The hardest lessons to learn in archery are…

I’ve had a great response to my question “What they feel is the hardest lesson to learn?” and for that I would like to thank all my followers and readers for their input.
I know that there are many people out there that will have your own opinion on what they feel is the hardest lesson to learn,but based on the responses, there are a few things coming up time and time again.
  • Aiming or rather, how do you aim whether you are a gap shooter or instinctive archer?
  • Stance and footing on a field shoot, where you might not be on level ground.
  • Coupled with aiming is distance judgement, which can be especially tough on a well set field course, where the course layer has used every trick inthe book to fool you.
  • I think the biggest one though has to be drawing down or coming down when you’ve drawn up on a target but feel you have to release, even though you know something is wrong.
  • I’m also working on a post about the importance of arrow weights and importance of not shooting too light an arrow.
  • Over bowing, being to identify when you are shooting too heavy a draw weight bow.
My hope is to create a post on each of these topics in the next few weeks.
I’m planning on covering aiming in a future article but for those interested check out one of the recent coaching podcasts from the guys at The Push, which covers instinctive and gap aiming.
Thanks for reading.
The Push podcast

The Push Archery Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

The Push Podcasts

 It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, other than shoot reports,  so here goes, hopefully you’ll find it useful and interesting. This is kind of a part literature review and general review as I am going to be reviewing a podcast site, which some of you may already be aware of. In recent months I’ve been listening to The Push Archery podcasts.
Here is a link to their website.
The guys have been publishing material for a few years, putting out a podcast every week or so. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working through their back catalogue of different topics, which I thin is well worth doing.
The podcasts are aimed at traditional bow hunter in the USA and beyond. The fact it is targeted at traditional bow hunters might put some people off, which is in my view is a mistake as they cover many aspects of archery many of which field archers could find helpful.
The Push podcast

One of Matt at anchor

Hosted by Matt Zirnsak & Tim Nebel, who I have to say are not only very knowledgeable on the subject of archery but a good laugh to listen too. More than once I’ve caught myself laughing on the train to work listening to them and their guest interact. As I said since finding them I have been working my way through their back catalogue of recordings of topics and guest. Yes Grizzly Jim if you are reading this I did hear your interview, from the other year.
Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

Tim showing you can shoot in all weathers

I know that some of you might be wondering what am I doing promoting a traditional bow hunting site, after all hunting with a bow in the UK was outlawed decades ago. Well these guys and their guests know a lot about archery and I do mean a lot. Knowledge, them and their guests are more than willing to share and knowledge that is very applicable to field archers the world round. Also I know there are archers in the UK who go bow hunting overseas, some of whom read this blog who might find the topics covered of interest.
The format of the podcasts are generally focused on an interview with a guest archer, focusing on their shooting, equipment and advice. These usually have a running time of an hour or so. There have been some recent shorter podcasts which have focused on coaching advice and tips. As a field archery coach I have found these really interesting to listen to. The topics have covered your grip of the bow, your “hock” on the string, stance, etc., all of which I think are worth a listen if you are interested in improving your form or just interested in new ideas. I’ve especially liked the post on open verse closed loop shooting with Joel Turner. I think this has been of particular interest as I can be quite analytical at times when shooting, especially if things are not going well. One reason I like the podcasts is I can listen to them on route to work or home and then try applying some of the techniques in my own practise.
Push podcast- Matt at anchor

Matt at full draw

Before I forget, they also have a YouTube channel which you might want to check out.
Also my thanks to the Matt and Tim for the photos they supplied for this article.
To be completely honest I wasn’t sure how applicable the guest interviews would be, but I have found them both interesting and informative. Whilst I’m not that interested in the hunting aspect, I do enjoy the narrative and it has highlighted the wealth of knowledge out there, going beyond just UK focused field archery.
I used to do a bit of bird watching (feathered kind) along with wildlife photography, so some of the techniques and comments on stalking or sitting in a hide, brought back memories of this.
 I’d suggest you have a listen and let me know what you think, be warned though you may well catch your self laughing or smiling on a train or bus journey.
Thanks for reading
Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

Shoot report – Centaura Bowmen – March 2018

Centaure Bowmen

It seems ages since I’ve written a shoot report, hopefully I haven’t lost the knack of what to include and cover. So here goes with this shoot report for Centaura Bowmen March shoot, which I think could have been called the snowdrop shoot. For those interested here is a link to a previous shoot report.

Unlike some of the recent weekends we’ve had of late, it wasn’t that cold, though there were areas of the woodland covered in a think blanket of white, with hundreds of snowdrops in flower.

Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

Banks of snowdrops at Centaura

One of the nice things with going to Centaura shoots is the opportunity it presents to catch up with old friends and a few blog followers, even if only briefly and that day was no exception.

So joining Sharon and myself in the shooting group on the day was Sue and Andrew, both shooting Bare Bow. We quickly discovered it was only the second NFAS shoot Sue had done, but I have to say I think she did really well.
Sharon shooting our first target

Sharon shooting our first target

Hopefully we haven’t put her off continuing in the hobby, though as we had a good laugh shooting round and chatting about anything and everything, I think we will see here again.
Sharon shooting 3D turkey target

Sharon shooting 3D turkey target

The course was familiar to many of us who had shot Centaura competitions before, consisting of 36 targets being a mix of 3D and paper faces. To be fair to the course layers they have added a couple of new shots, which seemed to work pretty well.
If you ever shoot at Centaura you will discover that the club produces some custom paper faces, which though can be quite small generally have generous scoring lines and offer a nice change to the normal ones seen at other shoots.
Andrew shooting 3d

Andrew shooting 3d

Overall the day went pretty well, but with over 120 archers in quite a small wood it was at times a bit slow, whilst waiting for the group in front to shoot or clear the target.
Sharon framed between the trees

Sharon framed between the trees

Personally I feel there was only one 3D shot (the bedded goat in the quarry) and maybe one paper face (fox) that could have been thought of as a bit stretched for the size of target.
Long paper fox target at Centaura

Sue shooting the long paper fox target at Centaura

To be fair though it looks like the club have invested in some new 3Ds which work well and look good. Being a small wood I think they struggle to change shots or course without starting from scratch.

3D lizard

As normal for Centaura there was a lunch break of 45 minutes to allow archers time to grab some food before being back out on the peg. For those not familiar with this lunch break concept it is a break, normally between 12:30 and 1:15, during which time all shooting is stopped. They have added a drinks table outside that speeds up the process of serving 100 plus thirsty archers.
Andrew shooting 3D bedded deer target

Andrew shooting 3D bedded deer target

I wasn’t shooting too badly in the morning, but after the food stop I hit a problem. I had a muscle twinge in my shoulder, from then on I was struggling to hold at full draw, obviously this impacted on the last 10 targets with me blanking two and dropping to second arrows on others. I think I need to do some more practise and build the shoulder up a bit. Sharon shot well, getting first in ladies Flatbow and despite my shoulder problems I managed a first in gents.
The only real downside would be a very slow drive home partly down to shoulder twinges but mostly due to heavy traffic on the motorway.
Thanks for reading.

Sad News

Shortly after this shoot report was written up, I heard that the club had been targeted by thieves, with details here. Since then they have published a full list of items stolen.

List of items taken
3 x Left Hand Polar bows 16 18 and 36 poundages
3 x Right Hand Polar bows 16, 18 and 28 poundages

2 junior “Jelly” bows colours orange and light brown 10Lb

Arrows :
36 carbon Mybo Hailstorm
24 aluminium Easton
36 miscellaneous manufacturers aluminium, carbon and fibre glass
12 wood arrows

Here’s hoping the club survives and continues to grow. Good luck