Q. I'm left handed, should I shoot a left handed bow?

A.  Not necessarily. Your hand dominance should not be allowed to dictate which bow you shoot. What is important is your eye dominance. Most people are right eye and hand dominant, a significant number are left eye and hand dominant, and relatively few are "cross dominant".

For parallax reasons your dominant eye should be over the arrow. A left eye and hand dominant archer will therefore hold the bow in the right hand and draw with the left.

Cross dominance can be catered for but it does mean that only one eye can be used.  Some cross dominant archers have learned to shoot with the "wrong " hand.    


Q Should I shoot with one eye closed ?

A.   Shoot with both eyes open. Your  brain naturally tends to favour the information from your dominant eye, with the non dominant eye reinforcing the image and providing "back up".  By using only one eye you are making that one eye work harder than is necessary and contributing to fatigue.                                                                               

Q. What size fletchings should I use?

A.  How long is a piece of string? That's not very helpful, is it. However if you think about what fletchings do then the answer to the question may present itself. The fletchings serve to stablise the arrow in flight and they do that by acting to all intents like a rudder to keep the arrow on line and by causing it to rotate to give it stability. Both of those effects need to be established before the arrow reaches the target. At the shorter distances (e.g. those shot indoors) for a given arrow speed there is less time for the  fletchings to take effect, and that  will be achieved more quickly by a fletching with a greater surface area (higher drag).  The down side of larger fletchings is that the increased drag will affect your sight mark. The answer therefore is, the smallest fletching that will do the job. And the way to find that out is to try several different fletchings and see which give you the tightest group.                                                    

Q. How do I find the correct bracing height for my bow?

 Start by setting your bracing height to the dimension suggester by the bow manufacturer. If you do not know that dimension set the bracing height so that the string leaves the groove at the back of the limb tip some 5 to 10 mm. before it fades out. Then shoot the bow and listen to the sound it makes. In general terms "noise is energy" . Therefore the quieter/sweeter your bow the more of the available energy is hopefully being provided to the arrow. Having listened to the shot  increase the bracing height by putting an additional ,say five turns in the string and shoot it again. If it is quieter/sweeter then put a further five turns in the string and listen again. Repeat this process until the bow starts to get louder and/or starts to sound harsh. When that happens take the last five turns out of the string, measure and record the bracing height. Make sure that each time you set up your bow the bracing height is at this optimum dimension.  The final bracing height should be both quiet and "sweet". If it is'nt then look to your execution!

Q. Where should I position the nocking point?

A.  Lay the arrow on the arrow rest and nock the arrow to the string so that it forms a right angle with the string. Raise the rear of the arrow  some 5 mm. and fit a temporary nocking point. Shoot at least six arrows and observe their attitude in the target. They should strike horizontally. If the nocks are high then lower the nocking point, if low then raise the nocking point. ( make the movement say 1mm.) Repeat until the arrows strike as required. Be aware that individual arrows may be affected by the the lay up of the boss so ignore any that are obviously  different from the rest. 

When satisfied fit  a permanent nocking point and check that it is correctly placed.   

Q. What should I use for a nocking point?

A.  A nocking point can be made from any material that can be tightly and securely wound on to the string. The most commonly used material is dental floss. 

In general terms  it/they should be only just large enough to ensure that the arrow cannot travel on the string and yet provide a secure and consistent location.  The advantage of dental floss is that it provides a "soft" nocking point that can be fitted close to the arrow and when a few arrows have been shot and it has moulded to the shape  of the nock it can be firmed up by a blob of glue.

Brass nock sets are fine whilst you are trying to find the correct position of your nocking point but as a permanent fixture  they have several disadvantages.  They are difficult to fit accurately, because you are obliged to fit them some distance apart to prevent them "nipping" the nock when the string is at full draw. They add significant weight, and therefore slow the string the string down. And finally they will rip the surface of your tab! 

Q.  How tight should the fit of the arrow be to the string?

A   Just sufficient to prevent the arrow from disengaging from the string during execution of the shot. A good indication of an adequate fit is to hold the bow with the string horizontal, hang the arrow vertically from the string and apply a "smart rap" alongside the nocking point with the edge of your hand: it should disengage. 

What is also important is that the fit of every arrow should be the same. It is the momentum of the arrow that disengages the nock.  An over tight fit will result in a low arrow on the target when compared with an arrow with a just adequate fit.

Adjusting the fit of a nock with a file. is not recommended  except in extreme cases.  Some nocks are available in two sizes, and in all probability one of them will do the job. Some nock materials can be temporarily softened in very hot water. If the nock is then repeatedly engaged and disengaged as the material cools a satisfactory fit can be achieved.

Alternatively change the serving material to achieve the required fit. Monofilament fishing line is supplied in different gauges and one of them will do the job. Serving a bow string with  Monofilament is not for the feint hearted!!