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How To Be An Archery Master

How To Be An Archery Master

Last month Matthew Bertino—Camp Nabby’s very own Taylor-Swift-loving, superhero-costume-wearing program director—became a certified level 1 archery instructor (formerly “Basic,“ which doesn’t sound nearly as cool).

Since completing his training Matt has been bragging non-stop about his new “skills.” So in an effort to create a more archery-friendly community, he’s agreed to share a few secrets.

Respect The Lines

Knowing where to stand and where not to stand is a good place to start. There are 3 lines on an archery range that everyone should be made aware of:

  • Waiting Line – Stand here all day if you want. It’s totally safe. But most people beyond the waiting line use their time to watch and learn from the active shooters. Kinda like the on-deck circle in baseball.
  • Shooting Line – You made it! It’s your turn! Now, stop fooling around and pay attention to your instructor.
  • Target Line – Bullseye? Probably not. But hey it’s your first time out! Make sure to collect your arrows, slowly, and retreat back to the shooting line to drop them off for the next person.

Know The Lingo

Dominating at archery starts with getting to know your bow and arrow. You don’t want to slip up and call the index vane a nock, or you’ll be the laughing stock of the range.

  • 3-Finger Split – You hold the arrow, securely against the bow, using your index, middle and ring fingers. The arrow should be resting comfortably between your index and middle fingers.
  • Nocking – You see the little slit in the end of your arrow? That’s the “nock” and when you hook it onto the bowstring it’s called “nocking” (some bowstrings will even have a nocking point marked on them).
  • Fletchings & Vanes – These are the feathers, opposite the arrowhead, that sit on the arrow right before the nock. The “index” or “odd” vane is usually a different color from the rest and depending on the bow it should be facing up or towards the shooter.
  • Whisker Biscuits – This is a bit advanced for us. But the whisker biscuit, besides being a funny name, is a rest that prevents the arrow from falling off the bow.

Dress The Part*

Everyone knows that looking the part counts, especially as archery continues to flourish in pop culture. From video game characters to superheroes, archers have been well-documented for their appreciation of flair and finesse.

  • Link, Green Arrow & Hawkeye – These guys have the “look” part down. It seems that, at a bare minimum, you should invest in a cape and some type of mask or shield for your eyes.
  • Katniss, Merida & Neytiri – The most recent female archers in pop culture (you could also add Hanna to this list) are serious about their craft. They have pinpoint accuracy too, which can only suggest that growing long hair or dyeing your skin blue is a worth a shot.
  • Bo Jackson – He makes his own arrows. Seriously. Who makes their own arrows?! Maybe a powder-blue Royals jersey will help?

*According to Matt, dressing like Katniss and the others mentioned in step 3 will NOT make you a better archer. But it will probably make you FEEL like a better archer.

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