Archery | Too Far, Too Heavy, Too Soon
Articles Blog

Archery | Too Far, Too Heavy, Too Soon

August 13, 2019


[shhh-thunk] Hey guys, this is NUSensei. Now when I
see new archers get into the sport there’s always this sense of excitement, the buzz of getting your brand new bow, the thrill of seeing the arrow whiz through the air.
There’s fun and energy and excitement. It takes over you. But, as the saying goes,
you have to walk before you can run, and many archers develop poor habits and fall into many traps. What mistakes do archers make? What can turn a pleasant pastime into a
horrible pursuit? I like to sum up the many newbie mistakes into three main aspects: too far, too heavy and too soon. The first aspect, “too far”, refers to a natural inclination to shoot from as long a distance as possible. After all archery is a shooting sport. It’s an
accuracy sport. If you can hit a target at 50 meters, that’s really impressive. That’s where the fun is. Seeing the arrow
go whoosh, arcing down towards a bullseye, and it feels wonderful. That’s why we do archery. That’s the
challenge, and I get that. After all why would you want to shoot an arrow at 5
meters away? That’s boring. That’s not challenging. The problem with
shooting too far in your early days is that you lose focus on your form. What happens is that you become too
fixated on trying to hit the target. You do whatever it takes to get the arrow to
land in the bullseye, and sometimes it can happen, but bull’s-eyes can be
accidents, but groups aren’t flukes. Archery is not a random number generator. You should be able to control the shot process. If you’re shooting from too far
a distance, then you are trying too hard to hit something you can’t actually hit.
You can’t guarantee which means you’re not actually doing archery. You’re just lobbing arrows and hoping for the best. The best archers, who are shooting at long distances, can do so, because they spent hours,
days, months, or years, training at short distances. If you put in the time and
effort to train at short distances then your form will be good enough to shoot
at any distance. You have full control of the shot process, and that is satisfying. What is more fulfilling to you, getting
one bullseye every hundred shots or getting all six arrows into the gold. In
some way it’s an element of wishful thinking. You think about shooting at long
distances, you will become better and shoot accurately, but that is simply not
the case. In fact, shooting at long distances can hamper your form and development.
What happens is that long-distance shooting can mask your problems. You
don’t actually know what’s causing arrows to group the way they are. The
mistakes you make are amplified at long range. There’s no pattern. You missed the target, and you can’t really read what’s happening. At least at short distances you can
analyze the pattern and grouping and diagnose where you’re going wrong. At
long distance you are focused on too many things. You’re distracted by the
target. You are intimidated by the distance, and you are plagued by poor
form. You have to eliminate these variables. Stay at short distance, build your confidence, and work your way up. By doing this you establish a clearer pathway and a
gentler learning curve. You become a safest shooter, and you break fewer
arrows. The second aspect, “too heavy”, refers to
draw weight. While you can buy 50 pound bows or higher, this really isn’t a good idea for your
first bow. There is a culture and mentality where higher is better,
stronger is manlier, and so on, but this is really bad advice for a new archer. You have to understand that you must work your way up towards a safe draw weight. Not everyone is built the same. You
shouldn’t feel pressure to shoot a faster bow or heavier bow, just because
it looks more impressive. It doesn’t work that way. The weight you
pull isn’t as important as how well you use the bow, but there’s more to it. By
starting too high you don’t develop the right muscle control needed to ensure a
smooth shot process. If you can’t control the bow then you are an unsafe shooter. It’s dangerous to others and dangerous
to you. You will hurt yourself. If chronic form problems don’t worry you then
chronic shoulder problems will. It will affect the quality of your life and will
stop you from doing archery in the future. Take the time to build yourself
up. Weightlifters don’t lift the heaviest possible weights when they start. They
build themselves up, and the same applies to archery. And you really have to ask
yourself “why do you need a high draw weight?” Some people simply don’t need it. The third mistake is “too soon”. This can refer to both draw weight and
distance, but, when I think of it, I think of mindset. I think of the progression of
an archer. It’s normal for an archer to want to become better. That’s why people do archery, to shoot
more accurately, to get higher scores. However not everyone progresses at the
same rate, and unfortunately many archers hold
themselves to the standards of others. Archery is easy to learn but difficult
to master, and some people take longer than others. One person might start doing archery and
then represent the state team in a matter of months. Others will shoot for
years before they become solid, experienced, confident archers. That’s okay. You cannot put yourself to someone
else’s benchmark or someone else’s standard. You have to progress at your
own pace. Putting yourself in the mindset where you have to compare yourself to other shooters can really ruin your archery experience, and that can be more harmful than starting on a heavy draw weight or
shooting too far. Eventually, you will become confident
enough to shoot at long distance. Eventually, you can condition yourself to
shoot heavy bows, but if you have the mindset of putting yourself against
better archers, and you’re not up to that level, you may never find joy in shooting
your bow. Archery is a personal challenge, but you have to be realistic. A
world class archer is going to train and practice hours every day. They’re going
to shoot a thousand arrows every week. If you don’t have that commitment then don’t expect the same results. You have to work up to it. If you want to compete and
succeed then you need to put in that time. Otherwise, don’t measure yourself
against the very best because you are shooting at different levels. So remember, if you’re starting out,
don’t go too far, too heavy, too soon. If you make the right choices early on, if
you plan for your development, and you put yourself into a positive mindset, not only is your archery journey going
to be rewarding, but it’s also going to be fun. Anyway, this is NUSensei, I hope
you found this interesting and helpful. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you
next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thank you Nusensei, this video helped me a lot 🙂 I have to think about archery as my personal challenge and not to compare my results with more experienced archers. And I have to take my time to learn archery at my own pace and when l am not in hurry I can start to enjoy it again at the fullest 🙂

