Can You Teach Yourself Archery?
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Can You Teach Yourself Archery?

August 13, 2019


Hey guys, this is NUSensei. Many people who watch this channel are first-timers who are trying to get into archery and are looking for the easiest way to experience
the sport. One of the major problems which many people
experience is the lack of clubs and coaching in their
area. Because of this, one of the most frequent
questions asked by beginners is can I teach myself archery? The short answer is yes. Archery is a set of skills, and many skills
can be self-taught. For example, playing an instrument, doing
art or craft or doing home handiwork. Archery is like many sports in that you practice
rote skills and techniques until you get it right. However, archery isn’t as intuitive as it
might seem. While some people are able to pick up a bow
and get it right almost immediately there are a few things that must be pointed
out to you. For the most part, people can’t pick up a
bow and get things right without any kind of training. It may seem easy enough to get the arrow to
fly of the string but doing so with any degree of accuracy is
not as obvious as it looks. I really want to emphasise that I’m referring
to the average person. There are people out there who do have the
natural talent or the feel for archery. They can pick up a bow. They can figure out the most efficient and
effective techniques and they can confidently send arrows downrange. We do occasionally get those people coming
to our club trying it out and finding that they really
like archery. However, we also get hundreds of people who don’t have the grasp of the fundamentals and they have to be taught the basics from
scratch. And this involves a lot of repetition and,
sometimes, frustration. With that in mind, archery isn’t something
you should blindly rush into. There people who do this. People who go, okay, I want to do archery.
I’m going to go on Ebay or Amazon and buy a bow. Buying a compound bow or a Samick Sage and then by arrows off 3Rivers or Ebay and then start shooting right away. There are things you should know before you
do that. Things like how to hold the bow, how to draw
correctly, safety rules, no dry firing. Bows aren’t toys. You can hurt yourself and you can hurt other
people if you have no idea what you are doing. Fortunately, we do live in a time where information
is more widely available. Through books and, especially nowadays, the
videos and the internet. This is where you, as a self-starting self-taught
archer, will probably acquire most of your information by looking at other archers online, watching
videos and copying their technique. And this is fine. A lot of backyard casual shooters have decent
form through practicing by themselves and occasionally
looking at somebody else. With enough practice and commitment, you will
develop enough accuracy and consistency to go out and hunt, if that’s
your thing. But there are problems that make the self-taught
process more difficult. Some things do require expert knowledge. This is most evident in getting your equipment
in working order from buying to tuning. Very rarely does a bow come straight from
the shop perfectly set up for you to shoot. Especially if you’re doing a blind buy from
Ebay. If you’re buying from an archery store, they
will usually walk it through with you and they will set it up for you to shoot. So that’s not as much of a problem if you’re
getting professional help. But otherwise, there are still lots of things
which you simply don’t know. And a lot of things, while you can find information
online or through asking people on online forums, some things are just really confusing at you
need someone to explain to you in person. More importantly though, you need someone
to tell you if you’re doing something wrong. If you don’t know what wrong is you may be training with chronic form problems which will lead to poor shooting and possibly
injury. I’ve come across many self-taught archers
who are so bad they are dangerous. And I use the word self-taught quite liberally. There is a difference between being self-taught and simply not knowing what you are doing. This is more common, in my experience, when
coming across compound shooters. Because compound bows are very easy to buy very easy to use and they come in excessively powerful draw
weights. If you go on YouTube and see archery accidents most of these accidents are from people who
using compound bows which are way overpowered and they don;t know
what they’re doing. Just to sidetrack a bit. These people are the hardest to work with and in my opinion, potentially the most dangerous. I know not everyone likes clubs. They’re elitist, there’s a bad atmosphere
or cliques and attitudes or they don’t like being told what to do. And that’s fair. But there are things in archery that can be
harmful. We do try to help people. But often this comes with a lot of resistance
from people who are too stuck in their self-taught ways. that they’re unwilling to accept feedback
and criticism. And they’re physically unable or mentally
unwilling to make any changes. You get people who go I’ve been shooting since I was a five year
old kid with my dad and they have their overpowered 80lb compound
bow they’re sky-drawing they’re yanking it back they’re dislocating their shoulders it’s nasty to see we can tell it’s dangerous but it’s really card to get you to change if you’ve been learning the wrong thing for
your whole life. Anyway, going back to the question: can you
teach yourself archery? The answer is yes you can. It’s not easy, but you can. However, you have to be realistic in your
expectations. If all you want to do is to fling arrows at
a big target in your backyard then that’s actually not too hard. You can achieve that without knowing a lot
of professional expert skills. However, if you want to gain competition or
hunting levels of accuracy and consistency then you will be in for a much harder learning
curve and that’s what you have to appreciate. You have to recognise what you are doing right
as well as what you are doing wrong. And that’s how you learn. So, yes, you can teach yourself archery. For most people, it may not be a choice. You have to teach yourself archery. It is more than possible. It can be very fun. But it can also be very frustrating if you
don’t know or have access to expert knowledge. My advice is, the more guidance you have and that can be through books or videos or
coaching and clubs or even another experienced shooter the more guidance you have, the easier your
pathway in archery will be. Anyway, this is NUSensei. Thanks for watching. Hope you found this helpful. And I’ll see you next time.

