No shooting next week!

The Scott May Daredevil Stunt Show is on at the rugby club over the holiday weekend, including a performance from 3pm on Monday. This means we will not be shooting on Monday. This is swiftly followed by a circus from Wednesday through to Saturday. They will be setting up on Tuesday, so we will not be able to shoot on Tuesday or Thursday, either.

We will be back to normal on Monday 4th September.

Buying your first equipment

Like most clubs, we have a range of basic bows and other kit in varying sizes to suit beginners, but sooner or later everyone wants to buy their own equipment. Some are itching to start buying right away, some can take longer to raise the money or just decide what they want. The thing is, there is a huge choice out there, so how do you decide?

The first thing we always say is please don’t buy the first thing you like the look of on eBay or a dealer’s website. It really is important (honestly) that you get the right size bow, at the right draw weight, and the right size arrows to go with it. Other bits and bobs like tabs and bracers are less critical, but still come in a wide range of styles and sizes.

The consequences of buying the wrong kit could just be that it doesn’t work very well and you end up having to pay out all over again for stuff that does work. In the worst cases, badly-made or poorly-maintained equipment can be dangerous. There are many second-hand bows that are shown strung back to front, for example. Have they been shot like that? The bow could be damaged. Arrows that are too weak could snap as they are shot and there is no telling where the bits are going to end up. There are some good deals to be hand on used equipment, but you need to know what you are getting. If it is enough money that you would be upset about losing it then don’t!

Talk to your coaches. It is best, if possible, to go to a specialist dealer who will take the time to measure you up properly and let you try out different things until you are happy. Most dealers are good like that. A few are not, but experienced archers will usually know which is which. The good dealers generally have short shooting ranges where you can try things out. This is so you can find out what fits best, but also so the dealer can check everything is working as it should.

Arrows, in particular, can be tricky. The spine charts published by the manufacturers are generally pretty good, but the actual spine that works best for you might be different. Better quality limbs are more efficient and faster than cheap ones, even at the same draw weight, and will need stiffer arrows. It also depends how you shoot. I once heard both sides of a dispute between an archer and a dealer where the archer claimed he was sold the wrong arrows because they were not what Easton’s chart recommended, but the ‘wrong’ arrow actually worked better with his technique.

Talk to other archers. Most people will let you have a look at what they use or even try it out. That will help to give you an idea of what draw weight you want, and ho well different things work in practice.

Beware of reviews. They can be useful, but any review is only one person’s opinion and they might not be entirely unbiased.

The people who know best are generally the ones who won’t focus on particular makes or price points but will do their best to find kit that suits you. Listen to them!

Archery Big Weekend

Along with many other archery clubs around the country, we are offering everyone the chance to try it out in June. Even if you have never picked up a bow before, this is a great opportunity to try out a new sport and make some new friends. Archery is a great sport for anyone from the age of 8 upwards.

We will provide all the equipment you need, and there will be plenty of club members to hand to show you how it works and talk about the whole experience of archery.

Come and meet us at Hayle Rugby Club. There are three sessions you can join in with:

Friday 16th June from 5pm to 8pm
Saturday 17th June from 10 am to midday and 1pm to 3pm.

Have a quick go for 50p for 12 arrows, or spend half and hour with a coach for £3 for some more detailed instruction.

We are moving!

The outdoor season is almost here, and as from the beginning of April we can look forward to the feel of the grass under our feet, the warm sun and gentle breeze on our faces, and the distant thwack of arrows hitting the gold. Well, sometimes it might be mud, rain and gales, and arrows in the grass, but we usually do OK. There has been a question mark for some time over our use of our original ground at Hayle Football Club, because they wanted to sell their larger field to a housing developer to raise funds to improve the club. Between us we have looked at ways we might be able to fit in on the main pitch, but it is a smaller field and there isn’t room for the safety areas required by ArcheryGB rules. We have shot on the short practice pitch regularly, but at restricted distance and without being able to allow compound bows to be used as they require the full overshoot distance regardless of target distance.

So, we started looking for other possible sites. This isn’t easy as finding a level field that is large enough and has parking space, toilets etc. is quite difficult in this part of the world. Thankfully, Hayle Rugby Club have a nice big field and were happy for us to move there. This will only be a temporary solution, as Hayle RFC themselves are planning to move to a new site up the road, but we are optimistic that enough space can be found for us. Thanks to all at Hayle RFC for being so accommodating, and we look forward to a good partnership with them.

Thanks must go to the football club at this point as they have provided us with an outdoor home since the club was formed in 2000, and we wish them well with their development plans.

Full details of our outdoor schedule can be found here.

Sad news

We are sad to announce that Tony Farrell passed away in his sleep on Monday night this week. Tony has been involved in archery for about 25 years, and was a founder member of this club. I have known Tony for most of that time, and first met him, I think, at a local field archery club, Muscovy Archers. Tony had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, where the immune system attacks the insulation around nerve fibres, leading to loss of sensation and muscle control. It was the initial diagnosis that led him into archery, as I believe a doctor encouraged him to go out and do some sort of coordinated physical activity as he thought it might help slow down the progression of the illness. When I first met Tony he was noticeably a bit wobbly on his feet, and over the years I have seen him progress to occasionally needing a wheelchair, to being confined to the chair, to needing a powered chair, to being left with only the use of his right arm and having difficulty speaking. MS can be very variable in its effect on people, and Tony was particularly hard hit.

