Vacation – Stretch band!

I’m just back from a couple weeks of vacation with my family. Prior to leaving ,the thought of bringing my bow, briefly crossed my mind, but it really wasn’t practical, and bringing it, would have very likely detracted from the memorable family adventure we ended up having.

I did have some concern about losing ground on the work I’d been putting towards my form though, so I packed a stretch band.

Stretch band in hand 2 (1)

This turned out to be a great solution, It took minimal space, was light and it allowed me time in front of a mirror in the early mornings to practice. I discovered that the mirror/stretch band combo gave me good feedback, and helped me identify posture issues and inconsistencies in my draw.

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Me, while on holiday, looking a bit serious for the camera.

On the travel end, we didn’t check any bags, and I carried it onboard in my backpack with no issues from the airport security folks, although halfway through the flight I did consider tying up one of my kids with it…

Kiddos aside, the stretch band worked well for me, I found it helpful and an easy peasy solution to a bit of archery in your bag, travelling or otherwise.

C.

 

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Clickers – My progress with the Olympic bow

I recently decided to try out Olympic style archery, having come from the barebow world.

I had been using a heavy barebow riser so I purchased an appropriate riser and the gear involved.

One of the items I purchased is a clicker. For those that don’t know, it is a metal strip that rides against the outside edge of your arrow as it is drawn, when the arrow is pulled beyond the clicker, the clicker springs to the riser, striking it and making a sound, which indicates to the archer that they’ve reached their pre-determined draw and can release the arrow.

Clicker - front view

Sounds simple but for it to work well means that your draw and form have to be consistent.

What I’ve found is that this little strip of metal is quite the taskmaster and if you’re paying attention it will point out your form errors.

Getting your errors pointed out to you is often two sided. When I’m struggling to pull through the clicker and I’m feeling frustrated it can very much be a pain in the patookie.

When I take the time to analyze why I’m struggling, allow it to sink through, figure out what the issues are and then see arrows striking gold, I feel uplifted and happy about the challenge.  What have the issues been, you ask?

The easy one to catch for me was not locking my bow shoulder down and letting it ride up which makes going through the clicker near impossible.

Clicker - side view

I also caught inconsistent finger grip on the string. This one has absolutely forced me to pay close attention at how I hook the string and what happens to this hook once under tension at full draw.

More insidious though are things like stance and I am now suspecting head position.

I realize now that all these little problems have existed all along but I was mostly unaware of them. I’ve had my suspicions but nothing like the clicker to make you stop and figure it out.

One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about this little strip of metal is that aside from it’s intended function it is a good training aid, a bit of the yellow canary of archery, it gives a warning that something is not as it should.

I’m excited about learning the ways of Olympic archery and although frustrating at times the knowledge that I’m improving pushes me along. More to come..

Counting arrows

Here’s a little tool that you can use to help you achieve training goals. It is inexpensive, small, easy to carry around and simple to use. What is it you ask?

It is the venerable sports counter.

Arrow counter

Many archers have daily and or weekly arrow goals. Whether that is 300 a week or 300 a day, a sports counter is an easy way to keep track of arrows shot, that and a log and you have a nice system to gauge the pace of your training.

I got curious about one when I heard another archer mention the benefits, so up to Amazon I went and found a slew of them for little money. A couple of dollars for a simple and seemingly foolproof training aid is rare in the archery world, so I jumped in feet first and am glad I did.

When I first tried it I would click the counter after every arrow, but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work for me, it was too much of a disruption to my sequence because I’d forget then think about it midway through my next shot.

I now click them in after each end when I go to retrieve them. Archery is a chain of small events and I needed it to find a place for it in the procession.

Sports counter on quiver

I hang it off my quiver with a small carabiner where it is at easy reach. I would emphasize easy, because if it’s not easy you’re just not going to do it, so don’t bury it.

I paid $1.51 for the one I bought. Here’s the GINORMOUS Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG2846O/ref=pe_309540_26725410_item

By the way, this would make a thoughtful gift for another archer, think mother’s day for your archery mom.

Best, C

Archery training aids and how to use them a la Kisik Lee

Kisik Lee for those of you that may not know of him is the National Head Coach of the US Olympic Archery Training Program. He is thought of highly not only in the US but around the world.

Khatuna Lorig and Coach Kisik Lee at the 2012 Summer Olympics

Khatuna Lorig and Coach Kisik Lee at the 2012 Summer Olympics

He has an excellent handbook on training aids and specific exercises to help you as an archer. This is work with stretch bands, straps and the Formaster. You can find his Specific Physical Training Handbook by clicking here.

I found it to be excellent.

You can find out much more, including the KSL shot cycle on his website.

True Shot Coach

I was recently sent a True Shot Coach which is both a training aid and something you can use all the time to improve your bowgrip and according to the maker, eliminate torque.

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True Shot Coach with sling – They make these without a sling, because I’m shooting a recurve bow I chose the sling version.

The problem with the bowhand is that it gets in the way, if the bow is not gripped properly it is easy to induce torque which shows up on the target as left or right arrows.

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I’m using the True Shot Coach in this picture, hard to see as my fingers hide it from view.

What the True Shot Coach does is secure your hand on the bow at the proper angle and keeps your fingers settled and out of the way.

A proper bowgrip is relaxed and is just resisting the bow, creating a pocket of sorts for the bow to bear against, you want the bow to be free when you release the string, allowing it to jump forward towards the target,  so if your motto is “Grip it and rip it!” you need one of these.

The True Shot Coach is affixed to your hand by an elastic band that fits around your fingers, see picture.

Elastic band form fits around your fingers and places the T.S.C. in your palm.

Elastic band form fits around your fingers and places the T.S.C. in your palm.

You put it on by sliding your fingers through the elastic band. The fit is secure. They come in different sizes and colors, you can visit their website for instructions on how to figure out your size and other more detailed info.

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I used it on the blank bale and found it to be a great training aid in reinforcing proper hand position and relaxed hand and fingers. I was able to translate it to shooting in the field.

I have incorporated it as one of my training steps as I rotate through the components of my shot sequence (stance, nock, set grip, bowarm, draw, breathe, lock into back muscle, blur string, focus X, expand to conclusion).

You can also use it outside of practice in your regular shooting. The maker’s website, Don’t Choke Archery, says it is NFAA and FITA approved, because I shoot the more minimalist traditional and recurve barebow classes, I would want to check in before I used one in competition.

The construction and quality of these is good and the cost is reasonable. The True Shot Coach is $16.95, the slinged version that I used is $ 22.95. They are made here in the USA.

So, if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for the archer that has everything, this may just do the trick.

C.