Olympic-style Recurve Archery
I did this specific style of archery from 2010 to 2017 including tournaments, leagues, and 'fun shoots'.
This sport was fun because it combines technicality (all the science behind the equipment),
mental acuity (keeping your head in the game, but not too much), and physical challenge
(pulling 40 pounds over and over, while holding aim on a tiny dot up to 70 meters away).
And practice. Lots and lots of practice.
I don't have many photos of myself shooting a bow, so apologies for the so-so images here.
To learn more: Olympic Recurve Archery
Below and below right: The best 'end' I ever got - all three arrows in the coveted 'X' ring!
An 'end' is a set of arrows, typically between 3 and 6, shot together. Several 'ends' are
shot to complete a 'round'. For example, a '300 round' might consist of 10 ends of 3
arrows, each having the potential to score 10 points.
In archery, an arrow touching a line is scored for the higher valued (inner) ring.
This is a FITA style 40 cm target with 10 rings and 5 colors. The inner yellow ring is worth
10 points (as is the centermost 'X' ring), and the outmost white ring is worth 1 point.
At competitions when two archers tie in score, the number of X's they got are counted up
to break the tie. It's called the 'X' ring because it has a small cross at the exact center.
In the above photos, some of my equipment is visible:
The red half-vest thing is a chest protector - when I'm at full draw, the bowstring
presses against my chest and without the protector, I'd get a large bruise there
as the string snaps across my chest upon releasing the shot. Uncomfortable, at
best. The red and yellow string thingy on my right hand is a 'finger sling' - when
shooting, it is wrapped around the bow handle and looped onto my middle finger
and thumb. I don't actually grab the bow handle while shooting - rather, I just
press my palm against the handle with open fingers. When the arrow is released,
the force of the string snapping forward makes the bow literally jump out of my
hand, and the finger sling catches it from falling to the ground. In fact, the bow
bounces off the sling and back into my hand so I can catch it once the arrow is
long gone. Why, you may ask? If you literally grab the bow, the muscles and
shape of your hand will tweak the bow slightly to one side, causing your shot to
go left or right. Variations in grip strength and hand placement from shot to shot
make this impossible to compensate.
Finally, the arrows - these are 'ACC' type, meaning Aluminum Carbon Composite.
They are the lightest, strongest, most accurate arrows available (not to mention,
most expensive). The inner tube is aluminum, covered with carbon-fiber on the
outside which is actually barrel shaped (the ends are slightly narrower than the
center) to resist wind effects when shooting outdoors. The green fletchings are
sturdy plastic and twist as they extend from the arrow shaft, causing the arrow to
spin in mid-air and balancing out any tiny imperfections so the arrow flies as straight
as possible. The orange thingies on the ends are the nocks which clip onto the
bowstring. These are snapped onto sturdy aluminum pins glued into the back end of
the arrow shafts, making them very easy to replace if one arrow slams into another
already in the target (it's called a 'Robin Hood' and, incredibly, happens rather often
in archery!). Also, the nock pins are shaped to deflect that incoming arrow to one
side, preventing it from 'telescoping' into the victim arrow and destroying it. Though
it might seem 'cool', trust me - with the cost of these arrows, you do not want to
get a Robin Hood! (example below - this is my first Robin Hood (dumb luck) when
I first started archery using cheap beginner's arrows. Obviously the victim '5' was
never shot again!)
Below: Here I am shooting my beginner's bow, a PSE
Optima. Note my bow-hand position - fingers open, palm
pushing into the bow handle, finger sling in place.
Above: A collection of archery awards and memorabilia I accumulated from assorted events.
Above: Archery has existed for
many thousands of years, well
before the ancient Egyptians
immortalized this archer in stone.
Right: Archery is an Olympic sport.
This statue represents archery at
the Olympic museum in Lausanne,
Switzerland, which I visited in 2018.
More to come - stay tuned ...