TSAA Archery News
Issue 49
June 22, 2005

Hi !

In this newsletter:
Do you know if you cant? You CAN tell, can't you?
World Target Championships, Madrid Spain
Texas Target and JOAD Tournaments
Attendance At Texas Events Updated
Archery Links Page
Customizing Your Bow's Grip
Coach's Forum For Discusion
National Target Championships
In Memoriam: Jeramiah "Jim" Wimberly, Jr.
Pass This On Please

This newsletter and all TSAA content is copyright with all rights reserved. Please contact the webmaster regarding any information or requests for reprints. Approval is easily acquired for any non-profit use. Articles are by A.Ron Carmichael except where otherwise indicated, and these do not necessarily reflect, nor contradict, the views of the TSAA board nor its membership.

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Do you know if you cant? You CAN tell, can't you?

Definition: Canting - tilting; the holding of the bow at anything other than perfectly vertical, relative to the archer and the plane of the shooting line. It is the leaning the tip of the bow limb towards either the archer standing to your left or right while on the shooting line. Many target archers cant the bow, with varying negative results. It is one of the easier things to deal with.

Many of us in archery get away with poor technique by learning to do "that bad thing" consistently. Canting is a good example of a problem that an archer can get away with during the indoor (18 meter) season, but then fights constantly at the various outdoor distances. It goes like this: The archer has the sight set perfectly to compensate for the canting of the bow at 18 meters and shoots good consistent groups and scores. Then he goes to 30 meters, and naturally adjusts the sight to get the group in the center. But when he goes to 50, 70, or 90 meters, the group moves left or right at each distance in addition to being high or low for a particular sight mark. This means during a tournament, the archer will waste the first end (or more) trying to adjust left and right windage because canting has a different effect at each distance. In a well-tuned bow, with properly chosen arrows and with excellent technique, shooting on a calm day, there will be absolutely no left or right (windage) adjustment needed even when you switch from 30 meters all the way out to 90. I've observed archers that actually carried four aperture mounts for their sight - one for each distance, in order to have pre-set windage adjustments. That's a clever way to compensate for bad tune and poor technique, but perhaps not the best way to shoot well.

To see the negative effect of canting we can use this website's tool. It is meant for the firearm user but it demonstrates the basic effect for archers as well. I suspect that the effect is more pronounced in archery, since the varying distances actually magnify the effect. Let's just say the image shows the effect at 18 meters, and you can extrapolate the larger effect canting would have on the target at 70 meters, or worse yet, 90 meters. To use, just click your mouse pointer on center of the lower bar, and then move the mouse left and right to see how far off your arrow would be due to canting.

Canting of the bow can be caused by a number of different factors:

