Sunday, May 5, 2013

Is all of your staff trained?

This years summer camp archery programs are set to start shortly, and now is the time to make sure all of your staff are trained and ready.  Level I certification is good for three years and  re-certification can now be done online.  If you are in position where you need more trained staff or feel that you all could do with a refresher, call us and we will be glad to set up a session for you.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Split, or three under?

Working with as many youth as I do, one of the most frustrating things to deal with is really one of the easiest to rectify.  The issue?  the arrow not staying on the rest during the draw.  As an instructor, this can be most frustrating especially with the younger beginners.  For them, it can be a deal breaker as to whether they continue with archery or simply give up.  Many beginners, and even for some of the more experienced archers particularly those who are used to using a mechanical release, the simple step of transitioning from the set-up position to the draw turns into a fiasco, with arrows wiggling back and forth and sometimes dropping to the floor.

The problem stems from pinching the arrow between the first two fingers during the draw.  The inexperienced archer tends to either "fist-up" or positions the bowstring somewhere other than the first crease or joint which in turn torques the arrow away from the bow.  The best solution we have found is to use the " 3-Fingers Under" approach.  By placing the fingers under the nocked arrow and correctly positioning the bowstring in the first crease, the arrow will usually remain on the rest.  The only problem with this approach is the tendency of the nock coming off the bowstring due to the increased string angle through the arrow nock.  However, by applying some upward pressure with the first finger against the arrow forces the arrow against the nock indicator and in doing so keeps the arrow firmly one the bowstring. 

Next time you see someone having this problem, suggest moving to the 3-Under hold.  Instead of frustration, you might see a smile.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Follow through. As simple as the four B's

I came across an article the other day  by Tom Keer on that referred to the four B's when talking about the follow through, one of the fundamentals of shooting and especially true for shotgun shooting. As a young boy growing up in England I used to work as a beater at a local estate. It was easy work and the pay was good, but the best part was the twice annual beater shoot. One time I was having a bad day missing several crossing birds in a row. One of the estates gamekeepers must have seen my poor performance and said to me later "you need to remember the four B's when shooting crossing birds". I guessed I must have looked puzzled as I had never heard of the four B's. He explained that the four B's stood for, Butt, Belly, Beak, Bang. there are three parts of the bird: the butt, the belly and the beak. When you start to swing towards the bird, the muzzle starts behind it (Butt) and then moves through it (Belly), and continues until it is out in front of it (Beak), and then the trigger is pulled (Bang). As long as you continue your swing or follow through you have no problem dropping the bird.

Tom Keer explained the concept well.  Here is a breakdown of what a shooter should see when looking down the rib of a shotgun and following the four B's.

Butt:  As the clay or bird takes flight, move your muzzle in the same plane as the clay. Move quickly to catch up with the target until your view is of the muzzle just behind the back or the “butt. ” You’ll want your movement to be consistent and smooth, so move deliberately and avoid any start-and-stop movements.

If you’re having a difficult time getting on the plane, try this simple trick. Stick your arm that holds the fore end of the shotgun straight out. Point your finger and call pull. Follow the clay with your index finger. Then pick up your shotgun, and keep the index finger on your fore end hand extended. When the clay comes out the next time, just point at the clay as you did before. Some shooters like their index finger on the side of the fore end while others like it on the bottom. Either way works fine, and it serves to help you point to the clay, stay on plane and catch up to the butt.

Belly:  Once you've caught up with the clay, keep the muzzle moving. For a visual you’ll want the muzzle blotting out the clay, with slivers of orange on either side. clays coming out of a trap move quickly, and so should you.

Beak:   Continue moving the muzzle through the clay and on to what would be the front end of a game bird or the beak. Your muzzle is now moving in front of the target, with no color except for that which is trailing behind. Keep moving just slightly ahead of the clay and….

Bang:   Squeeze the trigger. A simple squeeze on the trigger sends the shot towards the clay. As with all sports, follow through, and keep swinging the shotgun. Keep your cheek on the stock, you’ll be able to see the clay break easily enough.

Butt-Belly-Beak-Bang is an easy to remember approach to start breaking clays.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eye Dominance. Are you a lefty or a righty?

Most people have a visual preference for one eye or the other, often without even realizing it. This is known as eye dominance, and it is important for you to know which eye you prefer to use before you choose a bow. If you are right eye dominant, you need to shoot a right handed bow. A right handed bow, means you pull the string back with your right hand.  Most people who are right handed are also right eye dominant and left handers are usually left eye dominant, but not always. The following paragraph describes a simple test to determine which eye is dominant.  Extend both arms in front of your body and place the hands together so as to make a small triangle between your thumbs and the first knuckle. With both of your eyes open, look through the triangle and focus on a specific small object 20 ft or more away. Close your left eye. If the object remains in view, you are right eye dominant. If your hands appear to move off the object and move to the left, then you are left eye dominant.

Which bow to start with?

A question I am asked often by a parent is what type or make of bow would be good for their child to learn on. As far as I am concerned the answer is simple, it's the Universal Draw-Length Bow by Mathews known as the Genesis™ System. By eliminating let-off on light draw weight bows (where let-off is unnecessary), it eliminates specific draw length requirements. The result is a bow that fits virtually everybody (from 15" to 30"). For example, a Genesis™ bow set at 20 lbs, stores and releases an amount of energy comparable to a 35 lb. recurve bow! Plus, the Genesis™ bow has the "holding weight" (10 to 20 lbs.) necessary to "pull" the string from your fingers, making it easy to shoot.

  • Kids can't outgrow it - because there is no specific draw length requirement. 
  • It's simple to buy - no need to measure and fit for draw length. 
  • It's easy to shoot - because the draw length is always right, the beginning archer won't develop bad habits caused by an ill-fitting bow. 
  • Great for families - everybody in the family can shoot the same bow. 
  • Perfect for schools, clubs, organizations - no need to worry about draw length. 
  • Built to last - durable and tough, these bows can take the punishment that multiple shooters can dish out. 

This is why most camp programs as well as the National Archery in the Schools Program use this system.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ammunition Safety

The primary factor in ammunition safety involves using the proper ammunition for the firearm.  Because of the  ammunition shortages that we are experiencing these days the shelves at the local gun store are pretty empty, and as such you might be tempted to grab a box without checking it out fully.  Cartridges that are left usually are marked +P and +P+.  These cartridges designated +P and +P+ are loaded  to a higher pressure than standard cartridges, and must be only used in guns certified to handle the extra pressures.  Do not use these cartridges until you have checked the markings on the gun, in the owners manual, or contacted  the manufacturer , to verify that your gun can fire them safely.