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5 things you need to know when starting archery

July 28, 2010 at 2:28 a.m.

An arrow split by another shot by Tom Barker at the Straight Arrow range in Victoria.

An arrow split by another shot by Tom Barker at the Straight Arrow range in Victoria.

Tom Barker and Gene Kacir both teach archery at the Straight Arrow range out near the Victoria Airport, a nonprofit range, the largest indoor range in Texas.

The two have between them 40-plus years of archery experience, and have taught countless children and beginners how to shoot and how to teach archery.

Barker said learning how to shoot is not hard, but mastery can take years.

"The learning curve is very steep," Barker said. "You can get pretty good pretty quickly."

Finding your dominant eye

"Your dominant eye that, given a situation, you would want to try and aim with. And this turns out to be an important thing because just because you're right handed doesn't means your right eye-dominant," Barker said. "We check eye dominance as the first thing we do. And once we find that, and if they have them shoot with it."

GETTING A FEEL FOR IT

"The second thing we'd do is take a rubber stretch band and teach you how it's supposed to feel to draw and anchor, and where you're supposed to feel," Barker said. "Because you can only see what's happening on the front side, you can't see what's happening on the back side, so you have to rely on that feel part in order to do it correctly."

Know the Range commands

"It's of utmost importance to us that not just the child who's learning to be an archer is safe, but the other archers and the coaches are in a good situation," Kacir said, who said that the verbal and whistle commands are among the first things taught to someone out on the range.

FINDING THE RIGHT FIT

"The other aspect is making sure the equipment is fit for you," "For example, some of these younger children, 8 or 9 years old, well, what poundage can they handle? What draw weight can they handle?

"It's a real problem, if their form breaks down, then the arrows are going to go everywhere and then this isn't fun."

When to make THE equipment COMMITMENT

"We encourage people not to go out and buy equipment right off the bat," Kacir said. "Get familiar with the sport, make a decision on whether you want to be a recurve shooter or a compound shooter. There's a significant in cost to Mom and Dad on getting started, and that's a big hindrance to a lot of people."

The minimum investment, he said, was a minimum of $300, but really closer to $500. Straight Arrow has equipment that children and starters can use to get acquainted with the sport.


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