Money saving tip

Here is a quick money saving idea for my archery friends out there.

A couple of weeks ago I posted how a local craft store “Hobbycraft” was selling plastic poster tubes at half price and how these tubes can be used as inexpensive arrow tubes.

The only thing to remember is that the tubes are made of quite thin plastic so can be easily damaged when dropping arrows into them.

top of the tube

top of the tube

I cut couple of pieces of foam.

thick foam piece for bottom of the tube

thick foam piece for bottom of the tube

I then add a piece of thick foam in the bottom and top of the tube. You can use an old off cut from camping mat roll.

Marking the foam

Marking the foam

This foam then protects the inside of the tube from the arrow points piercing the end.

foam fitted into the tube

foam fitted into the tube

I’ve included a few photos to give you an idea of what I’ve used.

Thanks for reading.

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Do I still love archery? Maybe, maybe not so much right now.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over recent months. I’m sat here trying to writing up a couple of shoot reports, along with some notes on future articles and one thing struck me. I don’t have the same drive as I had 12 months ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing people, catching up with friends, being sociable and meeting new people. Shooting with friends is very relaxing and enjoyable, with the recent shoot at Forest of Arden with Roger and Julie proving this. Added to this are the number of conversations I’ve had at recent shoots with archers, which start with “Are you Rob?”, “I read your blog” which is amazing. Likewise having the opportunity of being in a team setting one of the 3D championships courses was great, if a lot of hard work and we’ve had some very positive feedback from archers who shot the course.

But I feel I’ve seen, and in some ways been the target of some of the darker side of the hobby, the politics, arguments, power games some might call it. True these happen within all clubs or organisations where people interact. But I think it has affected me and my enthusiasm for the hobby.

I think it struck me first last September at the NFAS championships. There I saw some people being very vocal in complaining at having their arrows checked by marshals at Administration on arrival. (Arrows have to be checked to ensure they have name and shooting order on to comply with the shooting and safety rules of the society. This can be easily done with a piece of tape or Sharpie pen.) Yet there were some who complained and weren’t always very polite about it. I think I took this to heart. I couldn’t understand why people were complaining about something that is and always has been a rule for all shoot nots just champs. Everyone marshalling the courses, checking arrows, doing the admin etc. is a volunteer. So why have a go at the volunteers because you haven’t followed the rules?

Then later in the year as many of the regular readers know Sharon and I had our membership renewal for our old club blocked. This left a very bad taste in my mouth and something I still think of now. To be honest I’m not sure if I ever really got over it or the way it was handled. I wonder if people realise the impact such actions have?

I know this kind of behaviour and actions is not just affecting me, as I know others who have had similar experiences in recent months.

So now I find I have less enthusiasm and find it hard to make time to practise. This time last year I’d be shooting 2-3 times a week, 120 plus arrows a night, and again at the woods on Saturday and a competition Sunday. Yes in the last 2 months I’ve practised 2-3 times, tops.

I think some of the problem with me feeling like this is I don’t get to shoot that much now, either as a competitor or simply at a wood with friends. So the relaxing chilled element of the field archery where you are shooting in a wood and seeing the seasons change has been lost.

Yet as I write this I think of all the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet through archery. Especially those who have introduced themselves by saying they have read this blog. For a few that is how they heard about field archery. I have to say I’m amazed that one small blog in the UK can have such an impact.

By the way if you do read this blog and bump into me on a shoot then be warned I will ask you what you find useful. It is something I always ask as I try to write what I hope people will find interesting and useful to know.

It’s interesting to hear the responses, as time and again it seems to be you want more write ups on shoots you’ve either attended or are thinking of going to in the future. I know one person at Hawk shoot commented on how they’d read previous shoot reports to get an idea of what to expect.

I am always amazed that anyone reads these rambling of mine. What is even more amazing from my perspective is what one archer I met at the Druids shoot recently said the blog had been recommended to them!

I still feel uneasy about my hobby. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the darker side of the hobby as a few of you have reached out to me in the past.

So what now? Well, I’m still here a little more jaded and a lot less energetic.

Those who know me, know that I will still help with coaching, arrow selection etc I’m just a bit quieter now and less likely to volunteer or comment on Facebook, web-boards etc.

