Bow grips

Yes, a coaching tip! I haven’t done of these for ages, but the subject of grips came up recently during a session so it seemed worth putting down a few thoughts.

Firstly, “grip”. It is an unfortunate name, because of course you don’t actually grip the bow. At least, you shouldn’t. The bow should be pulled into your relaxed hand by the force of pulling the string with your other hand. Your hand should stay relaxed through the release so that there is as little interference with the bow as possible. Your hand should be turned such that the line of your knuckles is at roughly 45 degrees. The grip should press against the muscle at the base of your thumb, and nowhere else. That point of contact should be aligned down the middle of your forearm to keep it stable and to reduce the need to use unnecessary muscles.

The shape of the grip on your bow can help or hinder getting your hand in the right place, and not just the right place but the same place for every shot. Everybody’s hands are different, so you can’t necessarily rely on the standard grip that comes with your bow. The good news is that you have options.

If you shoot a longbow or other traditional bow then there may be little you can do to modify it, but I’m aiming this mostly at the removable grips that come with most recurve and compound risers. These are generally secured with a screw or two. Bow manufacturers such as Hoyt offer a range of off-the-shelf grips which are worth trying, and there are specialists such as Jaeger and R-Core. Of course, it is best to try them out before you buy them, so ask around your club or visit an archery dealer and try out what they have that fits your bow.

You can also make your own if you are handy with woodwork, or customise an existing grip if you can’t find one that works for you. Car body filler or Sugru rubber can be used to build up a grip to the shape you want. What shape should that be?

Firstly you have a choice of angle. Low grips place your wrist lower and high ones keep your wrist straighter. Low ones are generally more stable and make it slightly easier to keep your shoulder down. High ones move the contact point closer to the line of the arrow and can make the bow more stable but need a bit more control to keep your wrist straight. There is no best answer to that, just give high, medium and low a good go each and see what works for you.

Second, the part against the base of your thumb is best as a flat surface either facing towards you or turned slightly away from the palm of your hand. This will make it easier to get your hand in the same place each time. It is amazing how a slight difference in where you feel the pressure can move your arrows from a gold to a red.

Outdoor shooting

After a long time shooting indoors we now have an outdoor range! We have agreed with the management of Ludgvan Community Centre to use the playing field behind the hall. With some careful measurement we have established that the boundary is above the minimum overall distance to allow us to shoot at up to 100yards/90m. To avoid the precious cricket square we are sticking to one side of the field, but still have room for up to eight targets.

We are now shooting on the field on Mondays and Fridays from 4pm until dusk.

Beginners Course in February

Come and give the fantastic sport of archery a try with our next beginners course. Over four 2-hour sessions we will teach you the essentials of shooting. All the equipment you need is provided, and you will get a chance to try out different kinds of bow as well (recurve, longbow, compound and more).

We start on Sunday 5th February at 11:30am At Ludgvan Community Centre. The cost is £40 per adult and £20 per child.

The equipment we provide is good quality and perfect for beginners. Once you have finished the course you are welcome to carry on using the club equipment until you are ready to buy your own. Please don’t buy anything without talking to us first.

Go to our beginners page for more details and a link to the booking system. Do get in touch if you have any questions.

Halloween silliness

On Sunday 30th October we had a bit of fun for Halloween. Last time we did this somebody had the idea of shooting at some actual pumpkins, which was a laugh but turned out to be messy. This time, assorted paper ghouls, vampires and other paranormal beings were shot at mercilessly, and many balloons gave up their existence in the cause of archery entertainment. To liven it up still further, several members were suitably dressed and made-up. We had some festive food as well. As ever there was too much cake. Wait, is it possible to have too much cake?

That balloon is mine

Dunster Week 2022

This might be a bit late to be news, technically, but AOTW members did us proud at Dunster Week this year. A south-west archery institution since 1955, Dunster Week is set at Dunster Castle in Somerset and comprises a variety of different events.

This year’s event was attended by Dave and Kate Slatter (becoming a regular event for them) and Dave Onley along with Dave and Kate’s daughter Ashley who currently shoots with Cardiff University. Much to their surprise they were joined by a 4th Club member Michael Barnett. Michael had only recently joined the club and not actually met anyone before showing up at Dunster. If Dunster had an award for the furthest distance travelled to the event he would have won hands down as he had come over from Australia on an archery holiday. Michael hails from Hayle so chose to join his local club so that he could take part in several UK national competitions.

Day 1 Monday 13th June saw Michael getting a silver medal in a Ladies WA 1440 round with a score of 1181. Restrictions on the distances available meant the Gents WA1440 couldn’t be held.

Day 2 saw two competitions being held. Dave Onley stayed in the castle grounds and took part in his first ever Albion, coming midfield in the results table and resolving to get a stronger longbow.