  2. It's a fair call. when i started out on the historical side of archery i felt rather bad. being part of a field archery group the majority of archers are compound or reflex so I made the mistake of comparing. after meeting up with one of the few other historical shooters at the group i got some perspective. now admittedly I am upgrading my bow after roughly 8 months of shooting but i've only made that decision once i was confident at hitting 11-30 yard targets. with a 36 pound longbow i was starting to hit more of a physical limitation of the bow at longer ranges, almost having to aim upwards at 30-40 degrees over the target to get the arrows into the right area.

    I'm now moving up to a slightly higher poundage; 40-45 ( i won't know specifically until the bow turns up because wood) and going with a Sami Juoksa, combining a European style longbow with a recurved flatbow for a bit more grunt.

    no doubt i'll have to re-learn the bow but i only came to this decision after i got to where i am now. hitting bulls eyes at 11 yards and landing all my arrows on the target at 20-30.

    doesn't help that the field course we have has a 80 yard shot up hill….

  3. Hi, Nusensei what do you think about outdoor shooting with aluminum arrows? I'm shooting about 5 months (3 month with my own bow) and I've encountered situations where aluminium arrows are too heavy. Eg I can't shoot 50 meters, when others with similar draw weight and carbon arrows can. Isn't better to go for carbon arrows from the very beginning?

  4. Hi, I would like to ask you, how do you compare certain parts of a bow? e.g. If you look at two different risers how do you know which one is "better"? I am going to buy my ffirst bow soon and I dont know how to choose. Same with limbs. Thanks

  5. Hey nusensei I have a 55lb compound with no sights but i want to move to a traditional recurve bow what pound do u recommend

  6. People should only compare themselves to themselves. You will be better than you were last week and last month. Remember the very first time you shot an arrow? Did it go straight over the target along with quite a few more? Look where you may be now, you hit the target and are getting more and more in the gold. Compare the first time to where you are now and see how far you have come. Be kind to yourself.

  7. I'm about to get my first real bow tomorrow. It's a 68-inch 28 pound Hoyt Horizon, so it shouldn't be too heavy too soon (for an adult male). So that's checked. I also firmly believe, that I'm not going to compare myself to the professionals, try to reach expert level too soon and get frustrated in the process. That's because I've been practicing and playing guitar for more than 20 years – and I didn't make that mistake there either (otherwise I wouldn't be playing today). So that's also checked.

    Now the thing called "too far"…You didn't specify the reasonable starting distances in your video, so what would be the ideal plan on that one? Is it like starting from 5 meters, and once the groupings are consistent, increase the distance by another 5 meters and so on?

  8. I bought the apex blizzard compound bow and it's great i can adjust its draw weight from 10lb to 55lb and draw length to what ever I want. I started using it with it set to 40lb draw weight for target practice, Iv gotten pretty good with it now so I set it to 55lb and now I use it for hunting rabbits and foxes.

  9. Hey NU, I just recently got into target recurve archery. Coming from traditional where I shot a 30 pound Samick Sage, the draw weight felt comfortable and I could achieve decent groups at 20 yards. I planned on going with 28pound limbs for my target bow, but Merlin archery was out of stock of pretty much all of them, I ended up going with 30 pound limbs. I don't quite feel overbowed in the sense that I'm an unsafe shooter, but I have some noticeable shake and difficulty with stability at full draw. I've backed out my tiller bolts as a means to try and compensate, but I wasn't able to get a noticeable difference. In your opinion, should I put the 30 pound limbs aside for now and work at a draw weight I can steadily hold for a long time, or try and build those muscle groups while working through the 30's?

