Safety after a storm

I know safety is not thought of as a very exciting topic for many but last weekend the country (UK)was battered by strong winds. This resulted in damage at our club woodland and has prompted this quick post.
With trees coming into leaf, thanks to a very pleasant spring I guess it was inevitable there would be some damage from the gusts.

Storm damage

This is one example of what we have seen and was directly above one shooting peg. Sadly it was not the only example with another tree falling within inches of one target peg.
We were very fortunate as we had closed the wood for shooting whilst running a work day in preparation for upcoming events.
It’s really important to check your woods for any widow makers, these being branches hung up in trees and likely to fall at any point.

More storm damage, yes the bow was fine.

Other hazards can be from branches that have already fallen and are blocking paths or targets. Look out for those trees just off pathways and routes that may have been damaged too. We have a lot of holly bushes in our wood and these tend to support falling or fallen wood. This effectively makes it’s an accident waiting to happen and we have spent a lot of time checking and clearing them.
So, can I suggest that everyone check and double check their woodland. If you find yourself in a wood during such weather take particular care and be aware of your surroundings. As I said earlier we were working in the woods setting up new targets and there were several times we heard the cracking of wood. For this reason we worked in pairs ensuring no one person was left alone and therefore vulnerable if they did fall foul of a broken branch.
We’ve conducted a brief survey on Sunday and will be checking the woodland in more depth this weekend.
Stay safe and thanks for reading

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 (https://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/ek-crusader-bow-kit.html) 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.