By Paul Fender
Proper equipment selection and tuning is fundamental. In this post Paul Fender shares his wisdom and beliefs concerning equipment choices and experimentation (shown here teaching his grandson Ezra the art of arrow building) – I am grateful for his contributions to our growing body of knowledge!
Here are just a few thoughts about equipment for those who are serious about Archery and their shooting.
“Good enough” isn’t. That’s just something to keep in mind when making equipment choices, or dealing with bow tuning, or whatever. You always, always, ALWAYS, want to have equipment that you know for an unquestionable fact will shoot better than you are able to. Reduce the variables and remove all doubts so that when you encounter difficulties, you know where to look in order to address them. You will know that it is something within yourself that needs attention.
I think that it is important for a number of reasons that a shooter makes at least some of their own equipment. Often when we make something for ourselves it REALLY is the best it can possibly be. If you’re making your own tabs or armguards, then it can truly be customized to fit absolutely perfectly. Or what about strings? You get to find that perfect nock fit, and know that you can perfectly match it every time. Or if you shoot Longbow and wood arrows, well then there you go. It may take a while to learn how to do it, but you just can’t buy woodies that are as good as you can make them
Obviously that all relates to having good equipment that always enables you to shoot your best, that enables you to always push your limits. But there is even more to making your own gear than just that. When you make something, you “own” that thing in a way that is deeper and more meaningful than if you had simply bought it. Looking to up your game? Then OWN it!
It is often said, “Fear the man with one bow.” The idea there is of course that he is the one who knows his equipment to the finest degree possible. He will therefore be nearly unbeatable. I guess that perhaps there is some degree of truth to this. Personally I’m not a real believer in that idea though.
I myself am always trying a different bow, or different arrows, or some other different piece of equipment or equipment set up. Why? Well, sure part of it is because of how I am. I am always curious about, “What if I tried this or that?” But it also carries a benefit. By always investigating the new and different, a shooter learns a LOT! Things like bow style, grip shape, type of tab or glove to use, which aspect of form needs beefing up, etc. The list just goes on and on.
By trying new stuff we get to learn and practice something that is very important to stepping up our competitive game. We get to learn to, “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.” We learn that when faced with a problem, we CAN figure out what we need to do to solve it.
I have noticed something over the years. Often people try something new, and their shooting seems to improve. For like a minute. But then they return to their own regular level. Or maybe they try that new thing, and just either accept it or reject it for no real reason. This is all what I call, “New Toy Syndrome.” When trying something new I recommend that you give it an honest chance. Try it for a week or so. Not only that though. Apply a little objectivity. Take videos of yourself shooting both with and without the change. Shoot at actual target faces and keep track of your scores with and without the change. Apply a little methodology and get some objective data on whether or not a change is good, bad or indifferent. After all, we should never forget that all too often, the easiest person in the world to fool is ourselves.