The best way to learn archery as a beginner is to use a recurve bow. The reason being, according to top archery coaches, is that it provides more feedback on a physical level to both coach and learner. Any flaws in the beginner’s stance, technique, or form can be better seen and felt when holding a recurve bow. The coach is then able to nip bad habits in the bud before they take hold in the new archer’s muscle memory. The only exception to this is if the new archer would rather give up the sport altogether than deal with the more difficult aspects of recurve bow use. Compound bows have been invented for a reason; they are easier to use and assist the archer’s pull and release motions. It is way more important to enjoy archery lessons and learn on a compound bow than it is to struggle on with a recurve. But new archers who take their first lessons on recurve bows do become better archers.
The Best Way to Choose Arrows for a Recurve Bow
There are many types of arrows on the market and choosing the right one for your recurve bow is quite a selection process. As arrows are the objects that go ahead and hit the target, it can be said they are more important than even the bow. Knowing that, it is just as important to invest in quality arrows as it is to buy the best bow for you.
The Shaft: This is the part of the arrow that looks like a pencil shaft. It is important to make sure the shaft has the correct amount of “spine” or bend resistance. The shaft part of the arrow actually bends before it is released and straightens. The wrong amount of spine in your arrow will cause it to have an erratic flight path.
The Fletching: Fletching is an ancient specialist art with its own lingo. It refers to the plastic or feather part of the arrow’s tail end. Even rockets have wings to provide them with stability in flight and accuracy at the destination and fletching does the same for arrows. One of the plastic rudders or feathers at the end of the arrow will be a different colour: this is called the “cock” and the remaining colours are called “hens”. There are always 3 or more of them.
Feather fletchings are used for indoor archery and plastic vanes/fletchings are used outside because they are waterproof.
The Arrowhead: The tip of the arrow. Its point is the part that has to pierce the target so each arrowhead variety has its own purpose and advantages.
The Nock: Looking closely at the arrow, you can see a plastic tip above the fletching that is designed to hold the arrow on the bowstring – this is called the nock. It connects with the bowstring at the nocking point which can be shifted slightly up or down according to the desired trajectory.
To learn more about different arrow types, materials they are made of and durability, click here.
Grain: Arrow weight is called the grain. Every arrow type and make will have a different grain. If using a lighter arrow is needed for your recurve bow then buy arrows with the same length spine your draw length requires but choose a lighter grain.
An arrow with a perfect weight will fly straight and true. If it is too light then the target may not be penetrated. If it is too heavy, the arrow will have a downward trajectory.
Tips: There are a huge variety of arrowhead tips on the market and each have their own capabilities. Field tips are mainly used to hunt small game and target archery. Then there are broadheads which cause serious damage in any target. On top of field tips, there are two arrowhead types called blunts and judos which are used in the hunting of smaller game.
An archery game similar to paint balling is used with arrowheads called LARPs. These are foam tip arrowheads inserted over arrows so that they can be aimed and shot at people.
Correct Size Nocks: Nocks come in different types and sizes. If you buy a certain brand of arrow, check to see if they support other makes of nock or if you will need to stay within the brand.
• Pin nocks are standardized and fitted on to an aluminum pin at the end of the shaft. It is there to protect your arrow from damage if another arrow hits it from behind.
• Over-nocks come in different sized according to which company has produced them. They slide on to the shaft so its diameter must fit the arrow’s.
• Conventional nocks are aluminum cones glued to the tail of the arrow. They must also be bought to fit the diameter of the arrows you use.
• Press-fit nocks have to be the correct diameter for the arrow shaft and they slide on and stay once pressure is applied.
The Arrow Spine
When measuring the arrow stiffness (spine), it is a good gauge to ensure your arrow’s stiffness goes up the higher your draw weight is (click here for link to draw weights).
If this is mismatched, your arrow will either flop or bend too much to be able to propel off the bowstring. Every arrow brand has different spine charts.
When shooting your recurve bow make sure the coloured vane or fletch part of your arrow is pointed between your arm and the grip section of the bow (riser). This is will improve your accuracy which is every archer’s ultimate goal.