Book Review: Archery Fundamentals

Archery FundamentalsArchery Fundamentals by Teresa Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A glossary of pertinent archery terms and some confusing but well-intentioned pictures designed to improve your shooting. When I picked it up I was hoping it would be the fundamentals of archery in the sport form, detailed explanations of posture, determining anchor points, improving aim, maybe some specific exercises to zero in on technique. Mostly it was obtuse advice on bow maintenance and modification, punctuated with recapitulatory insistence that I hire an archery coach.

The reason I’m reading a book called “Archery Fundamentals” is because I don’t want to hire an archery coach. If I were at a point where I no longer needed archery coaching, I would probably be reading a book called “Advanced Archery Theory” or “Multi-Arrow Arching”. I like things that I can do alone, like weightlifting or riding bike, and shooting bow seems it would look good on the list. So you can understand why I’m hesitant to pay a personal archery trainer to school me on the approved tournament technique of this solitary activity which I pursue with no goal in mind aside “for funsies.”

If you slog through all the jargonous repair instructions (maybe this was written before youtube was invented) you’ll get a handful of pointers about foot placement, jawline anchor points on “the corner of your smile” and scapular contraction, all of which was new and fundamental information that will probably be helpful. The whole book just had a sort of freshman “how I spent my summer vacation” essay vibe to it. The author is clearly knowledgeable about the subject, especially the subject of compound bows, which stole the show every few pages, but the presentation rankled.

I did learn some things, though, so that deserves three stars.

There are three kinds of bows: longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows.

Longbows are sticks with a string on them. They are used by Zen masters, dudes with ridiculous cargo short/mustache combinations, and wood elves.

Recurve bows are thicc, curvaceous sticks designed to maximize energy output, inasmuch as this is possible via a single chunk of wood. They shoot farther and faster than longbows, and can be heavily accessorized, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Compound bows are comprised wholly of futuristic archery accessories, storing potential energy with some sort of elaborate pulley system of cams and wheels that allow you to shoot way harder than the others with minimal energy expenditure. As far as I could tell, they are independently sentient.

I guess I’ll try the jaw anchor point/open stance thing and if I’m suddenly splitting my previous arrows like Robin Hood, I’ll come back and add some stars.

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