Finishing Strong in Barebow

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Instructor-Trainer

Whether your plan to shoot 60 arrows, 100 arrows, or just 36 in a practice session, you should always try to finish strong. If you shoot your last end and throw one in the blue, then keep practicing until you can go 6 for 6 without throwing a bad arrow. Or if you have a minimum acceptable score, such as 50 out of 60, then shoot until you score 50+ so that you finish strong and with confidence.

50 meter Barebow training; 5 out of 6 in the 9 and 10 rings for a score of 56/60

When I first took up Barebow practice my first goal was to not throw arrows into the blue 6 & 5 rings. Now my goal is to shoot 8 or better on every round at 50 meters.

Remember, how well you shoot is directly related to how often you train, plus a little coaching.

Hoyt Exceed with Velos limbs and Easton A/C/C shafts

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Team USA – Tokyo Olympics

Go Team USA and MacKenzie Brown for her 4th place finish at the Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 30: Mackenzie Brown of Team United States competes in the archery Women’s Individual 1/8 Eliminations on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
MacKenzie Brown, Team USA, 5th in the ranking round on Day 1, Tokyo Olympics

The Importance of Grouping in Barebow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale

Just to differentiate between precision and accuracy, precision is the ability to shoot good groups, while accuracy is the ability to get that group into the middle of the target.

So when a barebow archer shoots a good group, but not in the yellow, he or she should not be disappointed. A good group shows that the archer is doing everything correctly, but simply need to adjust his or her point of aim.

First group of the barebow morning training session at 50 meters, but up in the 7 and 8 rings. This is not uncommon when your muscles are fresh and you are shooting strong. The point of aim was the X so it is just a matter of shifting the point of aim to 6 o’clock on the 9 ring.
Adjusted point of aim at 50 meters and the group has moved down into the 9s and 10s.

With the examples above, and as the muscles begin to find their groove, the point of aim will return to the X. This usually happens in the first three or four ends of 6 arrows. It’s also not unusual that by the end of a demanding training session of 100+ arrows, or late in the day after three training sessions and 240+ arrows, that you will find you have to aim a little higher to compensate for muscle fatigue. But as long as the groups are good, then you are on the right track with a good, repeatable shot process.

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Riding for the Brand in Barebow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Shaft Shooters Archery

I’ve been running Hoyt Exceeds with Velos limbs for both Indoor and Outdoor training and competitions this season. I’m averaging 4,000 arrows per month since last August, so a total of almost 40,000 arrows with no issues and no complaints. Got ‘a love Made in the USA.

Hoyt Exceed, Velos limbs, Easton A/C/C shafts, Yost tab
Gold at the California State Outdoor Championships

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Dabbling in Compound Bow Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Instructor/Coach

Yes, I’m a confirmed, dedicated Barebow competitor and traditional archer, but since I’m doing more coaching I figured that I should at least be competent with compound bow technology and function. To begin down this road of hi-tech gadgetry and more complex tuning I’ve invested in a Hoyt Invicta.

Hoyt Invicta gold medal winning target compound bow

When trying to decide on which bow to go with, I followed my usual process. I first narrowed the field to target compounds since I doubt I will ever hunt with a compound (but not out of the question). From there I looked at what the champions were shooting and then talked to the pros at Hoyt. Doug Denton was particularly helpful with his recommendations on bows and accessories for both target and hunting. I also value “Made in the USA” and have been more than satisfied with my Hoyt Exceed competition barebows.

Since I’m tall and have a 30.5″ draw, this brought me to the Hoyt Invicta 40 DCX at 55 pounds (adjustable 45-55#). I’m still waiting on the arrow rest (AAE), scope (Shrewd), and release (TRU Ball) so more on this as the parts come in.

Checking out a couple of Hoyt shooters at the 2021 Vegas Shoot

Stay tuned for more as this project bow comes together with the help of the local Hoyt Pro shop.

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A little Star Wars motivated compound bow humor

Olympic Archery Schedule

Coming to a TV near you: 23-30 July 2021.

Opening Ceremony begins at 4.00 AM on Friday 23 July on network NBC. Repeats later in the day.

For regular archery coverage, go to NBC’s Peacock streaming TV — free on your computer or smart TV. Note that Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time — so the evening of one day in California is the next day in Japan. So an event airing on the 24th in Tokyo, for example, could be seen the evening of the 23rd in the USA.

