Archery | What’s All That Stuff on Olympic Bows?

Archery | What’s All That Stuff on Olympic Bows?

Hi everyone, this is NUSensei. Many of us who are just joining in and seeing
Olympic archery for the first time may be alarmed to see how much stuff goes on
an Olympic recurve and you might think oh that looks ugly or it’s unnecessary
or excessive and if you don’t like the sort of thing then I’m not here to
change your mind. However, it is easy to become prejudiced against things that we
don’t understand. The goal of this video is to explain what goes on the Olympic bow
and why it’s used and you may be surprised to see that there isn’t
actually that much difference between this bow and what you might be used to.
Those of us who know a bit about archery in history will know that a bow is
basically a stick and a string. So, it’s something like this. This is an unstrung
longbow (flatbow) and it is literally a stick. This particular bow is not a historical bow
but you might recognize the shape as something which is more or less very
similar to what would have been used throughout history and there’s nothing
wrong with this bow. Many people enjoy the sort of thing and it can be handmade
at home so there is a very big appeal to this. While this bow can be shot
perfectly fine, it’s not the most appealing thing, especially if you’re a
modern shooter and you’re picking up archery. This is not the easiest thing to
use. Bows like this were used at the early modern Olympic Games. It’s only
during the 50s and 60s and 70s that we see a shift in design thanks to
materials, manufacturing and machining. For a modern-day archer, a traditional
bow looks something like this. This is the Fred Bear takedown recurve, a
revolutionary design for its time. While it does have some modern features like
the ability to take the bow apart thanks to its locking limb system, it is an all
wood bow and for traditional shooters, this is perhaps the upper limit to what
you consider to be real archery. Bows like this were the epitome of
traditional design and many a field shooter or hunter will be
very familiar with this kind of bow. It is basically a fancy stick and string. As
time goes on so do the advances. We see bows and arrows transform from wood to
aluminium and then to carbon. What we have here is the Win & Win Inno CXT,
a top-line modern target competitive bow. While it might look very fancy,
functionally it’s the same as what we saw before. In this configuration, it is a
barebow. It is just the bow and the string and really that’s all there is to
it. It is the same way you use a traditional bow. Again,
traditional bow. Modern bow. Modern barebow is still a classification that is
used in competition today, mostly in disciplines like 3D archery, indoor
archery and field archery. Meanwhile the open freestyle division does make use of
all the accessories you see at the Olympic Games. In actuality, there aren’t that
many additions to the bow and the bow fundamentally doesn’t change that much.
We’ll go through each add-on and we’ll explain what each one does. The first
addition and perhaps the most important is the sight. As with any weapons system
or platform, the sight provides a static reference point. Most sights used are
actually plain iron sights. Though some archers will exchange it for an
aftermarket design. All sights used in the Olympic Games are non-magnified. While
some might consider using a sight to be cheating, in fairness, most things today
that involve aiming will include some kind of sight. There is still a very
strong push and a large community that chooses not to use sights. Hence we have
the barebow community but even then there are different methods to sight using the
arrow. The problem with barebow methods is that
they have a lot of variation. It is nearly impossible for an archer to
retain the exact same sight picture and execute the same shot without a
sight. There is a lot of fun and satisfaction in doing so but the reality
is that you are more or less spraying the target within a reasonable grouping
for your skill level. The sight removes much of that guesswork well the archer
still has to find the right sight setting and make the necessary adjustments.