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  1. Love the videos NUSensei. This one nailed it! I teach English at a high school in Japan, which also happens to have an Olympic style re-curve archery club. I'm a bit of a history buff, so my interest is in shooting the traditional English longbow (shooting off the knuckle/ stick+string). In Japan, there is almost no information about shooting one of these kinds of bows (Their traditional bow, the yumi, has a very different shot cycle), so using the internet as a tool for research on form and technique has been essential. 

    One thing I have found to be very helpful is to film my shots, specifically so I can see my posture and shot cycle. Once I have the footage I can compare it with videos of more skilled longbow archers and work out what I need to do to improve my form (plus I can see what shots seem to work out well and visualize what I was doing to achieve that result in my own cycle). 

    Learning from scratch is certainly no easy road, but I do feel very connected to the form now because of all the research I have done (not only for technique, but on the history behind the style as well). Thanks for the confidence booster, I feel a little less crazy now in thinking I may become skilled someday, despite working at it mostly alone!

  2. Would I be considered a 'self taught' archer? When I bought my bow the guy at the shop showed me basic form safety and anchor point. I've also been to the nearest range a few times and got some advice, however I much prefer shooting with my mates at there farm. I've had about an half an hour of advice and tips.

  3. So great when people try to argue with shop staff ___;. It's like… buddy, these people do this for a living. This is a hobby for you. I think they might know a bit more than you do. By all means if your small, impatient child insists he shoots "right handed" when you've just been told he's left eyed… you do that. That literally happened at the shop I train at this past weekend.

  4. NUSensei, would it be possible for you to start making a tutorial video series, for self taught ppl? You obviously have the skills and for me these videos would be a good watch to continue my training.

  5. Lol. Think there is more ways and styles to shoot the many different styles of bows. Than a comment board full of Lars Anderson debaters. 😉

  6. I agree and disagree with this.  You say that some people have natural skill with archery and I agree with that.  But you also say that most people need training to become good.  That is what I disagree with.  Everyone has a basic knowledge of how a bow works before they decide to use it.  That is simple fact.  Nobody picks up a bow without knowing how to use it.  The standard form that everyone uses now was at one point not a standard form and it might be replaced in the future with a different standard form.  The whole idea of becoming a good accurate archer is understanding what your bow can do and allowing your bow to do that.  The bow by itself will hit a ten every time.  Your job is to find out how to do that and practice at it.

  7. I'm completely self taught, and I have watched loads of videos and looked at forums on the Internet. Only 3 months after I got the bow, I was splitting thin sticks, shooting Coke bottle lids from 20-30 meters away, shooting ping pong balls, and the list goes of miscellaneous stuff goes on…. My friends and family say I'm a natural at it, and should compete in competitions and stuff, but I don't have the money for it.

  8. This was a good video and you made some really good points. I think this video will help a lot of new archers save themselves a ton of frustration when it comes to tuning.

  9. hi im one of the self taught i had no choice in country S.A theres no archery shop nearby (700km each way) and the only archery club is in a disued sand mine im in a wheelchair so me and sand pits dont get along but i shoot fairly well on my property of 2.5 acres i learned all i know from people like you on utube. i shoot compound bow at 45 lbs i initialy bought a 75 pounder but it was too much for me ,i have learned how to shoot assemble and tune any compound bow that i own (17 at last count ) and really enjoy it so thank you to all of the utube archers and archery pros out there.

  10. This channel is the best most informative archery channel I've seen. No surprise since NUSensei is a teacher.

  11. I think that the term 'self taught' may not be accurate for most archer (such as myself).
    I personally think that 'self taught' means that you have completely learned how to use a bow without any previous practical or theoretical knowledge of it, whereas most 'self taught' archers like myself have learned from studying archery on the internet, books and so forth.
    In my opinion, that is not truly a method of self teaching because your teacher is whatever resource that you are studying to learn from.

  12. I just was given a Compound bow, and The pull weight isn't too much for me to handle, but I was wondering if you could do a video on changing the draw weight. Right now I can only get about 10 shots off before my arms and back start really killing me.

    You're videos are super helpful btw.

  13. Thanks for the video, tho I'd like to note that I am a person for example, that likes to learn it the hard way. Learning things the hard way with a good attitude and mentality leads to more feeling accomplished and being good as well.

