Bow weights for beginners and Juniors

At a recent coaching course I was co-running, the question of bow draw weights for beginners and junior archers was raised. This is both a very important question and a complex one, with no easy answer.
The true answer is partly dependent on what age the archer is when they start along with their physical development. Everyone is different and trying to standardise and prescribe anything in stone simply doesn’t work. So here are some points to consider to help you decide.
  • If you start with too high a poundage in draw weight  for the newbie they can become fatigued quickly and their form will suffer as the archer struggles to cope.
  • Too heavy a mass weight can tire the arms of young archers, resulting in dropping their arm.
  • Another factor that is worth considering is how some young archers develop in height earlier than others but this does not mean they have muscle development for longer draws.
There are other elements that play a part here too, such as peer pressure which can occur when coaching a group or even a family if there are two siblings that try to compete with one another. Peer pressure can cause anxiety and increased stress associated with being watched and not doing as well as others or drawing the same poundage as their fellow archers.
I was lucky enough to be shown the specifications that the scouting organisation in the UK use which provides some good guidance on potential draw weights for different age ranges.
Age Range Maximum bow weight at start of course Maximum draw weight by end of the course
Up to 12 yrs old 14 lbs 16 lbs
13-14 16 lbs 18 lbs
15-16 18 lbs 22 lbs
17-18 20 lbs 24 lbs
19+ 20 lbs 24 lbs

I have to say I am a fan of using small “jelly bows” that are very low draw weight and light in hand. Ideal for under 10 year old. We bought a couple of these from Merlin Archery (https://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/ek-crusader-bow-kit.html) though we don’t use the arrows provided.

On take down recurves I start low 10lb or 12lb and let them see how it feels. We have a selection of limbs which we can swap out and have found this of great benefit. Again we bought some bows from Merlin – the Core Pulse in both 54 inch and 64 inch.
When I get the opportunity I will write up a review of these bows in the near future.
The best advice I can give anyone is start with a low draw weight and light bow. If they aren’t having to fight the bow or struggle holding the mass weight they are more likely to learn and in turn succeed.
Thanks for reading.

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.

Archers Paradox video

This last weekend down at the Wolverine shoot a few of us were discussing the importance of having the right spinning for your arrows. I think part of the reason for this was due to a couple of us having bought the tapering jig recently and Jim having got some arrows made up recently.

Whilst doing some research I came across this video on the Archers Paradox and dangers of using the wrong spinning of arrows.  I’ve posted a shorter version of this a few weeks back and I know a few other people have posted the link too.

The effects of too low a spinning is very evident, the arrows are almost like they are rubber bands! Also note the protective glove the archer wears when trying out low spine weights.

Thanks for reading