It doesn’t make the shot easier. Remember, the archer still has to bring
the bow on target and execute the shot normally. The next component is actually
the most obvious one because you see it first: the stabilizer rods. Many beginners
start with one but Olympians tend to use three plus an extender. The purpose of
these rods is to add weight to the bow. Why would you do that? A light bow is
actually quite hard to hold steady. While light weight is a good characteristic for
practical purposes, for accuracy and target shooting being too light means
that there is a lot more movement with a lot less effort and that can mean your
accuracy is thrown out the window thanks to a muscle twitch or a slight
hesitation. Adding weight to the bow makes it more stable. Barebow shooters
will make use of small weights but Olympic style shooters can go the extra
step. The stabilizer rods basically add stabilization. Many of you will recognize
this concept as three axis stabilization. It helps the archer maintain the bows
balance in three directions and for those who use rifles or even cameras you
will greatly appreciate what a big difference
stabilization makes. Again, it doesn’t help make the shot easier. I still have
to bring the bow on target, pull it back and execute the shot. Except now it’s a
whole lot heavier. Tthe last addition is the smallest but it’s actually the most
important for an Olympic shooter. It’s the clicker. Many people ask about what
this tiny rod in front of the arrow does. Often it’s a rod like this but more
often it’s a strip of aluminium or carbon like this and it goes just in
front of the arrow in this position. If you see these slow-motion replays of
Olympic archers you’ll see this move and the arrow gets released. What does it do?
One of the big difficulties that an archer has is consistent draw length. The way
you pull the string back and where you stop must be exactly the same. Any
difference here will result in a very large difference in velocity and
therefore shot placement. For a traditional shooter with no shooting
aids they have to do it by feel. A modern archer uses the clicker to tell
them when they’re at the right point. They pull the arrow through the clicker
it goes off and they automatically let go. It is still an action they must take but
this is something which removes a very large variable. Arguably, you might say
this is kind of cheating and perhaps to some people it’s more of a shortcut than
using a sight. Nonetheless, it is a skill that must be mastered by both the barebow
shooters and the Olympic archers. Clicker control is actually much harder than it
looks and while, yes, we do have a way to tell us when to let go, getting it
through the clicker is a whole different challenge. And again, the point that I
really want to reinforce is while all these extra aids will make it easier for
the archer to do certain things, whether it’s sighting on target or keeping the bow
steady or controlling the shot placement, the shot is still 100% the archer. The
bow does not shoot itself. What changes instead is the expectations
and the standards. A barebow shooter will not expect to shoot perfectly every
single time. There will be inherent variations which they can’t really
control. So, if you’re shooting a round of, say, 720 points, a barebow shooter that gets
500 points is doing a very very good job and most of the legendary barebow shooters
will probably get around this range or slightly higher. However, an Olympic
freestyle shooter who gets a 500 out of 720 is having an extremely bad day. That
standard is nowhere near good enough. They expect to get 600 and above
for the minimum qualifying score. So again, the shooting expectations are
different. The quality of the shot must be maintained regardless of whether you
shoot a barebow or an Olympic bow. So in the end, an Olympic shooter is
fundamentally doing the same thing as a barebow shooter or traditional shooter
or whatever style you might recognize. Archery at its basis is using a bow to
hit a target. While the accessories may make certain things easier, it still
comes down to the user. This is NUSensei. I hope you find it interesting. Thank you
for watching. I’ll see you next time

