The Basics

Let's look at the re-curve bow

THE BASICS

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The Basics

Introduction 

In order to get to the tips, it will be necessary to make sure we are all starting from somewhere near the same reference point, so allow me to go through some basic discussion of equipment.   

Beginners 

The question of the right equipment is based upon many factors. What type of archery do you plan to participate in? The answer to this question will determine many answers about equipment. As a beginner, let's assume that you want to start out with some target archery. Most target archers shoot a recurve bow, however if your intent is to hunt once you become proficient, then a compound bow may be your choice. Since compound bows are pretty expensive, it still might make sense to start with a recurve and then move on to the compound later, after you have had time to determine if you like the sport. 


Recurve Bows

The recurve bow is the only type recognized in the Olympic Games, and is the most widely used in tournaments. Most beginning archers shoot a recurve, and many enthusiasts never shoot anything else. Most recurves are five to six feet in length, and tend to be of a 'take down' design; that is, they can be dismantled for transport. 


All bows have largely the same essential components. 

A Riser -- this is the handle part between the limbs. In a one piece bow, the riser and the limbs are, of course, the same piece of material. The riser will usually be made of wood or metal.   

Limbs which bend when the string is drawn, and store the energy used to propel the arrow. The limbs are usually made of wood, fiberglass, carbon fibre, or some composite of these.   

A string, usually made of Dacron. The reinforced bit in the middle is called the serving. Near the middle of the serving is the nocking point, where the arrow is mounted.   of wood or metal.   

An arrow shelf or arrow rest on the riser. This supports the arrow while it is drawn. A shelf is a cutting into the bow riser itself, while a rest is something mounted on the side of the riser. An extended shelf cutout is sometimes referred to as a sight window. Some bows have both shelf and riser; traditional longbows have neither.   

A sight (maybe). More about sights later. 

Limbs which bend when the string is drawn, and store the energy used to propel the arrow. The limbs are usually made of wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or some composite of these. 

BACK TO: the Basics

Re-curve Bow for Beginners

Sean McVeigh covers the basics of a re-curve bow

Compound Bows

See illustration to the right for specifics. This illustration shows a single cam model.

Because a compound offers such an advantage over a recurve or traditional bow, most archery organizations recognize compound archery as a completely separate discipline with its own rules. In most cases, any kind of technological aid is permitted, including multiple-point sights. Most compound archers use a 'peep' mounted on the bowstring as the back sight, and a three to five pin sight at the front. However, telescopic sights and spirit levels are usually allowed as well. There are even front sights that project red dots on a lens. 

Because a compound offers such an advantage over a re-curve or traditional bow, most archery organizations recognize compound archery as a completely separate discipline with its own rules. In most cases, any kind of technological aid is permitted, including multiple-point sights. Most compound archers use a 'peep' mounted on the bowstring as the back sight, and a three to five pin sight at the front. However, telescopic sights and spirit levels are usually allowed as well. There are even front sights that project red dots on a lens. 


 Longbows

The traditional longbow is at the opposite end of the complexity spectrum from the compound. It is a stick of wood with a string tied between its ends. Most archery organizations impose strenuous restrictions on what can be done to make the longbow more accurate -- basically nothing. Sights, even one-point, are usually forbidden, and in many cases you'll have to shoot 'off the knuckle', as even arrow rests aren't allowed. Arrows usually have to be of wood and feathers, but most governing bodies stop short of requiring the feathers to be hand-tied to the shaft. Shooting a longbow can be a lot of fun because nobody expects you to hit much of anything.  

Longbows are made of various types of wood; the most traditional is yew, although teak and maple are also used, either singly or in laminations.

Other Types of Bows

Short, one-piece "hunting bows" have always had a certain following, particularly among field archers. These have the same re-curve shape, but are shorter and usually have a much heavier draw weight. In addition, there has recently been an increase in interest in traditional bows other than the English longbow. For example, short "Mongolian" bows have started to appear in archery retailer's catalogues, as have American-style flat bows.

Because a compound offers such an advantage over a re-curve or traditional bow, most archery organizations recognize compound archery as a completely separate discipline with its own rules. In most cases, any kind of technological aid is permitted, including multiple-point sights. Most compound archers use a 'peep' mounted on the bowstring as the back sight, and a three to five pin sight at the front. However, telescopic sights and spirit levels are usually allowed as well. There are even front sights that project red dots on a lens.   eve a speed comparable to an longer arrow from a compound bow. 

Compoud Bow Parts

Compoud Bow Parts

Selecting your first bow and accessories

Follow along as John Dudley prepares a new archer with tips on selection of a new bow and all the critical accessories

Archery 102 Learning the Shot

John Dudley continues the training

NINE STEPS TO A GREAT SHOT

1 - Nock:

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Place arrow onto string. If the nock and string are properly sized, you will feel and hear it as the nock clicks onto the string. The nock should be just below the nocking point and the index fletch pointing away from the riser.

2 - Set:

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Get your position in place. This is your basic stance with your body at about a ninety degree angle to the target and your feet straddle of the shooting line and your feet about shoulder width apart.

3 - Set-up

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Raise your bow arm and drawing arm to nose level.

4 - Draw:

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Pull the bow string back to your anchor point.

5 - Anchor:

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Place your drawing hand in a position on the face, mouth, or jaw.

6 - Transfer:

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From the full draw position, transfer the draw weight of the bow from your arms and shoulder into your back.

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7 - Aim and expand:

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Align arrow to target.

8 - Release:

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Let the arrow go.

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9 - Follow through: Maintain your upper muscles after releasing the string. This is called follow through, and yes it is an important part of the shot.

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This is what we are going for. This may seem totally unrealistic at first, but practice these steps and you will see solid improvement.