NU’s Archery Q&A | March 2016
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NU’s Archery Q&A | March 2016

August 20, 2019

Hi guys, this is NuSensei. Now, I’ve mentioned in previous videos that I deal with a lot of questions. I haven’t exactly counted how many questions, but I’d say on average, from the internet alone, that’s probably between 5 to 10 questions per day. That means in a given month, that’s probably around 150 to 300 questions asked by the internet about archery. That’s actually quite a lot of questions. While I do try my best to answer every question I can, admittedly I sometimes just don’t have time. That said, the questions which are asked are usually very good, and I think that the general viewer base deserves to know about the knowledge being passed around, so that they too can learn from other people. I’ve decided to start a new monthly Q&A series, focusing on archery, of course, although you can ask other questions. You can send me questions through Facebook, or YouTube, or through email or I will pick my favourite questions that have been sent to me during the month. Now do bear in mind that this is meant to be a quick Q&A session, it’s not meant to be a video request thing, so if it’s a very big question and it requires a big topic then I might save it for a different time. These are only the quick questions which people want to know about. so the first ever question for NU’s Q&A is from Andrew. Now, Andrew actually has a very big question. Basically, he’s concerned that his club or his team isn’t very well organised and this is actually a very common problem in some clubs. The problem is that the shooters at the club don’t take care of the club facilities and equipment, they leave a mess around the tables and so on, and Andrew wants to know what can be done to help address this issue. I should have picked an easier question. But seriously, this is a very big problem with clubs in general. Any sports club will have this sort of problem too. The way I would approach this is to address the club committee, if there is one, or the team comittee. I know there are problems with the leadership, or the captain’s not pulling their weight and so on, but its something which is systematic, it’s not like one person is making a mess or people are being careless, it’s starting to develop into club culture and if this doesn’t stop then what will happen is, more people will get frustrated, more people will get angry, and more people will leave. Now, I’m not saying you should leave your club because people are leaving arrows lying around, but, what I’m saying is you should address this as a whole group in the forum that is available to you, it may be contacting the team leader one on one or by email, it may be having a club meeting. These things have to be done at a club organisational level. As an individual, you could approach people and actually be positive and support them by showing them the right way of doing things, by walking them through the correct clean up protocols, or what to do when their stuff is missing or stuff is lying around, that’s what you should be doing. But if people aren’t listening, and if people just want to chuck their stuff around, and no one wants to work together, then, the ultimate step is to vote with your feet. If no one is going to listen to the issues, then, that’s when people start withdrawing, that’s when people start leaving the club, and that’s probably the ultimate feedback that a club committee will get, is if people don’t stay with the club. So from the club committee perspective, you’ve got to support your members, that means listen to their concerns, if you don’t listen, there will be issues, and people won’t stay. Gobboleone from Germany, guten tag. Will the Samick Polaris last me 1-2 years? Firstly, the Samick Polaris is a fantastic bow, it is probably the ubiquitous beginner bow. Now, not the Samick Sage, the Samick Sage is the hunting bow that’s suitable for beginners. The Samick Polaris is what a beginner bow ideally is. Will it last 1-2 years? That’s actually pushing it. This actually depends on what your archery goals are. I mean, people can pick the Polaris and shoot it forever, if they don’t want to shoot another bow, or if they don’t want to compete, or hunt. So I can’t give you a time frame as to how long a Polaris will last you in terms of learning. It’s a very good bow to learn with. But, people who buy beginner bows might outgrow them in 3 months, or 6 months, or 3 years, depending on how fast they progress and what they want to accomplish with their bow. That said, I mean I would definitely recommend the Polaris as a first bow, if there’s nothing else available to you, but by the time you get through say 6 months to a year, you’ll probably start having a better idea as to what kind of archery you want and what kind of bow will suit you. Next, Dan has a good question and, to sum up, the question is: how do I measure progression? The context for this question was in regards to martial arts where you learn more advanced forms, and kata, and techniques, whereas in archery, it seems to become like a dead end, like you don’t really feel a progression. Outside of scoring, and