It is no exaggeration to say that archery was Tony’s life. He put a lot into it, always keen to experiment with different bits and bobs for his compound bow, and joining in with many local competitions. He trained as a coach some years ago, and has given a lot to the club while he could, especially having a rapport with the juniors. We did our best to help Tony to keep him involved in the archery that he loved, from a sponsored 24-hour shoot in the early days to raise money for a car with hand controls, to more recent devices clamped onto his wheelchair to support his arm. Huge recognition has to go to Paul Phillips in particular as he has gone above and beyond to help with driving him around, sorting out carers and other domestic issues and even physically helping him shoot.

Throughout all his Tony never once complained, and maintained his sharp sense of humour and his determination to keep as active as he could, despite what must have been great discomfort and frustration at not being able to do what he used to. His condition had noticeably deteriorated in recent months, but it is still a shock to hear of his passing.

He will be greatly missed.

Denzil

Valentine’s shoot results

Hot on the heels of Newquay’s Double Portsmouth we held our own annual two-round shoot on Sunday 12th February. This was a Worcester round in the morning followed by a Vegas in the afternoon.

We normally set up into the evening on the day before. As there was no shooting session on Saturday we were able to get set up that bit earlier, which made everything a bit more civilised. First was trip to the field to pick up the trailer and load up with all the bosses, stands, nets and other paraphernalia. We had to contend with a seized wheel on the trailer, and by the time we sorted that out the rest of the gang were already at Pool Academy and making a start. We were also faced with an emergency repair to a broken stand for one of the foam bosses, but we got all the bosses set up along with the nets, chairs and Bob’s impeccable range markings. First thing Sunday morning saw us back at the school putting the faces up for the Worcester, and we were ready in plenty of time.

Although we try to make our shoots friendly and fairly informal, Worcester and Vegas rounds are not easy, particularly the Vegas as each target face is so small, and you have to get each arrow in order in the correct face. It is a brave longbow or barebow archer that takes them on.

Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable day, and three of the gold medals went to club members – well done Paul, Dave and Ashley! Here is the results list.

Good results at Newquay

On Sunday 5th February Newquay Bowmen hosted their Double Portsmouth competition at Newquay Sports Centre, and five of us went along to have a go. A few days before they found out the road to the sports centre was being closed for a running event at 9am, so we all had to be there an hour early, but, hey, who doesn’t want to get up early on a Sunday morning? 🙂

I went having not shot much over the winter due to having damaged something in my shoulder (was it through archery? no idea!) so wasn’t convinced I would be able to complete two Portsmouth rounds in a row. For Gina and Andy it was their first competition shoot. Despite that, we actually did quite well. Paul won a silver medal in the Gents Longbow, Gina and Andy both shot personal bests and even I managed a silver!

Thanks to all at Newquay Bowmen for making it an enjoyable event.

February Open Tournament

On Sunday 12th February we will be hosting our second competition shoot of the indoor season, a mixed round of a Worcester in the morning followed by a Vegas after lunch. As usual it will be held at Pool Academy Sports Hall. Download your entry form here. Please get your entries to us in good time, as we generally fill all the places so if you book late you might be disappointed.

The Worcester face
The Worcester face
The Vegas face
The Vegas face

These rounds are a nice change from the usual Portsmouth. They are both smaller targets, which focusses the attention somewhat. The Worcester is a special black target face with a white centre and scoring 1 to 5. The Vegas is a triple face with the centre half only of a 40cm face, so you only score 6-10.

Despite the focus of the small targets we try to keep all our tournaments friendly, and newer archers will be made just as welcome as the champions. Even they were new archers when they started…

Hydration

When we feel thirsty, we drink something, that’s how it works, isn’t it? Actually a small drop in water levels in your body can have a big effect. We take in water through drinks and also contained in most of the food we eat. We lose it in more ways: in urine, through breathing and perspiration. Physical activity makes you lose more water, because as you get warmer you sweat more.

The surprising bit is just how much difference small water loss can make to athletic performance. A 3% loss of water leads to up to a 19% loss in muscle strength. You generally don’t feel thirsty until you get to about a 5% loss, and by that time you could be 30% down on strength. The solution is not to wait until you feel thirsty, and not even to rely on having a cuppa halfway through the round, but to have regular mouthfuls all the way through, say after every couple of ends. Try it and see what difference it makes.

What to drink? Well, water, but a small amount of carbohydrate and salt will help top you up. This is what isotonic sports drinks are all about – they have the same concentration of salt and glucose that is normally found in your body. So use them if you like. They can be expensive, though, and it is easy to make your own. A mix of half fruit juice and half water, with a pinch of salt per litre of drink will do the job. There are plenty more recipes for home-made isotonic drinks on the web as well.