Tuesday, April 22, 2008
"I don't want to be disparaging, but you are doing everything wrong" said the instructor, not long into our second Archery for Beginners session. My feet, hips, forearm, elbows, shoulders, shoulder blades, neck, nose and chin were in the wrong place. I had my arrow above the nocking point, not below. I was using my wrong eye. It's really a wonder I hadn't shot somebody. He kept telling me to get my elbow up, up, UP, and I had to retort after a while that to my mind he had his elbow too high, compared to the diagrams in our Archery Australia Come N Try handbook. He grudgingly conceded the point.
After this free and frank exchange of views, my shooting did improve, but I am still not as consistent as Elf. We have been shooting from only 10 metres, which sounds ridiculously close, and looks it too, until you give it a try. My best result from 6 arrows was 5 in the gold bull. Elf only got 4 out of 6 but she got it again, and again, and again. It was great to see how everyone improved. To begin with we were tracking down arrows all over the paddock behind the targets. By midway through Saturday every arrow was densely packed into the gold, red and blue. Apparently the vast majority of injuries in archery are caused by the feathery end of the arrow, when people are crowding around a target pulling them out over-excitedly.
For the last half hour we retreated to 15 metres. Suddenly the arrows were all over the place again. Gravity come in to play at that distance, so we had to lower our sights. Something that seems counter-intuitive is that to adjust your sights you "follow your arrow". if your arrow is low and to the left, you move your sight down and left.
I finished the day with 2 out of 6 in the bull, from 15 metres. I am a million miles away from mastering archery, but the progress is heartwarming. And I am particularly happy with my elbow elevation.