Drugs in Archery

In sports we seem to be never more than a few days removed from the latest Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) scandal. Cycling, American Football, Baseball and Athletics have terrible records for PED abuse from virtually the lowest levels to the highest with athletes, coaches and administrators implicated. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is forever handing down suspensions and removing achievements. But that’s something we in archery don’t need to worry about is it! … Err, is it?

wadaSo first, a little history. In the 1990’s, doping scandals had reached epidemic levels. At the World Conference on Doping in Switzerland in 1999, WADA was founded to counter the increasing levels of PED use in every sport and at all levels. Archery GB’s code of conduct states that they will follow UK Sport’s anti-doping rules. The UK, in turn, complies with WADA’s world anti doping code. So as AGB affiliated archers, we are all under WADA’s scrutiny.
But surely, PED’s are hardly an issue for us?
Well, yes they can be but not in the way you think … and don’t call me Shirley!

While substances such as steroids, masking agents, hormone and metabolic modulators, human growth hormone, stimulants and narcotics are blanket banned across all sports, archers have 2 additional named substances that are specifically banned for us in competition.

Beta Blockers: These are prescription-only medicines that reduce blood pressure. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline in your blood. That in turn helps the heart work more efficiently thereby reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tremors and even anxiety. In other words they can give you a steadier hand, increase your focus and reduce those nerves. Does that sound like something that an archer might desire?

Admittedly, no scientific research has yet been carried out on archers using beta  blockers. World Archery has proposed a study into the effects of these drugs on fine motor skills and the implications to posture and stability, aiming, reaction to the clicker and ultimately, scores. As yet no report has been released or conclusion reached.

drinksAlcohol: There are only 5 sports that ban alcohol in competition. Motorsports, aero sports, powerboating, motorcycle racing and archery. Now obviously being hammered while in charge of racing car, bike, boat or plane is bad, but why the focus on archery?

Well, in 1985 and again in 1993, studies concluded ” … that small amounts of alcohol in sports where steady hands and nerves are required, for example, archery and darts, the sedative, anti-tremor and anxiolytic effects of alcohol could have an ergogenic effect. (Reilly and Halliday, 1985; Reilly and Scott, 1993)” Ergogenic in this case mean substances or devices that enhance energy production, use or recovery and provide athletes with a competitive advantage. Anxiolytic is a term when referring to a drug that is used to relieve anxiety.

As a result, alcohol was deemed to be an archery PED (and not just for drowning the shooting sorrows of archers) so WADA banned it. Now obviously we are not talking a bottle of wine or a 6 pack here – gods, that would be horrific! Our editor still has PTSD from watching youtube vids with Americans in plaid shirts talking their approach to archery while holding a compound in one hand and a succession of beers in the other. However, low levels of alcohol can relax you and slow reaction speed just enough resulting in steadier, more confident shots. Now with all that said, I’m pretty sure that there is a longbow society that begins every competition with a loyal toast to the Queen. Not sure how a small port will affect the longbow fraternity (real ale fanatics all) but I doubt WADA is going to lose sleep over a tradition like this. Hmm, just a final thought … are judges covered by the same rules? I mean, “sober as a judge” is an expression but who wouldn’t be driven to drink having to deal with competitive archers every weekend?! :o)

So, lets all remember WADA is watching next time you feel the draw of the off licence. Personally I’m off for an alkoholfrei isotonic ‘beer’ honest mister! … (Cheers! ;o)


Update from WADA for Archery 2022
Relationship between Darts and Alcohol – Alas Smith and Jones
Archer banned for 2 years following failed drugs test
Is the relationship between sport and alcohol a healthy one? Adam Young – University College London


covid-gd8fd962a6_640So here we are. A year on from Glasgow Archers being homeless with crumbling containers. Another year of Covid idiocy with confusing instructions in how to organize shooting. No competitions. AGB slowly haemorrhaging members as they charge full price for membership while advising no-one shoot unless hoops are jumped through! Its not been an easy year for any archery club. Especially after the previous one!

On the plus side for GA, we now have new containers. We currently have indoor and outdoor facilities at H@PP. Badges are being earned left and right. One archer’s scores are making the rest of us look so bad, people are hitting the gym, getting coaching and even fixing that 10 year tuning issue. (Damn you Peterson, we were happy being mediocre! ;o) … Its all go.

