Draw length way too long -- what don't I understand?

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  1. #1

    Draw length way too long -- what don't I understand?

    I'm just getting started with archery. I got a Martin Freedom recurve (50lb. @ 28") and have been target shooting with it for a few weeks. I've been reading a lot online and paying attention to various details, hoping to learn to shoot properly the first time. Some stance/finger/elbow adjustments are simple enough, but now I'm trying to establish an anchor point and I'm stumped. The problem: to draw my bow back to my supposed draw length of 28.5", I have to pull back really far, so far that the only replicable anchor point I can find at that draw is to have the tip of my index finger in my ear. I'm not using any loops or release gadgets, just shooting split-fingered with a glove. From everything I've seen and read, this draw is way too far back on my face, but I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Help!

    I'm 5'11", my armspan divided by 2.5 is 28.6", and my draw length was measured by a shop at 28.5 or 29" (I don't remember what technique they used, but it was different from the armspan/2.5 method.) If I use an index-fingertip-to-corner-of-mouth anchor point, I'm barely drawing 23". Surely that's not my actual best draw length? "Draw length," by the way, I'm understanding as the measurement of a drawn arrow from the bottom of the groove of the nock (where the bowstring sits) to the outer limit of the riser (the point where the arrow begins to extend beyond the riser). I think this comes out the same as measuring the arrow and adding 1.75", since the riser on my bow measures 1.75" from outermost limit to innermost grip.
    Using the 28.5" number, I determined the proper draw length in action (i.e. in reference to my face) by placing a clip onto the arrow shaft at a precise position near the point, such that the clip contacts the riser and stops further draw when the arrow is drawn back to the spot where it measures 28.5" between the bowstring and the outermost riser limit. When I draw it back this far, I end up with my finger in my ear. This draw does feel pretty uncomfortable and awkwardly long too, but that's not really a valuable observation, since I just fell off the turnip truck and have no idea how it's supposed to feel.

    What am I doing wrong or misunderstanding? I really appreciate any help!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbrownsbody View Post
    I'm just getting started with archery. I got a Martin Freedom recurve (50lb. @ 28") and have been target shooting with it for a few weeks. I've been reading a lot online and paying attention to various details, hoping to learn to shoot properly the first time. Some stance/finger/elbow adjustments are simple enough, but now I'm trying to establish an anchor point and I'm stumped. The problem: to draw my bow back to my supposed draw length of 28.5", I have to pull back really far, so far that the only replicable anchor point I can find at that draw is to have the tip of my index finger in my ear. I'm not using any loops or release gadgets, just shooting split-fingered with a glove. From everything I've seen and read, this draw is way too far back on my face, but I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Help!

    I'm 5'11", my armspan divided by 2.5 is 28.6", and my draw length was measured by a shop at 28.5 or 29" (I don't remember what technique they used, but it was different from the armspan/2.5 method.) If I use an index-fingertip-to-corner-of-mouth anchor point, I'm barely drawing 23". Surely that's not my actual best draw length? "Draw length," by the way, I'm understanding as the measurement of a drawn arrow from the bottom of the groove of the nock (where the bowstring sits) to the outer limit of the riser (the point where the arrow begins to extend beyond the riser). I think this comes out the same as measuring the arrow and adding 1.75", since the riser on my bow measures 1.75" from outermost limit to innermost grip.
    Using the 28.5" number, I determined the proper draw length in action (i.e. in reference to my face) by placing a clip onto the arrow shaft at a precise position near the point, such that the clip contacts the riser and stops further draw when the arrow is drawn back to the spot where it measures 28.5" between the bowstring and the outermost riser limit. When I draw it back this far, I end up with my finger in my ear. This draw does feel pretty uncomfortable and awkwardly long too, but that's not really a valuable observation, since I just fell off the turnip truck and have no idea how it's supposed to feel.

    What am I doing wrong or misunderstanding? I really appreciate any help!
    Armspan to figure DRAW LENGTH is for COMPOUND bows.

    put tip of index finger in the CORNER of your mouth. Strongly suggest you purchase a book SHOOTING the STICKBOW by Anthony Camera.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1602642443/...l_8jsh2l6x02_b

    Start your RECURVE training with a 25 lb bow, NOT a 50 lb recurve. Your accuracy will climb MUCH faster.
    Been fun.
    alanlui@comcast.net

  3. #3
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    Try posting this in the Traditional Archery section of the forums. Should get some good help there.

  4. #4
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    Yes, you have a lot to learn. I'd pay attention to the post 2 and 3.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by nuts&bolts View Post
    Armspan to figure DRAW LENGTH is for COMPOUND bows.

    put tip of index finger in the CORNER of your mouth. Strongly suggest you purchase a book SHOOTING the STICKBOW by Anthony Camera.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1602642443/...l_8jsh2l6x02_b

    Start your RECURVE training with a 25 lb bow, NOT a 50 lb recurve. Your accuracy will climb MUCH faster.
    Thanks for your reply. I know learning on a 50lb bow is not ideal, but I decided to take my lumps rather than buy a second bow.

