So You Want to be an Archer: Beginner’s Introduction to Gears

Archery is a sport in which both the physicality of the shooter and the physical performance and design of the bows and its parts work in tandem to produce accurate and reproducible shots. To that end, the bow itself contains significantly more pieces than most casual observers can surmise; with each piece serving a particular function in making the shot the most accurate and reproducible. The upside to all of this is that for beginners and  intermediate archers, many pieces are not essential. In the following post, we here at Trojan Archery will attempt to introduce what we consider to be the “essentials” to getting you started on your journey of archery development. For a comprehensive list of all the different things that you can attach to your bow, see our full equipment guide/recommendation. Note that the information here is not meant to be comprehensive and should be taken as a starting point; if you have access to a more experienced archer (e.g. one of our officers) consult them before making a purchase. 

Before tackling the bow itself, there are a few wearable pieces that should be considered first.  These pieces are rather universal and you will always want to maintain your own set. Note that if you are shooting as a part of an archery club (e.g. Trojan Archery), these pieces can be loaned out to you. Note that in most cases, competition rules forbid the use of camo-patterned equipment.

  • Arm Guard: A piece of tough material ranging from plastic, to canvas, to leather use to cover up the arm holding the bow. It is intended to protect the arm against unintended contact with the bowstring during the shot.
  • Chest Guard: A piece of netting/covering to be worn over the chest on your bow arm’s side. Like the arm guard, it is intended to protect the covered regions from accidental contact with the bowstring mid-flight.
  • Finger Tab/Glove: A leather glove or finger covering worn on the bow hand. It is used to reduce friction between the drawing hand and the bow string. You may not think that the act of shooting will hurt your hand, but after 60-100 arrows, small amounts of chaffing will accumulate. The gloves are typically used by bare bow shooters while the tabs are used by Olympic recurve shooters. Compound shooters will use a release aid instead of a tab/glove.
  • Quiver: a tube used to hold your arrows and often time has pockets for other accessories. Competition rules forbid the use of back quivers so stick to hip/field quivers.
  • Stringer: Used to bend back your bow for stringing.
  • Arrows: Their use is self-evident. They are listed here for the sake of completeness. Arrows are fairly personalized pieces of equipment that depends on your physiology, shooting form, and competition need. Investing in them is only recommended for competing intermediate to advance archers.

All of the pieces below constitute the actual bow itself and will be marked with a C if it is found only in compound bows. In almost every case, the equipment are not interchangeable between the two disciplines.

Note that while recurve bows are bought in pieces, compound bows are essentially bought as a complete package (the whole bow plus some accessories). Because of this and the higher number of moving parts in a compounds, we will, for the sake of brevity, only talk about what is considered the “big” components when discussing parts exclusive to compound bows.

  • Riser: The center portion of the bow usually associated with the grip of the bow. It serves as the attachment point for almost all of the other parts and accessories. Risers have a built in handedness and are not interchangeable for left-handed and right-handed shooter
  • Limbs: the pair of springy arms that gets drawn back and stores energy during the process of shooting. They determine how much energy you can impart to the arrow as well as the drawing weight of the bow. Since most archers grow rather rapidly in draw weight at the beginner and intermediate stages, expect to change limbs rather often until you reach ~30lb draw weight for recurve.
  • Cams (C): a compound exclusive, cams are the pulley systems attached to the compound limbs that enable the let off as well as enforces the “wall” in a compound draw.
  • Arrow Rest: a small arm–usually plastic or metal–attached to the risers where the arrows sits through the entire shooting process. It is meant to elevate the arrow and prevents it from falling away from the body of the riser.
  • Plunger (Recurve only): a spring loaded rod attached to the riser to push the arrow slightly off the body of the bow (while still staying on the arrow reset) and facilitates the realization of the archer’s paradox.
  • String: connects the two limbs and is drawn back to convert mechanical energy of the drawing motion into stored energy in the limbs.
  • Nocking Point: a marker placed on the bow string to denote where the arrow’s nock should make contact with the string to achieve horizontal alignment. It is also usually big enough to prevent the arrow from tipping forward off the bow. In a compound bow, the nocking point is actually a small loop of string–termed the D-loop–that flanks the arrow’s point of contact and acts as the point of contact for the release aid.
  • Release Aid (C): A mechanical trigger used in the drawing and release of the bow strings. Sometimes seen in adaptive archery forms, they are an essential part of a compound shooter’s gear. They can technically be viewed as a form of protection for the drawing hand during release.

 

The First Pin’s the Sweetest

This past Friday, our club members participated in their first official scoring round: 3 arrows over 10 ends for a total of 300 points. Did things get intense? Maybe. Did people enjoy themselves? Sure looks like it.

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This was also the first opportunity for our club members to begin earning their achievement pins. This was an opportunity for our members to check their growth and appreciate how far they have progressed since beginning this semester. Many archers earned their first pin as well; pictures were taken; parents were called.

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We look forward to hosting more scoring rounds in the future and hope to see all our club members grow and continue on to earn more and more pins in their respective disciplines. If you have not had a chance to dip your toe into the scoring rounds yet and would like to get more information, please check in with an officer and our sign up for our mailing list.

Until next time, fellow Trojans. Shoot on!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Captain Max!

So evidently “next time” came a lot sooner than we had planned. But it’s okay, because there are awesome Halloween photos to share with you all!

This past Friday, Trojan Archery continued a long running tradition of the club and hosted our annual pumpkin carving and monster shoot.  Our members took off the kid gloves and took down some monsters. They then threw down even more gloves (finger tabs?) to take a whack at carving pumpkins, the result of which is disturbingly spectacular. If you don’t trust our judgement, check them out for yourself below the break.

Even our dearest beginner-teaching webmaster got into the spirit of the holiday by attempt to jump-scare his way into a photo. It would have probably worked better if he hadn’t looked like a grape though…

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Until next time, fellow Trojan, shoot on!

P.S. Here is another video to get you into the Halloween mood. We present to you, the Sanderson Sisters (aka Bette Midler, Peggy Hill, and Carrie Bradshaw).

Meeting the Sun Gods

Last Sunday, Trojan Archery made the trek down to San Diego to meet with the Sun God of USCD; joint practice ensued and everyone had a good time (and tan; because what even is cloud coverage) . Many thanks to the members who traveled with us to represent the club, our dedicated driving members, and especially our Head Coach, Terri!

If you could not join us last Sunday, have no fear: there will be other joint practice opportunities on the horizon. For a sure fire way of getting information on these excursion, join our mailing list.

Until next time, fellow Trojans.

This is Halloween

Do you want to prove yourself to be the Pumpkin-g of Trojan Archery? Then come join Trojan Archery for some pumpkin carving this upcoming Friday, October 27th and the subsequent shooting of the carved pumpkin on Sunday, October 29th at the Pasadena Roving Archer range! You bring the artistic finesse, and we’ll bring everything else.

Even if you’re not feeling the pumpkin hype, come join us this Friday anyway as we will be hosting our Halloween Monsters and Creatures shoot. Channel your inner Helsing, Katniss, Winchesters, or even Elizabeth Bennett (from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that is) and try to take down our Social Committee’s collection of monstrosities (I really hope a particular tentacled Old One will be in the mix, but let us not tempt fate)!

Hope to see you there, and until next time: shoot on!

P.S. Here is something to forcibly help put you into the Halloween mood.

 

Calling All Achievement Hunters!

We here at Trojan Archery are excited to announce that our club will be participating in the USA Archery Adult Achievement Program!

In order to for the developing archer to track—and, honestly, flaunt–their progress in the sport, we will begin offering mini tournament style 300 Rounds (ten ends of three arrows for a maximum of 300 points). By tracking the score with USAA’s scoring matrix, archers may earn different achievement pins that show they have reached a particular milestone in their shooting. The different achieve pins/award levels are given out based on score performance at a particular distance and target face size and varies from between the three archery disciplines. The USAA scoring matrix for indoor achievement pins is shown below as an example. For more information please check out this link for the USAA Adult Achievement Program or talk to a Trojan Archery officer.

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So whether you are shooting for recreation, to train for competition, or just to figure out what exactly is transfer-to-holding, keep an eye out for information on upcoming 300 Rounds and come join us for some friendly competition and achievement pin earning.

Until next time, shoot on!

So You Want to be an Archer: Physical Considerations

So you have decided to become an archer; where does one actually begin? For many of our dedicated readers and club members, the answer to that question is a simple one: go to a beginner class. For most other archers, however, the process starts by considering a few of their physical attributes that plays important role in the shooting process.

Hand and eye dominance
Save for those few truly ambidextrous individuals, we all have a strong preference for either our left or right hand in performing daily activities. Due to physical strength and dexterity considerations, it is highly recommended that you draw your bow with your dominant hand. This recommendation does, however, come with a caveat that you should give some thought to eye (or if you are fancy, “ocular”) dominance.

Ocular dominance describes our brain’s tendency to prefer input from one eye over the other. Due to the nature of how visual information is process, many do not realize they have such a preference. To that end, many archers, before ever touching a bow, takes an eye dominance test to figure out their dominant eye. There are various forms of tests for eye dominance; most of our members were subjected to the so-called aperture test at their first practice.

The majority of people will express a preference for hand and eye on the same side of their body; the choice of archery “handedness” is simple in this case. The remaining minority will express either cross-dominance, where the dominant eye and hand are on opposite sides of the body, or co-dominance, where there is no strong ocular dominance. For the cross- and co-dominant archers, the choice of handedness is usually made by their hand dominance.

Draw length
Due to the mechanical principles that govern how a bow builds and stores potential energy, the length to which the archer is able to draw back the bow is an important factor in getting the most out of every shot (more on this in a later post). This also goes to determine the overall length of bow an archer should use.

If you happen to have access to a shop, club, or organization that have bows they can lend you, the draw length can be measured and the equipment selected to accommodate your draw length. However, since most beginners suffer from the debilitating conditions of not owning a bow, we can instead–through consultation with an archery Oracle–make estimates base on their wingspan. Dividing the wingspan, the tip-to-tip distance spanned by your arms when both ares are extended, by 2.5 yields an approximation of the your draw length, the correspondence between draw length and recommended bow length can be made by consulting the following table, provided by Lancaster Archery Supply.

DRAW LENGTH……………..BOW LENGTH

14-16 inches……………….48 inches
17-20 inches……………….54 inches
20-22 inches……………….58 inches
22-24 inches……………….62 inches
24-26 inches……………….64-66 inches
26-28 inches……………….66-68 inches
28-30 inches……………….68-70 inches
31 inches and longer…………70-72 inches