Archery Outside-In

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Friday is here again and that means our Archery Lessons continue…

I’m flaggin’

This is our last week (for 2019) where the Club will be shooting outside (due to an earlier sunset affecting the light). Next time we move inside to a local school until March-time next year. Due to other commitments – including a holiday – we won’t be back until early November.

Whilst Ann continued with the traditional Bow, I joined the Longbow group again this week for some more Clout Archery ‘Clouting’ is where, rather than aim directly at a target, we aim for a flag firing arrows into the air – and this requires a very different technique.

The last time I was here, a couple of weeks back, my technique had taken a turn for the worse. At the time, I couldn’t quite figure out why, but tonight, all became clear. Dave, my Mentor, knew why, and consequently dropped me down to a lighter Bow (from 40lb. to around 25lb.). Apparently it’s a well-known issue, where novices, in a natural desire to move to heavier Bows in order to increase distance, sacrifice their technique, as they concentrate too much energy on ‘pulling’ the actual Bow. The issue is known as being overbowed.

Simples! ๐Ÿ˜

With the lighter Bow, I immediately saw and felt an improvement! Not only was my technique now much better, I also found my arrow-grouping to be a lot better too! Dave also commented on my improvement, which helped my confidence enormously!

A great Lesson! ๐Ÿ‘

Bow Best?

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It was our weekly Archery Class tonight!

So, after my generally sub-par performance last week, I’m hoping I’ll be on better form tonight – especially as my Mentor, Dave, is back to keep an eye on me!

Again tonight, conditions were perfect – not too warm, not too cold with a gentle breeze. It was a good turnout too, and we all noticed that it started to get dark a bit earlier impacting on how much time we had to shoot.

After a few rounds shooting at a target, I joined the Longbow group where Dave gave my technique a thorough examination. One of the things I’m noticing is that I can retain the said technique providing I’m there every week, but if I miss even a single lesson, then it’s a return to crapsville! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

As things turned out, tonight was a good night for me – my best performance for some time – and I shot right up until about 8.15 (when the lack-of-light stopped play). Unfortunately, I’m not there next week, so it’ll be interesting to see the impact of this on my technique next time.

Archery Absentees!

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After a two-week absence, (Film Night two weeks ago and rain stopped play for the whole Club last week) we’re back to the Bows tonight!

Weather-wise, it was a scorcher – a great start to the Bank Holiday weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰
And the weather seemed out bring out the members too! – a record attendance for a Friday. The exception was my Mentor, Dave who was away at another shooting event tonight. In his absence, I used the Longbow for actual target practice…

Wish I hadn’t though! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Why? Well, the two-week absence definitely affected my efforts – to say I was ‘all over the place’ was an understatement, with just as many of my arrows threatening the grass as the target! Still, on a positive note, Ann did pretty well – and it was a beautiful evening to be outside! We stayed until around 8pm, when most attendees called it a night too!

Not my best efforts, by a long, long way – better luck next week! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Glove Story!

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Where do I begin..?

Both Ann and I are getting serious about our Friday-night Archery Classes, and it was therefore time to start investing in some kit of our own.

So, earlier in the week, after some recommendations, we took the short drive to the local Archery Shop in Burton Latimer – TargetCraft – to begin stocking-up.

But I’m glad we got some directions beforehand, because you’d never find it ‘just by driving’ – even with a Sat Nav! Wow! This ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ for Archers, was naturally stocked with everything we needed, plus a whole lot more!! ๐Ÿ˜

Time then NOT to be tempted by those shiny, shiny multi-coloured bows, precision-built arrows and everything in between – but stick rigidly to our small list (at least for today!)

Mission accomplished in that we only spent a tad over ยฃ30! Most useful acquisition of all – a guard for each of us to protect the inner-arm from the bow-string slicing into flesh on release! (and it certainly does, especially with novices like us!). Ouch! ๐Ÿ˜ซ

No, not something from a Medieval torture kit…

Secondly, a glove for me to ease the pressure on the fingers when drawing a Longbow.

Steve had spotted TWO reasons why an Archery Glove doesn’t work as Winter-wear! ๐Ÿ˜

4.45pm: Nicki arrived, and is staying with us for most of the weekend. We took her along as a spectator for tonight’s archery adventure, ensuring that she positioned herself in a safe place (in front of the target, in my case!)

6.15pm: We each did our own thing tonight, and even Nicki had a go!

Perhaps not one of my most productive evenings as Dave, my Coach was later arriving, but as they say: “every day is a school-day” and even with the lack of shooting opportunities, I picked up some useful tips! ๐Ÿ˜

Long(bow) Story Short! ๐Ÿ˜

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So, with Friday here again, it’s time for our weekly Archery Lessons courtesy of Kettering Archers. For me, tonight is extra special as I’ve traded-up to a proper English Longbow! – and it came with some expert coaching from one of KA’s experienced Bowmen, Dave.