100 Replies to “Archery | What’s All That Stuff on Olympic Bows?”

  1. Some frequent questions / comments / criticisms:

    Q: If it doesn't make it easier, why use them?
    A: Instead of seeing it pessimistically as making shots easier, think of it as making difficult shots possible. There are limitations that a traditional barebow shooter cannot overcome and the equipment becomes the bottleneck, and no amount of skill can shine through inherent inconsistencies. Freestyle mitigates equipment as a bottleneck and allows a skilled archer to demonstrate top results over longer distances.

    Q: Isn't it cheating?
    A: Cheating is when you break the rules. If the competition does not allow extra accessories, then this would be cheating. In the open recurve division, this is permitted, and therefore not cheating.

    Q: Doesn't it give you an advantage?
    A: Not against other freestyle archers. If you're comparing a freestyle archer to a barebow archer, the freestyle archer should be able to outshoot a barebow archer. However, these disciplines don't compete against each other.

    Q: Doesn't it take less skill?
    A: Everything requires skill. Barebow has its own set of skills, as does freestyle. Success is measured differently. What a barebow shooter might consider a very good score or grouping would not be acceptable to a freestyle shooter.

  2. Everything you are saying makes sense but all these variables and such are what make it archery, otherwise it could be argued that its closer to shooting a rifle

  3. you keep saying "the shot is 100% archer" but with all this additions it's not very different from shooting a gun. After all "the shot is 100% shooter". It's like saying cyclist can compete with runners. Both use theirs muscles to move. Lately i saw olympics competition with compound bows and bow releases (+ all addition you mention in video). Thats taking most of skill needed. It's more like using crossbow than a classic bow…

  4. You have a talent for educating. Even though I'm not really into archery, I will likely remember these things for the rest of my life. The video was easy to understand, factual and engaging. Thank-you very much.

  5. Ok, I'll be that guy

    Bare bow shooting is harder than shooting with a loaded bow.

    Everything you described and the reasoning for them takes the variables out of shooting a bare bow, which makes it easier.

    I get why, but it does make it easier

  6. So the how now 1. Aims for you
    2. Self balances for you
    3. Tells you how far you need to draw.
    So all you do now is draw, point where it tells you, let the bow steady the shot, let the bow tell you how far to draw, then fire?
    Seems like skill isnt that big a part of archery?

  7. What is the small stabilizer at the top of hit bow called?
    I have been looking for one but i can't seem to find anything.

  8. ::Has a modern bow with half a dozen aids including sights, shot clicker, etc.::

    "But its still 100% the archer."

    Well sure, you still gotta pull the string. But you are being a bit disingenuous here. Archers will use any and all available, legal aids to compete, because if they dont, someone WILL have the advantage and beat them, especially at the highest level of competition. Which means its NOT 100% the archer. Lets face it, the form of archery that utilizes unfettered skill has GOT to be the one that uses the least modern aids.

    Which brings us to the question: is an Olympic archer with all those aids a better archer than a bare bow competitor who cant compete at the Olympic level? Not necessarily!

  9. I see what your saying about consistencies and such and having reference about your arrow position and draw length, but I think all those things should be practiced before you do competition. These accessories should be a practice only thing, like how a violinist when they start they will use a sticker on their fingerboard to indicate where notes are but as they get good and understand the spacing and placement they don't use it anymore.

  10. The people complaining about Olympic archers using sights should then by association also be complaining about Biathlon athletes using scopes on their rifles, but I don't generally see a lot of complaints about that…

  11. Someone must tell him waht the definition of "making things easier" actually is.

    I'm no archer personally and tbh don't care much of it and only clicked to actually get to know what all those stuff is, but "giving reference point to make shots more consistent" and "stabilizing your bow so muscle twitches, etc. won't affect your shots" seems like the definiton of "making things easier" when it comes to archery.

  12. It's three fucking am where i am rn and i have never picked up a bow. good content and thank you youtube autoplay

  13. Why don't we just change the shooters aswell? Just make a metal thing that holds the bow, and you'll never miss again!

  14. "It doesn't make the shot any easier," yet everything you mentioned, and the justification for it, was predicated on helping the archer take their shot. The stabilizers keep the bow steady, the clicker tells them when they've drawn the arrow back for enough, and the sight sets up their frame of reference. In essence, you've turned the bow into a crutch by allowing it to augment their abilities in each of these skill categories. These aren't safety features, like the wristbands of weightlifters, or the pads worn by footballers, these are accessories that quite literally enhance or aid very specific archery skills – such as frame of reference or bow steadying.

  15. I don't think I ever thought too much about archery, but here I am for some reason and I found the video every interesting

  16. I want a bow stuffed with laser track and GPS, so my arrow can lock the target and won't miss any target.

  17. I'd prefer watching traditional naked bows over the modern, overequipped ones, even if that means the performances would be lower.
    Now shoot me.

