Me trying to remember to shoot

a quest for perfect form, couple of video views?

Just a quick note to say sorry there’s not been much from me recently. Long days at work sat in front of a computer screen means the last thing I want to do is boot up the computer when I get home. Added to this are shorter days which make it impossible to practice at night and weekends being spent with lots of work going on at the Briar Rose club’s new wood means I’m pretty busy.

Despite or maybe because of this I have had some time to review a couple of videos that have recently been posted on YouTube by a couple of archery channels, both talking about archery form,  Archery Adventures and NUSensei 

You can watch both below and make your own mind up about their perspectives. Both raise some interesting thoughts, accuracy and the concept of perfect form, in respect to the many different forms of archery from Olympic recurve shooters to the traditional archers.

 

 

Personally I’m not sure there is something which can be easily identified as perfect form. We do all shoot different bows, have different physical make up, etc. which can make the quest harder as you can’t just watch someone and be able to copy their style/ I know I don’t have anything near perfect form and I work on being able to be consistent with my shot execution. In contrast when I watch Sharon shoot she is incredibly consistent in draw technique and execution. Doing the basics right and repeating this in crucial.

Personally I think  everyone has the capability of developing good form, which will work for them. I know this is something that I try to encourage when I am coaching archers for improvements. But what works for one may not work for another, what works for me might or might not help you.

I think this is where we can spend some of the winter months reviewing material like these videos and thinking about developing ourselves.

I’ll leave you with one thought, maybe our quest should be for the execution of the perfect shot?

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.

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

Happy New Year to all

So around this time of year people are normally doing a couple of things. Firstly trying to stick to their New Year resolutions they have made whether this be going to the gym, quitting smoking, eating healthily, etc. Archers will probably be starting their planning for the upcoming season. The latter will usually involving deciding on which competitions to enter and possible setting goals for their own achievements.

Personally I have never been a big fan of New Year resolutions; I tend to think, why wait until the New Year to improve your situation. Having said this I am kind of trying one this year, which is to find the time to watch material on or read more about shooting practices and approaches. So far this has involved watching quite a few YouTube videos.

I know that many might be thinking about improving their own performance, and it is something I often get asked. What can I do to shoot better? I want to score more? What can I do about making improvements? So what goals should I set?

These are questions equally important for newbie archers those who have experience, as we can all improve. In the next couple of articles I’m going to be looking at setting personal goals, measuring achievements and so on.

Well the first thing I’d like to say is. Be realistic with what you want to accomplish but still aim for improvement. This means setting realistic expectations, which sounds great coming from a dreamer like me. So what do I really mean? Well if you can’t or don’t have time to practise, you are unlikely to be as prepared as you could be or physically fit enough, with sufficient stamina or muscle memory.  Likewise, I know I’m never likely to get into the Olympics or even into Archery GB, but I can still try to improve and keep developing. (Sorry but every time I hear or thinking about trying to improve, this voice in my head says “Do or do not, there is no try – Yoda”) So let’s say we can still strive to improve, whether this be in my own shooting or helping others through coaching.

So be realistic in your expectations.

Reducing misses and making the hits count

Well we are all hoping to reduce misses, whether newbies or experienced. So let’s try and break this down a little in respect to NFAS shoots, how they are scored and number of arrows shot.

In the most common NFAS round “The Big Game round” you get up to 3 opportunities to hit a target and in turn score. As an adult you would start on the red peg, normally the furthest and hardest shot. If you are successful in hitting the target you score 16 for a wound, 20 for a kill or 24 for an inner kill.

On the other hand if you aren’t successful in hitting, you move to the white peg. From there you take your second arrow, with a wound scoring 10 and a kill shot 14 points. (There is no distinction from an inner or outer kill after the first arrow).

Your final chance to score comes from the blue peg where a wound scores 4 points and a kill 8. If you miss with the third arrow then you blank the target. The other members of the group shoot and once you’ve marked the score cards you move on to the next target.

So if you are on form your goal is to shoot as few arrows as possible 36 or 40 depending if it’s a 36 or 40 target course. I’ve never yet gone round a course hitting with my first arrow only, come close a few times but always seem to taken 2 or 3 second arrows.

I tend to keep an eye on the number of first, second and third arrows I take as it gives me an idea of how well I have been shooting.

So the first step is to try and reduce the blanks i.e. the targets where you don’t score anything (Julie, as friend of ours, never writes a zero on a score card when someone blanks a target. She draws a little smiling face)

How can you do this? Well don’t stress about missing it! “What?” I hear you say, “that doesn’t make sense”. Well it does if you take a minute and think about it. If you beat yourself up for missing a couple of times or stress out about being on the blue peg because you think you should have got the shot earlier, then that is not going to put you in a healthy mind set for that third arrow. So when you get to the peg, or rather if you do,. take a deep breath and chill. Take a moment and compose yourself, forget about everything other than your breathing and form. Focus on the spot you want to hit and nail it. Don’t just think of hitting the target somewhere, pick a point and focus on that.

Aim small, miss small as the saying goes. (Or aim for the fish’s eye, which won’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve read Steve Perry’sMan Who Never Missed.)

The Man who never missed – Steve Perry

Ok, so you have reduced the number of blanks. Now comes the reduction in the number of 3rd arrows. Ideally if you are taking a 3rd arrow you want to come away with 8 points as this means you’ve learnt from your first 2 misses and adapted.

Once you’ve reduced the blanks and the number of 3rd arrows, you have to reduce the number of 2nd arrows you have to take. This is a lot harder as normally the white peg is still a very challenging peg and is often located not that far from the red. If you are at the white peg, take what you learnt from the red peg with you. If you dropped short of the target or saw your arrow fly over consider this when on the peg. Take a moment or two to look at the shot again, judge the distance. Look for deceptions such as dead ground that may have caught you out from the red.

I see many archers end up on the blue peg or 3rd peg because they have rushed their second arrow, which can often be because they have been annoyed or self-conscious of their failure in front of others. I know this because I’ve done it myself.

When you do have to take a second arrow try and focus on improving from just hitting the target and getting a wounding hit to a kill shot, this is also a good idea.

Ok, so this hopefully all makes sense, but to give you an idea  on a recent 36 target course, I had 1 blank which was a one arrow target, 1 third arrow, 6 second arrows , the remaining being first arrows. By my standards not a great showing, but not bad and of course this gives me something to improve. When I first started I probably only had 10-12 first arrow hits, and it took a lot of practise and time to improve.

In the next article I’ll look at other factors that can affect your success, like Club ground practise, shooting form, equipment set up and maybe a bit more.

Thanks for reading.