Archery: just more random blathering

Since i moved to the Longbow, back in about may/ June this year i have had to combat the changes in shooting style from a Barebow, and then move from indoors to outdoors (indoors ruined me)… but the bow shift was a big surprise in style


The removal of that helpful little shelf on the bow makes for a huge change in how you shoot (over hand) and where you aim when you don’t use a sight changes because you impact how the arrow sits, not a convenient flat immobile shelf, instinctive shooting may be preferable for me, but it takes a lot of work (repetition) to ensure that the hand grip is spot on.


Build a Recurve Bow - Woodworking Projects - American Woodworker <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23recurvebows" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23recurvebows&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#recurvebows search Pinterest">#recurvebows</a>: #BOW-HAND-PROTECTOR-prevents-longbow-arrow-feathers-cutting-the-top-of-your-hand


The move from that nice flat shelf to the need to position your hand correctly, to provide the support for the arrow but no real defection, is harder than it looks, a kink in the glove, a slight tilt of the wrist and you impact the arrow flight. So this is a new part of form that needs to be looked at and perfected so you do it without thought.

It took me quite some time to get this right, to find the right grip and repeat without worrying about it, that thought process deflects the mind from taking the shot. (so anyone suffering, just practice, practice, practice, it will become natural), grip is doubly important if like me you want to shoot using Instinctive Aiming rather than a sight , a band , a marker or anything else… just the point and shoot method

The problem then became sorting out all the little quirks that the Barebow is more forgiving with. This is where (occasionally) i listened to one of the coaches. With the barebow you can get away with slightly sloppy draws, not going to full draw etc. You do that with the long bow and you go looking in the grass for your arrow (a lot).

So sorting that plus Les (the coach) with his voice always saying to me (feel the pinch between shoulders) , when you feel the pinch you know you have your draw correct and you are at full draw. If i draw and feel that, i usually hit red or Gold… its being brave enough to put the shot down and not take it when you dont feel it, when the draw doesnt feel right that then becomes difficult. There is some inbuilt need to release not put the arrow back down.

There are still a million (or so it seems) little quirks that can throw your shot off, its all stance, and this means its all


Regular shots

I found that it was very easy to turn up once a week and just throw some arrows out and be happy or grumpy based on what happens, but have no real idea of how or if you are improving.

So when the chance came to start taking part in the 252 challenge i thought it might be a good way of keeping score, watching to see if i can improve and push myself.




The 252 award is designed to help you practice your shooting at different distances and recognise your achievements. After 6 sighters, you shoot 3 dozen arrows on a 122cm face at your chosen distance. The round can be shot at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 or 100 yds with the aim of scoring 252 or better (alternative scores apply for other bow types see table below). Once you have achieved the score twice you can claim a badge.

It is an award scheme in use at many archery clubs in the UK and applies to all archers, irrespective of age, ability or bow type (scores differ by bowtype).

The Rules:

  • Six sighters to be followed immediately by three dozen scored arrows.
  • 5-zone scoring (Gold = 9, Red = 7, Blue = 5, Black = 3, White = 1) using a 122cm target face.
  • The three dozen arrows may be shot alone or as the first three dozen of a longer Imperial round ~ e.g. as part of a Western, National etc.
  • Badges must be claimed in sequence ~ you don’t need to start at 20yds but if you start at a longer distance you cannot then claim badges for the shorter distances.
  • Scores need to be achieved twice to qualify for the award.
  • Qualifying scores for a given distance must be shot on different days

To make an award claim 2 signed and witnessed score sheets needs to be submitted to the club secretary and/or records officer. These may be from a longer round so long as the distances involved are clearly recorded. If you are only shooting the 3 dozen for the 252 and it is not part of a longer round, only submit qualifying scores.

The awards are as follows: Please note these are subject to review and may change ~ badge colours in particular

Distance (yards) Badge Colour Recurve Score Compound Score Longbow score Barebow Score
20 White 252 280 164 189
30 Black 252 280 164 189
40 Blue 252 280 164 189
50 Red 252 280 164 189
60 Bronze 252 280 164 189
80 Silver 252 280 126 164
100 Gold 252 280 101 139

So as a longbow archer my target is 164, and i immediately dropped down to 40 yards to work on reducing my misses, and improving my shots. It was a lot harder than i expected. You need to score 4.5 with every arrow (so round up to 5) that means min of blue ring with every shot, and when you miss suddenly you are 5 behind… when the bad shots accumulate you fail, and the more you accumulate the more the pressure can tell. So eventually i decided to shoot and to not add up the score until the end, the first time i did this i hit 173, then the next visit i shot 182 and got my 252 at 40 yards. I removed the mental obstacle of thinking about what i needed and just shot based on form, each arrow on its own.


So now i have moved up to 50 yards… and that 10 yards makes a huge difference, so far my best is 134, i blew 2 good nights with over thinking on the last end of 6 arrows. but this regular shooting and regular line in the sand has really helped me improve. In the league competitions in the space of less than 2 months i improved from 155 to 394. (that’s shooting 2.5 dozen @ 60, 50 & 40 yards with 10 zone scoring).

I hope i can crack the 50 yard 252 before we move indoors or it will have to roll over to spring. But my main message to anyone else going through the pain of switching bows and trying to improve, is shoot often and have a goal, it really helps.

So fingers crossed…. im sure this wont be the last post in my journey to figure out what on earth im doing with pointy sticks…





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2 responses to “Archery: just more random blathering

  1. Toby

    Good stuff Robin. I like that pinch between the shoulders. I shall use that, with your permission…

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