  10. lol so true XD i remember when i first started out hunting, i tired shooting 70lb at 40m 5 or 6 arrows i was get pain in my shoulders so i lowered my draw weight to 45 and started at 15m for a few days then the next was 20m and so on now i can shoot 50m with a compound at 75 no probs and taken up traditional archey now can shoot around 40m instinctive fairly well with a 45lb bow 😀

  11. Sadly really recognizable, but great that you're giving this advice to new archers, I wish I got it when I was starting

  12. Would you consider a cadet who has been shooting for 10 months, who has escalated to 70 meters off a 34 pound bow, too soon?

  13. That's a really helpful video.  I've been shooting for 2 years and made the mistake of getting limbs that were a bit too powerful.  So this year I dropped down 4 to 37 pounds.  That's powerful enough to get reasonable groups at 70m and I can control it well enough to develop my technique.  I also do a lot of work at short distances and frequently I don't use the target face. Aiming at the gold can be another distraction from good form.  Thanks for the videos – they're great!

  14. NUSensei – Excellent "Too" archery explanation, thank you. Question for you: what weight bow do you use for indoor 20 yd target archery? Does your weight change for 20 yd training purposes versus 20 yd indoor competition? Thanks.

  15. this is great advice 🙂 I've been shooting for about 2 years; with field bows (#50 hoyt buffalo, #50 W&W rcx-17) and I shoot instinctively; and honestly the range thing was my biggest issue. Always wanted to ht the 80yd targets like the target recurve shooters so I missed. a lot. Over the years I have now gotten myself to the point where I can get a nice-ish grouping at 70-80yds but instinctive shooting for me is now not about long distance. But sometimes it's still fun to try ^_^
    As for the too heavy too quick thing; I admit I started with a #35 longbow then straight to a #50 field bow. Probably shouldn't have. BUT I never struggled to shoot them… I don't know. It's something I got used to.
    All of this can be thrown out of the window if it's a target recurve bow though! I can't use them to save my life, tried it, but my body automatically gets into a heavily canted position and t goes downhill from there 😉

  16. Thx NUSensei i like your videos alot! ^_^
    I am doing archery for about 3 months, i am using a traditional recurve 30lb bow and i mostly shoot on 12 meters, and i hit the target pretty well…but when i move to a 18 meters my resluts drops by half…is it a matter of getting used to distance? or i need to pay more attention to my technique and keep practicing at 12m?

  17. Sensei's videos made me to join local archery club, like the next day after I discovered this channel. I just want to tell anyone who still hesitate – it's real! Even if guy like me (1.9 m tall, never did any sports, shortsighted, single) can shoot in general direction to the target, you can do much better.

  18. … actually weight lifters DO test their max weight first thing so they know where they need to be working and to monitor their own progress.

  19. You probably can move to too far too soon, but what I have seen more is that people who have been shooting for years, are somehow afraid to move to 70m. Where I live, you have to be able to shoot at 70m, if you want to compete outdoors (there are maybe two competitions where the longest distance is 60m), and people who compete regularly during the indoors season at club level, do not compete at all during the summer.

  20. I have a 32 inch draw and am pretty strong… tried low powered bows and came up against two issues;
    1: String torque. Way too easy, at my size, to twist the hell out of a low-powered string and get a really shitty release.
    2. Bows just aren't designed for 32 inch draw. I know you've said in some other vids that bows have no set draw length but… they do. Hand me a 58" 40lb bow and even as a beginner, I can pull that and be way more accurate than using a 18lb Olympic recurve, however… there is a point of stacking beyond which it's impossible to pull on certain bows. Aforementioned 40lb bow I was actually holding 57 lb at the fingers (not especially easy) and STILL the thing would simply not go back to my anchor. It sucks for big guys to learn on low-powered bows. Normal-sized folk are probably fine but, I learn far more with a bow that doesn't feel like an elastic band (and doesn't struggle to cast the long, heavy arrows that a long draw necessitates.)

  21. 15-20 yards is fine for a beginner. Practicing pulling a heavier bow without releasing is necessary to increase your draw weight, but 'overbowed' while actually shooting will only lead to bad form and other problems. When you become fatigued , stop and rest. Shooting a bow when fatigued causes loss of accuracy and no good results.