    Whatever the shortcomings of the armspan/2.5 method, its result did accord with the shop's, and from everything I've read, a draw length on the order of 28"-29" is reasonable for someone around 5'11". A lot more reasonable than 23". I already have a copy of Shooting the Stickbow, and the basic method I used to measure draw on the bow is in there, on page 15. I just want to figure out why I'm measuring such a short draw at the recommended starting anchor point -- hoping it's a common enough misunderstanding that someone will say "aha, you're doing/thinking X! You need to do/think Y."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by imhunting2 View Post
    Try posting this in the Traditional Archery section of the forums. Should get some good help there.
    Will do, thank you.

  7. #7
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    You are thinking both X and Y,on a stick bow , your draw length is what it is by drawing till you hit your anchor point ( this is your personal choice ) No more, no less. To get a number, draw a arrow back and have somebody mark your arrow where it sticks out the front of the bow. If you want to know how long to cut your arrows, draw a arrow back and have somebody mark your arrow where you want it to be at.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbrownsbody View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I know learning on a 50lb bow is not ideal, but I decided to take my lumps rather than buy a second bow.

    Whatever the shortcomings of the armspan/2.5 method, its result did accord with the shop's, and from everything I've read, a draw length on the order of 28"-29" is reasonable for someone around 5'11". A lot more reasonable than 23". I already have a copy of Shooting the Stickbow, and the basic method I used to measure draw on the bow is in there, on page 15. I just want to figure out why I'm measuring such a short draw at the recommended starting anchor point -- hoping it's a common enough misunderstanding that someone will say "aha, you're doing/thinking X! You need to do/think Y."
    5'11" and 29-inch draw length for a recurve is NOT reasonable.

    You select an anchor for recurve. Olympic recurve, this is the string on the FRONT of the chin, or a side anchor, the bowstring on the SIDE of your chin.

    Three fingers under for a traditional recurve, you can put the TIP of the index finger at the CORNER of the mouth. Three fingers under, you can put the TIP of the index finger on your cheekbone, just under the eyeball.

    HOW you orient your shoulders, will change the "draw length".

    If your shoulders are pointed THIS WAY, you will measure out at a SHORTER draw length.



    PRETEND this is a recurve bow.

    If you shoulders are CLOSER to PARALLEL to the arrow, on your RECURVE bow...you will measure out at a LONGER draw length, with your RECURVE bow.



    SAME anchor (index fingertip at the corner of the mouth), but with OPEN shoulders angle, you get a SHORTER draw length...and with a NEUTRAL shoulders angle, the SAME anchor (index fingertip at the corner of your mouth), you will measure out at a LONGER draw length.

    Now, for an example with a RECURVE shooter...FOCUS on the SHOULDERS angle...in relation to the arrow, when at full draw.





    Olympic recurve bow shooter. Probably a 68-inch bow...25-inch riser and medium length limbs. So, UPPER photo, with THAT shoulder orientation, SAME anchor (you will measure at a SHORTER RECURVE draw length).
    Olympic recurve bow shooter. So, LOWER photo, with this MORE INLINE shoulder orientation, SAME anchor (you will measure at a LONGER RECURVE draw length).
    IT's all in the SHOULDERS.
    Been fun.
    alanlui@comcast.net

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbrownsbody View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I know learning on a 50lb bow is not ideal, but I decided to take my lumps rather than buy a second bow.

    Whatever the shortcomings of the armspan/2.5 method, its result did accord with the shop's, and from everything I've read, a draw length on the order of 28"-29" is reasonable for someone around 5'11". A lot more reasonable than 23". I already have a copy of Shooting the Stickbow, and the basic method I used to measure draw on the bow is in there, on page 15. I just want to figure out why I'm measuring such a short draw at the recommended starting anchor point -- hoping it's a common enough misunderstanding that someone will say "aha, you're doing/thinking X! You need to do/think Y."
    5-ft tall...will be a 23-inch or 24-inch RECURVE draw length. I am 6'2" and I shoot just under a 30-inch RECURVE draw length. You DO REALIZE that a 28-inch draw length is NOT 28-inches from the GRIP to the bowstring.
    For someone 5'11", a 28-inch draw length will NOT GET the NOCK to your EAR.

    28-inches of RECURVE or COMPOUND draw length is only 26.25-inches from the GRIP to the NOCK, where the nock touches the center serving.

