Meridian Star

September 6, 2013

Archery Addicts Anonymous

By Terry Rivers
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Editor's Note: This is the second in a series for beginning archers by Terry Rivers


    Archery Addicts Anonymous is here to answer your archery questions.

    Archery 101–the basics–CHOOSING A COMPOUND BOW: Draw length?

     The shooter’s draw length is not a personal preference. Regrettably, a short draw length sometimes limits which bows one has to choose from. A short draw length will also decrease the velocity of the arrow, especially if we are shooting the wrong arrow.

    There isn’t anything we can do about how long our arms are. We can, however, make sure we have the best arrow for our bow.

    The best money I ever spent was for a Mathews GENESIS PRO. It is not a sophisticated bow; it is a work horse. It is a training bow designed for teaching proper form and for strength building. The GENESIS PRO has no let-off and it has an adjustable draw stop. The GENESIS PRO may also be one of the best bows for measuring draw length.

    Some bows are draw length specific while others are almost infinitely adjustable. Not that one is better than the other; each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For all beginners it may be better to choose a bow with an adjustable draw length.

    While learning proper form and posture is completely in the hands of the shooter, correct draw length is the first step in learning proper form and posture. Without the correct draw length it is impossible to learn proper form and posture.

    The number one problem that many shooters have is trying to shoot with too long of a draw length. The number two problem is shooting with too much draw weight (see next week’s column).

    There are several ways to measure correct draw length and it is a good thing to use all of them even though slightly different measurements may result.

    If we cannot get the draw length perfect, it is better for the draw length to be a little too short than even a quarter inch too long.

    If the draw length is a little too short, micro-adjustments can be made to the D-loop, release strap, release body, and jaw length of the release. Only as a last resort, the bow arm elbow may be bent slightly.

    The simplest way is to measure the draw arm (the one holding the bow).  Right hand shooters hold the bow with the left arm and left hand shooters hold the bow with the right arm.

    Hook a tape measure in the notch at the top center of the rib cage directly under the chin. With the bow arm extended horizontally to the side, have a partner measure to the crease on the inside of the wrist next to the hand. I have two creases. The one next to my wrist corresponds to my draw length with a D Loop added.  The second one from my hand corresponds to my actual draw length.

    This is only a beginning measurement but it is a good thing to know when you go shopping for a new bow, where the archery shop salesperson will use their draw length measuring method. 

    Address questions to: Phone 601-604-0913