Dave, Kate, Ash and Michael as a group went shooting all manner of beasties, including the odd dinosaur, at the 3D field round in the woods. Dave managed 9th in the Gents barebow, Kate 6th Ladies barebow, Ash was robbed of her initial 3rd place for Ladies Freestyle (after someone had a recount on their score sheet) and Michael shooting 3D field for the first time got his second silver in Gents Freestyle.

Dave, Kate and Ash showing their skills at the Dunster Week 2022 field shoot

Day 3 Wednesday is Longbow Day with many archers opting to go all medieval and dress up for the occasion. Dave Onley and Kate Slatter took part for their first time joining nearly 120 other archers having fun at a two-way western. Dave finished a respectable 33rd and Kate 81st not bad for a 1st time.

Day 4 was a team event for teams of three archers. Teams could include any mix of bow types and a handicap system was used to try and make things fair. 22 teams participated with each team shooting a round against another team of three before going on to face another team. Whilst many missed the clout the event did mean you got to meet and talk to far more archers than normal, and all stood or sat to watch the shoot off for first and 2nd place between Dave Onley’s Longbow Team and Alex Rowe’s Recurve Team. Alex’s team got it, but it was close.

Day 5 was a single Western round which saw Dave Onley coming a very respectable 13th out of a field of 34 in the gents Longbow, Kate Slatter securing a Bronze in Ladies Barebow and Dave Slatter being completely flummoxed as how he managed to blag the gold in the Gents Barebow.

Day 6 was a double Long National /National with one round in the morning and the other in the afternoon. This was repeated on Day 7 to create a Double Double. Only Michael was keen enough to shoot over the two days (the others had seen the change in the weather forecast) and his efforts were rewarded with a third place Bronze.

Next year the Dunster Archery Week is moving back a month to the 17-23rd July 2023 so that the grass can be cut to allow the Clout Shoot to be held.
Details about Dunster Archery Week can be found online at Dunster Archery Week.

No shooting over Christmas

We were planning on shooting on Sundays and Thursday all through the Christmas period except for Boxing day. We have just heard that Ludgvan Community Centre will be closing for a couple of weeks. This means we will not be able to shoot now until either 6th Or 9th January. Of course that assumes there are no new Covid restrictions which would curtail our activities. As soon as we know for sure we will post here again.

Happy Christmas and New Year to all, and let’s look forward to a positive 2022!

Welcome new members

It has been a long time since we were last able to run a beginners’ course, but we had a number of people interested and we were recently able to introduce them to the wonderful word of archery. Our courses are four session of about two hours each. We cover safety rules, warming up, shooting and scoring with lightweight recurve bows and also give people the opportunity to have a go with some longbows, horsebows and compounds.

We are delighted to welcome three (so far) new members from that course. May they have a long and happy archery journey.

There is a list of names already building up for the next course. if you would like to add yours then please contact us.

No outdoor venue!

We are sad to have to say that we will not be able to shoot at Hayle Rugby Club this summer. We can blame the you-know-what. The rugby club need to make ends meet and, let’s face it, our archery club makes them very little. With less money coming in they have had to try to find other uses for the field that will generate more income, and we can’t blame them at all for that. We would like to take the opportunity to thank them for the way they have made us feel feel welcome for the last four years. We have very much enjoyed being there.

So that leaves us having to find another site. Redruth Archers have kindly offered to host us at their ground for the time being, but we really need a place of our own. We need a reasonably level field that is big enough to conform to ArcheryGB safety rules, has space to park some cars and our equipment containers and ideally has toilets nearby. We are open to offers and suggestions! Do get in touch.

Guest bookings being taken

To start with we only accepted bookings from our own members. This is because we have limited numbers in the hall at Ludgvan due to the COVID restrictions, and we wanted to see what the attendance was like from club members first. We are finding we often have some spaces to spare, so we are opening up to visitors from other local clubs. We will still be giving priority to our own members, so we will accept bookings from non-members from the Friday morning for sessions on the following Sunday and Monday.

Details of our procedures for COVID-secure shooting are here. In summary, please arrive early, wait outside the hall until asked to come in, wear a face mask at all times unless you are actually shooting, and the range captain will tell you the rest. You will also need to bring your own target face and pins.

We’re back, again!

With the current lockdown ending on Wednesday, and Cornwall lucky enough to be in Tier 1 afterwards, it means we can start shooting again. We will start on Sunday 6th December, and will follow the same times and COVID rules to be sure of keeping everyone as safe as possible. ArcheryGB have recently released guidance to clubs with different levels of precautions for each Tier in the system. Naturally the higher the Tier in a given area, the tighter the restrictions are. The system we have in place already meets the Tier 1 requirements, so we are good to carry on as we were.