  1. the way the archer grips the bow
Ok, the archer should not grip the bow, ever, but if the position of the hand against the rest is wrong then the bow might still cant with a perfectly relaxed hand. The grip might need modification to suit the archer's hand physiology as well. See this link for a pictorial on how to easily modify a bow grip using putty. Most archers in the upper ranks that do modify their grip tend to do so in order to create a "higher" grip surface. Higher in this case means you are resembling pointing a finger at the target, and a "lower" grip means you are holding your hand out in a "STOP" gesture. A higher grip results in the bones of the hand being somewhat more in line with the bones of the arm.
  1. the alignment of the archer causes the bowstring to push against the chest guard before full anchor is met, such that the string drags for a distance on the guard
For the female archer, obviously a larger bust size can impinge on the bowstring, just as it can for males that have increased chest size through weight training or other physical exercise such as boxing, karate, and so on. But more commonly when the cant is caused by the chestguard it is simply a matter of the archer's stance being incorrect for their physique, and the alignment is therefore poor. The bowstring will often touch the chestguard at anchor - it only becomes a problem when the contact is excessive and early in the draw, impeding the final part of the draw through "click". This can also have a huge effect on arrow tune and scores.
  1. the clicker is set so far back that the archer begins to arch the back in an effort to get through click and the bow cants as a result
Often, incorrect clicker setting causes the archer to arch or lean the back out of vertical, which in turn causes the bow arm to rotate outwards as the archer struggles to get through the clicker. This also results in the archer "pushing" rather than "reaching", which will result in much wider groups on the target.
  1. the archer places too much pressure on the upper finger of the string hand (or less often, on the lower fingers)
This is one of the easiest flaws to demonstrate to yourself. Pick up your bow, and prepare to shoot. During the pre-draw, draw the string just enough so that the tension on the bow hand lets you relax it normally without gripping the bow. Then consciously change the amount of tension/strength in your lower finger on the string hand and watch the way your bow will cant back and forth as a result. Even if you are making a subtle, miniscule change in the balance of finger tensions during draw or when at anchor you can cause a cant.
  1. the archer has not been taught to roll the bow elbow to a vertical position.
One of the easiest things for an archer to learn is seldom taught. It is counter-intuitive - one expects that if you make the effort to roll the bow arm so that the crease of the elbow is vertical, then the bow will roll in the same direction. This expectation is wrong as Darrell Pace once showed me. Some archers on an internet message forum had pronounced that one of the reasons Darrell was such a fantastic archer was that his arm was somehow different than everyone else's. He rolled his eyes at that notion, smiled, and then magically (to me) extended his bow arm and rolled his elbow to show me what I had never been taught nor been aware of before.

Rolling the elbow actually gets it out of the way and lets the archer get to a better alignment, which prevents canting and reduces the tendency of the archer to fall the bow away to the side at the end of the execution.

To learn this technique simply place your bowhand in shooting position against some vertical object - a post, a pipe, or even a corner of a door jamb. (In the beginning, you'll need something that resists your efforts) Now look at your elbow: Is the crease of the inside of your arm flat or up and down? If it is flat, look at how much the inner part of the elbow is sticking towards where the bowstring would be. Now, rotate your elbow. Roll it. Chances are if you have never done this you will have some difficulty. WATCH how much more space you have for your bowstring's path when the crease is vertical. Repeat this rolling back and forth a few dozen times. Rest. Repeat this exercise until you can issue the command in your mind and it just "happens". Accomplished archers like Darrell can do it without resting their hand against anything - it is fascinating to see the first time! In addition to eliminating a possible cause of canting, you will be putting your forearm bones (radius and ulna), your humerus (upper arm) and wrist (lots of tiny bones) into an alignment that is much more stable and easier to maintain with less effort. This can lead to smaller groups at the target!

  1. At longer distances the archer arches the back instead of bending at the waist or raising the arm.
The archer needs to aim the bow higher for longer distances, even with powerful compound bows. In lower-weight recurve bows this need to tilt up to reach distance can be very pronounced. There are several ways, both good and bad, to accomplish this and arching/curving the back is a bad way that can lead to canting. More effective means of aiming for long is to keep the shoulders exactly the same but to raise JUST the bow hand/arm appropriately, carefully leaving the bow shoulder DOWN. Another solution is to pivot the entire upper torso at the waist, being careful to maintain everything above the waist in exactly the same configuration. Archers that incorrectly raise (only) the bow shoulder actually increase the distance to click, and the resulting strain can lead to canting as well as shoulder pain. Watching a good field archer or clout archer (Rick Stonebraker comes to mind here since he does both extremely well) and often what you see is that they will draw to anchor, and only then move the aperture to the target by carefully bending at the waist, keeping everything else in their form exactly the same. Rick is know for repeatedly striking the clout stick at 165 meters, as well as numerous field championships.
  1. FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the archer simply isn't aware of the cant of the bow in his or her "sight picture".
If the archer has never been told about her or his canting, chances are they simply are not aware of the cant, and once made aware that it is happening AND that it is not a good thing to do, they will then be able to search for why. Archers that use a simple ring aperture with no crosshair or pin may be more at risk for canting since the pin in the aperture can provide a vertical reference point. No pin, less reference points.