rankings, and getting medals, and badges, archery actually doesn’t have in terms of personal development. The difference with martial arts and archery is that archery is a single action, you only learn to draw a bow and shoot, that’s really all there is to it. There’s no advanced shooting technique. You will learn to dissect your skill and process a lot more accurately with practice, that’s something that internally you can measure in some way. you can understand the parts of your shot process more specifically, and especially when you are instructing others or helping others. So you can diagnose things like equipment problems, form problems, and so on. In my opinion, the skill progression in archery is not one of going upwards, but going laterally. You learn diverse skills. That means you might be learning different styles of shooting, so instead of shooting traditional only, you might shoot traditional and modern. Or you might shoot target and field, or clout, or flight, and so on. There are different disciplines which can appeal to people and you can learn. Apart from that, you can learn different skills within your discipline. That includes things like making strings. These are ?????????? small things which you can learn and become a better all round archer, which may be what you are thinking of when it comes to personal progression. John asks: is a 25lb bow too light? No, 25lbs is a great starting point. It’s just heavy enough to feel like you’re actually shooting, but not too heavy where most people can’t handle the weight. Ideally your bow should be a weight which you can comfortably draw back and hold for around 30 seconds, that means you can learn good form and shoot without getting tired. Alistair asks: how about a 10lb bow? I had to double check this because i thought you might be missing a zero somewhere. 10lbs, that’s really really light. You can’t normally find a bow that comes in 10lb. The actual bow in mind was actually an Ebay Chinese horse bow which come in from 10lb to like 80lb, so it wasn’t a reliable bow. But the question is, 10lbs, way too light.I mean, even this toy mini compound bow is probably heavier than 10lbs. Seriously, I mean, our beginners, junior and senior, shoot 18 to 24lbs, that’s a pretty standard thing. We have like 15lb kids bows for like 8 year olds, but 10lbs is like not a bow, you can pretty much throw an arrow faster and further than a 10lb bow. Another question from John. How do you train in the wind? Everyone will agree that wind is the most frustrating factor in archery. There’s simply no way around it. Apart from shooting indoors, you can’t avoid training in wind, and you will shoot in windy conditions. One thing you have to keep in mind is that the wind will mess you up. It will mess everyone up too. So all the fine tuning, all the very small, micro techniques in your shot process will be messed up. It’s very hard to maintain good flow and expansion and rhythm when you’re fighting against the wind. That’s to be expected. So, a couple of things. Firstly, expect to let yourself down a lot. You’ll be coming up to your full draw, wind blows, you lose your tension, let down. That’s fairly normal and people expect this. The second thing is to expect a little bit less of yourself. The wind will naturally increase your dispersion, your arrows won’t group as tightly, they will drift to the side. So there’s not much you can really do about it, your scores on average will be lower in windy conditions, so don’t be too hard on yourself. A question from Skylar, what are your targets made from? Originally, our targets were made of stramit, that’s a densely packed straw material and it’s normally used for insulation. We had layers of those and they do last quite a while. Wet weather does make them get a little hard but they do the job quite well. We ran out and we couldn’t source any locally so we switched over to plastic. The plastic we use is the pallet wrapping which you get from warehouses and the big hardware stores, they have tons of this lying around and they really want to get rid of it. We’ve got a few members who work in warehouses and so on, so we do get this for free quite easily. We put it into a giant press and we squeeze them together and we place it into a wooden frame and then we cut the ties, it expands, so it fills the space quite well. The key to using plastic is to make it really dense, that way the arrows don’t go through. The other thing is foam. Now, a lot of clubs will use a foam target or especially a foam center. Foam is very expensive. We don’t personally use foam in our club, I know other clubs do, but foam is probably the best material for a target. My personal target at home, which is the block target, that’s foam. Probably, again, the best material. But probably not affordable, unless your club is really really wealthy. Bjoern asks, what do you think of the quick-disconnect systems on stabilisers? Personally, I don’t really see a point, yes you can detach them with one press but it takes around 3 seconds to screw in a stabiliser anyway so, you’re not really saving that much time. Randy has pointed out how silly my bucket hat looks, and he asks can you go without