Sorry if this sounds bit of a downer article, but I just wanted to share my thoughts and in some way explain why my writing on this site has been less frequent.

Thanks to all of you and thanks for reading.

Literature Review – Bow International Guide to Archery

Bow International - Guide to archery cover

Bow International – Guide to archery cover

Having been lucky enough to win a copy of Bow International Guide to Archery in the magazines Christmas draw I  thought it a great opportunity to give the publication a literature review on this site so here goes.
The book is a large format 114 page publication in a similar style to that of the magazine, being filled with colour photographs, diagrams and adverts from archery suppliers.
To be honest I have always been a little dubious of publishing houses producing a digest of articles previously published in their magazine. I can understand why they do it, just never sure it is worth the cost for the reader. In this case I actually think it is. At £9:95 it’s not over priced and I think it could be of benefit for newbies as it covers some basics well, as well as those archers wanting to expand their archery related library and knowledge. There are certainly articles I would and have recommend to people who are novices or experienced archers.
One such is Chris Wells on Shot Sequence along with articles on preparing for competition.
Bow International - Guide to archery

Bow International – Guide to archery

The articles are easy to read and informative giving an oversight on different elements of our hobby. The topics covered being quite varied from setting up a recurve bow to things to consider when shooting field courses. Some of the articles are quite a light touch on the subjects giving a brief overview rather than in depth analysis which you might find in other books. That is to be expected as after all there are only a few pages to cover a lot of subject knowledge.
Bow International - Guide to archery

Bow International – Guide to archery

I found myself picking it up and reading an article or two between jobs or in an evening when I had some spare time.
On the subject of topics covered, personally I would like to see more on the traditional side of the hobby along with elements on the instinctive archery, but this is entirely for personal taste and interest. Priced for just under £10 I believe it gives you a few ideas and wets your appetite to do some more research.
Overall I’d give it 8 / 10
Thanks for reading.

lights, camera, action, I mean Archery

And the Oscar goes too…
Some people love being in front of the camera, others prefer to do the filming. The question is can video resources help you if you are an instinctive archer?A few weeks ago I posted an article on how we’ve been using a tablet computer mounted on a tripod to record archers at a club coaching session. So How does this help? This aids the archer as they can be shown exactly what they do when drawing up or at point of release. How their hand moves or whether they drop their bow arm. Often they think they are anchoring correctly to the face when in reality they aren’t because it all happens so fast , too fast for some to process. Recording them has huge benefits to the archer’s understanding of what they are actually doing as opposed to what they think they are doing.
Talking to fellow club members on Sunday they showed me footage shot on their iPhone, playing it back in slow motion to watch the arrow flight. With the growth of YouTube and ease by which people can make and edit their own recording I believe there are more budding Spielbergs are out there.

What we can learn from other sports

It is now common for touchline judges and sport referees to make lots of use of instant replays in games, multiple camera angles along with slow motion footage to aid their decisions. Managers and coaches use it for  post match analysis of players performance, game plans etc. So can we use it for our sport of archery, or more precisely for those of us who consider ourselves instinctive archers. I believe it can be used.
From my perspective I believe video resources can be immensely useful for many sports, field archery included and they are becoming more common.
One word of note, there are advantages and disadvantages of these helpful guides and video tips. For starters some may not be that helpful, so it is worth checking out multiple sources of information to get a more rounded understanding of the topic. If you are going to review these resources then make sure you watch a few different sites or techniques as each presenter convoys a slightly different perspective when they narrate their story. The important thing to remember is that they aren’t always right in what they say.
Some can come across as a marketing or sales pitch for the latest products or next development in the technology. Whilst others take a balanced view giving the positive and negative perspective which is important.Generally I’ve found these resources can be broken down in to three types
  • Instructional recordings  where a skill is demonstrated.
  • Video reviews of equipment, competitions or locations.
  • Personal achievement report.

Instructional –  these vary in length from a few minutes to longer durations. Short duration clips of a few minutes I think can be ideal for helping archers out on different topics from how to serve strings, to fletch arrows, to how to aim and shoot instinctively. The short duration is an important factor here as long reviews might go into more depth, but they are harder to find time to watch. Wolfie instinctive archery (https://www.youtube.com/user/Wolfiesairbrush) YouTube channel has some great advice for instinctive archery techniques.

