Sunday, 2 May 2021

Archery week 11

After week 10 I made a small adjustment of the pressure button a quarter turn out/ less of plunger showing, which should pull the arrows left a little as I shoot left handed. As this was a trial I did not move the arrow rest fully in and it was visible a little to the outside of the arrow.

This week I was testing this out using 40cm rounds target at 18, and 25 yards. It seems to have improved the issue it may need further adjustment, for now I will adjust the arrow rest before week 12 to its correct horizontal place, and continue with the trial in a more organized manner, to find the fine tuning that may be needed.

On group practice day I was shooting in a team with 3 archers on an athlete exchange program, a university women's team member from Great Britain, a woman athlete from India, and a man athlete from the USA who is a field archery competitor, he is a Linux technician for a company in USA, as Linux is my hobby and OS of choice I was interested to hear about this too.

This week I increased my daily arrows shot from 75 per day to 100 per day, I think it was a bit too high of a jump too soon for me, considering the poundage increase on the new bow setup at the same time, as about half way through the week I was feeling tired and the grumpy feeling, so I eased back to 75 arrows a day for the rest of the week, I will consider a new way of increasing in a healthier way for me from this week (12) after discussing it, as it was a self directed change so I need to discuss it and ask about how to make a more steady increase.

Yesterday I have ordered my own bow scales from Merlin Archery, it is a Feather River bow scale, it is a calibrated mechanical bow scale. Once it arrives I will be able to test my actual draw weight as I progress with limbs and so enable me to choose the right arrow spine more accurately, due to drawing more than 28" standard length. Until it arrives I am unsure where it is from, but I know it is popular in the USA, Australia, and the Netherlands, as well as here (most places were sold out of it).
I also ordered a Cartel string jig, some string material (Flex Dacrogen) and serving material (BCY) and a Avalon serving tool, for learning string making for bows in the future, plus some  glue in Easton tips for building my own arrows (Easton shafts), and a Mybo Zebrano wood grip for my bow to add at a future time once I get used to the bow more, it's a striped pattern grain wood it comes from an African tree species, it is the only wooden grip made by the manufacturer of the bow I use, so will fit well, it is a grip shaped for left handed archers.
I order things together, ahead of being ready to use them, as the postage is high here, so ordering together saves having to pay the same courier costs multiple times.
As I progress through adding the parts, and learning in each of these areas, arrow making and string making, I will do blog posts about them.

Archery week 10

On week 10 I only trained on 1 day, as it was the internment of my moms ashes and I needed the time.

It was my first time shooting with a bow wrist sling fitted, and higher draw weight, with neutral tiller; the set up for shooting barebow 3 fingers under release, 3 fingers under is also known as Apache release, it was the first time shooting using the most recent bow adjustments, and so was also a test for the adjustments. 

I found the wrist sling awkward at first during picking up the bow out of the stand, and putting it back after an end, but shooting wise it had no negative effects and was easy to become used to, and quickly. I like it and it is staying 😍

I shot at rounds, the standard circle inside circle targets, at 18, 20 and 30 yards, using 40cm target faces.
I shot much better with the most recent bow tuning, decent groupings, most ends having 2 arrows touching and 1 flyer slightly to right in the 8 scoring zone.

I was also practicing gap shooting, which involves adjusting aim on the target based on the previous arrows positioning, it is a way to improve arrow results when shooting barebow (no sights), and also is used to cater for different distances of targets, and compensate for the wind factor, with practice you learn where to aim based on the strength of cross or swirling winds, from early or first shots, which can take a lot of time and experience to become good at, so I practice it regularly to improve in this.
Examples - if the wind is pushing your arrows to land in the higher and to the right of your aiming point you aim to lower left of your actual target to compensate for the wind and you will hit centre.