one? Just remember, I do live in Australia, that’s a pretty hot summer and fortunately I tan rather than burn, but no kidding, we have one of the highest cancer rates in the world, so being sunsmart and wearing a hat is something which I would expect as a matter of health and safety, rather than for fashion. Klr’n asked, is the Samick Sage a good bow? Yes. Levi asked, how often do you train? I try to train every evening or every couple of evenings. The biggest factor is my after-hours commitments, that’s mostly work, and after-hours work. I do shoot regularly at the club at least once a week as a club shoot and training session, but personally, I try to get in maybe two, three, maybe four times a week. I prefer to have regular, frequent sessions rather than big single sessions, you learn more that way, you retain more. I try to go for an hour for a personal practice session, but if I go to the club I want to spend two, three, even four hours doing training work and shooting rounds and so on. Tyler and about a hundred other people have asked, what bow do I use? I use a Win&Win Inno CXT. That hasn’t changed in the past three years. Bjorn asks, on what authority do you criticise Lars? Wow, a Lars Anderson question, it’s been a while. Firstly, I don’t consider myself to be a Lars critic. I actually do like what he does and I don’t disagree with most of it, just a few of the side comments I found kind of misleading. So I want to turn the question around. On what authority does Lars criticise modern archery? From what I know, he is not a modern target shooter, and he is not a historian. He has a very good style of archery, he is a very fast shot, and a very talented and hardworking trick shooter. So all credit to Lars for pulling together and demonstrating a new style of archery. But reading a few historical texts and inventing, or reinventing, a style of archery doesn’t automatically give you the licence to criticise or speak authoritatively on certain topics which are outside of your expertise. Likewise, I can’t criticise traditional shooting methods because I’m not a trad shooter. So take it with a grain of salt, I don’t think Lars is doing anything wrong necessarily, but I think some of the claims that he’s made don’t reflect his actual expertise, and a lot of people confuse skill for expert knowledge in particular fields. That doesn’t necessarily correlate. He’s a great archer, but he’s not necessarily a good historian. Brent has a question, is it normal for your first string to come out bad? Yes, as with anything strings take a bit of skill and finesse and experience to do well. Your first string, especially if you’re doing a more complex design like multi-coloured strings, it will be hard to get things to turn out right. It took me many attempts, and my first dozen weren’t that great, until I figured out what I was doing wrong. So it’s a learning process, you will become faster and better at making strings with practice. Now, with that said, I’ve taught a few people to make strings one on one and for some reason their strings always turn out perfect. Maybe I’m a good teacher, but, if it makes you feel bad because their strings are better than my strings on their first go. Question from Sir Awesome, have you ever tried shooting a compound bow? I’ve held many, but I haven’t actually shot a compound bow. Comment by Adam, nice shirt, did somebody get sponsored by Win&Win? No, I’m not sponsored by Win&Win. I do own a lot of products from Win&Win, that includes the bow, and the finger tab, and the cat-shaped arrow puller, and I do have a lot of shirts. For a couple of reasons. One, they’re nice comfortable shirts. Two, they’re blue. I like blue more than red, so it looks nice on me, I think. Otherwise, I’m not sponsored by any company, all my gear that I personally use is self funded and self bought. So I’m personally not affiliated with any business or company, I’m not a staff shooter, I’m not personally sponsored. Some organisations and businesses have sponsored particular projects, they include Australian Target Archery magazine, Astra Archery, and Three Rivers Archery. But I am personally not sponsored. Question from Nicholas, are feathers or vanes better for hunting? They pretty much do the same thing so they’re equal. Question from social3ngin33rin, do your neighbours hate you for practicing in your backyard? So far, no. I’ve had no complaints about the noise. It’s not that loud. It sounds loud, but it’s actually not that loud. There’s a lot of echoing, because I do shoot under a shelter, but the sound dissipates quite easily. I do live in a fairly quiet neighbourhood, but it’s not much louder than regular backyard activities. If a kid’s running around the street, kicking a soccer ball, that’s probably louder. Additionally, there are bigger distractions. Like a plane flying overhead every three minutes, a train every five minutes. It actually makes filming in the backyard very frustrating because it’s so loud. So I’m surprised that people even notice me shooting in the backyard. From Gaminggod, do you think buying a bow from companies’ websites or Amazon? I’m not actually sure what the question is, but if the question is do I think it’s