What kind of bow should I buy?
Should I purchase a bow on the Internet?
Why is using a stretch band or tubing needed? Can’t a person learn using the bow?
Why not have a beginner start with a bow and begin shooting immediately?
10lb. limbs are way too light. They aren’t necessary; a standard lightweight bow works fine.
Why use a strap, especially with recurve? The strap forces a fixed draw length, which a recurve does not have, so that does not realistically represent what the archer needs to do.
Why have different length slings?
NTS is weird. It’s not intuitive or natural. It’s not what archers have been doing for eons, so why now?
What is NTS?
What kind of bow should I buy? We recommend that beginning archers do not buy a bow until they have had some lessons or an introductory class. Improper handling of a bow can lead to serious injury. Additionally, arrows must be the correct match for the type of bow. Back to top.
Should I purchase a bow on the Internet? Only if you know exactly what you need. This includes size, weight, type of bow, correct arrows and attachments as well as other factors. If you are not certain of any of these things, then you should get the advice of an experienced archer or trainer. Even "starter kits" that include "everything you need to begin shooting" might be inappropriate or even dangerous. Back to top
Why is using a stretch band or tubing needed? Can’t a person learn using the bow? These are used for recurve when starting out. No one has the strength in the specific muscles used in shooting properly. Here, the word properly is important, as a person can shoot any way they want. But if the person is looking to perform well, then learning the correct way to shoot the bow becomes important.
It is so, so important to be able to learn correct body positioning from the beginning. One of the important things about learning proper technique is that specific muscles are used in a specific way, and the body is in a specific position. For almost everyone, the correct muscles needed for archery are not strong; they must be built. So it is better to start out with very, very light weight so the person can focus on proper positioning and muscle use. Stretch bands and stretch tubing allow that.
Using a bow with any substantial weight at the beginning usually means the person has to strain and fight just to hold the string back any which way he/she can. This does not allow the person to learn correct technique and has the possibility of injury.
And when making changes in technique, the archer is starting to use different muscles than he/she has before. These are not nearly as strong as the ones presently being used, so it is difficult to make a change and do it correctly at the full weight the archer has been using. What often happens is that the person can do the new technique for just a short time, if at all, then is too fatigued to maintain it, and the muscles that have been used in the past take over. That means no change in technique, or at best, requiring a much longer period of time to make the change. Back to top
Why not have a beginner start with a bow and begin shooting immediately? A couple reasons. Working with very light weight, as discussed answering the previous question is very important to help them learn proper technique. There are no ILF bows readily available that are light enough to learn. Even using the Quintessential 10# limbs, it can initially be too much for younger kids.
Working with stretch bands or tubing for recurve and a strap for compound in the beginning allows the person to focus on making what he/she is doing, and learn the correct positioning, muscle use, and feel of the shot. This is what determines where the arrow hits on the target. Consistency of technique is important, and consistent proper technique is what can make a champion. So learning it from the beginning is much better than just shooting; patterns are being set with every shot, and the focus needs to be on what the person is doing with the body to attain the correct pattern.
Second, what the person is doing with the body in an integral part of the shot, and is the primary part of success hitting the target. Everyone, but kids, in particular, are more concerned with where the arrow hit on the target rather than what he/she is doing with the shot. There is a direct Cause-Effect here (or better put, Cause-Result when shooting). The arrow in the target is the Result, what the archer is doing on the line is the Cause. So allowing a person to shoot immediately usually means that the emphasis is on where the arrow landed instead of working for consistency in the way the body is used. Back to top
10lb. limbs are way to light. They aren’t necessary; a standard lightweight bow works fine. To really learn proper technique, they aren’t too light. Strong men, yes, but most everybody else finds that after a short period of time, they are really tired and cannot do what is needed for a good shot. That can happen even from the beginning. With strong men, possibly 18#-20#, but not much more than that for the same reasons given for using stretch bands and tubing. It allows the person to focus on what he/she is doing, not just trying to hold the string back.
Learning proper technique takes repetition over a long period of time, and the more a person can repeat good technique without undue fatigue, the better.
Also, the ultra light-weight limbs allow a kid to continue shooting for a much longer period of time without exhaustion. That means they can keep learning and enjoying the sport without coming away with the thought that it is a whole lot of physical work.
(One manufacturer offers 10# ILF limbs, but using them with a metal riser makes the bow feel more like a compound than a recurve because there is so much mass weight and very little draw weight. That does not help learning proper recurve technique.) Back to top
Why use a strap, especially with recurve? The strap forces a fixed draw length, which a recurve does not have, so that does not realistically represent what the archer needs to do. With recurve, yes, the strap has a fixed length; that is the purpose of it. When working with NTS, for those starting to learn the correct shoulder motion, this can be a real help, as it keeps the person from pulling with the arm (lower arm and hand moving directly away from the target) instead of just the shoulder joint and upper arm moving straight back along the shooting line. Because the strap does not stretch, the archer can practice that last motion until it is a familiar part of the shot.
With compound, the strap is ideal. It simulates the bow without the mass weight. This is great for initial learning. The archer can set the body correctly, generate the push-pull as he/she would with the bow, then execute the release. Back to top
Why have different length slings? The bow hand should be relaxed, which means that the bow would fall on the shot. That is the purpose of the sling. How far the bow travels before it hits the sling is important. Too short, the hand cannot be relaxed; too long, the bow travels unnecessarily.
Also, the size of the grip and the size of the hand determine the sling length needed. Wooden recurve risers generally have a much larger grip area, which means that the sling needs to be longer than otherwise would be needed if the bow is to leave the hand on the shot. Compound grips are usually so narrow and small that a short sling works best. Smaller hands need a longer sling, as the sling has to go around the grip more than it would if the hand were larger.
All of these play into the selection of sling length. With a recurve, the bow needs to mostly go beyond the hand, so longer slings are usually preferred. Again, compounds don’t need as long a sling because of the very small grip area. Back to top
NTS is weird. It’s not intuitive or natural. It’s not what archers have been doing for eons, so why now? Actually, the core elements of NTS have been used for eons, as the bows used in the past were so heavy that if you didn’t have solid alignment and use most of the muscles on the string side of the body, you wouldn’t be able to shoot the 100#+ bows used back then. And to start using the muscles on the string side of the rib cage as soon as possible, there had to be the same kind of setup and shoulder motion NTS uses.
Those have just been refined to be used for the precision shooting now required in competition. It does not seen intuitive or natural, partly because the weights used in competition do not absolutely require correct alignment and engagement of muscles on the rib cage like they did back then, simply because the weights are lighter. Back to top
What is NTS? The National Training System developed by US National Coach Kisik Lee. Back to top