So is 2022 the year we get back to normal? Even semi-normal? Right now, who knows but one thing we can guarantee assuming no more draconian dictates from on high: we at GA will be out in the field or (if allowed) back in the hall doing what we love … bitching, moaning, gossiping, drinking caf, BBQ’ing and even shooting a few arrows here and there. :oD

Have a good New Year and hopefully we’ll see you on our line once the hangover lifts.

OrinArch – Digital Archery

Back in the 1970’s indoor golf simulators were created. The idea was by placing computer sensors at different points on nets that you then hit a ball into, the system would predict how far and straight you hit the ball. Over the next few decades these got pretty sophisticated projecting hi-res views of fairways onto the nets, simulating wind and even spin on the ball! This has been expanded to baseball, shooting and even soccer. Archery equivalents have always been a bit basic, struggling to handle the idiosyncrasies of our sport. At least till now …

orinarch2PST international, a Taiwanese technology company have tossed their hat into the ring with their OrinArch system. This system allows you to actually shoot arrows into a wall where the targets are projected. More than 30 arrows can be detected at the same time and the system has an incredibly fast response time said to be under 0.001 seconds. The detection of where the arrow strikes looks to be very precise indeed registering exactly where you hit so linecutters are possible without a judge being involved! :o) Faces, a moving football, deer can all be projected .. even moving zombies and dragons in the style of a first person shooter!

orinarch1Can this system let you practice 70m in the wind to fuel your Olympic ambitions? No, it can’t but it does look like its incredibly fun and its great to see advances in simulating real archery beyond Wii Archery and shooting a compound! ;o) This could even allow you to practice blank boss indoors or “reversals” without it being boring as well as obviously playing numerous archery games. (who doesn’t want to shoot zombies?!)

Now its very early days for this system having only been announced at the beginning of Dec 2021 but it does look pretty nifty. The larger system shown (4 person) could be very expensive suitable only for commercial facilities but smaller systems than the one shown in the videos are promised. Cost has not been mentioned but golfing systems start around £1200 so that might be a point to consider before you get too excited and start converting the spare room. (and yes, our editor is chatting to these guys and pricing high ceiling sheds!)

Pretty much all of the information on this system can be found on youtube currently but the developers have promised more demonstrations and information as time goes on. Check out the guys and their system …

OrinArch youtube demonstration videos

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Images taken from screen captures of OrinArch demonstration videos for the purposes of reporting and give the guys a bit more exposure.

Building a Library


… and here in the west wing of my archery library, this is the section on tuning.

As we said on the book review page, archery is a doing sport. You can’t get better simply by reading about archery. Doesn’t matter if its shooting, fletching, string or arrow making … you need to do! That said, books can be very useful in giving a framework to your practice or identifying issues you can take to your coach. They are especially good at explaining HOW to do something (like tuning) so you can try out those techniques. They are fantastic for giving advice like for nutrition or exercise. Having a collection of archery books, even a small one, can be really beneficial to your shooting. Problem is, archery books can be a little expensive but there is a solution. On line second hand bookshops!

Second hand allows you to build up a library for very little and online allows you to check many sites quickly. Most of the 2nd hand bookshops list the condition of the books allowing you to cherry pick those in good condition. They don’t always tell you much about the books as they may only have one copy so check out reviews on amazon books etc. However, once you know what book you are looking for and what it delivers, browsing the online bookstores for copies is quick and easy. What’s even better is the prices can be as low as 40% of new.

Case Study: Our Vice Chair lost one of his treasured library some years ago when someone borrowed a book and left the club without returning it. Recently, he was randomly surfing and came across World of Books (or WOB) – a new/2nd hand webstore. A quick check and he found a) the archery section and b) the book he’s missing listed in “very good” condition for £6.79 (about 40% of a new copy). Cue one quick online transaction. On receipt of the book, the very good condition proved to be perfect. A total bargain and he was back on, that day, picking up another very good condition tome of knowledge. There was even free postage!!!! (Quality on the second book was good but not as good as the first. Still, a win given the price)

Now there is always a buyer beware aspect to getting second hand things but as our case study above proved to our paranoid vice chair, there are on-line book stores out there that are run by bibliophiles. So if thinking of buying an archery book, check out some second hand webstores of which there are an abundance, you might get a real bargain … if our vice chair hasn’t got there first! ;o) 

The Things You See …


This picture shows focus, is dynamic and features Ki Bo Bae … Perfection!