better to buy from a company website the answer is yes. Amazon is not a bad service, it’s a typical shopping service. But it isn’t a specialist, that’s the problem. If you’re buying from a company website, or especially the retailers, like Lancaster, Merlin, 3Rivers, Pat’s Archery, Abbey Archery, and so on. If you’re buying from an archery store, you’ll get much more support, that means any questions you have, you can ask the store. If you want them to take care of things for you, like pick the right arrows, or recommend some items, they will do it for you, even if you don’t go in person, doing it online is much better than buying from Amazon. Amazon is very anonymous, you won’t get any support before, during, or after the purchase. Manscho asks, are you from New Zealand? No. ???????????? asked me a question, his problem was that he put his arrow points into the shaft without glue and he couldn’t get them out and he broke a couple shafts. He asked, what’s wrong? There’s nothing actually wrong with this, some points are a very tight fit into their shafts. This isn’t actually a bad thing, you generally do want some tight fitting points because points have a tendency to come off. That said, it’s a bit unlucky that you couldn’t get your points out. You’re generally not meant to test them out by putting them in. You only insert them with glue when you’re ready to put them together. You’re not meant to put them outside for fun, because you will find they will stay and you can break your arrows. Clare has several questions about string maintenance. Firstly, what do you need to do to maintain a string? String maintenance is very simple, the only thing you really need to do is to wax it every now and then. You do that by getting your stick of bow wax and your string, you rub the wax onto the string and then you use your fingers to really get it into the string itself. You really want to make sure the individual strands have a nice coat, that way they’re lubricated, they won’t rub against each other when you’re shooting, so there’s less wear and tear. How do you know when to wax? A string that hasn’t been waxed for quite a while will be very dry to touch, and you’ll see very fine hairs which are sticking out, which is quite normal, but that’s a big sign that the string hasn’t been waxed for too long and you should wax there and then. The next question is, how do you know if you need more twists? This is a tuning issue. One thing is brace height, make sure your brace height stays the same each time you string the bow. If you measure your brace height and it’s different, that means the string may have been untwisted and you need to twist it back to restore your original brace height. There are a couple of other reasons. Firstly, if you are doing tuning, one factor is the sound of your bow. Bows will sound differently at different brace heights so that’s when you might need to add or remove twists. And if you’re doing some tuning, then adding and removing twists will also increase or decrease the velocity of the bow. Not something you really need to do, but it’s mostly a brace height thing. Lastly, is there anything special you need to do when unstringing your bow? Yes there is. While you can just put the string into your bag as is, you may find the string will untwist by itself, as I said before. So what you can do is take the two string loops and thread them through each other once, twice, and you get this ad hoc knot. It’s not really a knot, but you get this loop within a loop, that prevents the string from untwisting by itself. You can then fold it and put it in your bag normally, and that way you’re guaranteed not to lose any twists. Question from Daniel, why do most experienced archers release their hold on the bow and let it flop forward? The principle behind this is that you want to minimise the amount of tension on the bow hand. Having too much tension means that you will create torque on the bow, that means you’ll be twisting it left, or right, or up, or down, and so on. So at full draw, you have less control over the bow’s steadiness, and there’s more shake, and the more tense you are, the more inconsistent it will be. So by letting the bow go, what you are doing is not holding the bow at all, there’s no grip, so the fingers are off the riser, and most people will put them on the side, or just very lightly curled off the riser, and when you pull it back, it actually sits back in your hand. You’re not forcing it forward, you’re pulling it back and it sits between your thumb and forefinger without any extra effort. The result is if you don’t use any sling, the bow will jump out by itself. That means there’s nearly zero tension on the bow grip and that’s another variable that has been eliminated. Naturally, if you’re not using a sling, the bow will jump out. If you are using a sling, with a full stabiliser system setup, the bow will tip forward, because of the forward weight. If you’re shooting barebow, the bow will typically hop in your hand and fall backwards, that’s a barebow problem, but fairly normal. Again, if it’s jumping out freely, then you’re doing it right, it means you have less pressure on the bow. The opposite is the death-grip. Having