CHIEFSPIDERS MEMOIRS – Theories on how to become the complete archer!
There are many things to consider in pursuit of archery excellence. Once the basics are mastered, it’s then a case of refinement. These notes initially centred on Tuning, but that is only part of the picture. The vast proportion (after technique) is mental. I can well believe this as I sometimes think that to stand in the middle of a field in the pouring rain with a gale blowing is a mad thing to do and could be subject of a restraining order. Possibly this is why we are members of Pastures as this as most of you know was the site of the old Mickleover mental hospital! So we have a head start!
We will begin with tuning tips, but, I hope that all of the tips will be of use and help you to become the ‘complete’ archer. If not, I’m afraid you must have missed something!!. So, here we go…..
Tuning is a personal thing, the ability to know what to do when your arrows don’t go where you’ve aimed is priceless. Ask anybody for help and you will get well meaning advice, and 20 more ways to tune your bow. In the few years I have been shooting, may I say that I have not harmed a living creature, though I’m sure it must have blown the pants off the spider that was on the tip of my navigators when I loosed at a competition recently. This extra weight threw my arrows off trajectory and I scored ‘1’. Since then as part of the tuning process known as Mike’s Archery Tips – No 1, remember this… NO HITCHHIKERS, it’s the difference between GOLD and notgetting an invite to the Olympics.
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 2
This is actually before tip No.1 – make sure the bar is in easy reach to enable you to analyse why you can’t shoot for toffee. (Although, sometimes we shoot for medals and trophies, or plough on until it’s time for the raffle)
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 3
Make sure you’ve strung your bow – this is quite important, as an unstrung bow can lead to poor scores!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 4
Actually, this one is intended to keep you in the peak of health, so that you can continue shooting to the standard you are used to, without shouting “Oh dear, I’ve hurt my arm!” – If you can’t pull out your arrows from the Boss (particularly for compound archers), you have to realise that Bosses have feelings and are as such a living entity, related to Worzel Gummidge and the like, and in turn they don’t actually like being shot at and consequently suffer from target panic (yes, that old potato) and they instinctively tense up when you are about to pull out your arrow from their person (figuratively speaking). Much in the way that you may tense up if you were about to have a tooth pulled by the old string and door method. So, the outcome of retrieving your arrows from the target is predictable in that, the target senses, tenses, and clenches therefore holding on to the arrows. What you actually need to do, is stay calm, walk up to the target casually, pass the time of day with your target buddies, “Oh, what a nice tree that is!, Hasn’t today been a scorcher? You dont see many like that anymore! Did you score a 3 as a joke?” etc etc, then whilst the target has been lulled into a false sense of security, you grab your shaft firmly, staring in any direction, except your arrow, whilst humming quietly to yourself, then with the power of a Titan on viagra, pull swiftly AND firmly and hey pesto sauce, the arrows come out smoothly without pain as the boss was relaxed and not anticipating it. As bosses are not too bright, you can fool them every time, using the same method. This was recently put to the test by that well known compound archer Tony Taylor, who was on the verge of total body shutdown, on trying to extricate his firmly embedded arrows from the boss (his cursing made the boss worse and it tensed and clenched even more!!). Then upon a word of advice from the achery Guru, Tony found salvation and pulled out his shafts with consummate ease for the rest of the evening, allowing him to achieve a personal best, without pain (but lots of gain). There’s probably a moral to this story such as you CAN teach an old dog (or an old teacher) new tricks, though I’m not sure about this part!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 6
Always try to shoot with people worse than you as this helps build your confidence – it doesn’t help your archery as you’ll have no competition and you therefore won’t be able to rise to the occasion (whatever it is). Alternatively, shoot on the same target as a longbow archer, as long as you are not shooting a longbow! This tip is primarily for people who haven’t got the hang of archery and who have never been in ‘The Zone’ and who have never experienced target panic – so I suppose 80% of us!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 6a
Always sit down on a chair for a rest if the above tip doesn’t help. Make sure the chair has been unpacked, removed from its bag and deployed first though!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 7
What happened to tip no 5? Was it the key to the zenith of archery endeavour (or was that just a bark out of Whitby – I don’t know ask the head chef!). Have you been denied this because it is ultimate knowledge…. Or was it… no I can’t say……. I mustn’t……..
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 8
THE ZONE – this is something that archers talk about quite often and I was amazed to discover it’s nothing to do with a hole in the atmosphere or cfc’s. You can spot archers who have achieved this state by their fixed smile, almost trance like state and the inability to talk sensibly to fellow archers. Each shot is carefully visualised in their brain thingy before actually loosing the arrow. The result is apparently a perfect shot everytime. I personally have been in the zone a few times but for some reason I keep on getting towed away!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 9
At the start of each season, make sure you check all of your equipment is in working order. Most children are born in the run up to Christmas or the following spring if you are a late starter!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 10
OK, we’re into double figures (which is more than I can say for my scores with a long stick of laminated wood!). This deals with the problem of catching your nose. It was overheard on the line that someone (who shall remain nameless!) was catching his nose. There are many reasons for this. 1. You may have a long nose. 2. You may have a ‘very’ long nose. 3. Your bow is facing the wrong way. 4. You are very good at catching, but it’s probably not wise to throw your nose in the first place! 5. If you have to throw it, make sure a friend catches it, whilst you make your shot. (Ensure it is free from colds and other infections before you do, due to Health and Safety regulations on the field).
Nose catching also leads to poor scores, distracts other archers who have fixed noses and it doesn’t look good if you forget to put it back on when its time for the bar!
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 11
When the weather is appalling and archers all around you are complaining that the winds too windy, the rains too rainy, or the cold is too.. well, cold. Then don’t give up, let them give up instead and if enough of them do this, you are in with a chance of a medal! Oh, and hypothermia, pneumonia and perhaps mildew. Though to win a medal will make it all worth while!
Whilst this is not essentially a tuning tip, it does mean your bow can be tuned pathetically and still get a result….
Mike’s Archery Tips – No 12
When the weather is very, very wet and continuing to shoot is a matter of honour, waterproof trousers are a real essential. As is waterproof everything else (particularly footwear) though, there is waterproof clothing and waterproof clothing. And popabivees are generally just shower proof no matter what archery shops tell you, so no dry shelter there!!