At the end of the session, I knew the pressure button needed adjustment to a shorter amount, so I made this adjustment before week 11, to try it out.
I had fallen behind in writing up the weeks but am almost caught up, I am just at the end of week 11, and I will be posting this later today.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Latest bow tuning

During week 9 I was given a lot of help, advice and tips on how to improve the initial tuning of my new bow. This blog is about the changes made based upon this ready for week 10.

I have now installed a wrist sling, it is an Easton paracord and leather one, I've had it a while just had not fitted it until now as I was getting used to the feel of the bows riser grip. I ordered separately a Neet hexnut kit to install the sling, as I shoot barebow so I don't use a stabiliser to secure the sling to the bow. The Neet hexnut comes with 2 locking washers and I wasn't sure how to fit these washers on correctly, whilst speaking with one of the pro archers during the week I asked him how they are fitted, and he explained it to me.

On Saturday night I installed the Easton bowsling to the bow riser with the Neet hexnut and 2 locking washers, then on Sunday my cousin adjusted the sling size for me on either side in small amounts whilst I held the bow and then went through release each time until we got it to the ideal adjustment for my hand angle and also as a left handed archer, it's a nice comfortable, secure wrist sling, with a good range of adjustment, and works very well with the Neet hexnut kit for barebow set-up. I am pleased with the products and set up. If setting up the bow wrist sling its easier this way as it needs threading in to lock it in position but the other person can pinch this so it isn't locked in until its almost right, it saves having to lock it in and out multiple times, it makes it a much faster thing to do and you can concentrate on the feeling of it and its movement range rather than thinking about adjusting it and taking your hand in and out of the sling each time to do the adjustments.

I have now set the tiller to zero/neutral for barebow, for the three under finger release style.

I have reduced the brace height back down to my original 21.6cm, when showing me how to set up the plunger the club coach had set it to 23cm but the manufacturers maximum is 22.5cm, so on the mini tuning I reset it to 22.4cm and tied some new nocks, for this new tune I have returned it to my initial preferred brace height of 21.6cm, as in the pro pen I was advised to reduce it to mid to lower end of the bracing height parameters for the riser as this increases the string range.

I have tied some new nocking points on to the string this time at 1/2 inch above centreline on the bow square for the bottom nocking point, then nock width above this for the top one, so it is suitable for the new brace height and tiller. Once I test the set up over the following two weeks if needed I may have to tie new nocking points, I will add in to a weekly archery blog if I do this.

Next I checked string alignment and limb alignment as I only done this on first setting up the bow, and now I have put many arrows over the bow I wanted to check this again, they did not need any adjustment. 

I also went all over the riser checking the bolts to see if any loosening had happened, it had not, this is something I know to do now before shooting each time, for safety, and to make sure set-up remains the same.

As I have changed the arrows they are a much narrower diameter I had adjusted the plunger a little and learned about that with the coach, but needed to set up centre shot for these arrows, with tip to the right of the string for left handed riser. This may need further fine adjustment on the range dependent on how it shoots.

I had already adjusted the vertical and horizontal on the arrow rest when I changed arrows but rechecked this, and it was okay.

Archery week 9

Week 9 was my first week on the top range.

On my first self directed training day I was shooting at a paper faced animal target, an Alpine Ibex as someone arrived before me and had already put some target bosses on trucks, so I helped him move them over and set up.
It was just two of us to begin with, and one of the coaches sat a distance off watching to see how I done on my first day on the top range, I was the only woman archer this day.
Pretty soon more arrived, people arrive at various times as per their timetables, over about an 8 hour time frame.
During my time in total there were 5 shooters and 2 others shooting sometimes, one of these is the man many call the bow whisperer I later found out, he does all manner of trick shots, he didn't do any on this day, and is so named because he is very good at tuning bows for accuracy to an individual archer. He gave me some advice by telling me to fully tighten in the limb bolts increasing the draw weight from the 26lb I am guessing to maybe 27lb, and to set it to neutral tiller, and to drop the brace height lower, he encouraged me that I could increase the draw weight by handing me a bow to draw (not shoot) that I could do comfortably he said it was at 36pounds draw weight, so this is how I re-tuned my bow before week 10 (I will be blogging about this soon), also the first shooter there when I arrived gave me some advice to increase the height of the nocking point three times higher than the initial set up on the intermediate range, based on my shooting style and arrow placements, which I tried out by using the top nocking point as the bottom one before retying during the tuning.
I guess at maybe 27lb as the draw weights are based on 28 inch draw length and I draw 30 inches, so it could be 29lbs upwards I am actually using as draw weight, the bow whisperer is bringing a bow scale to give me an exact measurement one of the weeks, and also to show me how to use one so I can get one myself to do it in future.