too much tension means you simply can’t control the bow at full draw. John asks, are you supposed to get any sort of pain in your body? Generally no, apart from string slaps, and feeling sore, you shouldn’t feel pain. Pain is usually a sign that you’re doing something wrong. And it depends on where your pain is. The most common injuries come from the shoulders, it’s normally the drawing shoulder by not rotating correctly and using your arm to pull back rather than your back muscles, that’s one source of pain. The front bow shoulder can also be painful, if you’re coming up and not aligning properly. The question here was the bow hand, if the bow hand is painful, that, to me might indicate too much tension but some of these issues are more complex, you might have to see a more advanced physician, rather than asking a coach. Chris asks, where did you get the name NUSensei? I made the handle from two parts. The first part is my job. I am a teacher, and sensei means teacher in Japanese, something which is generally quite well recognised. The second part are my letters, N U. Those are actually my timetable letters. My workplace generates initials for every teacher to put on the timetable, and for internal purposes. N U was my generated initial. It’s been now changed to a three-letter system so I’m now N U D, but I don’t think NUDSensei has the right image. Question from Kay, how do you repair bales? We actually don’t. Bales are very hard to repair. You basically replace them, and it depends on what material you use. Straw needs to be replaced. If you’re using layers, like stramit layers, like we used to, you’ll find that the centre ones will take the most damage, so you rotate the centre ones out to the top and bottom and put the fresher ones in the middle. But if you’re using plastic, again, you have to take the whole target down, remove the cover, replace the plastic packing, and put it back together. You can’t really fix the target, but you can replace it. The other way is to use a core. Because the centre of the target takes the most wear and tear, hopefully, that part needs the most replacing. Some clubs will put a separate section, like a bag in canvas packed with plastic, and that becomes the replaceable part, the rest of the target doesn’t need that much replacing. The other option is using a foam core. Again, very expensive, but if you’re only buying the foam core, it does reduce the price, so you can replace the core, which will last quite a while, and keep the outside as straw or plastic. Anita asks, how do wrist slings work? Wrist slings and finger slings work the same way, but the question here was in relation to thumb arthritis, so if you do suffer pain in your joints, the finger sling will put pressure on those joints when you retain the bow, and drop it. The wrist sling works the same way, except instead of hanging off your fingers, it’s hanging off your wrist. Which, for a lot of people is more comfortable, and that may be your solution. Final question from Ragnar, how do you find out what you’re doing wrong? First you have to establish what you’re doing right. This is something which you may find you acquire in your first few sessions. You get the feeling of a great shot, everything feels right, you come in, you release, the arrow goes where you want it to, you feel the right muscle engagement and body feedback, that’s when you know it’s a good shot. The bad shots you can normally tell because it doesn’t feel right. Physically something feels out of line, that’s usually your first clue. The second clue is arrows not going where you want them to. By combining these two sorts of feedback, the target, and your physical feedback, you will probably be able to pick out some of the issues which plague you. Archery problems are normally attributed to one of three things. It’s either a technique or form problem, it’s an equipment problem, or it’s a mentality problem. What you find is sometimes you might think it’s something you’re doing wrong, but it’s actually something wrong with the bow. An example, recently, one of my friends is using a 40lb barebow, and he was struggling to hold 40lb, and he’s a really strong guy. But he couldn’t shoot properly because the bow felt too tense. And he thought he was too weak, or he wasn’t doing it right. What was actually wrong was that the string was too short, and the bow was overstrung. So the bow was already under a lot of tension before he even started. When we changed the string for the correct length, everything felt fine, his bow felt smooth, and light, the way it should be. We could have spent months, if not years, getting frustrated and giving up over a problem which didn’t exist, it was actually something else. So if you’re struggling with shooting well, then think about those three areas, equipment, technique, or mentality. Anyway, this concludes the first monthly Q&A. If you have your own questions to ask, feel free to send them to me through Facebook, email, or on YouTube, or this video. This is NUSensei, thank you for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Fuck I feel bad for asking my question now, having to deal with that many question would drive me insane.