Regardless, in an attempt to cure the cant an archer may actually adopt a poor technique, such as gripping the bow, to compensate. Two wrongs cannot make a right in the long run in archery! In order of preference, you need a coach, a shooting buddy, a mirror, a parent, or perhaps a video camera on a tripod set directly behind the archer in order to diagnose and resolve canting issues.

There is no way an archer can avoid losing valuable points in a FITA if he or she cants the bow and has to change from one distance to another. I have found the best method for diagnosing canting and treating it is to initially use a good coach, together with a video camera, and to work with the archer in reviewing the possible causes, and help the archer to decide what is causing the cant. Ultimately, the archer must be able to see and feel when canting is occurring in order to stop it. Raising awareness is key, but using the best technique is the solution.

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World Target Championships, Madrid Spain
The event is ongoing - results can be seen at this website, and photographs are available here. The photo website is apparently not a broadband, so loading may be slow at times (or it could be that it is just getting a lot of hits). The format of the tournament is a FITA, long to short, followed by a cut at 64, then OR rounds.
Apparently there is a real shortage of water for the athletes to drink, and temps are running 100 or higher (38 C).

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Texas Target and JOAD Tournaments
Results have been posted for the JOAD event as well as the Senior event.
From Tom Barker, JOAD Tournament organizer:
Under partly cloudy skies the normal South Texas wind welcomed back youth archers of all ages from around the state to Victoria for the 2005 TSAA state JOAD Target Championships. The two day party was frequently interrupted by the shooting of arrows.
The good group of volunteers made the shooting go quickly and there was fun by everyone.
Mr Rick Stonebraker brought some of his old event tee shirts and traded them for new joke material. Master 60+ archer Don Morgan shooting in his first FITA wished one of the tee shirts said "I survived my first FITA." But to his credit he hung with the kids just like he did at the TSAA field.
(James Corral, judge extraordinaire.)

Good luck to all the archers headed to JOAD national or the state and national 4H competitions.
Click on
results to view the JOAD results.

The results for the Texas State Target can be found at this link, and there are some photos to be viewed here as well. With the end of the outdoor state tournaments, the AOTY can be determined.
The ARCHER OF THE YEAR winners for 2005 are:
Compound Ladies - Holly Heinsohn
Compound Gentlemen - Gaylon Blankenship
Recurve Ladies - Cindy Menn
Recurve Gentlemen - Staten Holmes
Congratulations to
all the archers who took part in any of the tournaments, and especially to these four!

Many kids have gone to Florida for the NATIONAL JOAD TARGET CHAMPIONSHIP, and Tom Barker will hopefully be able to keep us informed and perhaps send a few photos.

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Attendance At Texas Events Updated
The attendance records for this year's events have been updated, as has the graph.
The index page for all the tournaments' records and champions
can be found at this link.

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Archery Links Page
I came across an archery website that has put a lot of effort into compiling links to other archery sites. It has a pretty impressive listing, so you might want to take a look at it and then bookmark it. Thanks to the Wind Archers Of Fremont County, Wyoming.

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Customizing Your Bow's Grip
Many archers are perfectly content with the bow grip that came with their riser. But as time goes on, and their technique gets better, they find that there is a benefit to modify the "one size fits all" grip.
There is also a trend to change the grip from a low one to a high one. A low grip has a very low angle from the palm to the vertical. Imagine you are holding your hand up in a "STOP" gesture. That is a "low" grip appearance.
Many archers that are adopting the BEST method, a more "Biomechanically Efficient Shooting Method", are finding that a higher grip provides a better alignment of the hand and wrist bones. A higher grip resembles the hand pointing towards the target, and indeed, the higher grip allows the archers' thumb to point towards the target in a relaxed way. Also the archer can provide a slightly wider grip to give a more comfortable pressure pattern and to provide more stability, less fluctuation left-right, on the bow.