Archery pictures tend to be a little boring. Usually taken from the side when that archer is at full draw, it gets a bit repetitive. Just do a search on international archery pictures and its the same picture time and time again. In issue 150 of Bow International, some really good ideas were showcased for how to use framing, angle and even non shootie moments to capture something a little different. However this website has a slightly different take on what makes a good picture … we’re looking for comedy, irony, pathos … even anguish as long as its archery related and will get a grin.

So with that in mind, here are a few moments in time caught this summer …

archers tan   
An archers tan. We can be pretty sure the rest of this archer is a translucent white unless as a scot, he is a pale blue colour due to the freezing summer temperatures.
This happened to his draw hand because of long sleeved compression tshirts and the fact we shoot facing the north (sun to the rear at all times). There is also a risk of redneck … yeehaa!    

pin point 60m accuracy


This pin point accuracy at 60m from the club chair would be so much more impressive had he had been aiming at the strapping instead of 2 feet lower.
(admittedly he’s now doing the same at 90m)


the cupboard was bare


This very sad archer had just shot back to back 300+ scores to win her 252 badge. Normally a happy moment for any archer BUT on this occasion the keeper of the badges hadn’t packed the things. We suspect next time he’ll have the badges but the archer will have forgotten her offering to the archery gods. Queue photo op #2

giving thanks


When the frustration gets a little much for the average archer, rude words are said. When you get a frustrated OCD archer, it can get a bit frisky with bows and tantrums thrown. And then there is our Vice Chair. When he turned the corner on what had been a very substandard outing at 70m, thanks be was given to the goddess of archery Bo-Bae of Ki.   



Sometimes archers can hit that perfect shot. It might be in the middle of a miserable end, it could be the first sighter of the day flies straight and true or even the last arrow before packing up in a huff is god tier. This archer found that shot ending the life of this face’s spider. We have submitted this image to the Oxford English Dictionary to illustrate the definition of the word “Smug”. 

dances with badges


We’ arent exactly sure about wither to title this one “Dances with Badges” (note arrow with medal ‘scalps’) or “Ghengis Dave”.
We have thought of getting him a tennis umpire’s high chair … all the better to survey his domain!




World No1 Brady Ellison being defeated by a Glasgow Archer in the World Cup (before realizing he’s hasn’t studied for an exam … and he’s naked!). 



Not the same arrow. These were shot 4 days apart by the same longbow archer on target 4 at the same distance (70m). Art of Repetition indeed!
(proof: the bosses have different coloured strapping)

ps: If you can finish the movie quote the title of this post begins … have 50 GA merit points. (stumped? Try shaying it in a shcottisshh accshent! ;o) 

Scoring Apps – Help or Hinderance


I started off trying to calculate my classification but ended up disproving Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity!

One of the great advances for archers (who are often numerically challenged ;o) is the scoring app for your phone. Essentially a formatted spreadsheet front end with the scores stored in a database and some analysis tools, these apps have made scorekeeping (and addition) so much easier and reliable than using the trusty scorebook and pen.

The advantages are pretty plain. You enter each end’s score either numerically or plotted on a face. The software totals up your score as you shoot the round giving you 100% accurate (IF you entered the right numbers) ends/half dozens/dozens/final score. In many app’s toolboxes are instant calculation of round and cumulative handicap, round classification and they track pb’s. Other features can involve storing sightmarks, collating statistical data on your shooting over time, scatter diagram summary of arrow hits, field locations including links to maps and being able to track the scores of multiple archers shooting the same round. In most, your scores can be emailed to your home email or in one case, to a bespoke club account accessible by the club record’s officer. So what’s not to like?

Well, the very feature ridden nature and real time calculation of scores by the apps are the problems. With multiple running totals prominently displayed, you can put pressure on yourself to make or exceed end/dozen/round scores. You can become overly focused on what your score currently is and analysing your performance mid shoot distracting from your shooting. The more functions, the more distractions … like archers don’t already have attention issues! That said, they are very powerful tools to aid you in your shooting IF you can stay away from playing with the things during a round. Lets take a look at four our editor has on his iPhone:

scoreSheetArchery Scoresheets: Currently our editors favourite scoring app, this one has a great many features if not exactly perfect. While it can be a little difficult to find all of the features included within the package, such as note book pages for sight marks and kit configuration details, they are all there. All of the fundamentals are competently covered and add face plotting scoring, graphical charts and line graphs of your shooting. Exportable spreadsheet compatible score sheets and PB tracking are also available. Scores in rounds can be tracked over a week, a month, a year and if anything, this falls into the category of too much information! (Never thought we’d hear our editor say that!) The orange theme of the app is a little yuck and the alternate scheme is not really practical but these are minor quibbles. This is a solid scoring app delivering a great deal of functionality.
Free app available on iPhone and Android although functionality on Android isn’t as good as the iPhone version.