  14. As someone who's now considering archery, I'm trying to gather as much information about archery as possible before buying a beginner bow.

    For the most part everything seems somewhat clear… except for eye dominance.
    I've tried to do some tests to determine which eye is the dominant one, but I find it easy to pass the tests I've tried using either eye with minimal effort to switch from one to the other.

    Here's a few examples:
    1) The "triangle between hands" test initially tells me my right eye is the dominant one, but I find it easy to switch between the eyes. Granted it gives me a major headache trying to keep both eyes open while doing the test.

    2) The "finger on a small object" test initially tells me I'm left eye dominant, though on that test it's even easier to switch between eyes, just move the other "shadow" on the object. No headache there.

    I also found that with a little practice I could consciously switch between the eye I wanted to use for either of those tests. By "switching eye" I mean resetting the test I doing the test so that I used the other eye "dominantly".

    I think eye dominance has more to do with alignment than anything else. In any of the tests I've done (and in archery, I assume..?), the accurate eye seems to be the one you align the target and sights with (duh). If I align the "hand triangle" so that the hole is right between my left eye and the object I'm looking at, the object is always shown accurately in my left eye.
    Of course, by moving my hand a bit to the right the object is accurate in my right eye.

    I'm not sure if my explanations make much sense, but could I consider myself to not have a one specific dominant eye?
    If I didn't see all these people saying they can only use one eye to aim, I wouldn't even believe it was a thing. :s

  15. I'm 14 years old and haven't trained much at all my grandpa tought me the basics and I'm almost better than him now and can hit the target almost every time I only shoot in the winter time because I just feal like I should be behind the bow

  16. I like your videos, they are very informative. I have recently take up archery and completed the basic training and joined a club last week, I set my bow up and took it to buy arrows. Lady in the shop said top tiller was slightly out half a turn on top but otherwise spot on.

    The arrows I ended up with were 1516 spine alloys to start, but should last me a while, but said she I had to have a very stiff setup as the arrows were kicking to the right.

    But will have to see how it shots over the next few weeks and maybe tweek it.

  17. I fail to see why skydrawing is so looked down on. It was practically the only method used to draw English longbows in the middle ages, as they were dealing with 150-200lb draw weight bows. Skudrawing was THE way to draw.

  18. Hallo NuSensi…. noticed that Koreans, French, Germans Mexicans and americans has slight differences , some tiny , such anchoring, release, timing… But sometimes make very much difference interesting to see this differences in get it right in the target.. Please give me your opinnion of whose techniques you consider more complete and efficient…is technology in your bow what matters or internal discipline and work?….

  19. Good information! Usually self learners slip in tiny mistakes, that's I believe the biggest issue with self teaching in general. Indeed professional guidance every here and there is in pretty much every case a prerequisite to become professional yourself. You're a really good teacher by the way 🙂 super elaborate and you're giving a lot of examples which makes your point double clear. As always an amazing video!

  20. Well i have been training for about a year now. I have been training instinctive archery and now i can hit the inner red from 15 yards consistantly. I learned everything from videos. I know this issent that impressive but im only 13 so.

  21. What about this guy …………….

    What To Do When You Can't Find an Archery Club in Iceland
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5LoKpjbr0E

  22. While you can learn by yourself every top archer in the world has had coaching at some time and usually still has an active coach.
    I say this as a disgruntled archer whose local clubs only course is in bowhunting…

  23. I mean to get back into archery some time, but it will mean joining a club again, now the last club I belonged to was the University club ( out of politeness I will not say which Uni) but what really frustrated me about it was the difference between why I wanted to practice archery and the competitive nature of the club with it's emphasis on olympic technique. Yes for sure the club wanted to compete in the local league against other clubs, but what I wanted was not so much the ability to put x number of arrows into the bull but to develop a technique that was natural to me for the sake of meditation and excercise as much as anything else.

  24. My brother told me to use the split finger method and I figured out the rest but then I watched ur video about split or three under and I became a three under shooter but mainly learned by myself and a few tips from u and my brother

  25. I always walk into bow and hunting shops, walk right over to the compound bows and dry fire the shit out of them.

  26. I love your videos and I'm glad I found your channel it gives me a renewed sense of excitement about learning archery and getting better in it thank you.

  27. NUSensei, I was curious what your stance would be on someone who is self taught that has bad form, but is able to land consistent and accurate shots? Should they be corrected, despite being able to pull off consistent and accurate shots, or have they gone too far into their habits, that correcting would be like starting all over again?

  28. Can you teach yourself Archery? Yes is my answer , I never had a teacher or an instructor to teach me Archery , I had to learn by myself , I just knew that you nock the arrow , draw , loose , over time I developed techniques and it turned out rather well for me.