Although it’s perfectly possible to use the Longbow for target shooting, the alternative is something called ‘Clouting‘ where the objective is to land the arrow as close to the flag (the ‘clout’) as possible by shooting upwards into the air. Safe to say, that on this occasion, the flag was pretty safe from my shooting accuracy ! Anyway, this week was about technique (well, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!)

Mine are just out of the picture (by about a quarter of a mile!)

Because the Longbow is more powerful than the reflex/practice bow I’ve been using up until now, the distance travelled is a lot greater – at least twice as far – so I get a weekly walk as part of the deal too! ๐Ÿ˜Š. Typically, the practice bow has been anything from a 14 pounder up to around 24, whereas the English Longbow that I’m using is around a 40 pounder – as a result, it’s tough just to draw it and the correct technique is a must! Distance-wise, my arrows are now travelling around 170 yards, but I’m told that I still need to work on that all-important technique and Dave helpfully filmed me in action, providing much constructive feedback afterwards.

Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

Consequently, I’m now a complete ‘saddo’ and criticising ANY film that features a bowman – Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, Game of Thrones to name but a few! They make it look so easy!!! “Wrong posture!”, “Incorrect drawing of the bow!”, “How do you expect to hit anything, holding the bow like that?”. I’m so critical now I know what’s what! (ish)

I am, however, (still) great fun at parties!! ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

More of the same next week – watch out flag, I’m coming for you!!! ๐Ÿ˜

A Long Time with a Longbow!

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Friday is with us again and that means it’s our weekly lessons, courtesy of Kettering Archers!

For me this time, there was a deliberate change of equipment! After spending last week and the week before dabbling with the Longbow, tonight, I decided to spend the whole evening with this more authentic Bow. Remember, it has no arrow-guide, no sights – so it’s just sheer strength, and a bit of luck and judgement, attempting to send it to the target – I must have looked like an extra from a familiar Cider advert and perhaps I’d have had more success aiming at CANS as I was NOT on form at all tonight!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ‘

Whilst Ann continued to refine her technique with her Practice Bow, I was introduced to the Longbow Group – and I spent the rest of the evening with them! A very nice group of chaps, offering what Kettering Archers do best: plenty of guidance – both literally and figuratively. With these ‘merrie men’ I immediately sensed an extra element of fun, as I spotted that many of them had a small beer tankard attached to their waistband. When I asked the inevitable question, I was told that after practice, it was for ‘the Mead’ (well, obviously!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wow! I’m going to like it here!!! They also carry the highly decorated pink arrow – awarded to the Archer who ‘screws-up’ their shots in the most imaginative way! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ At last, I’m an instant winner!

Slightly disappointingly, my current Longbow, compared to theirs, only had the poundage to send my arrows half the required distance. So, roll-on next week, when I’m dispensing with my 30-pounder and ‘trading-up’ to something much heavier. I’m learning that this fun hobby is also giving me a good upper-body work-out…

…and that’s not just trying to get the top off the bottle of Mead!!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Steve – Take a Bow!

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Friday evening – and our weekly Archery lesson..!

..and another warm evening too!! In fact, maybe a bit too warm!

After dabbling with that ‘big-boy’s toy’ last week known as the Longbow – this evening was more of the same for me, plus a trade-up to a heavier Practice Bow in the shape of a 24-pounder (two pound heavier than previously).

My Longbow

Meanwhile, Ann experimented with different bow-weights to consolidate her technique.

Ann looking menacing!

When the time came, my slightly heavier practice-bow made the Longbow feel easier to use than last week (it’s still a b****** to pull though!). However, in spite of the extra physical challenge, it’s now my favourite type, even though it’s a bit ‘old school’ by comparison.

But as much as I liked it, in order to avoid a repeat of last week’s NFfaD* Syndrome, John, the Chairman of Kettering Archers (and our Coach) supplied me with an essential bit of extra kit…

*Numb Fingers for a Day!

Known as a ‘finger guard’ (how do they think of these names!), it’s a crucial add-on that provides protection for an Archer’s fingers from the pressure of the bow-string cutting into the flesh whilst drawing the bow. It may not look very elegant, but it does the job perfectly! ๐Ÿ‘

..and maybe it made all the difference!!! Just look at that shot… and that’s using a bow without a sight๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŽฏ

Seriously though, it’s probably as good as it’s ever going to get for me..! So I milked the moment ๐Ÿ‘

Next week I’m giving the practice bow a break and spending the whole lesson on the Longbow! Standby Kettering A&E!! ๐Ÿ˜Š