How a couple of strips of tape can help your archery?

What you need is a length of card board about 3 foot 6 inches in length and about six inches wide. This may sound a little Blue Peter but it does work. (For anyone who was not raised in the UK, Blue Peter is a long running TV program famous for making stuff with double sided sticky tape, especially in the early 70s and 80s).

3 colours of tape and card board

The idea is similar to the concept I shared the other week with using a bamboo pole to help distance.

My practice bosses as 3ft tall so by making the card 6 inches longer I can attach the card on top of the boss.
In my example I applied a strip of grey tape down the centre of the cardboard along its length.

Grey tape

I then added 6 inch strips of black tape alternating so you had a strip of black then a 6 inch gap showing grey.

Marking out 6 inch sections

The idea being to alternate black and grey so the archer can us it to aid distance and aiming. Some might want to use 4 inch sections but I keep it to 6 so it ties into the bamboo cane method.

White tape

The last thing is to apply a strip of white tape down the centre of the black and grey tape. Cheap masking tape works perfectly for this.
The white tape is what you will be shooting at. The coloured tape is there to aid in distance judgement and to act as a contrast.

Card on the boss

So how do you use this?

Fix the target to the boss and then at 5 yards shoot a set of arrows. I normally shoot 4 arrows in a set when I’m practicing.
I start at lower part of the boss, bottom 6 inches and try and get my arrows in a vertical line gradually moving up the boss and in the white tape.
When I’ve reached the top of the boss I repeat the exercise but moving down from the top of the boss.
The focus is on you being able to put your arrows in the white tape consistently.
When that’s done I move back to my next distance and repeat. I’ll usually do this to about 15 yards or so. Reapplying white tape when needed.
Past 20 yards I focus on my arrows being in the silver or back tape. The way I look at it is if I am in the tape at this distance I’m hoping I should be in the highest score zone when shooting on a course.
The technique is not that dissimilar to one my first archery coach used to use where they would dangle a coloured ribbon down the boss and aim for that.
If you really want to challenge yourself try replacing the white tape with string and ensure each of your arrows are touching it.

So why do this?

Not all scoring zones are central to the boss. If you look at different target faces or 3Ds the height off the ground varies. You might be shooting a deer 3D where the kills 24 inches or more off the ground. With the next target being a 3D crocodile where the highest scoring zones inches off the ground.
I recall one championship where the paper face ermine was on ground level about 8ft away.

Paper Ermin

So this technique helps you focus on keeping your line and adjusting for height.

It also aids you in bending at the waste, sometimes called tea-potting. If you recall the children’s nursery rhyme “I’m a little teapot” that is where it gets it name from.

By the way the keen eyed among you will notice the target doesn’t have the white tape on it. This is because I took the photograph and then realised I hadn’t applied the tape. So I went back and applied it so you had a photograph of what it should look like.

Thanks for reading.

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.