Screenshot 2021-10-08 at 14.35.05Archer’s Toolbox: This app is not particularly feature heavy as yet although there are plans to expand its functionality. Simply enter some personal data including your club to register. Select a round and its status. Enter the numerical values and your scores will be displayed, totalled and stored for you. Where this app is pretty great is it gives you the opportunity to have the score verified and then you can submit them to an account in your clubs name (remember you need to register!). The club records officer (currently Catherine at GA) can access these scores from the club account and the software assigns official classifications and handicaps if you get the scores verified. This makes it great for badges and tracking all that classification information that at times seems it requires a statistics degree and a Cray supercomputer** to crunch. Classifications and Handicaps are great ways to see how you are improving. Not the best app for day to day score tracking at present but definitely worth using simply for allowing you to copy across and submit specific scores (i.e. good ones! ;o) to the club for recording. Glasgow Archers will be using this app for our record keeping and badge tracking.
Free app available on iPhone and Android with a background article and their Home page with FAQ.       

ScoresheetEndShoot (1)iArcher: In 2011 this was the daddy of scoring apps.  However since then, this piece of software has been surpassed by several others in terms of functionality. That’s not to say its a bad scoring app. Quite the contrary, its a solid piece of software, proven over time, supplying all the major requirements of a scoring app. The round breakdown is second to none (see right). A comprehensive list of rounds are available including the 252. Indoor and outdoor. Imperial and Metric target. NFAA and Clout. It can send those scores via email in a spreadsheet compatible format. You can create your own custom rounds and it will store your sightmarks and email them for safe keeping if required. All very solid and useful but today, when all the possible features are considered, its functions do feel a little sparse when compared to those delivered by other apps.
Its not free costing £4.49 which is a little steep when you consider many of its competitors are free. Its web page is to be found here and is only for iPhone.

3d ianseoIANSEO Scorekeeper: Scorekeeper is software for the managing of results from an archery tournament. It was developed with funding from Italian Archery Federation’s who released it to the European federations. There are scoring screens available for indoor and outdoor target, field and even 3D archery! What you download is not a traditional scoring app but more a portal to the server on which your competition has been set up by the tournament organizers. This might be accomplished with a local WiFi connection (wireless router) to a laptop running the IANSEO software OR via an account on the IANSEO website. If you aren’t shooting in a formal competition, the organisers of which are using IANSEO, there is no reason to have this app as it has no useful functionality on its own. That said, it has been successfully used for remote shooting such as for winter “postal” leagues during covid. Also there did seem to be an upswing in interest from clubs running normal competitions as it reduces all the faffing about post competition when people want to go home. In the world of covid, the move to having less vectors of contamination ie shared bits of paper, might see this app becoming way more popular. 
Free app available on iPhone and Android with the server software available here

There are many other apps out there such as MyTargets Archery on Android (which we’ve been told is worth a look) and Bow International reviewed a few others back in 2018. Prices can range from free to $17 (perhaps more!) and functionality can (but not always) follow cost. Our advice is shop around, pick one you like and stick with it to build up a library of scores. Archers Toolbox would be a good secondary addition simply for the ease of being able to submit scores to your club’s records officer should it be used by your club. At GA we would recommend having it available because we are using it for our record keeping and its super easy to submit a score. 
Remember, these apps are distractions but only if you let them be. Plenty of time to obsess over those averages, binomial distribution curves and exponential trend lines post round!

** Did You Know … that the 1979 Cray-1 Supercomputer’s processing capability was surpassed by the humble PC in 2001 with the introduction of the Pentium 4 chip so we are obviously talking about a much more modern Cray for crunching those classifications! ;o) 

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Maths formulae by athree23 from Pixabay 

Fast Start to Indoors


Oksana practices her podium pose

Currently, we are still finding our feet and drying out having just returned indoors after 18 months in the very moist Glasgow climate. One archer however, decided “fast start, best start” and raced to a 271 Bray 1 score in pursuit of a gold indoor badge!

Oksana bagged her gold with a score that, for a lady archer, is ranked as a B class score. If she does it twice more it will make her the highest ranked archer in GA!

