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middle-aged guy with an annoyed and quizical facial expression as he wanders around aimlessly looking for lost arrows.
As a novice archer, I generally find both newsgroups to be helpful. The best newsgroup or source of information on the Internet, however, is the Sagittarius Blackboard! (It is generally fun, very informative and the participants are quite literate.) I peruse all of these a couple of times each week and will occassionally post queries. I am continually amazed and pleased at the willingness of "Internet archers" to share their time and acquired knowledge. In rare instannces, I will offer opinions and answer questions regarding the best or worst way to get started in archery---reflecting upon the highs and lows of my own "archery odysssey" ---as well as a my misadventures, disasters and relapses. As a rank neophyte, "Starting Out" is about the only topic that I am qualified to comment on...at least at this time.Well, that and .....er, how to locate lost arrows.
I am a right-handed Olympic/FITA style recurve target shooter.
Bow:Sky Conquest 36# 66"limbs
Stabilizer: Beiter Centralizer 30" long rod w/ v-bar and 10" side rods.
Sight: Shibuya Carbon Extreme
Aperture: Beiter Sight Tunnel (small)
Clicker: Cavalier Clicker
Rest: Cavalier Free-Flyte Elite
String: Angel Dyneema
Sling: Wrist sling made by Jacques A. Morin, Quebec, Canada
Tab: Cavalier Tab with Finger Separator w/o Shelf
Arrows: A/C/C 3-04
Fletching: 1-3/4" Spinwings
Misc: Limb Savers
My archery history is short! I discovered archery and the recurve bow at the age of 50. (I am now 51.) After being introduced to the sport by an old high school and college buddy, I was completely, utterlly, and hopelessly smitten. Archery has caused me to "give up wine, women, and song" ....as well as much of the contents of my meager bank account. The coffers of Lancaster Archery Supply---the company from which I buy most of my equipment----have increased significantly in the past year----in inverse proportion to my savings. If the owner of LAS formerly had any worries about paying for his children's education, those fears have undoudtedly been allayed since my introduction to the sport---and the receipt, soon thereafter, of my first LAS catalog.
All in all, "the journey", as I call it, has been a most pleasant one ...although I have had a number of "misadventures, disasters, miscues, and false starts" along the way...many of them of them, comical.
One of the benefits of my new found passion is that I have made quite a number of new friends and rekindled some old relationships. Most of these have been in the archery community---both locally (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) and on the Internet. Among the best have been my local friends Russ Wheeler( my first coach who courageously and with little or no apparent regard for his personal safety let me take my first shots with his bow. Russ and I were high school classmates but until I got interested in archery, we had not seen each other for over thirty years!); Ginger Hopwood (current coach); and Neil Foster, President of the Kennesaw Archery Club, good friend, archery wizard and world's greatest "bow doctor". Each of these folks has exerted a lot of energy on my behalf, eased my entry in to the sport and are all tremendous ambassadors for archery.
Since I practice primarily in backyard, I have gotten to know my neighbors much better than in the past---as they have not infrequently joined me in my searches for recently lost and often subterranean arrows! Because of my frequent orders from LAS, I am now on a first name basis with the delivery guys from United Parcel Service (UPS)...as well as with the sales staff at LAS. Lastly, I have also gotten very familiar with the topography and ground level foliage of my backyard ---- another benefit of my arrow search missions.
While I have been shooting for a relatively short period of time, I have formed a few "hard and fast" opinions on archery matters.
I am convinced that in order to enjoy the sport, the archer must:
1. Concentrate on improving his or her shooting style and form. As my first coach, Russ Wheeler said, "Chase form, not the target. If the form is correct, the gold will follow".
2. Practice thoughtfully...concentrating on form and the arrow that is curently nocked----not the one before or after.
3. Realize that archery is a not a destination, but a journey...and all aspects of the trip should be enjoyed. One of the real pleasures is in learning how to do something new---or how to do it better.
4. Keep everything ...form, style, equipment, etc....as simple as possible.
And, oh yeah, it is helpful to learn to laugh at oneself.
Of course, it seems as if one of the requisites of being a true member of the archery community is to have a strong or radical opinion on at least one aspect of the sport---its even better if one of those opinions counters "conventional archery wisdom" and borders on "heresy". None of my opinions do right now---but just give me a little more time:-)
In addition to the websites mentioned above, I have found the following books and videos to be most helpful in the pursuit of knowledge and skill:
"Thinking Body, Dancing Mind" by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch.
In watching athletes like Kim Soo Nyung, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, all of whom seemingly accomplish extraordinary feats--on a regular basis, I've said "...These people know something that the rest of don't." They do. It's their mental approach to the sport. Huang and Lynch write about the "Tao of sports" and the "edge" that it can give even to us mere mortals. It is, I think, a must read for every archer, every athlete, and maybe every person.
"Mastery" by George Leonard (circa 1992).
The word archery does not appear in this little tome one time but it is a "must" read by serious archers. It is an excellent guide to the process of trying to master almost anything.
"The Simple Art of Winning" by Rick McKinney.
"Archery: Steps to Success" by Kathleen M. Haywood & Catherine F.
"Archery: The Basics" and "Archery: Refining Your Form"
A series of two videos by my Internet friend and world class archer, Ruth Rowe, that are well produced and give a good picture of "what to do".