Confidence Hit, should I carry on?

smoke in the trees-blog - a

In recent months I’ve been having and hearing more discussions about course laying with numerous people both face to face and on-line.

I’ve also been criticised for giving comments and my views online. And this has made me feel pretty low, in truth very low as it’s hit my confidence big time, making be question whether to continue posting or even archery.

Some organisers have said these points should be raised at the time of the shoot and not posted online on Facebook or websites.

Well maybe there is something in that, but I personally don’t see that as always being possible. People aren’t always that approachable because, lets face it, you can be stressed when trying to run something like a shoot.

There have been times when I’ve had the opportunity to talk to the course layers, more normally on courses where I know them personally and can have a quiet word.

So why don’t people make comments?

Maybe here is a reason, why…

At one recent shoot I attended all the archers were told that if they needed a target face changed they were to notify a course marshal. Only course marshals were to change faces. Fair enough, I can understand that as you don’t want faces being changed every five minutes.

However, what I and other archers witnessed might be a reason why so many archers don’t say or give comments on the shoot.

An archer requested a target face change, marshal replied that someone would be down shortly. The archer replied saying that there were people waiting to shoot it. The marshal then appeared to become very, lets say, agitated and short in his following reply.

I can understand that this is a stressful time for the organising team with long days and late nights, but it might explain why many archers don’t like approaching organisers.

This kind of response explains why archers don’t make comments on the day. In fear of being rebuffed or ridiculed.

There’s been a lot of conversation down at the club and other locations on courses and shoots attended, far more than ever appear on the web.

Is it better to say nothing? Then there is no chance of improvement.

Is it better to say something on the day? Call me a coward but I can understand why some would find this difficult to raise on the day. You also aren’t sure if it is just you not shooting well on the day. It is only afterwards when talking to others you realise maybe it wasn’t just you.

How do you report a problem?

Well you could approach a marshal and explain your concerns and views. How they react though is unknown.

If it is a matter of safety then you have to raise it there and then.

So what will I do?

To be completely truthful I don’t know. I don’t know if I will carry on writing these shoot reports or not. I started this as a bit of fun after reading many other blogs ( and I thought posting these would be helpful and interesting.

Now I am not sure….

Here is a parting thought if you say nothing do you have the right to comment when things change?

Thanks for reading,


Finding help

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you have all had your fill of easter eggs and festivities.

Recently Jordan wrote on her blog site  ( an article on organisations and societies for the newbie, that’s inspired me to do something similar for the UK.

I can’t list every club in the UK but I can point you towards some useful websites so here goes a few.

nfasNFAS – National Field Archery Society –

UK based organisation, which we shoot in most months, there is a good list of clubs and if you want you can find a shoot every weekend.


efaaEFAA – English Field Archery Association Thought I was a member briefly I have never had the opportunity to shoot under the EFAA banner but know many people who do.


archerygbArchery GB As the sites says Archery GB is the governing body for sports archery in the Great Britain and Ireland.

Another useful site is the Archery Interchange, with its extensive forums offering advice on all things archery related.


Thanks for reading and I hope you find this useful.


Jordan Sequillion writes a very informative blog on archery and has just started a series on Basic bow tuning and set up, which is well worth reading – Bow Tuning – Basic Setup.

Jordan Sequillion

It is well worth a visit to her site just to review the different articles and advice available.

Thanks for reading.

Good write up on basic bow tuning

How to measure your draw length?

I’ve had a couple of people ask about how you measure your draw length and what length to make arrows?

There are a couple of ways of measuring draw length, I know Jordan Sequillion has posted a method on her site. The one I feel works best is using a measuring stick or measuring arrow.

You can buy them from most archery suppliers but I made mine. In essence, mine is an unused arrow shaft which I have glued a nock in one end and then marked up in one inch intervals. To make it easier to read I’ve painted the increments in contrasting colours.

Measuring Arrow

Homemade Measuring Arrow

Get the archer to draw up 3-4 times and then coming down obviously without releasing the measuring arrow. (make sure they are in a safe environment so on the range pointing towards the target boss just encased they accidentally release)

Full Draw

Archer at Full Draw

Ensure they are drawing to their normal anchor point each time, this way you can ensure the measurement is correct.