There were lots of congratulations on the score but we suspect a couple were through gritted teeth and there might even have been a bit of tension in the tone of voice! ;o)

Kinetic Potential

kinetic-0-1-1-600x315One thing our kit obsessed editor looks forward to in his mailbox every month (other than the cease and desist orders from Ki Bo Bae’s lawyers) is the newsletter from Alternative Sports with their newest arrivals. This months update listed something he got quite excited about (or as excited as he gets). A rather good looking and well priced 23″ riser from Kinetic called the Scopus

a053598_1Now why should this small riser from a lessor known company be of interest to our over 6 foot, Win&Win fanboi editor who is in a thoroughly monogamous relationship with his CXT riser? Its because this is a good looking, light, anodized, 23″ riser with a wooden handle and that’s a pretty rare combination. Its always a struggle to find such risers to recommend to smaller ladies and juniors.

Coming in at a light 1078g, this CNC machined aluminium riser has all the features: Adjustable limb alignment, 3 bushings for stabilizers (top, bottom, long) and an extended clicker plate. Normally risers at this price are painted with rubberized handles but this one is anodized with a wooden handle colour matched to the riser. This gives it a very attractive visual similar to bows at least twice the price. Even rarer, it comes in left and right handed versions which is anything but common at times. The range has 10 colours (admittedly we’re not sure about “Ghost” and “Tactical”) but there’s bound to be a colour you could love. The red is a quite nice shade and appropriate for GA club colours.

Currently in store at Alternative, the £104.09 is a very small price for a lot of bow … especially for someone requiring a smaller, lighter riser. And if the apparent quality is indeed there, we suspect this might be a very good seller indeed.

While we haven’t seen any of these risers as yet, the majority of the Kinetic range seem really well priced. They have all the functionality you would expect from a higher priced riser with some pretty nifty features like wooden handles and an anodized paint job. All of them appear worth looking at for a first riser. 

You can check out the bow in many of its available colours on this link to Alternatives website.

Goodbye Old Friend

Friday the 24th September saw the departure from Glasgow Archers of an old friend. He had been with the club for 30 years or so. Been there for the club through the best of times and the worst of times. Always supportive. Never unavailable but now it was time to move on. Our day to day container had to be replaced.

IMG_1143 Truly a multiskilled and multifaceted feature of the club. Not just a storage container but a shelter from the weather, a workshop, a range for bow tuning, a romantic rendezvous, reading room with large foam recliners and our editors summer home. 


IMG_1144Not dissimilar to Doctor Who’s TARDIS where the inside is more capacious than the physical external dimensions would indicate. Its truly amazing what fitted inside.

Unpacking done, the field party relaxed … aka the sun patio at an old folks home and soup kitchen for archers down on their luck/classifications!

Then it was sadly time to say good-bye… but also the time for “Hello and welcome to Glasgow Archers. ps: Sorry about the Scottish climate!” 

More pictures of what the scottish climate does to Corten steel (designed to resist the elements) can be found on our Facebook page.

Wet Weather? No Problem!

happ3Glasgow archers are about to do something we haven’t done in 18 months … we’re going indoors. We have a hall and by jiminy we are going to shoot in the warm and the dry! Indoors, where its a shorter walk to collect your arrows, its never soggy underfoot and there’s even MOAR BADGES to be won! (There can also be chocolate in the Chocolate Challenge competition .. where the rules change faster than our vice chair can shoot 3 arrows!!!!)

Indoor times:                        Saturdays 1 – 3 pm                   Wednesdays 7 – 9 pm

Indoors however brings a few issues. We need to follow indoor protocols such as being masked when not shooting. We need to be aware our newer archers have never shot indoors before. And we need to be aware that our kit is stored outside and requires to be moved into the hall.

happ4So on Wednesdays/Saturdays please come a little early to help get set up and stay a little later to help clear up. Please don’t flee the hall at the end of the evening like a foiled bank robber OR arrive late/leave early to avoid helping set/clear up because you will be noted. Remember to book your session and wearing indoor non marking footwear like trainers or squash shoes would be a good move. Here are a few other thoughts about shooting indoors. Sunday mornings will remain outdoors for the hardy, the stoic and the 252 badge obsessed.

Below is the current guidance from the SAA and we will no doubt get further guidance from H@PP so lets all be relaxed about the indoor rules we need to follow and have a good indoor season!

beyond level zero