So You Want to be an Archer: Intermediate Level Gears

With the equipment discussed in the last part of our SYWTBA series, Beginner’s Introduction to Gears, we have completed the so-called barebow recurve set-up. This set-up, despite the connotation of the name, is by its own right a recognized archery discipline. By virtue of being a college club, we here at Trojan Archery are also interested in providing resources for those who shoot in the other recurve discipline, Olympic recurve. To that end, we present now a short discussion of “intermediate” gears that are the essential differences between the Olympic and barebow recurve disciplines. Note that all photos below were obtained via Lancaster Archery Supplier website.

  • Sight: Arguably the most important piece of additional equipment on an Olympic recurve bow relative to a barebow. The sight is composed of three parts: mounting bar, windage unit, and aperture. The aperture itself is the sight window that is used to visually line up a shot. Most sight comes with their own stock aperture, though it is common for individual archers to try out different apertures and select one that is to their liking. Apertures tend to come with either an open window or one with a pin or dot sight. Fluorescent plastic rods are often used as the sight pin to improve visibility. The mounting bar and windage unit work together to allow the aperture to be properly attached to the bow and control the positioning of the sight window of the aperture relative to the archer’s reference points when at holding. There are, like most other pieces of archery equipment, a broad distribution of prices for sights. In general, when paying more for sights you are paying for improvements in their precision of adjustment, material weight, and resistance to acoustic vibrations (i.e. how well the parts of the sight stays screwed in after each shots).

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  • Stablizers, v-bars: The stabilizer is a long rod mounted in front of the riser (ironically called the back of the bow in official parlance, because of reasons) right below the shelf of the bow. V-bars (also referred to as side rods) are shorter rods that are mounted at the same point as the stabilizer–a specialized vbar mount is needed–and points to either side of the bow. A pair of such side rods forms a v-shape when mounted, hence the name. Though we list them here as a set, v-bars are often considered non-essential and is added on as needed by the archer; the front stabilizer rod is considered to be a standard part of an Olympic recurve set-up. Though this entry appears to be two different pieces of gear, the parts together serve as the weight redistribution system of for your bow.
    By allowing archers to distribute additional weights around their bow hand–the pivot point for the bow during holding–the stabilizer systems allows archers to steady their bow during draw and at holding. A crude approximation and some free body diagrams (because physics haunts all archers’ dreams to some extent) will show that the long rod makes the bow more stable in in the plane of the target, and the side rods make the bow more rotationally stable along the axis of the bow arm. Though stabilizer systems are not allowed for barebow shooters, weights can be attached directly to barebows in competition to affect similar stabilization.

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  • Finger sling: The use of the finger sling is predicated by the central dogma of repetitive motion sport: remove as many variables as possible. To that end, the very act of gripping the bow and holding it through the entire shot process is considered to be too variable. Thus, Olympic recurve archers–and for that matter compound shooters as well–have opted to forgo physically gripping the bow when they shoot, opting instead to let the bow fly free of their hand upon releasing the arrow. However, recall that archery equipment is expensive; thus the finger sling was introduced to prevent all that expensive archery gear from colliding with the ground. The finger sling is a loop of string worn on the bow hand to act as a barrier and “catch” the bow mid flight. The combination of forward weight distribution caused by the front stabilizer and the presence of the finger sling is the source of the highly characteristic bow drop/swing that is a part of the follow-through motion for Olympic recurve.

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  • Draw length checker (Clickers): A small flexible bar that is used to clamp the arrow and measure when the draw has reached a certain point. The set-up of the clicker allows the archer to tell–usually through an audible clicking sound resulting from the arrow being drawn pass the clicker–when they have reached a certain draw length. This is typically useful when trying to make all your shots consistent. However, the utility of this piece of equipment is sometimes suspect since it is easy to cheat your way through the clicker. As such, proper use of a draw length checker is contingent on the archer already having decent shooting form and back tension. In those cases, the draw length checker works as intended and tells the archer when they have–with good back tension and form–attained a certain draw length.

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The Winter Wrap-Up

As we all drag ourselves by the skin, teeth, nail–you get the gist–that are left to us after finals take their due, we here at Trojan Archery cannot help but look back at the past semester with a strong sense of pride. Over the past 4 months, we have introduced hundreds of beginners to the sport of archery, gained dozens of new club members, and have grown as a club and a team.

Now, with the Fall semester over, we turn our sight towards the Spring semester which constitutes the majority of our competitive season. All of our competitive members, old and new, have begun training in earnest for what is shaping up to be a packed competition schedule. We are so serious about it, we even made Bibek shoot on balance balls; because dedication!

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You can’t tell here, but he was like THAT close to falling off.

All joking aside, Trojan Archery plans on sending competitors to a whopping five tournaments this spring! Though ambitious, this competition schedule and the number of members we are trying to send to each competition means that we need your help and support to keep the competition cost manageable for all of our competitive members.

YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS!
We aim to raise $5000 to cover and/or subsidize registration fees, transportation, and lodging for 20 team members across multiple competitions. Our membership dues can only compensate for a small portion of competition costs, and our team members cannot manage to cover competition expenses on their own. Trojan Archery team members have limited access to funds and, unfortunately, will not be able to compete without YOUR support.

We have the ingredients to bring home individual honors, as well as prestige for USC, but we need your help to get us there. These competitions could be stepping stones for some of our archers on the way to Olympic gold! Every donation is needed and is greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping support Trojan Archery, please check out our Ignite page (link also below).

Trojan Archery Ignite Page

Until next time, fellow Trojans, have a good winter break and shoot on!

Recapping Rivalry Week

Following in the wake of the USC-UCLA rivalry week, we here at Trojan Archery thought it would be good to try and build a sense of community and camaraderie with our brothers and sisters in arm guards at UCLA by……

…….having a joint-shoot-turned-tournament. Because sibling-esque rivalry is how we show each other love.

The mini tourney featured individual events at 18 meters with archers shooting in division based on their experience within the different archery disciplines as well as team events. For many of our new members, this was their first official tournament format shoot, and by Jeeves did they blow expectation out of the water!

Major props and congratulations to all our members who went and especially to Alex Aloia, Zaphir Adams, Aiko Jones, Roger Pan, Laurel Paxton, Gözde Sahin, and Max Zade for placing in their respective divisions. A many thanks to the UCLA Archery Club for graciously being the host and organizer of the event. Check below the break for picture from the shoot featuring our beloved members, our captain’s passing flirtation with No-Shave-November, and “Kyle”, who was left off the memo that on Sundays we wear cardinal.

Until next time, shoot on!

PS We here at Trojanarchery.com apologize for the recent lack of activity. Turkey hunting with a bow and arrow was a lot more time consuming than we had anticipated it to be.

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).