The September Social

With the month of September winding down, we are happy to report that the club practices are going strong! We have taught over 150 new archers, many of whom have since joined as official club members.

In light of the new members’ dedication to return to the same place every Friday night and launch projectiles into giant foam Oreos, we at Trojan Archery decided to forgo our traditional practice sessions with one celebrating their arrival in the world of collegiate archery. Pizza was served (seven boxes to be exact, all of which were devoured in less time than it takes to set up an Olympic recurve bow), and conversations of the social kind were held between members across all of USC’s various schools (a computational neuroscientist and a musician walked into a bar…). Games were played, as well: teams of archers strove to outdo their competitors at the all-hallowed tic-tac-toe, while others, taking our unofficial slogan of saving the bees to heart, aimed at honeycombs rather than our pollinary little pals.

The night was closed with a 300 scoring round, because what better way to end the evening with some good old-fashioned bulls-eyes? Several of our new members shot the official USA Archery format, many of whom earned their first pins. We look forward to watching their progress as they further their journey into the arcane study of the bow and arrow.

Until next time, shoot on!

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!

UPDATE: Practice Times for Spring 2018

Please note that our practice times have changed for the Spring 2018 semester. Please see below for the new times. The practice session page should reflect the same changes in practice times listed below

Open Practice
Friday    6:00 – 10:00 PM @PED South Gym

Team Practice
Tuesday, Thursday    7:00 – 10:00PM @Rancho Park Archery Range
Sunday    10:00 AM – 2:00PM @Pasadena Roving Archers Range

Due to changes in the schedule to accommodate intramural sports, we no longer have open practice on Wednesday. However, time slots on Wednesday will be used to hold instructional sessions to address things such as equipment, form, strength training for archery, and a myriad of other esoteric topics in archery. Please see our club announcement emails for more information on time and topics to be covered.

Another Week, Another Tournament

As our competition season ramps up, it is starting to feel like we here at Trojan Archery are simply trying to make it from one tournament to the next in one piece. To give all of our beloved readers a quick update, we sent a cadre of archers to the California State Indoor Championship two weekends ago. Though the numbers are a bit small this time around, we still managed to reach some noteworthy milestones. In particular, we’d like to congratulate our Most Highly Beloved President, Dan Kwasniewski, on an outstanding weekend. He broke some personal records on this one.

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From left to right: Dan Kwasniewski, Max Zade, Coach Jim, Coach Terri, Alex Aloia, Gozde Sahin, Filipe Vital.

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As we move away from California State Indoor, the team is now focusing our attention to the last indoor competition of our season: USA Archery National Indoor Championships. To that end, expect to see more posts about equipment, form, and techniques in the weeks to come as we work to help our archers improve and build our educational database. To keep yourself in the loop as our semester progresses, please sign-up for our mailing list and follow our Facebook page.

Until next time, fellow Trojans, shoot on!

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!