I shoot using three fingers under release, also called Apache release, as this is used a lot with barebow especially with the dark arts of string walking and face walking, both of which are banned in our national organization competitions, but both of which are allowed in some international competitions. So these are areas I will learn in future.
On my first day they encouraged me to use Mediterranean release, also called split finger, one finger (index) above the arrow and two fingers below the arrow, my arrow placement was pretty much the same even when alternating between the two releases so I didn't see a huge difference with the set up before re-tuning, the main thing being the arrow and string seems to leave the fingers faster, so I am thinking it would be a useful method on longer range targets.

My aim from week 9 forwards was to shoot 75 arrows per day, which I achieved.

During the rest of my first week I was shooting with 15 or 16 archers each day. 

I seen the pros using lots of different set ups, different take down recurve bows (like I use), longbows, American Flatbows, a Hybrid bow, a Compound bow, and a Horse bow.
I also seen some really nice custom paint jobs on risers, lots of custom arrow work, and on wooden arrows, painted cresting, seen videos of the cresting machines some had made to show me what they use for those arrow cresting.
I was given so much advice, help and support by the pro archers I am still trying to absorb much of it now on week 11.

I also seen some trick shots of shooting a bungee cord, and then after a little teasing seen the bow whisperer, turn, chuckle and say, 'through the hook', and shoot instinctively through the bungee hook at 30 yards, which left 1mm either side of his wooden arrow, with what seemed like zero effort for him, it was an amazing shot.

I also seen a compound archer put three arrow at 30 yards on a small square of paper on which his wife had drawn a smiley face, she then put three arrows in a line on the mouth using her recurve takedown, he then done 3 arrows touching using a horse bow, they were just playing about during their warm up, it was kind of overwhelming but also really inspiring and interesting to see that.

They put a 3d rabbit out for me at 30 yards, my first time shooting at a 3d target,  in 2 hours I managed to hit in the scoring kill shot zone of one rabbit, and hit another arrow in its tail, but every other arrow I shot I went underneath the 3d rabbit in the grass, I imagine it has no feet pads left. At first I felt a bit embarrassed but nobody was negative about it. I also shot at a 3d pig target during week 9 side on, and also face on for the smaller target area. I done better on the 3d pig as it was a bigger target. It will take me a lot of practice for the 3d targets as they seem challenging, but are a lot of fun too.

Overall my first week on the top range was a really positive experience.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Clothing for Archery

These are the rules on clothing for us, from the World Archery Rules book -

  • Women shall wear dresses, skirts, divided skirts, shorts (these may not be shorter than the athlete’s fingertips when the arms and fingers are extended at the athlete’s side) or trousers, and blouses or tops (covering the front and back of the body, be fixed over each shoulder while still covering the midriff when she is at full draw)
  • Sport shoes shall be worn by all athletes and officials except for disabled athletes when included on their classification card. Sport shoes may be different styles but shall cover the entire foot.
  • No advertising of any kind whatsoever shall appear on clothing worn by the athletes or officials at any time during the tournament except as specified in the eligibility rules.
  • The archers name is allowed on the clothing
  • Hats are optional

The World Archery Rules for clothing are also the Rules for Olympic competition, and National Target Archery Teams, and Field Archery athletes competing under World Archery Competition.