  18. The olympic gear is completely pointless. Since they compete among themselves, the only reason for doing so is to sell fancy gear. If everyone competed with barebow, the most skilled shooters would still shine through, only their skill would be measured by a different standard.

  19. All of these upgrades obviously make the shot easier. Otherwise they wouldn't use them!

    Also, why use a lighter carbon bow and then add weights??

  20. I can shoot 3 arrows at once from my handmade longbow, while on horseback and getting succ from my female.

  21. Difference in skill with technology talk is silly. Geople get it reveresed like as sensei explains. For example a master firearm marksmen with a powder musket could hit 50 foot away targets because thats what the gun is capable of, but if he had a modern sniper he now has equipment capable to put a bullet on that fly on the bullsye 2 miles away, but with target size, wind and distance, should be obvious that requires a much higher level of skill. Or vehicles. People used to race slow old cars and planes with one half horsepower. Now people use race cars and jet planes so powerful that there described as very intense to the senses when it comes to all the things a master needs to pay attention too to use skillfully, it just further seperates very good from the very best. I know with archery technology the difference between old and new bows isnt that extreme. But its still a higher level game their playing. Hell they should go all out max and have olimpic archery sniping with a new type of bow with very long very heavy draws and scope magnification, to shoot crazy far targets that the eye normally cant even see the bullsyes of. Just for the fun of a farther higher level of mastery.

  22. I'm sorry, but if it doesn't make the shot any easier, then why bother? Or perhaps it does make it easier? 😉

  23. Great video ! Why did the industry standards move toward lighter components if we then have to add weight back on the bow to stabilize it ? What's the advantage of using aluminum or carbon ?

  24. barebow longbow-recurve-hybrid shooter here! i do agree with some parts of this video. however in my opinion you do make it easier on yourself to handle a bow with weights helping you keeping the bow steady, or a clicker that tells you when you drew the bow to the right point. in these two examples you can easily say: "is it not just about practice?". it is. just like welding you have to practice and learn to keep your hands steady. maybe some physical training on top of practice will help. in football(soccer) you need to learn how to kick the ball to make it fly how you want( a straight shot, or a curve ball) and that over and over again till you nearly perfected it. thats what an instict shooter is. same bow and arrows practicing over and over and over again till you know how the arrow flies when you release it.

    however even though it is making it easier for the archer to shoot and aim, it still takes a lot to do it right. you will need to practice a lot till you are a good shooter(for example: how to grip the bow, how to hold the string and release it etc.). the weights do not hold the bow for you, the clicker does not draw and release the string for you and the reticle does not aim for you. like you said "the bow does not shoot itself", you are.

    just my opinion

  25. I was holding a real bow only once in my childhood, im not doing archery, byt the way you are talking and explaining stuff makes me intrested and i dont know why lol

  26. Nobody:

    YouTube: hey let’s put this on everyone’s suggested videos even though they have never watched a single video on archery

  27. Long comment so I'm asking my question at the start; sorry if it's been answered.
    Why do a lot of people physically touch their chin at full draw? I was always taught not to.

    If you've ever accidentally shot your hand with an arrow- you will immediately think the clicker is a good idea.

    Thank you for this information. I've never really thought about it honestly.
    I've been shooting since I was around 4 years old (my Grandfather taught me), and all I've ever known is casual target shooting, some target walk abouts, and just playing/having fun- all on american flatbows. I always assumed Olympic archery was just a different set of goals so that's why the additions came.
    Seems the two worlds are more alike than I thought before 😀
    Also, sights seem like a pretty good idea even for someone starting out who wants to do (I think you called it) bare bow. I was always taught to feel out a shot instead of aim, I think because you have to find that tighter circle. The sights would help you get more accustomed to finding where that is.
    No magnification on the sight literally makes it just a guide to where your.. "aiming zone"(?) is
    Sorry for the long comment!

