Getting Started with Archery and It’s Terminology

Archery may seem like a very simple sport. I was guilty of assuming the same thing. Yet as I decided to begin this new hobby I learned there is much more to the process than you may think.

Firstly, your bow will be uniquely yours. It’s very important to understand this.

I think of it much like a bowling ball. When you buy a bowling ball the holes are drilled for your fingers. With a bow, it is customized to your body. Also, your sights will be adjusted to the way you shoot. They will help compensate for your natural movements.

With that in mind you may be wondering how to select a bow. Do your homework and look around. Also, find a store with a machine that can tell you your draw weight and length. This will make things much simpler for you in the beginning. Many such places can also show you a few bows that would be good for you. This will give you a starting point. It prevents injuries in archery.

Arrows are also as unique as the people who shoot them. Your arrows need to be long enough that when you draw back they are still properly in place. Those with a shorter draw will need their arrows cut down to a more manageable size.

Now that you are considering which bow you want, you begin to hear terms that may leave you feeling as though you are listening to another language. Here is a list of terms and definitions.

Draw length – This is how far you pull back the string. It’s very important to have this set correctly. I personally injured myself by shooting a bow with the draw length set to long in the beginning.

archery draw length

Photo Credit: learn-archery.com

Draw weight – This is basically how hard the string is to pull back. You may start off lighter than you expect, but as you gain your muscle you will be able to pull more.

Cam – These are the wheel looking things on either end of your bow.

Whisker biscuit– These look slightly different from each other, but all have some form of bristles around them. This is mainly a piece that your arrow rests in.

Peep sight– A form of sight that attaches to your string. You don’t really need one, but if you are looking to be accurate, I highly suggest one.

Fletchings – These are the feathers or foam pieces on the end of the arrow. Not all arrows come pre-fletched (with the fletchings attached) so as a beginner, make sure yours are.

Nocks– these are the plactic ends of the arrow that clip onto your string and keep the arrow in place.

D loop – this is a small loop attached to the bow string that you can attach your release to without damaging the bow string.

Release – a release is something you use to pull back your bow string. There are a varying number of styles to choose from. Choosing one of these is more of a personal preference. You don’t necessarily need one, but many suggest one if you want to have a better shot.

These are the basic terms that will help you feel a little more comfortable getting started into archery. Archery is a wonderful sport for all ages, but not something to be taken lightly. Finding a friend or someone you trust to help guide you through the beginning is often the best way to get started.

How To Improve Your Shooting?

I learned how to improve my shooting in Archery from Lanny Bassham. Mr. Bassham is an Olympic gold medalist in the shooting sports and author of several books and cds which focus on how to improve your shooting. All of his teachings utilize a Mental Management System. It is his belief that a Mental Management System for improving your shooting should include a Pre-Shot Routine and a Recovery Routine.

A Pre-Shot Routine is what you think about before your arrow hits the bulls eye. Just as you do the same exact physical steps to shoot an arrow, your brain should run through the same exact thought process. These thoughts are individualized but should be as automatic as the physical shot sequence. “Draw”, “Smooth”, “Strong”, “pull with back”, “In the x, x, x” are examples. Whatever phrases you choose, they should help you concentrate on aiming, while your subconscious takes over the physical part of shooting an arrow.

A Recovery Routine is used to help refocus after losing concentration or “not-so-great” shots. Here is how to set up a Recovery Routine in three steps:

  1. Think of something else. Anything! The weather, your shoelace, the ceiling, what’s for dinner, choose any subject but archery.
  2. Physically do something. Examine an arrow fletch, transfer a coin from one pocket to another, stretch the fingers out, etc.
  3. Whatever you do in #2, do it for seven seconds. It takes the brain seven seconds to reset to another idea. (For those of us who are older, this is why we often forget things. If it takes more than seven seconds to walk down the hall to get something and another thought enters the brain during that time, we won’t remember what we went down the hall to get!) After seven seconds, start the Pre-Shot Routine thought process and begin shooting again. This should help get rid of those negative thoughts and bring better scoring results.

I suggest you find some good archery forum online and join them. This will help you make new friends and at the same time improve you knowledge about archery.

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