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A sorry tale of misplaced help and a gullible archer!

A few years ago, a young and impressionable archer in the making joined a local archery club. He had been introduced to the sport by a wise old man, who had been shooting in the bow since he himself was no more than a lad, at a local game fair.

The wise old man placed a suitable bow in the young archers hand, and quickly got him hitting the target with his arrows. "Oh, what fun" cried the young man, "if you enjoy it so much" replied the wise old man "why don't you come along and join the club."

At the club, the same wise old man looked after the young archer who, using a basic wooden bow, slowly gained both skill and accuracy. The weather turned colder, the nights drew in, and soon it was time to forsake the pleasures of the outdoor shoot and retire indoors.

One of the club members told the young man of a fabulous bow that was for sale, and the young man (without consulting the wise old man) took his saved up pennies along to the owner of the bow. Oh, how the bow glittered in the evening sun, how it's curved limbs reminded him of a young maid he once knew (enough of that now!) Perhaps it was a bit heavier than those he had been using, but he was sure he would get used to it.

He was full of pride as he brought the bow to the Sunday morning shoot, but was he imagining it or did the old wise man slump his shoulders and gently shake his head. He was keen to get started, and there were other archers in the club who praised him for his choice of bow, and who were free with their advice on what he needed to add to it in order to improve his skills. Perhaps he should listen to them instead of the old man, who probably wasn't that wise anyway.

Apart from an arrow rest and a string, the bow was bare of ornament. The young archer fixed a map pin to the bow with some tape and shot his first round; four hundred and ninety-three on a Portsmouth round. "That's pretty good" thought the young archer, "I'll have some more of that."

"You need a proper sight with lots of adjustments" quoted one club member.

"You need to get a pressure button, and tune it in" replied another.

"You'll never shoot it properly without stabilisers" quoted yet another, " and I just happen to have some for sale!"

The young man dutifully added all the ornaments to the bow, without really knowing what it was they were supposed to do. He did notice, however, how heavy the bow had become.

"You need to change your technique to compensate for all that weight" advised one club member.

"Change to an inverted V-draw" advised another.

"You need to push more with your bow hand, whilst keeping it open" said yet another.

The young man did as they all advised, and the more he tried the worse his scores became. Four hundred and forty, four hundred and twenty, the scores just went lower and lower. Three hundred and ......

By this time the young man was becoming despondent. He didn't want to give up the sport, for when he shot one good arrow it felt so good; the trouble was the good arrows were becoming fewer and fewer. To cap it all, the young man had a small daughter, who had also started to shoot, and he was being soundly beaten by her on a weekly basis.

One day the young man cried "enough, I'm off the archery shop to buy one of those compound thingies"

Yes, that's what he did. He bought a compound. He also learned something from his mistakes, and decided to listen to just one or two of the archers, and weigh up what they advised before rushing blindly in.

"What happened to the young man?" I hear you ask. Well after many years of shooting compound bows and longbows he became a coach, partly to prevent others falling into the same traps he did.

"And what happened to the wise old man?" Oh, Bruce is still around, and has probably forgotten more about archery than most of us will ever know.


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