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.

How can a six sided dice help with your archery practice? 

It may sound a little strange, even a bit far fetched to many, but I have found that using a six sided dice can prove very helpful and no I’m not talking about gambling.
Firstly though I have to say that I can’t claim this was entirely my own idea though, as it was spawned from a book I’ve been reading on archery. Many of you know I enjoy reading on all topics of archery and am slowly building a decent library of material, which I share with my students and fellow coaches.
The book in question which generated this idea is “Instinctive archery insights” by Jay Kidwell.

This was a book recommend to me by another coach and I’ll type up a full literature review on it shortly, but for now I’m going to focus on one aspect, that of practice to overcome target panic. There you go I have said it “Target Panic

I really hate that phrase, as I personally prefer describing target panic as “shot anxiety”, since I see it manifest in so many different ways in archers, often long before the archer ever gets to draw up on the target. Anyway back to how a six sided die can help along your with archery practice.

In the exercises described the archer practices drawing up on the target but not shooting. Rather than immediately releasing, they move on and off the gold or centre spot a random number of times. Jay suggests having a coach or buddy saying a number to denote the number of times but you might be practicing on your own so I came up with the idea of using a die.
I modified the dice so there was no 1,5 or 6. This was easily done by sticking a blank label over the numbers. I wanted the die to show 1 four, 3 two’s and 2 threes. This may sound strange but you don’t want too many higher numbers when performing the exercise as you would get fatigued.

I then housed the die in a small clear plastic tub large enough to allow the die to roll and clear enough to see the result.

Dice in a box

There are three exercises in the book, the key thing to remember with all of them is using a light poundage bow rather than your competition bow. I use a 16lb-18lb draw weight recurve with my students.

I’ll briefly describe the way I use this. The archer rolls the die and obtains a random number, say 3.

They draw up and when they get to full draw on the gold they pass to the right and then left, whilst not releasing. In this case they would pass over the gold 3 times before coming down. When I am coaching this technique I recommend the student does this for 15- 20 minutes. Anymore and it can become tedious and the students tend to lose concentration.

The theory behind this is best described int he book but to put it simply it helps to train the brain into not releasing the arrow and being able to move on and off the target.

Further exercises work on the same principle but having you hold on the target for a second and then move off.
I’ve found the exercise works well as I have used them with people and die gives you a random number so you are not always doing 2 or 3 each time.
I hope this helps. I’m going to try and write up some target anxiety material.
Thanks for reading.