Session 2

OK, so this was my second session in the club and shooting outdoors. Really looking forward to having my own bow and arrows.  Tonight I just had the four remaining club arrows, fat aluminium Eastons, two of which were missing one or two vanes. It took me a while to find my rhythm, for some reason, but after planting a few in the gold at 20 yards I decided to have a go at 30 again. 

30 yards seemed at lot harder against a boss on a flat field than it did on the 3D shoot, but then that had largely involved shooting downhill.

I discussed this with my coach and he explained about face walking – moving the anchor point down the face to raise the arrow tip, whilst still aiming the arrow at the same point on the target, to make the arrow fly farther. This led to some wildly high shots and my first experience using the club’s metal detector. However, by the last end I had the right position with the tip of my index finger about 4mm under my lip and my first arrow in the 30 yard target was dead centre, right on the crosshair, and this happened just as my coach and the club chairman decide to watch! Great stuff. Of course, needs a lot more practice. 

All this was in the same session as I decided to change my anchor point from being the top of my hand lodged into my cheek bone, to a more normal one where I hook my index finger into the corner of my mouth. It took a bit of adjustment but in the end this was working fine.

I’d also read today (in a little book about Archery in the Know the Game series) to push forward with the bow hand as you draw, and I found this quite helpful. It seemed to fit the idea of stepping into the bow. And the more I concentrate on anything but the release, the better I do – although, I still think much of that is to do with the low poundage on the 26lb club bow. I think the club tab is hindering me too. It’s a split tab with a large chunk of metal, meant for shooting recurves split-fingered and under the chin, not with  three fingers and touching the face.

I ordered a Timber Creek tab from Merlin a while back but I’m still waiting! At least the order says it’s been processed and is completed now. I hope to get my slender, leather,three-finger tab through the post tomorrow. 

Along with a Win & Win arrow puller. And… 

…I’m hoping – fingers crossed – to buy a bow tomorrow. With this in mind, I asked my coach about draw lengths. I was afraid I’d buy a 40lb bow, discover I have an abnormally long draw length, and end up trying to pull more than I could handle. Anyway, at a rough estimation, using a measuring tape against an arrow I’d drawn, it seems I’m about 28″ which is convenient since that’s the length at which  many of the bows’ poundages are recorded anyway.

More on the bow if and when I get it. 

I had planned to buy some carbon arrows with bullet tips for outdoor practice and some cheaper wooden ones with field tips for 3D shoots. Coach advised to get wooden arrows with field tips only. He said you need to use the bow for a bit to sort of wear it in, and to wait for that to happen before spending on carbon arrows. And not to bother with bullet tips because the field tips are better anyway, even if they ain’t as pretty. 

Above: field tip. Below: bullet tip

It amazes me how much I’m still learning every session. I’ve read about a lot of these things, but they seem so totally different when taught person-to-person and applied.
One slight disappointment tonight was that the session only lasted two hours. I could have shot all evening. The time had flown. But it does rather require enough people to pack away all the equipment and the right people (key holders) to remain to the end, so it’ll be interesting over the coming months to see how long sessions last and if it varies. Will they be longer and busier when the weather improves? Will they decrease because the better archers will be spending their time at heritage shoots and the like?

I know there’s a club an hour away that has their bosses set up permanently and members can go day or night, but sadly we’re not in that situation and my garden is too small and not secluded enough to contemplate setting up a sack target or something like that. At the moment, I just have an insatiable desire to shoot all the time. Can’t help it. Thrill of a new hobby and a past time I’m finding absorbing, fun and addictive.

2 thoughts on “Session 2

  1. It is fun and instructive to see a newbie walk through their first steps into archery, so thanks for the blog, Your comment that ” And not to bother with bullet tips because the field tips are better anyway, even if they ain’t as pretty.” is an overstatement. Better for what? The field tip was designed so that shooting out in the field, when you missed the target, the point was designed to catch in the dirt and not skid into inaccessible places. The bullet tips are better for target archery because they tend to glance off of the nocks of arrows already in the target rather than piercing them as field tips do. (“Robinhooding” arrows is an accomplishment, an expensive accomplishment as you can lose two arrows that way.) Those “glance offs” often result in better scores because the arrow’s path is minimal disrupted by such collisions.
    Also, very few serious archers are facewalking anymore. To get from 20 yards to 30 yards, you simply stick your front hip out an inch or two, tilting your whole upper body (including your arrow at full draw) and you should be able to get 30 yards comfortably.( I can reach 30 yards with a 10# bow.) When you do reach your limit, another anchor is necessary (a lower one) but the multiple anchors of facewalking are on a difficult path to follow.


    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve. I’m at such an early stage of learning all this and it’s great to hear other viewpoints and experiences.

      Thinking back, I can’t quite remember why he said field tips were better. He does a lot of field archery, and there’s a lot of it in this county, so perhaps it was just about that. If I find myself doing a lot of target shooting next to others I’ll know to get bullet tips now.

      I’m intrigued by your “hip out” comment because I’ve seen people shooting like that on Facebook forums and wondered what they were doing. I’ll give it a go. Is it applicable to barebow shooting? Facewalking works for the guy coaching me; I’ve seen him compete and win by a large margin, and he’s been winning on a county level for years. I’m totally open to other methods though, so I’ll keep the blog up-to-date on this subject as time passes and I improve (hopefully). Certainly, face walking sounds and seems a tricky option!

      Again, thanks for this input, all such comments are like gold nuggets to a beginner!


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