    Just anchor with the TIP of your index finger, to the CORNER of your mouth, and forget about the "numbers". After you learn RECURVE anchor, and RECURVE form...then, work on getting the correct length and stiffness of arrows.
    Last edited by nuts&bolts; September 13th, 2015 at 04:30 PM.
    Been fun.
    alanlui@comcast.net

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by nuts&bolts View Post
    5-ft tall...will be a 23-inch or 24-inch RECURVE draw length. I am 6'2" and I shoot just under a 30-inch RECURVE draw length. You DO REALIZE that a 28-inch draw length is NOT 28-inches from the GRIP to the bowstring.
    For someone 5'11", a 28-inch draw length will NOT GET the NOCK to your EAR.

    28-inches of RECURVE or COMPOUND draw length is only 26.25-inches from the GRIP to the NOCK, where the nock touches the center serving.

    Just anchor with the TIP of your index finger, to the CORNER of your mouth, and forget about the "numbers". After you learn RECURVE anchor, and RECURVE form...then, work on getting the correct length and stiffness of arrows.

    Oh... . Now nuts is turning himself into a self proclaimed recurve expert? NUTS..... Stop thinking you can fool everybody... pathetic...

  11. #11
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    The standard yet today for draw length whether Traditional or compound. I'd say nuts&bolts is pretty darn close with numbers are just numbers and actual is different. And I'm pretty sure some of where nuts&bolts comes from is Lee.....
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  12. #12
    in other words hold the bow out to the side. and draw to the corner of you mouth. dl on a recurve only matters for ordering arrows. just because you can pull it back that far don't.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnbrownsbody View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I know learning on a 50lb bow is not ideal, but I decided to take my lumps rather than buy a second bow.

    Whatever the shortcomings of the armspan/2.5 method, its result did accord with the shop's, and from everything I've read, a draw length on the order of 28"-29" is reasonable for someone around 5'11". A lot more reasonable than 23". I already have a copy of Shooting the Stickbow, and the basic method I used to measure draw on the bow is in there, on page 15. I just want to figure out why I'm measuring such a short draw at the recommended starting anchor point -- hoping it's a common enough misunderstanding that someone will say "aha, you're doing/thinking X! You need to do/think Y."
    It's the 50lb draw weight, trust me. A friend of mine back in college who was an all-American olympic style recurve shooter shot a set of 42# limbs on his bow one summer. At his draw length he was holding 46# or thereabouts - his chest would compress 2 full inches at full draw. And that was with an all-American form and level of physical conditioning too.

    Without years of physical training at a weight like that, you're very likely extremely compressed and scrunched up trying to get to anchor. I'm a recurver on compound-break due to injury and I had only gotten back up to about 20# on the fingers before I finally put my recurve away a few weeks ago (again due to the discovery of injury). That was 6 months or so of solid shooting too with a set of 14lb longs after a very extended break of many years.

    So I agree the first thing to do is go down in draw weight, and way way down. 15# on the fingers isn't outlandish for starting out, since you're mostly working on form and execution. There's just no way to handle 50# as a beginner and be able to develop a good shot.

    IMHO,
    DM

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuts&bolts View Post
    Now, for an example with a RECURVE shooter...FOCUS on the SHOULDERS angle...in relation to the arrow, when at full draw.





    Olympic recurve bow shooter. Probably a 68-inch bow...25-inch riser and medium length limbs. So, UPPER photo, with THAT shoulder orientation, SAME anchor (you will measure at a SHORTER RECURVE draw length).
    Olympic recurve bow shooter. So, LOWER photo, with this MORE INLINE shoulder orientation, SAME anchor (you will measure at a LONGER RECURVE draw length).
    IT's all in the SHOULDERS.
    In my experience, this is completely spot on. Your alignment can make a large difference in your drawlength. I went though this this summer, going to an alignment closer to these bottom pictures; my drawlength on both my recurve and compounds increased almost 1 1/2" in the process.

    BTW, the lower alignment where you're as far inside the bow as you can get is almost a necessity to even shoot olympic style at all - else you'll never make it through the clicker after about the 5th or 6th shaft. But it's a good ideal to strive for on compound also even though compound is much more accommodating of different alignment. Barebow and instinctive shooters don't need to do this, I've noticed.

    But the point is, the draw length is very heavily affected by alignment as Nuts & Bolts says here.

    DM

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsilvers View Post
    Oh... . Now nuts is turning himself into a self proclaimed recurve expert? NUTS..... Stop thinking you can fool everybody... pathetic...
    So how does this help the Op,pathetic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsilvers View Post
    Oh... . Now nuts is turning himself into a self proclaimed recurve expert? NUTS..... Stop thinking you can fool everybody... pathetic...
    What is pathetic is this statement right here. ^^^^^^^^^. It adds nothing constructive to the thread.

    Although Alan's numbers can vary a little , at least he's trying to explain, and very well, that different angles of the shoulders and arms can change the actual draw length measurement, as can where you anchor. And, to wit, the numbers are just that. One difference between compounds and recurves is that a compound must be set to a specific draw length to fit right. I recurve doesn't have this feature. It draws to where you stop and anchor.

