A Mantra for Recreational Archers

This page is written for Recreational Recurve/Traditional/Longbow Archers who shoot largely 18m indoors or outdoors (up to 50m). The author is neither a coach nor expert archer. These represent his personal opinions. Please validate what you read.

The Mantra:
Go Low,

Go Long, Go Fat,

Go Tune, Go Shoot,Go Rest,

Go Read, Go Play, Go Slow, Go Friend

1. Go Low – Use a low poundage bow. You don’t need more than a 30lbs to reach 30m. Many archers shoot very accurately at this range, using only 20lb – 28lb setups. Going low poundage also means that your muscles are less likely to fatigue or injure during the rigours of competition. Our champion Eagle (EXM) shoots in the 260s (18m, 40cm target) with only a 22lbs club bow setup! We are not talking about hunting bows here….. which is a slightly different animal altogether.
2. Go Long – Get a bow that is as long as you can manage and use efficiently. Generally, the longer bows are more forgiving of small lapses in form and release. Meaning, you have a higher chance of keeping your arrows within the red/gold target zone (7-10 points). There are well established recommendations on bow length to archer height/draw length. The objective being more to get the most efficient performance from the bow. As a recreational archer, you don’t need to worry too much about this.
3. Go Fat – Fat arrows will improve your line cutting chances. That 1 point can make a lot of difference in a competition, should you ever decide to take part in one. The largest diameter allowed in indoor competitions is 9.3mm. Find one that suits you so that you can maximise your winning chances. You can forget about this if scraping for points is not one of your aims.

(Note: For outdoors, the reverse is true. Light, small diameter arrows will help you go the distance.  In WA Field Archery,  target distances can go up to 60m)
4. Go Tune – Invest time to tune your setup. A well tuned set means that you can isolate most errors down to your own form, plus get more consistent performance all round. Tuning can take a while and be downright frustrating. The flipside is that you really get to understand your equipment and the mechanics of archery a lot better.
5. Go Shoot – Practice, practice and practice. There is no substitute for grooving in good form and muscle memory. Smart practice is equally important. It’s useful to have a fellow archer or coach observe your shooting now and then. This can help to identify, stop and reverse the creep of bad habits or form. Shooting frequently in short sessions (e.g. 20- 30 minutes 5 times a week is more beneficial than shooting long sessions once or twice a week (e.g. 4 hours twice a week). You are a very lucky archer if you live near a range or have a board in your backyard….. a really serious recreational archer 🙂
6. Go Rest – Take a break if you are tired, aching or starting to feel tendon or ligament strain. Remember that you are in this for fun. Longevity of this enjoyment means that you should stay injury free. Tendon damage takes a long time to heal as blood supply to the tissue is very limited. Many recreational archers tend to be middle aged or older. Recovery gets slower as we get on in years. We must remember this reality.
7. Go Read – There’s lots of good old printed stuff out there written by great archers and coaches… technical, philosophical and spiritual. Buy or borrow some to study and benefit from their experience and wisdom. Avoid guessing. Your progress will be more satisfying. Caveat emptor : Don’t get overly technical……… you will risk paralysis through analysis 🙂
8. Go Play – Don’t get caught in the grind of shooting the same targets and distance week in week out. Add variety to your shoots. Do the World Archery or Flint Field Rounds if you can. If not, make your own targets or even stick balloons here and there. Add a dimension of fun into your shooting.
9. Go Slow – Resist the urge to buy equipment for quick fixes. On the other hand, if collecting bows is a hobby or passion… then ignore this! 🙂
10. Go Friend – Archers are generally a friendly lot. Indeed, many are keen to share and help. Get actively involved with your club and archery mates. It’s also about expanding your social circle. Enjoy the company! It doesn’t have to be archery centric all the time!

– contributed by Tyger