At some stage, every archer has to go through a phase of increasing bow poundage. This may be to increase effective shooting distance, or to improve scores at longer distances and in the wind.
With that in mind, a big jump in bow poundage or increasing poundage too soon can lead to the archer being 'overbowed', and a myriad of consequential technique issues...
When is the correct time to increase bow poundage?
I have developed a simple, effective and quantifiable test to ensure that archers can safely increase their shooting poundage. This ensures that when the poundage is cranked up, no crappy technique appears!
I use three separate SPT challenges as metrics to asses whether an archer is ready to increase drawing weight. These challenges assess the archer against each of the following criteria:
Each test is scored on a simple traffic light system that works as follows:
Fail: Bow poundage is too heavy and should be decreased
Pass: Bow poundage is ok, but more work is needed
Graduate: The archer is ready to increase draw weight!
If an archer fails even one test, they should lower their draw weight to something more appropriate and work up again with a sound technical base.
Each test must be completed with strict technique. Any compromise in form is considered a failure.
Archers are allowed 5 minutes rest between completing each test.
The tests should be completed in the order outlined below.
For an archer to increase shooting poundage, they should get the 'Green Light' on all three tests!
Assessment 1: 'Long Hold' (Holding strength)
Rules: The first test is simple, the archer must be able to hold at full draw with correct technique.
Fail: Holds less than 40s
Pass: Holds over 40s, but less than 60s
Graduate: Holds for 60s or more
Assessment 2: 'Max Tech Pumps' (Drawing Strength)
Rules: For the second test, the archer completes as many sequential tech-pumps as possible whilst maintaining correct drawing technique. A tech-pump is performed by drawing from your pre-draw position to full draw, then letting down into pre-draw before repeating.
Fail: Less than 6 tech pumps
Pass: More than 6, but less than 10 tech pumps
Graduate: 10 or more tech pumps
Assessment 3: '20 Seconds to Failure' (Bow Endurance)
Rules: The final test is often perceived as the most difficult. The archer must draw and hold for 20s, followed by a 20s rest period, then repeat until failure (muscular failure, not technique failure). The short rest period stress tests the archers endurance.
Fail: Completes less than 6 holds successfully
Pass: Completes more than 6, but less than 10 holds successfully
Graduate: Completes more than 10 holds successfully
This system takes the guesswork out of when to increase bow poundage, and has the added benefit of allowing you to plot SPT strength over time. Once I implemented this system, I also saw a surge in SPT training completed by the archers.
For elite archers, I would expect to see a passing score at their shooting weight +6#.
Enjoy the results!