Archery begins at the following times – Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

23rd Ranking – 5.30 pm & 10.15 pm;

24th Mixed Teams – 5.30 pm & 9.45 pm;

25th Women’s Team Finals – 5.30 pm & 9.45 pm;

26th Men’s Team Finals – 5.30pm

27th, 28th & 29th Men’s and Women’s – 12 am & 5.30 pm

29th Women’s Finals – 10.45 pm

30th Men’s Quarterfinals and Finals – 5.30 pm & 10.45 pm

31st (in Tokyo but the 30th in the USA) Men’s Finals

Go Team USA

Concentration in Archery

Mark V. Lonsdale

When you have attained a good grasp of correct form and shot process in archery, focus & concentration become critical. The 50 meter Barebow target below is a good example of where a momentary lapse in concentration resulted in lost points. We jokingly call it “the arrow that hates you” but in reality, it is the archer and not the arrow at fault.

At 50 meters, a score of 54 equates to a 9 average, which is good in any outdoor archer’s book. But a small lapse in concentration threw the 7 high right.
Barebow backyard practice. Bow is a Hoyt Exceed with Velos limbs.

Concentration is like a muscle in that it must be flexed, practiced and exercised regularly. At the beginning, telling yourself to concentrate is a useful conscious thought process, but with time and practice an archer will automatically click into the zone as he or she steps up to the line.

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The Mental Game in Archery

By Mark V. Lonsdale

This is no great secret, but it is a truth in precision sports. Don’t compete against the other shooters, compete with yourself. In other words, go out on the field to match your training scores or beat your personal best, not the archer next to you. In this way, you are not letting the other athletes get inside your head.

Most of us shoot better scores in practice, when there is no pressure and no audience, than we do in major competitions. Therefore, the mark of a champion is someone who can shoot just as well on match day as he or she does in practice. This tells us that he or she is unaffected by match pressure.

So when competing in competitions, don’t worry about what the other archers are shooting or where you are in the rankings. Just keep shooting your backyard practice game. Once you start stressing over your placing or ranking, then you have lost the purity of mind needed for archery. Archery requires total relaxed concentration and a strict adherence to process. Everything else is a distraction and a detriment to performance.

That said, it is only through competing regularly in competitions that you can develop the focus needed to block out all the activity around you. Keep in mind that there is another archer shooting in your lane and another in the next lane less than two feet away. You need to focus on nocking your arrow, setting your hook, and then turn your attention to the gold 10 ring. From there, relax and follow your shot process.

Parting shot – when you can shoot your practice scores on game day you are well on your way to making the winners’ circle.

One for the 50 meter Barebow shooters. A score of 54 or 55/60 may not look great for a compound or Olympic recurve archer, but for a Barebow shooter, who can do this repeatedly, this is a winning effort.

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Barebow Competition in California

By Mark V. Lonsdale, Barebow competitor

It’s official. Barebow is alive and well in California. The recent California Outdoor Championships included Recurve, Compound and Barebow categories. Barebow, alone, had eight divisions including Men’s and Women’s Cadets, Seniors, Masters 50+, Masters 60+, and Masters 70+. Juniors also shot Barebow on Friday.

State Archers of California Outdoor Championship in Sacramento: 25-27 June 2021

This was the first State Archers of California (SAC) event to roll out the new Barebow 1440 format. All four rounds are shot at 50 meters, with two rounds on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Rounds 1 and 2 are six ends of 6 arrows. Rounds 3 and 4 are 12 ends of 3 arrows for a total of 144 arrows / 1440 points. The 50-meter distance was adopted to conform with the US Open and other international outdoor Barebow match formats with the thinking that State events should be a training ground for National and International events.

The hope, now, is that the Barebow archers attending the SAC California Outdoor Championships will go back to their clubs and spread the word that Barebow is back and with a new format.

Barebow bales at 50 meters

For those not familiar with Barebow rules, a target Barebow is essentially an Olympic recurve bow without the sights, clicker, or stabilizers. That said, any trad recurve, long bow or stick bow can be shot in the Barebow divisions. For the most part, Barebow archers shoot three fingers under and set up their bows to be point-on at 50 meters, or “lollypopping,” holding 6 o’clock on the 9 or 10 ring.  So dust off that Barebow, or go out and invest in a new one.

Barebow Masters 50+ division

Last but not least, big shout out to the SAC board, match coordinators, judges and volunteers who made all this possible.

See you on the field

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