The most common way to customize a grip is to use bondo, right out of a can from the auto store or hardware store. The problem is that the two portions must be mixed in just the right proportion and done quickly, as it will rapidly become inert. A more useful and friendly material is called epoxy putty. To read more and see photos, please go here....

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Coach's Forum For Discusion
From Tom Parrish at USA Archery:

Attention USA Archery Coaches!!

I have an exciting announcement to make. We are in the process of launching a USA Archery Coaches Forum. This will be a discussion forum where NAA certified coaches can get together with other NAA certified coaches and discuss coaching methods and other issues related to athlete training.

This is a forum for YOU, the coach of archery athletes. We want to provide you with a place to come together with other coaches in your same situation – those who are attempting to advance the performance level of their archers and who share the same passions that you do. This forum is an effort to promote continuity, cooperation and unity within our coaching community.

This forum is NOT open to the general public. You must be an NAA/USA Archery certified coach in order to participate in these discussions. Go to this site to register and create an account. Once you have been validated you will be notified and you will then have access to the threaded messages. At that point you will be able to read the current threads as well as post new threads. I look forward to a thriving discussion board.

If you have any questions, please call Tom Parrish at (719) 866-4681 or email him. Additional note by Ron: Here is yet another good reason why you should take that level I and II instructors' course from USA Archery! Tom posted a short movie clip of a number of smooooooth executions of archers. You can find a link to that movie clip, along with a number of photos of archers at the New Jersey Gold Cup, the Arizona Cup, the Texas Shootout, and the National College Championships (USIAC), all on the Photography Index page of the TSAA website.

A little web surfing fun tip: Go to this link, type in your street address, a comma, and your zip code. Hit Enter, then click on the upper-right hand corner link titled "satellite". To see where the National Target Championship will be held, use this address: 1605 East Pikes Peak Ave., 80909 (hint: highlight, copy and paste it). Enjoy.

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USA Archery has, on June 13, updated the rankings for the 2006 USAT and Jr. USAT teams. Perusing through the listings, I see a number of Texans in the top 10 of the seniors! :
Guy Krueger, Shawn Rice, Staten Holmes, Lindsey Carmichael, Travis Lafayette, Mary Zorn, and Amanda Raffaelli are included.
Among the Jr. Team rankings:
Andrea Garner, Travis Lafayette (yes, again!), Holly Heinsohn, Cassie Raffaelli, Lyndsey Marzec, Meagan Lesak.
There are several tournaments left to go in the ranking considerations: JOAD Nats for the Jrs., and the National Target Championship for both Jrs. and Srs.
The 2006 team will be comprised of the top 10 recurve men, 10 recurve women, and top 5 compound men and top 5 compound women. For the Jr. Team, the top 5 in each gender/bow of Juniors will be chosen, as will the top single Cadet in each bow/gender. Good luck in the upcoming tourneys!

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National Target Championships
If you have not yet registered for the biggest archery event in the USA Archery's calendar, it is not too late to do so.
You can register online easily using
this link to the USA Archery website.

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In Memoriam: Jeramiah "Jim" Wimberly, Jr.
Often we see an obituary in the paper like this one, and note someone's passing with little fanfare. "Oh, he was a Viet Nam veteran", or "had a big family"....but there is always more to a person's life than an article like that indicates. Such as what effect he had on others, and what carries on after...what is his legacy.

Jeramiah "Jim" Wimberly, Jr.
A Mentor
by Tom Barker

One of the many things on my long to do list is to write a book titled, In Search of Mentors. One of the chapters in the book would certainly be on Jim Wimberly.

Sadly, Jim passed away on Friday, June 3, 2005. Some might say that he lost his long battle with cancer. However, anyone that knew Jim would never say Jim lost to anything. To lose implies not giving your best or giving up. He just got beat. I often heard him tell a kid after a close archery match that he or she just got beat. It was from Jim that I learned there are no bad days in archery.