  28. So if all the components are to made the shooter life easier, freeing him from actually having to keep aim naturally or to work to keep the dran strength the same among shots, Why not go all the way using a trypod? or a robotic arm to perform the draw for him? Or do all of this remotely so that the archer do not have to even be in the field any more? I do not know anything about archery, but sincerely this video does not help clearing all thatsuspicious stuff around the bow. The fact that everybody is doing it does not make it look less "cheating".

  29. Still see clicker as cheats. If you're not good enough to master the draw length. You should not be competing. As you ruin the spirit of the Sport. Which is skill based. Not how much stuff you can add to give you an edge.

  30. A quick summary for those watching in 2019:

    A bow is crafted with one stick and one string…
    However, the more sticks you attach to the bow after it is crafted, the more easier it will be use it…
    Beginners use one stick but pros use up to 3 sticks maximum (because four sticks involves the fourth dimension)

    The fourth dimension is related to time which is outside the control of man and therefore using more sticks is not considered cheating because arrows can not travel the speed of light.
    The only exception is to this is if you draw a right ray in a vacuum which is an ongoing arrow, but is impossible because there is not enough ink to draw forever…

    Also pens are not allowed in archery competitions… that would be cheating.

    To conclude…

    DO NOT READ THIS POST… it is pure nonsense 🙁

  31. I've been going through these videos since I just began practicing archery. I'm a pretty good shot with firearms and I gotta say there's definitely a learning curve. I can't fault anyone for using sights or anything that makes a shot more repeatable. I know I'm certainly getting frustrated with my lack of repeatability with my archery. I'm not bad and can stack a decent group, but as you said it feels more like I'm just spraying arrows at the target instead of getting a precise sight picture each time.

  32. Any expert knows a bow is three sticks and three string, what an idiot don't take tips from this guy y'all

  33. Not a full time cameraman but the weight part is relatable. I always prefer the big and bulky dslr kind of cameras rather than smartphones because it’s easier to get a good pics.

  34. I would still like to see shooting without everything added to the bow. I think that would be more natural

  35. 9:20 "archery at its basis is using a bow to hit a target".

    You're wrong. Archery is using an arrow to hit a target. If you hit your target with the bow you're way too close!

    LOL j/k great video.

  36. "Weights don't make the shot easier" Yet they are used to stabilize the bow, which in turn makes the shot easier. What does it matter if the additions allow for shots that normally wouldn't be possible otherwise, when in a competitive arena it's about a person's ability anyway? Who cares if shots that no human would be able to make are made with them, when that's not what is being judged? That's like saying a laser guided drone strike is fair to hit a distant target, because it's beyond the limits of a sniper rifle.

  37. Video basically lay out why Olympic shooting is boring as hell. What's next? a mechanical device that will draw the arrow for you? Judging by the twig size arm and flat back of these archers, my guess it's inevitable.

  38. Also, how can using these aids be considered cheating if you compete against other archers who are allowed to use a similar setup? It's like saying rifle shooters are cheating because pistols are harder to shoot accurately.

  39. I like archery in all it's forms, but saying after these changes "the bow doesn't shoot itself." is only right literally speaking. Every additional accessory is one of many possible steps that go between stick with string + arrow and a bow that literally shoots itself.

    More complex sites that gauge calculate exact distance, active stabalisers and electronic spirit levels. Mechanical retention and in sight drop calculation… Controlled wind enviroments and electronic release. At which point even ameteurs would be able to shoot with pro-like accuracy with a regular bow.

    Every additional add one means that the bow does shoot itself, in regards to the specific element in question, be it draw length control, or sighting consistency and I see no reasonable way of denying that.

    Your take away is correct however, and its what I think you should have lead with throughout: These tools makes its easier, so WHY NOT use them? There is just as much merit in seeing who can produce the best results with the best technology as there is in seeing who can produce the best results with the worst technology.

