Five Common Mistakes made by Beginners
1. Buying a bow that is too heavy for them to pull
This is partly the fault of the retailers although they are much better than they were at giving good advice. When starting archery it is advisable to increase the draw weight of your bow by 2lbs every three months or so. Draw weights on bows used on beginners courses are generally around 18lb so it is likely to take several years of work to build up to the draw weight shot by an Olympian (around 44lb to 50lb). Increasing draw weight faster more frequently than quarterly or in bigger steps for each increase does not give the body time to adapt so you are likely to risk long term injury as well as creating poor technique. It is not just the muscles that need to get stronger but the archer’s joints and bones need to strengthen as well.
2. Not learning to grip the bow correctly
Too often beginners do not take the time to learn how to grip their bow correctly and they develop a tense “death grip” on the bow. This leads to them jerking the bow when they release the string. The bow should rest in the archer’s hand between thumb and fore finger with the finger knuckles at 45 degrees to the bow riser. The index finger can curl around the front of the bow but ideally a finger sling will be used from the start.
3. Putting stabilisers on the bow to soon
If the archer is still gripping their bow when a stabiliser is fitted then they are achieving little more than adding additional mass weight to their bow. The archer could achieve the same effect for a lot less cost by simply taping a lump of metal to the riser. The additional weight is likely to cause the bow shoulder to rise which will cause poor technique and possible long tern injury.
4. Not using a finger sling
It is very difficult to learn not to grip the bow if the archer is not taught to use a finger sling from the start of their course. This goes hand in glove with learning the correct hand position on the grip. Lack of a finger sling is likely to result in a tendency to snatch at the bow handle when the string is released to stop the bow flying out of the hand.
5. Fitting a clicker too soon
A clicker should only be fitted once the archer’s draw length has stabilised. This is unlikely to happen in their first year of shooting. A clicker is a draw length check indicator. It is not a draw length control mechanism. Using a clicker too soon may result in an archer failing to establish a natural draw length and good alignment.