Every person needs a mentor and Jim was one of mine. Every good mentor has a way of leaving you something to remind you of the legacy. Jim's reminder for me was telling my son Kevin and I about his days in Viet Nam. He told us to go read Victor Frankel's book, Man's Search For Meaning. He recited this quote from the book; "Everything can be taken away from man but one thing, [the ability] to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Every kid I have worked with since has gotten the "Attitude is Everything" speech.

When I started with my own kids, Jim was the champion of 4H archery in south Texas. It was from Jim that I learned that in 4H archery we had six groups of customers, and we had to take care of all of them:
1) The kids that just want to see what archery is all about.
2) The kid that want to do the minimum amount to satisfy the project.
3) The hardware collectors that want to win lots of trophies.
4) The kids that want to be a better bowhunters
5) The kids that come for social reasons.
6) The kids that want to be competitive archers.

But most important was the introduction to archery and if we did this right, then they would enjoy this for a lifetime. It was from Jim that I learned that enjoying archery would help the kids to master other life skills.

Another thing I learned from Jim was that youth archery is about the kids. Adults should leave their issues and competitiveness at the door. If you do what is in the kids' best interest, everything would be ok.

The third thing I learned from Jim was that if you challenged the kids in a structured environment of learning and fun, they would amaze you with what they could accomplish. The number of state, national and international competitive Texas youth archers is a direct result of the foundation Jim Wimberly formed.

When Jim first got sick and was forced to back off from active participation in the Texas 4H archery program, it fell to others to pick up the baton. I was one of those to carry on the legacy. In everything I did I tested it against what my mentor would have done. Is it in the kids' best interest? Does it challenge them? Are they learning anything new? Are they having fun? The record attendance in the 4H project in District 11 and the huge growth of Texas JOAD archery is a direct result of us applying those expectations that we inherited from Jim and satisfying Jim's list of customers. Jim, it is a shame you are gone and I only hope you knew how many kids you made a difference with, most whom never knew you.

Jim Wimberly
My friend
by Rick Stonebraker

I first met Jim Wimberly at an indoor event many years ago. He came over and introduced himself and his son to me. Jay was a youngster at the time and Jim was a robust fellow with a booming but gentle voice. Jay was an astute and very polite young man who learned manners, something that I find from a lot of kids in the 4-H and youth programs in Texas. Jay had potential and it was evident that he learned many good qualities and traits from his father. Over the years, we became very good friends and the information sharing was mutual, I helped Jay as much as I could and I learned things from Jim as well. Jim was a Vietnam War vet and shot a lot of rifle while in the service. He taught me some useful information that I was able to relate to archery.

Jim and I took level two archery together at Texas A&M and when you spend three days with someone, you learn a lot about them. I learned he was a teacher as well as a student and we got along real well. We got together at every tournament and chatted about things and often dined together. We spent a lot of time picking each others brains; he trying to better Jay and in the process, bettering myself. It was a Win-Win combination.

The highlight of Jay's shooting was the semi-finals of the 1996 Olympic trials. Jim was ailing and could not attend so Jay tagged along with me and Scott Williams to Columbus, Ohio. Jay spoke every day to his dad and qualified for the final sixteen. I was to judge the finals in Long Beach so I volunteered to take Jay with me. They chatted and decided that Jim was going to accompany Jay and they would do it as a team. Jim was that proud of his son and made the trip to Long Beach. Jay never made it out of the sixteenth spot but he gave it his all and that is all Jim asked of him.

I was most impressed with the way Jim worked with his son and others. He never pushed for excellence of results, just the excellence of trying and giving it your all. I spent many a moment observing this and wish more parents would work with their kids and not against them. Jim was a wonderful teacher of archery, sports and fundamental concepts of everyday life. Live it to the fullest and it is a shame that someone so positive and caring had to leave us at this stage of everyone's life. But if he could tell us something right now, it would be to do your very best and no one would ever ask for anything more. He will be missed; he was a good friend.

Rick Stonebraker

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