Close up of Sharon shooting

How can Costa Coffee cups help your archery practice?

Sharon on the range

Sharon on the range

No, not a trick question, nor am I talking about cup shooting, and if you don’t know what Cup shooting is check out Grizzly Jim’s video here.

This is a tip from my better half Sharon came up with and was using this on our range the other day. It’s no secret that I like Costa coffee, in fact it has got to a stage where I can walk into the local Costa Coffee shop by my office and they have had my order ready for me by the time I reached the front of the queue. This means I tend to have a few spare cups floating round. Normally they get used for mixing paints or pant pots.

stack of Costa Coffee cups

stack of Costa Coffee cups

But how can they help with archery?

We have a 40 yard practice range marked out in five yard increments, behind our house. This means we can practice distances from five yards upwards, but we both like to mix up the distances we shoot from. So we might shoot a set of arrows at ten yards, then move to thirty five yards for the next set, then fifteen for the third set and so on. The key thing is not to shoot two sets at the same distance consecutively. Why? Well it improves your distance judgement.

The problem is when you are doing multiple sets it is quite easy to lose track of which distances you have shot at. Well Sharon, the ever intelligent one can up with a simple idea of how to track this using Costa cups.

First step is dropping a cup over each of the distance pegs at the beginning before you start. Then when you have shot from that distance you remove the cup to indicate you’ve shot the distance. When all cups are off the pegs, you know you’ve shot all the distances and can start again.

On the second round after you’ve shot you take the cup to the boss and stack them on top. This means when you’ve shot all the distance, all cups will be at the boss for you to collect. It is a simple and easy way of tracking the distances.

If you look at the picture below you will see some of the pegs covered and others with a coffee cup along side.

Close up of Sharon shooting

Close up of Sharon shooting

The only problem comes if it’s a windy day.

By mixing up the distances you shoot at you can develop great skills in judging distance. It is something that is mentioned in Beginner’s guide to traditional archery by Brian J Sorrells.

Thanks for reading and no this post was not sponsored by Costa coffee.

First Aid Kit

Carry a simple first aid kit

It is the time of year when the days have been getting longer and we are out more often. Some will be out on two day shoots, camping in some beautiful British countryside, or maybe course laying in readiness for the shoot.  The downside of the warmer days is it results in me having to start taking antihistamine tablets due to slight hay fever and possibility of insect bites.
I’m pretty lucky, as I’ve been bitten or stung by most things including a swarm of angry bees one time when we disturbed a nest putting in a new target. The only bug that tends to result in a very bad reaction are horse fly bites and those I really react badly too. You can see below how my hand swelled up after a few hours, following one. Luckily I got my wedding ring off before the fingers swelled up too much or I might have had to have it cut off. (The ring not the finger)
horsefly bite

horsefly bite = very swollen hand

It is also when I go through the first aid kit on my quiver belt to check things are still in date. I do it every year and whether camping, skiing, hiking or enjoying field archery I always carry a simple first aid kit, either in my backpack, day sack or on my quiver belt. It doesn’t take up much space and weighs nearly nothing.
Top tip – put everything contained within the kit into waterproof zip bags. It keeps the kit together and more importantly dry.
The kit is pretty basic, the sort you can pick up from most outdoor stores with a few extra items, I’ve added  like antiseptic wipes, spare micropore tape, antihistamine cream, dehydration sachets etc. I’ve also added in a tick removing tool, as the numbers of ticks seem to be on the increase and we as field archers tend to frequent areas infested with the little things.
When asked why I bother carrying one as the organisers are bound to have something I tend to reply saying “It’s one of those things you hope to never have to use but am glad to carry”.
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. https://www.thepusharchery.com/
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.  https://www.youtube.com/user/tnebel20/
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