    Though I would say, there does need to be a line drawn somewhere, (although who can build the best archery robot still has its own merits), and the important thing becomes where we draw the line between accuratly measuring human ability and technological sophistication. raw bow and arrow will likely always be the most pure way to determine human skill, but the consistency added by modern technology makes the sport more consistent and in my opinion more worth watching. After all, what the point in training to be the best of the best, if a teeny muscle twitch at the key moment and no one will ever remember you?

  40. Came across this by chance.

    Sorry but I have always been a traditional bare bow archer. Yes I understand what you say and I thank you for explaining what all the add on are/for. That being said, I would be just happy picking up a bow and firing off a dozen arrows and not worrying about adjusting my sights, making sure the stabilizers are set properly or anything else that could go wrong.

    Keep it simple.

  41. "Doesnt make the shot easier"…what crap, a sight would not be used if it didn't do its job and make things easier…

  42. Oh you just keep telling yourself it doesnt make things easier, you literally explain how someone with all the crap "expects" to get more points and they expect that because it makes things easier.

  43. I played around with traditional archery but a shoulder injury keeps me from doing it now. So I took up using an atlatl. Just as much fun but less strength required to use it and I only need one hand to do it.

  44. i dont see the point in all the shit people put on bows these days, back in the day when bows where actually used for more than just sport like war they would shoot further and accurate without all the crap on the bow

  45. I'm no archer but I'm loving a game called "theHunter call of the wild"

    Bow hunting on that game is hard really really hard. I prefer to just use rifles or crossbow. But I want to use the bows. Recurve or compound bows.

    Check that game out it's the best game target shooter I ever played. Some bow hunters are amazing with the bows. Threading the needle through trees into hearts. It's not an easy game though.

  46. I learned how to aim and shoot a long bow within half a day so it is easy for me btw I do not use any modification

  47. Well maybe you justified putting all that crap on to a bow but can you justify making the whole affair sooooo boring ??Everything about professional archery is boring if u ask me no wonder not many people can be bothered watching it ! The targets are boring why not have something more interesting than boring old circles like plastic bottles fulled with water for example ?This "team "approach is boring imo also complete with boring ugly uniforms and coach's hovering like blowflies in the background silly posturing giving the thumbs up etc etc one shot per person boring boring boring .Let one person take six shots at something interesting would be much more exiting for the spectator and the archer alike .

  48. At the end of the day competition archery is not the same as combat or hunting archery. Brilliant video, people are prejudiced against things they don't understand and you have done a great job in explaining the art of Olympic level target archery.

  49. to me personally, the new styles of Olympic bows are not appealing at all!
    they seem too me yeah totally cheating and kinda they striped the whole fun out of archery!!

    GO traditional bare bow and DEVELOP your INSTINCT 😉

  50. not to be ill faited ore hatefull. this is my agument.

    Sure its fundamentally artchery. but it ain't the skill of artchery. its sterilised down to souly having the best equiptment, having the steadiest hand on gameday, getting the dot on the spot and releasing an arrow. The skill lies within mastering the variables of the givin act/sport. So why even compeate with oneanother at this point?

    Imagine darts beeing variable deprived down to hand steadines and best pre-finetuned eqiptment. ore darts, ore curling, ore tennis ore golf. I argue that you distilled the very sport out of your sport.

  51. if you use helpers in a competition it prises the helpers not the archer and thats sad.
    i do hema and we dont have lets say a rig wich controls the move, we need to angle on our own

  52. I went into archery wanting to do trad shooting. I really love it. My club told me to still give the other stuff a try, which i did with pleasure. Shooting with a sight was not a thing i thought i would like, but i do. It's relaxing and fun, and for a newbie, it allows me to focus on the shot process.

    I still mostly wanna trad shoot, but grabbing a takedown recurve with a sight is now on my to-do list. Go with an open mind guys, you never know what you'll like 🙂

  53. Ugh I just don't understand doing this to a recurve – it's like dressing a horse in a tuxedo. If you're going to add all that super high-tech stuff to the bow, why not just shoot a compound? I like your channel though, good content 😀

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