You can then see easily what there draw length is and the technique can be used for all pretty much all styles of bow, though please be careful when trying this with a compound bow, since it is easy to release the measuring arrow when you come down from full draw.

Here is a couple of additional tips.

Camera Phone – Use your camera phone to capture a couple of images of them at full draw. This will make easier to check the measuring later.

Rubber band or Tape – If you don’t have a camera to hand try using a piece of tape or rubber band at what you think is their draw and then have them draw up a couple more times. This way you can see if it is in the right spot.

If they are a beginner add another inch on as shown in this photograph below.

Measuring Arrow

White tape shows potential arrow length

I tend to recommend a slightly longer arrow if shooting woods and field archery. simply as in winter months you might be wearing a glove on bow arm and it gives you a little more clearance. Also should you lose the pile or snap the tip-off you might be able to taper the end back down and still have a usable arrow.

For competition I tend to cut them exact leaving no “spare”, if I lose the tip the arrow is added to the wood pile for the fire 😦

The other useful thing with using this method is spotting archers who either overdraw or overdraw and then collapse slightly. But I’ll cover this in more detail in my next posting.

Thanks for reading, any questions let me know.

What arrows for beginner?

Early this week Sharon was asked by an archery friend what arrows she thought would be good for her brother. What an easy question to answer … NOT 😉

She asked me and my response was to suggest she found out some more information first

The type of arrow is dependent on numerous factors many of which I’ve covered but in short

  • Draw Length
  • Bow weight
  • Club rules
  • Bow Style – compound, recurve, longbow etc
  • Purpose – hunting/target/field etc

Shooting an arrow that is not matched to your draw length and poundage can be dangerous as it may snap under the pressure if the wrong poundage, or you might draw it off the arrow rest if too short. Beginners often find their draw length increases as they get more used to shooting, so make sure any arrows allow for this.

Likewise too light an arrow can damage your bow as there is insufficient strength and weight in the arrow to cope with the energy from the limbs, resulting in damaged limbs.

General rule of thumb is the longer the draw length and the heavier the bow draw weight you end up going for stronger arrows ie the numbers higher. This is explained best here, taken from the Easton Arrow site

The four-digit number refers to the outside diameter and wall thickness of the shaft. The first two numbers are the outside diameter in 64ths of an inch. The second two numbers are the wall thickness in thousands of an inch.

For example, a 2514 shaft would be 25/64th of an inch in diameter and .014 of an inch wall thickness. OD and wall thickness are the two variables in controlling spine for aluminum arrows.

Quick point on club rules. Some clubs do not allow archers to use carbon arrows, others ban beginners from using them. Personally I am not a fan of beginners using carbon arrows simply because I prefer them to use alloys. Alloys are easier to find if lost, if they glance off a tree they might be slightly bent but can’t be straightened, they don’t break / shatter leaving carbon shards. This topic is covered in the recent stick and string podcast

For complete beginners I tend to use Easton Neo alloy shafts, they are 1618 and at full length 32 inches. They are great arrows for low poundage bows, up to about 24-26lb at 28″ above that they get a bit whippy.

Easton Neo

Easton Neo

Another good arrow for a slightly more experienced archer is the Easton Jazz.  They range from 14130  to 1916. I tend to find most beginners find the 1816 work well from their first bows that come in about 26lb-30lb.

Easton Jazz

Easton Jazz

Here is a link to Easton Arrows selection chart  this will help work out whats best for your bow.

As the archer progress good alloy arrows are the Easton x7  (think they are 1614 going from memory) which Sharon uses (recurve 38lbs and 26″, yes 26″ not 28″) and work well for the field archery we do. I’ve got some XX75 that are pretty robust too, but I tend to shoot wooden arrows more.

There are loads of really useful sites out there and a wealth of help in local clubs, so do a few searches and if you can try different arrows before you buy. Jordan Sequillion blog site covers this well as do others like Charlies

Please note I have no alliance or connection with any of the shops or manufacturers I mention here, other than being a customer. So I have no vested interest in this other that trying to help an offer my opinion.

I hope this is of interest and if you have any questions drop me a line. Always happy to help if I can. Thanks for reading.