Sharon on the range

How can a bamboo pole help your archery?

view of the range

view of the range

No, I’m not talking about using it for bow making or even cutting it down for arrow shafts.
I’m talking about a training aid and how you can make use of it to help with both your distance judgement and bow or body alignment. Sounds too good to be true, well keep reading and find out what I mean. They are techniques I have used myself and to help other archers.
We all know that when shooting at longer distances we have to aim higher. The degree of elevation is dependent on bow weight, draw length, bow efficiency, arrow weight  etc. The problem is how can we get a base line for how high should we aim if we aren’t using sights or even if we are instinctive archers. Add to this is the question how at the same time we are ensuring our bows and bodies are kept straight or vertical?
This is where the bamboo pole comes in.

Tip 1 – First tip is for keeping bow and body vertically aligned.

As you tilt your upper body, which is sometimes called Tea-potting,  it’s very easy to inadvertently loose your vertical line of your body or bow. Several archers I know tend to lean slightly back on longer shots and then wonder why they lose the line of the shot. By positioning a pole behind the boss you can use it as a reference point to ensure your bow and body are straight as you draw up. I know that some people cant their bow but the pole can still be used as a guide.
Ideally you want to position the pole behind the boss and in line with the targets centre.
As you draw up on the target boss you can use the cane as a guide to ensure the bow is vertical and you aren’t leaning off line. Overtime and with patience you will find that both body position and bow alignment will improve.

Tip 2 – Distance and height judgement.

Marking the stick in 6 inch increments with coloured tape will help archers to see the pole from a distance and more importantly perceive the height. I have found that any smaller increments than 6 inches, say 4 inches, tends to make it harder to distinguish over longer distances past 35 yards say. So I advise using 6 inch increments.

The left is one colour the right in in 2 colours Yes that is a mug of coffee on top

This technique is especially useful if the archers are trying working out their gap distances. So if the archer is using their arrow tip as a sighting aid, rather than trying to imagine a distance about the target they can use the coloured bands to aid them.
Effectively the archer is able to put their arrow tip on a banding and see the effect of aiming 6 / 12/ 18 inches above the target has.
This technique may sound a bit strange for me as an instinctive archer to promote, but I do find it provides benefit.
I use bamboo gardening poles available from most garden centres as they are cheap and come in 6t and 8ft lengths. This means that behind a 90cm / 3ft high boss you have ample sticking up. The other advantage is if you hit them they are unlikely to damage your arrow and if they break they are easily replaced.

Black and silver tape

In the photos you can see I’ve used black and silver tape so it can be easily seen from a distance but you can use any contrasting colours so long as it can be seen from a distance.
I hope you find this useful and thanks for reading.
Full Draw

Why your Draw length is not the same as arrow length?

Here is a quick post following a question I’ve had asked of me “Why your Draw length is not the same as arrow length?
Before I start though, some of the more regular readers may have noticed I’m not doing many shoot reports and instead focusing on coaching articles. This is intentional as I’ve written loads of shoot reports over the years and currently I’m not getting out to many shoots. So I’m trying to produce some archery resources or publish material that all archers will find useful.
So if you have any questions let me know. I’m working on something about target panic and hope to put that out shortly but it’s taking a while to write and get it right, or should I say useful.
So back to the question on draw length and arrow length. First things first, here is a definition or two.
Draw length – Put simply your draw length is how far you draw back the bow string to your anchor point. This is measured in inches so mine is a just under 28 inches 27 1/2 if you want to be exact.
Arrow length – Your arrow length is how long your arrow is. This is normally measured from the bottom of the groove in the arrow nock to the tip of the arrow shaft behind the point.
Your arrow length should be longer than your draw length to allow the arrow to clear the bow or arrow rest and more importantly not to come off your rest if you over draw slightly as this could be dangerous. I have to say I cringe when I see some archers draw back and their arrows come within millimetres of coming off their rest. Yes it can demonstrate very good draw consistency but it doesn’t take much to go from great consistency to accident. Especially in wet conditions or when they are at full draw and sudden a bug decides to have a munch on their arm. I’ve seen both and neither ended well.
So, if your draw is 28 inches your arrows should be over 28 inches. I’m going to offer a couple of what I hope are useful tips. Let me know what you think.
Useful tip #1 – For beginners who are still developing a sound draw and static anchor point or junior archers who are still growing, I tend to recommend them having the arrow length a couple of inches longer so if your draw length is 24 inches your arrows should be 26 inches. When the archers settle or stop growing the arrow length can be reduced.
For those of you who shoot wooden arrows.
Useful tip #2 – When I started shooting wooden arrows, all those years ago. I always made them slightly longer than needed so if the arrow snapped just behind the pile, the arrow would still be long enough to use. I could simply fit a new point to the slightly shorter arrow.
I still do as you can see in the photo below.
Rob Shooting

Rob Shooting

Measuring draw length is really easy and you can either use a measuring stick or use a mathematical  based approach. Height in inches divided by 2•5
I’m 5 feet 8 inches  so that is 68 / 2•5 = 27•2.  This provides a rough guide as in my case my draw is slightly under 28 inches.
Full Draw

Full Draw

 You can buy draw length gauges from most archery stores or alternatively I made a measuring stick from an arrow shaft, marking it up in inch bands of green and red.
Measuring Arrow

Homemade Measuring Arrow

I hope you find this useful. Thanks for reading.