  29. I bout some professional arrows and I took some dollerstore lazer pointers took them appart and stuck them inside the arrow shafts then I took my drill press to the arrow tips and made a hole then I put them together lazer guided arrow it helped me learn a whole bunch I practiced form over and over but I was worried about the sight blindness you know the aming too high hense the lazer pointers it didnt work perfect lineing up the lazers perfectly was hard but some hot glue later and I fixed them. They really helped me learn what the actual sight was and how to line my eye to the arrow. It really helps and I think it would help other self learners aswell try it out but dont fire the arrow till the lazer is straight I used a lazer level I made the arrow level then mesured the distance between the beams apatures then I walked 40 feet away to the target and mesured between the dots again if it was an inch difference you have to fix it plus its alot easier to see if its listing right or left because the laser level is perfect up down and left right so I used it to help position the imperfect dollerstore lazer its not as hard as it sounds. I dont shoot 40 feet away I just figured if im just a little imperfect at 40 feet I can just get away with anything less then 40 feet.

  30. Same here .there are no clubs or lessons in my area .
    I did do extensive research on you tube ,google , and books (on form ,safety ,anchor points. ECT).
    I did screw up on buying my first bow . however. My 2nd & 3rd bow I did get it right . I prefer recurve bows . I am still and always learning ,always looking for constructive criticism & improving everyday .
    Love your videos .

  31. just found all of your videos. I just started thinking about getting into Archery and your stuff has been a GREAT source. great job

  32. Hunting level accuracy. LOL. In Finland they require you to hit inside of a 23cm circle with 3 arrows from 18 meters to get a hunting license. I would almost claim then if you give a compound bow to a monkey, it would pass that test.

  33. I think I'll try to teach it to me myself. In Germany these sort of clubs where you can go to shoot both guns and bows are very institiutionalized and they want you to become not only a member but sort of part of the family. And I'm just not down for that, I just want to shoot my bow. Even worse, the club in my town wouldn't even let me try shooting bow and arrow, either you're a member or you're not, they said :/

  34. I learned archery when I was in the cub scouts and I stopped for about 15 years and now I'm getting back into it. I wouldn't say I'm self taught but I've learned more about archery from you and me. Mostly me.

  35. I was always good at shooting rifles from age 11 and especially the cadets and army but used to have crossbows when younger but later bought a samick hunting bow and at first did things wrong but learned from mistakes, I learned mainly from books and the internet including your channels. I once went to a club and only corrected on my stance as I like to stand feet apart like the medieval longbow shooters did. Also I was told to use 2 fingers on the string but I like to use 3 finger's. I now own a compound crossbow, recurve crossbow, pistol crossbow, 2 Mongolian horse bows, 2 longbows, still have my samick hunting bow, have a samick sage, a survival takedown bow, a Mandrin duck phantom, and a compound bow, all shoot different. The samick hunting bow is 30lb which is comfortable to shoot but most are 40lb and the survival bow is 50lb anything over that I strain and shake. I have all the equipment but prefer war bows or hunting bows, Olympic bows are too expensive although what I spent on the others could have been used for one. I am a good shot with them and self taught. One big tip is always use a stringer I have snapped a couple of bows by using the leg way especially laminate bows.

  36. NUSensei, I have been wondering after watching many of your videos, i have wondered if there are any kinds of exercises to strengthen those back muscles besides just shooting the bow? I understand that by strengthening them through shooting you gain technique but if I could also do some other exercises to make my back stronger then it could be easier for me (not being a very strong person in the first place) to gain the muscle needed to use more common draw weights without having to spend more money on lower draw weight limbs and working my way up. If you have any tips or ideas, that would be great. also, I love your videos, keep up the hard work!

  37. I have an elkhorn bow, good Jr. Bow but Its to small for me but it still gives me good wonders. Using that bow, I reached myself how to use it and hey, I'm not bad

  38. Do you have any books to recommend on learning primitive archery or at least bare bow archery? I don't have access to instructors. The person who built my bow doesn't really teach the art. He even admits that he doesn't know how he consistently hits the target. He's clearly good at the sport because when he goes hunting, he doesn't bother with a quiver. He just carries three arrows. He straight up said that anyone who needs twelve arrows to bring down a deer shouldn't be bow hunting.

  39. My only archery experience was in taking a P.E. class back in college and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Got high marks and watching this channel is sort of a refresher for when I finally save enough money to get my own bow and practice at home as a hobby. No clubs here unless you're enrolled in university.

  40. I think, just like with anything else, you just have to love it, to be good at it. If you fall in love with love archery, you'll research it a lot, and do it with pleasure and passion. And when you are passionate about something, you are good at it.

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