So You Want to be a (Barebow) Archer: Instincts, Gap, and String Walking

A common quandary we here at Trojan Archery encounters when teaching beginners–who all are introduced to archery through the barebow style–is how to teach them to aim. For shorter distances, the concept of “instinctive” aiming is straightforward; what you’re looking at is usually what you hit. However for longer distances, and especially with elevation changes akin to those in a field round, the answer of “instinctive” becomes a rather useless one.
Though some archers do develop the necessary instinct to aim across a wide range of distances and terrains, we find it more useful to formalize the less “mystical” aiming techniques used by barebow archers: gap aiming and string walking. We present below a short article written by our barebow Captain, Rob Campbell, on the topic of gap aiming and string walking.

 

Disclaimer: This information is only based on my limited knowledge and research acquired but I believe it all to be true. If anyone has any suggestions for more accurate information, please let me know.

There are three main types of barebow shooting in my opinion (there are many more but I think these are the main groups that can contain different subsection).

1. Gap method: the gap method uses a technique that I think every barebow archer starts with if you use the arrow tip to aim. When I aim at a target, I am aiming with the tip of my arrow at the ground and the gap that I create helps me hit the target.

2. Instinctive shooting: This method is sort of the ‘mystical’ way to shoot. It is said by many archers to take many years to develop and you only use your ‘instincts’ to hit the desired target.

3. String Walking: This method is for barebow archers that want to shoot point on. That means you use the tip of your arrow to aim directly in the middle of the target. By moving your finger tab down the string, you are creating the gap on your string rather than using your arrow as in the gap method.

In this message, I would like to explain a little about the String Walking method. String walking, when used in conjunction with a finely tuned plunger can allow the archer to put the tip of the arrow exactly on the target. By adjusting the position of the tab in a specific place on the bowstring, you move the nock of the arrow closer to your eye (you can also move it farther away from your eye for farther distances but that is another message). If you currently use the three-finger-under method, you are already ahead of the game. If you are using split finger, you will have to get used to closing your fingers and moving them under the nock.

The process begins with the right type of finger tab. You need to have a three-under tab with notches or stitches. The next step is data collection. By shooting at targets with various lengths you can figure out which specific stitch in your finger tab to adjust to. When you count down the stitches, you simply put your thumb on the stitch and move the tab down the string to the desired position. You will notice that the nock of the arrow moves closer to your eye. This will give you better point-on target accuracy that can eventually rival a sight using archer. As the distances of the target get shorter, the position away from the nock gets larger.

To test for left/right accuracy, you need to use and tune the plunger. First, shoot five arrows at a specific distance. If the arrows are drifting to the right, tighten the plunger ¼ turn. Re-check and adjust accordingly. If the arrows are in the target at an angle, the spring tensions must be adjusted. If the arrow is going in an arc to the left or the right with distance, the plunger position needs to be adjusted.

By tuning the plunger to perfection and learning the practice of string walking, we can bring home much more hardware in the competitions to come! To use this method, all you need is a three-finger-under tab with stitching and the time to practice.

Let’s do this!
SHOOT ON!

Until next time, fellow Trojans, shoot on!


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