  22. Too Far.
    I am just starting kyudo. Standard length to a 36cm target is 28 meters. I'm not shooting at a target. It will take me weeks, perhaps months until I'm allowed to shoot at a target at two meters distance. Half a year and two official trials from now, I may be allowed to shoot an arrow for the first time at the full distance.

    Too Heavy.
    I'm using a device called "gomu yumi" (rubber bow) which is basically a simulation of the yumi's grip with a rubber band on the top end of it to allow you to practice the correct form before you ever hold a yumi. I have no idea of the draw weight of this gomu yumi, but I've been told it can't be compared to that of an actual yumi. Once my form is good and stable enough, I'll be allowed to switch to a yumi and practice the form on the real bow without arrows. There still will be no shooting involved.

    Too Soon.
    I just started kyudo. I will spend the next weeks, even months, doing serious training for kyudo – without even touching a bow. Then I will spend weeks and months practicing correct form and further training my body with a yumi. Only once I have trained for about half a year and passed two trials, will I be allowed to actually shoot.

    Perhaps this may seem excessive to you. I assure you, it's fun in its own way. That emphasis on the basics elevates kyudo above that of a hobby – even if you were to spend only one evening a week on it.

  23. Well done! Every beginner should view this video. I will be recommending it to all of my beginning students.

  24. Too far- I did the opposite, was scared to go too far… 2months in, I finally shot 70m and 90m today, lost 3 arrows XD but at least I hit an 8 at 90m(funny enough, at my draw weight I had to aim about 3-6inches above the bale itself to even hit the target with my sight all the way down and in…

    Too Heavy – Screwed up by starting with 34lb for target recurve… thinking I could do 50lb rows in the gym, i must be able to pull that easily right? well, after 100arrows a day, it is definitely not easy haha

    Too Soon – I disagree a little here, I live for a challenge, I put myself at an expectation level that I must "catch up" to people that have started before me. It motivates me to shoot, practice, and get better quickly. While I still compare myself's average scores week to week to track my progress, I expect to be able to match up with other people eventually given enough hard work, and thats what I find enjoyable. Different strokes i suppose

  25. 3 months ago I started archery with a 21 pound bow but now I’m going to upgrade to 36 pound bow so should go for it then?

  26. Good advice. I was arrogant when I started and tried to jump up from 45 to 60 lbs in my first month. I work in construction and lift weights, so I imagine my joints and muscles are quite strong compared to more sedentary folk. Even so, though I am able to control a slow draw and release at 60 lbs, if I insist on loosing more than a handful of arrows in one session, my back and shoulder will ache for weeks. The muscular stabilizers and ligaments just are not ready for that kind of load. So I've stepped it back down to 45lb for the time being, getting good groups, and am considering ordering a set of 35lb limbs to see if I can group even better with less exertion.

  27. I see NuSensei you told me to start at 25lb but our coach make me start at 32lb and my arm back shoulder hurts after

  28. Yep. My first two bows (not counting the kiddie bows I shot at camp as a kid) were a 48# longbow and a 40# recurve, and I started shooting at a local outdoor range at 30 yards. I didn't know anything about arrow spine, proper form, etc. Needless to say, I got frustrated really fast, broke and lost tons of arrows, and quit shooting for years. One day several years ago I decided to try again, but this time I bought a 25# Sage with properly spined arrows, learned some basic form, and started shooting at 10 yards in my backyard. An absolute world of difference. I've since found proper arrows for my longbow and recurve and now thoroughly enjoy shooting them as well.

  29. Okay so I got a 35lb doesent feel like to much weight for me but my third (ring finger on right hand) is really hurting/tingling and slightly bruised after shooting where as my other fingers are not. I use a glove as well is that just normal for a while or am I doing somthing wrong?

  30. I started field archery about 5 or 6 weeks ago. I'm using a 30# Sage with about a 29" draw, so perhaps pulling about 32# or so, and it feels about right. My shoulder is aching a little, but then I've always had pretty dodgy joints! I'm hoping that with more practice I can build up the strength a bit more so that it shouldn't be a problem in future. The one thing I'm finding a little bit frustrating is not having the chance to practice short range target shooting to work on my technique. Every time I turn up at the club, I'm pressured into doing the course, shooting at the 2D/3D targets from various, random ranges. It's good fun, but I don't think it's helping me get my technique right. Any shots I get on target are more down to luck than judgement – I have a rough idea where to aim for most of the targets, but it's still a lot of guesswork, and because my draw isn't consistent yet, I'm still trusting too much to luck. I have managed to get two hour-long sessions up there with no one else around, which isn't advised as it voids the insurance, but it has at least allowed me to do a bit of practice without someone nagging me to move on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *