I was tipped off on a limited numbers session that was being run on the 13th September by Duncan Busby – a British team Compound bow member and winner of numerous international events. I was fortunate enough to secure the last place.
I hurriedly dusted off my PSE Dominator Compound bow the day before the event and did some sight calibrations at the indoor target distance of 20 yards. I was hoping for a bit more practice but the weather has been awful.
As some of you know I shoot many different types of bow and was certainly rusty on the Compound. Unusually I had concentrated on compound for about a year straight after I was introduced to archery but then moved onto many different traditional types of bows. The end result is an archer that is not particularly good at any discipline but can shoot most things with a string on!!
So I pitched up at Quicks hoping to learn from one of the best to make me more consistent with the Compound but no great illusions about becoming a competent tournament archer.
The session was relaxed and informative. There were five of us on a 3 hour workshop so we all got some good one to one time with Duncan. Ability levels were mixed with two obvious high level competition shooters and the rest of us.
Duncan worked his way down the line checking bow set ups and tuning and then moving onto technique and even a little bit about psychology. We all learnt a lot about how high level Compound competition is set up and run along with some amusing anecdotes on what the team get up to. Funding is obviously an issue here and it is certainly tough to pursue the dedicated time shooting the many thousands of arrows needed to improve and compete at the highest level. The US where Compound archery is a much bigger concern allows it tops archers to earn a very good living.
As I watched Duncan work on the chap next to me and completely dismantle and rebuild his technique in terms of changing draw length, posture, release point etc. I wondered what was in store for me!!
I explained to Duncan my objectives and my desire to pick up techniques for better consistency as I would be continuing to shoot different types of bows could not devote the time to be a competition compound archer.
With trepidation, I drew back and released my first arrow into a minute target face at the end of the range followed by the other five in quick succession. Quick being the operative word here!!.
Duncan was quite charitable and said for what I am doing the technique was fine but gave me some areas to work on and improve. I needed to give my bow holding arm a little bit more extension to get a better lock on the draw length I was also releasing way to quick by Compound standards. This is of course influenced by my quick traditional bow release. Interestingly Duncan did not advocate changing that quick release completely but gave me some techniques to steady and slow the release by a second or two. My draw up of the bow also got attention and it helped me to have the initial lining up high on the target and to drop it down for release.
All too soon the session came to a close and looking back I do think I learnt some good techniques as well as having my bow set up checked and validated. Will this make me a better compound archer? – that remains to be seen but it has given me some renewed impetus to improve when I do use my compound. All in all an enjoyable and productive Sunday afternoon
I appreciate that very few members shoot compound but hope you found this an interesting read