Different Rules 

Although there are Field Archery competitions governed by World Archery there are also Field Archery competitions within nations that are governed by a range of national organisations.

Here the national organisation has No Dress Code. Unlike World Archery where the Field Archery takes place on a field, the national organisations Field Archery takes place "in the field", meaning in rough terrain and also in woodlands. The club I am a member of does this type of archery, and we also practice on a training grass field. The unwritten rule is to use common sense to wear clothes and footwear suitable for the terrain.

At the sports excellence centre they supply us with clothing kits. We train as per the club in rough terrain, woodlands, or on grass fields, we also train on artificial surface lanes, some use an indoor range, I do not use an indoor range at this time. We do other training, I do gym, running outdoors, swimming, and classroom time.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Archery week 8

This week my new arrows arrived on Friday, the default fletchings from Easton are EP26, they work fine, I prefer and am usually using EP16 fletchings. I bought them already assembled to finish setting the plunger first mode.

I have a few bags of fletchings so as they need refletching I can do to EP16, they are fine to use for now as is, just fly a little slower.

So today was the first time using the new arrows, although I had already been using some another person loaned me to start the plunger set up in week 7.

Initially the coach thought I may need to change the plunger spring, but after watching me today he said no, and I adjusted the plunger to final first mode myself.

Now I am shooting centre target but still a little high, mostly this is tension in my shoulders I realised this evening. I am working through grief at this time so it is to be expected, I will work on some better relaxing before training.

Now the plunger and arrows are working well I will order some spare nocks, and also some bare shafts for building the first arrows myself at a future time. I will use the Easton Neos bare shafts, 1618 spine, at 30" length, with (AAE) Arizona Plasti-Nocks, and AAE Elite fletchings at EP16 size. I use Saunders NPV, and Avalon Fletching Jigs x2, for cresting, name and club initials I have made these on Ubuntu using GIMP and will use the diy decal method. If this turns out to be short durability I may buy some decals, I am just not happy with the advertising on the ones I have seen so far and they do not have in transparent. Transparent sheets I have seen you have to stick on 1 character at a time and lining all the characters up would be a nightmare, it would frustrate me each time I noticed it wasn't inline when drawing an arrow.

During my own shooting today, a competition winner for Field archery and 3ds, using a traditional bow with wooden arrows with feather fletchings, decided to share my target for a few ends, then one of the Olympic archers also joined in on my target, full kit, I was feeling a bit intimidated at first, but then settled (honest lol), I heard the coaches discussing how my shooting improves quickly under pressure, I am hoping I improve without that, find a better way so they don't choose that technique. 

The Olympic archer afterwards gave me a chat about plungers, building arrows, marking arrows, competition circuit.

Today I got the door codes, this means I have now moved on to the top range. So I can set my own courses up for self directed training 1 day per week, others on that range will be doing the same, I begin next week. I still need to learn that so will likely stick with a standard round target face to begin with and vary my distances more often, start at 5, then move out to 15, then 30, then reverse. So my codes work on 2 days the self directed training day, and the competition training day. On the competition training day we set out courses to simulate 3d contests and Field archery contests (it varies), it is simulated as it is in the training camp, not in the woods, I will be training in the woods on other days at a future time.

I will very much feel the newbie as I will be the only athlete there that has not competed in competitions previously, so I will feel quite out of my depth, some of them are national champions etc, I will blog as I go along.

I was meant to compete for the first time in April but it was cancelled due to lockdown, so many changes in the training and the equipment would have happened earlier if no lockdown and with 4 months to get used to it before April, I don't think they will wait until August or September for the contest, so it will be less time to train or get used to the equipment, it will give me the experience of trying a small competition with the peers instead of strangers though so it will still help me a lot.

Today I supervised my first beginner archer, the coaches watched from a distance off, he is due to be tested and signed off for competition next weekend, so it was minimum supervising, and general nattering, he talks a huge amount, we shot at 15yards and then set up a 60yards target with him and done 2 ends on that as it will help him be ready for his competition sign off next weekend, I think he will pass it, and maybe will come to the top range in about 4 or 5 weeks time.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Archery session 7

Last week I returned to archery for the first time after a 4 months stoppage due to the Covid lockdown. It was a one off session before Easter, this week we returned fully. 

I learn and shoot at a barebow club, and also at a sports excellence centre, I had never held an archery bow before and on my 3rd week the scouts for the centre were watching and so I was invited to attend there to train also.  In total it was my 7th session at the club last week, the centre we begin this week and I will  train more.

I had been using a club bow until I was signed for competitions, this bow was a Rolan bow, it is composite handle, left handed, it is a nice bow lightweight and accurate when tuned well, I had a Hoyt super rest on it and Easton Neos for arrows, this is the bow and set up that I used when my shooting stood out to be invited.

Then it was time to get my own bow, for my first bow I got a Mybo Elite, it is an ILF recurve bow in left handed, and is made in England from a single billet of CNC machined aluminium, it had arrived after lockdown began. I use a Carrera custom recurve string for it, and Mybo limbs @26pounds draw weight, the Rolan bow was 20pounds draw weight, 6 pounds is quite a jump, I was still having slight muscle aches yesterday. 

As it was lockdown I decided to try and set up and tune it myself as I need to learn this over time so it was good to make a start and practice, I fitted the Shibuya Ultima arrow rest, aligned the limbs, set the tiller, and brace height by adding the twists in to the string, then I tied on my own nocking points using some BCY thread. I learned how to do these things by watching YouTube videos by ShoreShot Archery, and reading the manufacturers manuals. 

The coaches said I have set the tiller and limb alignment well, fitted and adjusted the rest and plunger to centre shot properly. So I had made a good start.

Most of the session was spent shooting and altering the plunger, I have to change the spring this week as I am above its limits, so it needs changing to further improve the tuning, the coach will show me how to do it for the first time as he adjusts it after watching me shoot, over time I will learn to do it myself but it is early days. 

The brace height I had set it to was too low for me, so its increase meant the tied on nocking points were about 2 lines (imperial) too low, I had also tied them a bit too far apart, so for homework I had to remove these, check the brace height to new one and tie some new nocking points on, which I have done today, I had to do one of them twice as I done it a little too loose. I use 2 nocking points, one either side of the arrow nock, as my first pair of nocking points I had made the gap for the nock a little bit too wide, so the new pair I have tied closer together like I was shown. I learned how to tie nocking points from a YouTube video by Clickers Archery, which I followed along to again today to tie the new ones.

I also needed to order some new arrows, which I have done, it seems like the shop is on holiday until next Monday so I'll have to wait for those to arrive. The Easton Jazz I initially bought only had 2016 in the length I needed at the store I bought them from so I had ordered these not really knowing/so I made a mistake, and they are too stiff and not flexing enough, they will be okay for in the future the coach said when I get to about 35 pound draw weight, so I used some arrows there of 1618 size, Easton Neos again, I like these arrows, they are slim and delicate feel very light and shoot fast, Easton Neos are also what I am waiting to arrive.

We done the shooting at 5yards for the plunger, then 15yards and 55yards.

At the end of session 6 my task had been to shoot diagonally at an animal face paper target, to gauge the shot differently due to the angle rather than a straight in front of the target shot, so for the 55yard shots I shot over a line of 15 yard targets at a 45degree diagonal angle to the target face, first 3 arrows fell short, next 3 arrows all on target 2 scoring well.

On the 15 and 5 yard targets my groupings are consistent throughout several hours of practice, only the aim is off, too high barely in the scoring, now the nocking points have been changed, and once the plunger spring is changed and adjusted, I should be on target well, and if I am not then I know it is me as everything is tuned well.