  2. What can be hurting when shooting the bow. I shoot trad style and 60# bow so i was early on my limit. Now ewerything is easy and fine. The hurt that i had was my sholders and that gone away with rest and stop shooting when muscles were tierd. That can come back if shot to much. Newbie problem that i had earlyer was that my draw midle fingre (starting joint) had pain and there is still a hard lomp on it (maybe bone or licament). That pain go away that i now shoot on deep deep graab from string. 2nd joint. It is easy to hold and release is fantastic than what use shoot for ower ten years (that was compound with fingers 3under and glove then. Now it is tab and split with recurve). Another problem was that string or nock side swipe my indexfingre and that was allways open and blody after 20 arrows. That solwed when skin has now become like elefant skin and i made fingre seperator to my biger tab ( allso that biger tab is helping).

  3. NuSensei, love your work buddy…I am a fairly decent intermediate archer and just bought my first bow. I just got myself a Win & Win Rapido carbon riser and 34 lbs rapido limbs. I read a few great reviews about the Rapido. Do you like my choice?

  4. I know that it's probably going to be a brief topic but please make a video about release and follow-through. I simply cannot get a good "feel" for getting a smooth release.

  5. So , you've never actually shot a compound bow? hehe You probably shouldn't! It is very often a life changing experience.:)

  6. I have a new 68" Hoyt Horizon bare bow with a 25" riser and 27 pound limbs (draw weight at the fingers). I noticed that the distance from the limb, at end of the riser, to the "undrawn" string is 7.5" on the top limb and 7.25" on the bottom limb; the brace height is 9". I use Victory VAP 700 arrows with 110 grain points and shoot three-fingers-under. The bow has been set up with a magnetic arrow rest and plunger. The nock point was setup properly by the pro shop. Should the tiller be adjusted to make both the top and bottom distances the same — is that important? How is the proper tiller determined?

  7. Hey NU i just wanted to ask if i should move on to a 30LBS Recurve Bow i been Using a 25LBS Recurve Bow and its kinda getting too easy to draw in your perspective is a 30LBS Bow a good choice?

  8. Hey! Just sent you an email under the subject line ‘Optica Entertainment & Creative Nation Inquiry’ if that helps you find it. Hoping to hear back from you! 🙂

  9. Hi NUsensei,

    I really struggle to apply the relaxed-fingers technique when releasing the string and end up plucking it (to a lesser or greater degree).

    I've been shooting target recurve for 12 months and am progressing well enough to attain first class classification, so whatever I'm doing wrong isn't too detrimental, however, I am very conscious of it and feel it needs improvement.

    I see videos of archers where the string seems to whisper almost silently on release, in comparison, my release is a loud "twang"! Can you recommend a good way I can condition myself to improve the hand relaxation release?


  10. Nice work NUSensei – lots of good info. Here's my question for you – how do you recommend dealing with "target panic/lock-off (or other names its being called); i.e. holding the aiming point off the target and you mentally/physically can't seem to get point on – or – habitually release low/high of where you wanted to.?

  11. What is your personal best score? And in what way did your skill of archery progress, after you started youtube videos?

  12. I can answer the first question for you, Sensei. Rather than people spend time whinging about their current club committee and conditions, they should put their hand up to join the committee and help out!

  13. Hi: recently the string on my 64" longbow broke, so I took a spare string from my 68" re-curve, and put enough twists in it to reduce it to 61". Everyone I have talked to about this says that that is way too many twists. There are no bumps on the string, so would you know why way too many twists are bad for a string? Thanks. I really enjoy your videos. Leo

  14. Hi +NuSensei, do you think archery certification is important for regular archer? or it just important for a coach?
    What certification organisation is trusted or become world wide standard?

    Here in Indonesia, some coach claim to have the certification from Kim Hyung Tak Archery, even tho it just the level 1. How good their certification process is?

  15. Lars has skills; BUT, he exaggerate: example, THUMB RELEASE is NOT a "lost" technique. He did not discovered or "re discover" thumb release (research: kyudo of Japan); if he believe this, then he's pretty dumb or sheltered.

  16. As a beginner buying a basic bow, one thing that I would have liked to know sooner is the importance of brace height.
    I heard about twisting the string, etc, but I figured that was just to make the bow quieter. I just got a Polaris and from 5m my arrows were turning sideways(!) and bouncing off the target. From 10m at least they would fishtail back so they'd stick. I did notice a buzz and wanted to quiet that, so I measured the brace height, found it was 6" and the internet said it should be more like 8". A few twists later and now I have a quiet bow and my arrows are straight!

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