- Greetings Lorenzo
from Phelan of Penguinroost in Caid
I have been shooting a longbow for about ten years. Aiming has always been a concern
both for myself and those who I am trying to teach. There are several techniques that
can work depending on the individual archer. The first, and most difficult, is to
aim 'instinctively'. This relies on the archer knowing their body very well and
lots of practice. Here the archer focuses on the center and the body reacts to put the
arrow where they are looking. A good analogy is basketball shooting. How do you aim
at the hoop? You focus on the hoop and with practice, your body reacts so that the
ball goes in. This technique is not reccommended for beginners unless they have lots
of patience and are willing to shoot several hundred arrows per day in practice.
The 'point of aim' method is better for beginners. This is what you are trying to teach
to your students when you tell them to aim down the shaft. There are several points
to be aware of when you are teaching this method. The first is the archer's paradox
problem. With most longbows, the arrow rest is not on center with the line of the bow.
This means that the arrow is not actually pointing at the target. When released, the
arrow will flex and actually move into the center line and follow that path to the target.
This is the paradox. The accuracy of this is very dependent on the spine or flexibility
of the arrow. If the arrows are very stiff (overspined), then they will not flex and
will hit to one side of the target. The looking down the shaft method will be more
effective under these conditions. If underspined, they will wobble all the way to the
target with loss of accuracy. Appropriate spined arrows are best. When aiming, have them
use just the point and not the shaft as described below.
The next step is the archer's eye dominance. When shooting, the archer should be relaxed.
Squinting one eye does not help being relaxed. When relaxed, both eyes should be open.
Now each person will use one eye more than the other. To determine eye dominance, have
the archer close one eye and then block the target from the open eye by holding his thumb
up at arms length. Open the closed eye. If the target is still blocked, then the archer
is dominant in the open eye, if the target becomes visible, then he is dominant in the
closed eye. If the archer is eye dominant opposite his handedness, (i.e. right hannded,
left eye dominant) you might want to have the archer consider switching hands. I was
forced to do this due to an injury. It took about two months before I was comfortable
shooting left handed, but my accuracy at multiple distances increased greatly.
Now to point of aim. What I do is look at the tip of my arrow and place it at the center
of the target. On release, I watch where the arrow strikes the target and adjust the
placement of the tip accordingly. If the hit is high and to the right, I will move the
placement down and to the left JUST A LITTLE. Small changes of position will have large
effects at the target. This offset can be quite large, depending on the bow weight and
the anchor position of the arrow. I use a 50# longbow and anchor at my chin. The string
just touches my nose, so I have several reference points for repeatibility. At 20 yards,
my aim point will be on the ground about 10 feet in front of the bales. At 40 yards,
my aim point will be the blue ring at 6 o'oclock. If I anchor at my cheek, the vertical
component will be closer to center, but the horizontal will shift some. Each archer will
need to practice and try several different points until they find one the is comfortable
and workable for them. Below is a crude diagram on how this works. As I move the aim
point closer to the target, the aim will angle up and go for longer distances.
| Arrow flight ....O
| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - <----
| .... Arrow
.... Point of aim path
Point of aim ....
Hopefully this has clarified some of your points without increasing your confusion.
Success with your teaching endeavors.
Yours in service to the Dream,
Lord Phelan of Penguinroost
Master of Archers
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Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 13:38:10 -0500
From: Lorenzo <detoma@...>
Subject: [SCA-Archery] Aiming with a longbow
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
From: Lorenzo <detoma@...>
I have a question regarding aiming with a longbow. Oftentimes, beginners
who are starting out with a longbow complain that when they are sighting
using the shaft of the arrow, they find themselves aiming way to one
side or another of the target in order to get their arrows near the
middle. I assume this is because of the archer's paradox problem, but
since I don't have a longbow, I really don't know if it's true, or more
importantly, how to instruct people on the best way to aim if they have
this question. Any help would be appreciated.
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- I am considering modifying the crouch so the archer only has to crouch while aiming and releasing. They may stand while nocking and drawing.
"lynn.palmieri" <lynn.palmieri@...> wrote:
I like the challenge overall. My only concern would be for those of us with damaged knees. I personally am unable to crouch and hold that position to shoot. Getting up and down of the ground is challenging, but doable, however it may depend on the state of the ground (i.e. fine dirt or mud vs. grass). I know you said it would be the marshal’s choice, but these two options may need to be used as last resorts? Just my $0.02.
Here is my latest addition to the possible SSAC shoots. Your comments will be greatly appreciated.
Random Stance Competition
The Random Stance Competition is shot from six different stances which are chosen at random by the marshal in charge from a predetermined set of stances. By “stances”, it is meant either standing, kneeling, sitting, etc. The purpose of this competition is to test the ability of archers to shoot from different stances.
The “stances” are:
2) Kneeling, on one or both knees.
3) Sitting, posterior on ground.
4) Parthian, back toward the target and toes pointed away from target, rotate torso and shoot back over your shoulder.
5) Crouching, both knees bent at approximately a ninety degree angle.
6) Twister, feet pointing the opposite way they normally would (a right handed archer’s feet would point left).
The bow should not be drawn until the archer is facing the target.
If an archer, due to a disability or injury, can not assume a stance, they may assume one of the other stances which is most similar to it with the approval of the marshal. At the decision of the marshal in charge of the competition, the archers may shoot one at a time or as groups depending upon the number of archers.
The distance is 20 yards.
Ends. There six ends of six arrows, each shot from a different stance, six arrows from each stance. The marshal in charge randomly draws a stance from a container of the six stances, announces the stance and then removes that stance from the container. This is repeated for each end. The arrows are scored at the finish of each end.
Target. The roundel target is the same as a Period IKAC target, a 6cm (2.4”) peg, 24cm (9.6”) roundel, with a 60cm (23.6”) outer circle. The peg, roundel and circle may be of any contrasting colors.
Additional period style decoration may be added to the target as long as it does not make aiming or scoring difficult. Such decoration is strongly encouraged, but not required.
For those who wish to stop by a print shop, here is a PDF designed for large format printers with the target face pre-drawn.
Scoring. The peg is five points, the roundel is three points and the circle is one point. Arrows touching the line count as the higher score. There is a maximum possible score of 180 points.
Youth division. The distance for the youth division is fifteen yards.
Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf