From the Lions' Den - A freestylers' journey.


But HINT I'm only just into my 2nd year of shooting and I very well aware that poundage is only useful when it's controlled.
Controlled by good technique, not raw power.

I can't shoot the volumes I'd like to (yet, but I'm working on it!)
Read below. You really need to shoot the volumes.

but I am doing SPTs daily to improve my 'power'.
See remark 1. SPTs are and addition to shooting (controlled) a lot, not a replacement.

I've raced toward 42# OTF, only to find my technique severely lacking when training intensity dropped. I was where you are now, totally convinced I was in control (windsurfing and water polo background).


Well-known member
Hi Lion
There is a lot of truth in the last few posts. There are real advantages with high draw weights, and physically heavy bows. The draw weight gives faster arrows and lower trajectory with less drift and smoother apparent release etc. All this is hugely attractive to new archers, mainly male.
This stuff all sounds great and it is. But the warnings are very real. Not because they may happen but because they usually happen. First, putting aside injury and the lack of time you can spend training if you can't draw your bow for 5 hrs a day, is lack of good form. Good form comes from shooting good form at low poundage. I can guarantee scores will go up if you can pull 50lbs but this is an illusion. Archery is not score driven! It is form driven.
I had to go back and read this thread from the beginning as I thought you were a MB archer going on GMB looking to go to 50lbs, but it appears you are not MB yet. I can shoot a 48lb bow for a couple of hours max. I can shoot my 40lb bow for 5hrs and go home not feeling like I have shot any. Why is this important? Well I shot compound for 30 yrs 60lb with shoulder problems. Compound teaches you that the tiniest variation in form affects your accuracy and you must be able to feel these tiny variations. After a break I turned to Barebow. Draw weight 34lb. From shooting rubbish I didn't increase that weight or distance until I was shooting GMB scores at 30m. To reach 90m I need 40lbs and I worked up to that slowly making sure there was no drop in form. If there was I went back a lb or two.
You may be fine with your high poundage, and people should shoot what they enjoy and that's great, but if you want to be a good archer, history is not on your side.


Active member
So the reply is kind of what I expected but take a sec and have a think why I’d spend 30minutes writing the post in the first place. I’m trying to help. Honest, passive-aggressive banter is not my thing.

Your response makes it clear that you probably haven’t really understood.

Whether your arrow goes in the same place each time is a result of a huge set of dynamic conditions - emphasis on dynamic. Strength “ability to hold” is so unimportant.

Even the strongest archers I have worked with stayed well below 40# until they had control. Indoor scores are a good indication of control as basically at 18m your style can be a bag of spanners and you can still hit 10 after 10 if consistent.
I never had a coach but was fortunate enough to get some help from Richard Priestman, Jim Buchanan and others on my journey but I was shooting 1100+ 1440 before I met any of those good folks.

Honestly, good luck, I hope you can hear the message because it will help you improve. I’m not trying to discourage - you have a lot of enthusiasm for the sport and that would be a shame to lose it. But lack of progress (scores not draw weight) will soon be discouraging.




if you want to be a good archer, history is not on your side.
Dude, TIME is not on my side!

I'm not trying to be a 'good archer', whatever that actually means.

I'm trying to be the best (X-Dom Recurve) archer that I am capable of being, in the time I am given to do it.

- and enjoy the merry feck out of it along the way!

Archery has done great good in my life already, physically, mentally & socially with benefits way beyond holes in cardboard & numbers on screens. It came into my life at a time when I was in a dark place, having to cope with the permanent loss of my ability to enjoy 'running sports' anymore, perhaps even more so than being deprived of my ability to 'earn a living'.

So no, I'm never going to be 'by-the-book'. I don't have the facilities to 'do what Brady does'. Nor the finances. Like I have done in so many aspects of this strange journey called 'life', I make the best of what's there. And smile about it. Sometimes that's hard work. Sometimes it's swings-and-roundabouts. But like the optimist falling off a skyscraper, every floor I pass I'm thinking "Well, so far so good" ;)

Right now, I'm confident that my 'mental state' is in a good place. I coped with an abject failure on Sunday in a calm & positive manner, even humour. I learned from it, probably far more than I would have done if I'd shot averagely, and as a result possibly enjoyed it more from todays' PoV.

As your own tagline states - "An archers only opponent is his mind."

I don't have an opponent.

I have an ally.

(Can we just agree to chill & let me enjoy my personal voyage with a bow? Please?)


Ah, but you can do what Belichick says, and 'do your job'...and if your job is to do what you have said, " the best (X-Dom Recurve) archer that I am capable of being, in the time I am given to do it.", then have at it.
(I love American football, best game in the world.)


...American football, best game...
Thanks Emma, sounds like a good excuse to repost my 'prime' pic again, and have a quiet reminisce over the adventures I had within the game for 10 years. (OMG, the things we used to do with/to cheerleaders would carry heavy sentences these days!)

