your own mind up about their perspectives. Both raise some interesting thoughts, accuracy and the concept of perfect form, in respect to the many different forms of archery from Olympic recurve shooters to the traditional archers.



Personally I’m not sure there is something which can be easily identified as perfect form. We do all shoot different bows, have different physical make up, etc. which can make the quest harder as you can’t just watch someone and be able to copy their style/ I know I don’t have anything near perfect form and I work on being able to be consistent with my shot execution. In contrast when I watch Sharon shoot she is incredibly consistent in draw technique and execution. Doing the basics right and repeating this in crucial.

Personally I think  everyone has the capability of developing good form, which will work for them. I know this is something that I try to encourage when I am coaching archers for improvements. But what works for one may not work for another, what works for me might or might not help you.

I think this is where we can spend some of the winter months reviewing material like these videos and thinking about developing ourselves.

I’ll leave you with one thought, maybe our quest should be for the execution of the perfect shot?

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.