As a new archer, I made a point of asking some of the women leaders within the sport what their advice was for newer women archers interested in getting started.
Tiffany Lakosky of the Outdoor Channel’s Crush With Lee & Tiffany made a point of telling me that “the most important thing is to go get set up the right way. Do not take your husband’s or boyfriend’s old bows. You want to be successful right at the start.” Upon her advice, I located an archery dealer who not only fit the bill with experience, but put me at ease at this new (and somewhat foreign) sport right away.
Jim Despart of Flying Arrow Sports in East Greenbush, N.Y., is the real deal. An experienced archer, Jim’s won countless tournaments over the past thirty years and has even brought youth classes into his shop to help spread the skill and excitement of archery.
Figuring Out Your Dominant Eye
“Are you right or left eye dominant?” asked Jim as we started the process of getting fitted for my new 2014 Hoyt Ignite Compound Bow.
Unprepared for the question, I hesitantly answered, “Right. I think.” While peculiar to the non-archer, this question is an important one before setting up a bow as eye dominance ensures consistent shooting.
After determining that I was, in fact, right eye dominant, he then measured fingertip to fingertip to figure out the general draw length needed for my size. Once the general length was determined and I tried a few practice draws, Jim corrected the length by shortening the draw length a touch.
Draw weight is also an important component in compound bow fitting as the weight needs to be comfortable for a beginner without being overpowering. Vicki Cianciarulo of the Outdoor Channel’s Archer’s Choice offered me a few tips, stressing that having fun was one of the main things to remember.
“Don’t over-bow yourself,” she said. “Start off light enough to practice. Practice more and more and more. Draw your bow five to six times a day; it will build the muscles.”
Archery Tips For A Newer Archer
While Vicki and Tiffany offered general words of wisdom, Jim was a goldmine of archery tips. And you know what? There is a lot to remember:
- Positioning: Keep your nose on the string. Pull the bow string back to the same place every time. Anchor it.
- Roll your arm back; hold the bow loosely with the hand forward.
- Keep a firm stance; don’t lean your hip towards the front of the bow.
- Keep a slight bend in your arm as you draw; it will make the draw smooth and controlled.
Here’s a short video that includes my experience with being fitted for my first bow at Jim’s store. While he starts me off at 32 pounds, I am now pulling back at 37 pounds, thanks to continued practice and strength training.
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