Renewed optimism

Another night in a garden shooting a boss, this time with all my new arrows.

Some of the points had been badly machined and didn’t fit the 5/16″ taper but I was given replacements, no problem, by the seller in our club. So, now I have 11 arrows that are cut to fly straight for me, and with bright orange fletching and nocks I’ll be able to find them (although we’re going indoors soon at the club as the nights have drawn in fast). (The twelfth arrow was the very weak bareshaft one I broke before we cut any down, it just vibrated and snapped.) 

I’d taken a pair of scissors to my tab. I shoot 3 fingers under but my release has always been bad, twanging the arrow, etc. Partly this is from over-extending, but I always felt the tab was sabotaging me, but didn’t want to fall into that old thing of a bad workman blaming his tools. Anyway, when my friend/coach realised there was too much leather and I bunched it up between the pads of my hand and the string, he said that was wrong. I did this so the tab only just came past the string, to reduce flappiness (you know what I mean) but this left a load of wasted leather bunched up in my hand. Anyway, I cut it down and suddenly things are a lot better. After an hour and a half shooting, I could lock my anchor, pause to focus the shot, then release and I could feel the release was clean and the arrow would go where I shot it. Incredible feeling.

My friend stuck an A5 sheet of paper on the boss’s centre and I aimed for that. At the start of the night I had two of eleven arrows in it, if I was lucky, and the rest were spread out. By the end of the night I’d have all but four in it, and the four errant ones would still be close. Even I could see the significant improvement in my grouping. 

He did something else, too. I had a little brass nocking point that was put on by the shopkeeper when I bought the bow. He did it by sight. My friend took it off, used a bracing tool to measure where it should be (it was a little low) and then made a new one using thread, which he waxed, tied round the string a few times, and then lit with a lighter to solidify it and burn off stray ends. But he also gave me a second nocking point just below it to help avoid those odd occasions when the arrow might slip. I learnt to hold my drawing fingers together and wedged right under the lower nocking point. It made a difference alright!

Winter is coming (where have I heard that phrase before?) and I’m looking forward to going indoors and shooting without the inevitable ‘lost arrow’ delays, plus hoping for some more coaching during that time. I feel that now I have the equipment set right, it’s going to be easier to improve myself. (And I know the equipment is right not just because of the effect on my own shooting, but because at the end of the night my friend had a go and placed 6 of my arrows together in the centre of the boss within a diameter about the size of a tennis ball.)

Feeling: renewed optimism.