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.
View from the peg of a 3D squirrel

Hardest lessons to learn in archery – How changing your stance, changes your view from the peg

Unlike other archery societies where you have to have a clear shooting lane to the target, in the National Field Archery Society the course layer can make use of the trees and other terrain to make a shot challenging.

This means that so long as the shot is safe and the archer can see the majority of the kill zone on the target, the shot is permissible. Though I do have to say that some course layers take the later comment on Kill zone being visible to the extreme at times.

So why am I bringing this up?
One of the topics I have been asked about in the Hardest Lesson series is about viewing shots form the peg.

In the NFAS rules it stipulates that when you are at the shooting peg you have to stand with your leading foot behind the shooting peg. It’s not possible for the archer to step forward of peg to view the target. Put simply you have to stay behind the peg, however, changing your foot position, whilst keeping it behind the peg can change your view of the shot.

Reminding yourself that you can do this is especially important as some course layers, myself included, will try and present you with a restricted view of the target. An example might be trying to present a shot that makes it look like you have to shoot through a gap between trees. As shown in the photograph below, where the pegs are positioned directly behind the tree, offering the archer a view between the trunks of the trees to a 3D squirrel on the ground beyond.

View with toe touching the shooting peg

View of target with toe touching the shooting peg

To overcome this restricted view, there are a few tips you can apply to your shooting to help you cope with these situations and overcome some of these challenges. The one I am going to mention here is your foot position in respect to the peg. Below you can see my foot behind the pegs. (Yes I know the boots need cleaning)

Toe touching the shooting peg

Toe touching the shooting peg

Normally people will position their foot the same way at every peg, not necessarily considering how this will impact on the view of the target. This will often be with the peg central to the foot. It is surprisingly consistent in all archers I’ve coached.
Changing your foot position so the heel is against the peg, might offer you a better angle on the target.

Heel touching the shooting peg

Heel touching the shooting peg

So by simply moving your foot a few inches it gives you an easier shot or changes your perspective, offering you a view of dead ground or a clearer image of the target.

View with heel touching the shooting peg

View with heel touching the shooting peg

By moving a little you now have a far clearer view of the target or easier shot.
Hope this helps and thanks for reading.