    I shoot both compounds and a recurve. With compounds my bows have to be set to just about 26 3/4" draw, as that is what best fits me. With my recurve, and anchoring at the corner of the mouth, I'm drawing more like 24" or 25". I have never actually measured it with the recurve because it is what it is and it doesn't matter. It's just a number. In both cases I shoot the same arrow; 27" Gold Tip UL-500. I don't get hyper-sensitive about the length of the arrow. As long as they are long enough that I don't draw them past the rest and they are spined right then they are long enough.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bfisher View Post
    What is pathetic is this statement right here. ^^^^^^^^^. It adds nothing constructive to the thread.

    Although Alan's numbers can vary a little , at least he's trying to explain, and very well, that different angles of the shoulders and arms can change the actual draw length measurement, as can where you anchor. And, to wit, the numbers are just that. One difference between compounds and recurves is that a compound must be set to a specific draw length to fit right. I recurve doesn't have this feature. It draws to where you stop and anchor.

    I shoot both compounds and a recurve. With compounds my bows have to be set to just about 26 3/4" draw, as that is what best fits me. With my recurve, and anchoring at the corner of the mouth, I'm drawing more like 24" or 25". I have never actually measured it with the recurve because it is what it is and it doesn't matter. It's just a number. In both cases I shoot the same arrow; 27" Gold Tip UL-500. I don't get hyper-sensitive about the length of the arrow. As long as they are long enough that I don't draw them past the rest and they are spined right then they are long enough.
    I have tsilvers on my IGNORE list. So, I coach COMPOUND and RECURVE. I teach compound AND RECURVE locally for in person coaching. I have long distance students for COMPOUND and RECURVE students across the US and internationally. So, for tsilver's benefit, yes, one of my INTERNATIONAL RECURVE students, has won at the NATIONAL level.

    I put tsilvers on my IGNORE list, for obvious reasons. But, when folks take the time to quote tsilvers, I will clarify.
    Been fun.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by bfisher View Post
    What is pathetic is this statement right here. ^^^^^^^^^. It adds nothing constructive to the thread.

    Although Alan's numbers can vary a little , at least he's trying to explain, and very well, that different angles of the shoulders and arms can change the actual draw length measurement, as can where you anchor. And, to wit, the numbers are just that. One difference between compounds and recurves is that a compound must be set to a specific draw length to fit right. I recurve doesn't have this feature. It draws to where you stop and anchor.

    I shoot both compounds and a recurve. With compounds my bows have to be set to just about 26 3/4" draw, as that is what best fits me. With my recurve, and anchoring at the corner of the mouth, I'm drawing more like 24" or 25". I have never actually measured it with the recurve because it is what it is and it doesn't matter. It's just a number. In both cases I shoot the same arrow; 27" Gold Tip UL-500. I don't get hyper-sensitive about the length of the arrow. As long as they are long enough that I don't draw them past the rest and they are spined right then they are long enough.
    bfisher, you probably also know that when working with NEWBIE recurve students, over time, the NEWBIE recurve student will CHANGE RECURVE draw length, over time, as they grow in skill and technique. The FORM evolves (mostly shoulders alignment goes more narrow)...cuz this RECURVE form is more efficient (takes less effort). So, as ANY RECURVE coach knows, we work on FORM and shot execution consistency...especially in the beginning.
    Been fun.
    alanlui@comcast.net

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by nuts&bolts View Post
    [.....]
    IT's all in the SHOULDERS.
    Many thanks for this post! I found it extremely helpful. The photos give me an idea of what to focus on in correcting this.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmacey View Post
    It's the 50lb draw weight, trust me. A friend of mine back in college who was an all-American olympic style recurve shooter shot a set of 42# limbs on his bow one summer. At his draw length he was holding 46# or thereabouts - his chest would compress 2 full inches at full draw. And that was with an all-American form and level of physical conditioning too.

    Without years of physical training at a weight like that, you're very likely extremely compressed and scrunched up trying to get to anchor. I'm a recurver on compound-break due to injury and I had only gotten back up to about 20# on the fingers before I finally put my recurve away a few weeks ago (again due to the discovery of injury). That was 6 months or so of solid shooting too with a set of 14lb longs after a very extended break of many years.

    So I agree the first thing to do is go down in draw weight, and way way down. 15# on the fingers isn't outlandish for starting out, since you're mostly working on form and execution. There's just no way to handle 50# as a beginner and be able to develop a good shot.

    IMHO,
    DM
    This explanation helped me a lot too -- I had a vague suspicion it was something like "scrunched up," since things measured out differently when I wasn't holding a bow. I will experiment with my alignment and look into getting a cheap, light bow to learn on.
    Sorry to hear about your injuries, I've been there in other sports so I know the feeling. Best of luck with your recovery.

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