Football Lion 1991.jpg

I know what the next stage of my training schedule is going to include now* too -

- an Astra shot-trainer, so I can synthesize a higher daily shot-count, &

- The 'Video Delay' app for my Samsung Tab, so I can start analysing my form better. (Inc modifying some hardware so I can get the cam where I want it at home.

* as soon as I can afford it, anyway.


Well-known member
If you are set on your high poundage then, rather than HOLDING the 44lb or whatever, try AIMING the same weight. Put a tiny target on the back of a door and see how long you can steady aim a full set up, stabilizers and all. Use your Tab to video from various angles and see where the strain tells first.


I have my debut Worcester face blu-tacked to the back wall of the living room, I've been using it as my newest* aiming point during SPT's because it's not just about building strength it's just as much about technique. Form. Consistency.

Does that count?

* previous was an old blowpipe target on the back of the kitchen door.

- just tried it, I start getting a wee flutter from my bow arm 'long muscles' after about 45 seconds. In the earlier days it was actually my draw fingers that were the first to cry for mercy ;)

Separates the camera from the screen
Yes, that will be vital at later stages but for now I have to make do with what I have, and see what I can bodge up. Trying to make a QR tripod plate for the Tab out of Milliput seems like a fun starting point ;)

Kinovea seems a pretty amazing piece of code, esp for free. I've D/L'd it for this PC just to try it out but doubt my old, long-drawered, webcam has enough length to get it anywhere near truly useful positions.


Try to simulate the size of the gold at 70m maybe.

Here's (Archery target simulator) a really handy online tool that generates a simulated target face (printable PDF file) at your required distance from a number of parameters including:

  • Original target face size;
  • Original target distance;
  • Original target height;
  • Practice distance;
  • and a variety of other options.
I can't remember where I came across this originally (might have been posted here on AIUK in the past, but couldn't find any mention of it in a search) but I've had it bookmarked for a while, and used it to do a few different simulated target sizes/distances for practice from 7m.
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I've taken the extra weight off my stabs, 6 oz in total, after getting just a warning signal from the trapped nerve in my left shoulder (from a 30 y.o. motorbike RTA) during SPT's.

- Just to prove I'm not hell-bent on bodily destruction ;)

GOOD NEWS! (as long as you're an optimist) from the posted results of the Ivernia Open - I WASN'T LAST!

Ivernia Scores 19.jpg


Last minute decision - No club tonight.

Too damned cold & icy!

Ma wee Micra has never defrosted in the afternoon 'sun' either - by the time I leave her running long enuff to clear the ice, it'll be too late to set off anyway.

So the debut of Magaera will just have to wait until Sunday afternoon - at least then I should get home before the cold sinks in again.


No, didn't get to shoot on Sunday either :(

She remained a block of ice until the thaw on Monday - couldn't even open the door.

It's been a long, hard ten days since I loosed an arrow. Magaera remains unshot. Two days to wait. TF for SPTs, at least my muzz cules aren't suffering ;)


So if I said that tonight hadn't gone entirely to plan......

...Yet it was all going so well - right up until the final stage of assembly when I looked in my sight-bag to not find the attachment screw. Gutted. The clue was that the bag wasn't zipped shut. I retraced my steps since arriving, all the way to a fingertip search of the car boot. Nowt. Nobody had a spare.

No way I was quitting without popping Magaeras' cherry so I lined up on a full 122cm face at 10 yards & attempted some 'instinctive shooting'.

Arrows 1 & 2 both cleared the boss by at least 6' high & 2' wide o_O

OK, 3 & 4 did manage to find the top left of the boss. The next end was better, but still not good. Nevertheless, having something of an aiming point allowed me to ignore the (lack of) golds & just concentrate on the feel of the 'new' riser.

- And that feeling was GOOOOOOD! No handshock, felt great. But NFW I'm ever gonna choose to shoot without sights. No Sir, no barebow or any of that medieval crap for this Lion. I'm a freestyle recurve archer full freakin' stop.

As an aside, there are now two more recurvers in the process of modifying a Decut Tawant with a Shibuya long fibre after seeing mine in action, that'll make a total of four including me. It's revolution, baby ;)

You want a happy ending?

OK then, when I got home, as I was drawing up to my parking spot, I saw something glint in the headlights. It must have fallen out of the bag just before I put the gear in the boot. That's what comes of leaving your gear sitting on a table for 10 days & just assuming everything is OK. Lesson learned.

Sunday. That's when she'll get a true debut. With sights.


THAT'S more like it!

Took 4 or 5 ends to re-set the sights, had to go up from 22 to 10 (Tec-X) to get it centered again for some reason (it's only the riser that changed) but once it was, I was banging in gold after gold. I wasn't scoring as such but I think I'd easily be averaging high twenties - plenty of 28's & 29's and even 2 'all-ten' ends :D

- Video clip to follow, as soon as I've installed & learned 'Lightworks'. (It's been 8 years since I've done any video stuff. No editor on this PC.)