Equipment reviews are good to so long as they aren’t marketing based publicity. I’ve come across a few that are more about selling the product than actually reviewing it’s merits and flaws. Jim Grizzly Kent Archery Adventures (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxl7N0J9Rc8kDnjV_BzH-yg) still comes across as a good product review even though they are now Merlin Archery Adventures. I think Jim does a pretty good job of giving a balanced viewpoint of the bows he reviews.

I also quite like the personal achievement videos; when someone has posted their own success story. You often see these pop up on Facebook sites and YouTube. It can take a lot of courage to put yourself out there for all to see and comment on. There are a lot of people who enjoy criticising others or simply being argumentative. 3d archery (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4HdCXofIA4jsWi1q9AdBUA) have some nice event reviews, showing shots from different courses, offering advice and views.

There are loads of different sites on the Internet so I’ve listed a few others sites that are worth a mention too.

Ironmind Hunting (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9zPmJfjW2R9r0y2uUzq9aQ) has some good instructional guides.
Jeff Kavanagh (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgGoY0qpH8f11COXWkE8aLQ) is worth checking out for a mix of archery related topics.
Nathan Skyrme channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1kxvgSeCWZXdg4I6_BI5Zg) has also started producing some material and equipment reviews.
If you know of any others that you believe are worth sharing then add a comment here.

Making videos where I’m in front of the camera has never appealed to me. As someone once said “I have the perfect face for radio” , but I can see their merits.
Thanks for reading and don’t worry, I won’t be coming to a YouTube channel near you.

Don’t lose your grip

So January is over and Christmas seems a long time past, I hope you had a good festive time.
As January and February often sees us all short of a penny or two, with a corresponding tightening of the purse strings, I thought I would post what might be a money saving idea for my fellow archers. I want to talk about arrow pullers.  You know the things that give you a better grip on the arrow when pulling them from target bosses or 3D targets.
Yes I know what you are thinking, it’s not the most glamorous of archery accessories, but still a useful tool.
Arrow pullers come in all shapes, colours and sizes, varying in cost from under a pound to several pounds. Like everything some are better than others, but all share one thing in common, they can be easily lost either on the range or wondering round the woods.
Anyway onto the money saving aspect. When wandering around our local Lakeland store looking for jars for Sharon’s mass production of home made jams and preserves, I came across this non slip cloth sold on long rolls. It can be easily cut down to smaller lengths and cost just under six  pounds for a roll 30cm x 3 metres  (that’s about 12 inches x 10 feet). Normally it is used to cover work tops, or  in caravan drawers to stop contents moving.
Cut price arrow puller

Cut price arrow puller

I thought this could be used as a cut price arrow puller for newbies. So I cut a few lengths down to about 15 cm x 15 cm (6 inches x 6 inches”) and gave it to some people to try it on one of my coaching days at the wood and I was quite impressed. It worked well for all types of arrows (wooden, metal or carbon) providing an improved grip on the arrow to help drawing, it also worked in the wet weather we had. .
I can see the benefits of this for coaching sessions and for newbies as it keeps cost down and doesn’t matter if the pieces are lost or misplaced. It can be stuffed into a pocket or easily attached to a quiver making for an inexpensive aid to drawing arrows.

Sharon also finds using an arrow puller easier as she suffers from dry skin on her hands that can make drawing arrows difficult in cold weather, especially metal arrows, as it proves very hard to get any traction.

Quick note on drawing arrows

I tend to advise archers to use an arrow puller when drawing carbon arrows in particular, simply because if your hand slips down a damaged shaft when trying to draw the arrow it is very easy to get carbon splinters into the hand and carbon splinters are not easy to remove.
Please note I’m not trying to vilify carbon arrows just provide some advice on being careful. Forewarned is forearmed as they saw.
I’ve learnt that cheaper versions are available from discount pound shops that work as well. When talking to one fellow club member I discovered he uses it as flooring for his pens holding young chicks to stop them sliding and falling over.
One last thing as I  almost forgot,  Happy New year to all readers and followers. Might seem a bit late but I realised that in my first post of the year I’d forgotten to wish it to you. Sorry, must be my age catching up with me. For that reason I’ll wish you a happy Easter now.
As always thanks for reading.