Basics about Strings - An Opinion

How many of archers give any thought to the suitability and care of their bowstring? Maybe an occasional wax treatment to ‘keep out the rain’ but in the main that's usually about the limit. After most shoots it's wound up, put in the case and not considered until we arrive fresh and keen for another days shooting and expect it to perform miracles for us. If you think this critical statement applies to you, then please read on.

Firstly, anyone that has seen high speed videos of arrows leaving the bow cannot but be amazed that they ever arrive on the target, let alone anywhere near the gold, except by accident. Well, as you've hopefully experienced for yourself, they often do land we you want them and that is to no small part down to the performance of the string.

The point at which the string lets go of the arrow nock is critical to good shooting. This point will depend on the particular characteristics of the string. The nock must be a light but positive fit on the string, it must be snug between the nocking points and must be in the correct position in relation to the arrow rest. It is important that you spend time ensuring you have the correct position, for your bow and you shooting style. Archers part with many tens of pounds on bits to put on their bows, both back and belly, in the belief that as if by some kind of magic they will manage to climb the handicap tables to MB and even beyond. Well I guess some do and all the best to them but believe me there is plenty to be gained from experimenting further with the string.

For most of us the big difference comes when we graduate from Dacron to Fastflight. Arrows go faster, sights blocks climb up and the 80 yd target may seem not quite so far away. This is the place to dwell for some time to learn more about your set up, to experiment with, obviously different bracing heights, with different nock locators and certainly different numbers of strands in your string.

Fundamentally, the heavier your string, the slower your bow and the stiffer your arrows become, conversely, the lighter your string, the faster your bow and the whippier your arrows become. Making your own string (or getting some nice kind person to do it for you) becomes essential. Try strings of other strand quantities, shoot them and record the group size, not the score alone but the area on the target in which all your arrows land, since this is the important measure of your shooting; record where they land in relation to previous shots with the other strings since this is important too. Try other types of nock locators on the string, a few twists of simple cotton held in place with some form of glue (but be wary of Super Glue) is a lot cheaper than nock sets and you will end up with a faster arrow. Minimal serving on the string, especially on the loop ends will again give you a faster but possibly a more critical shot so try the reverse for increased stability, but remember, whatever you do, you are affecting the effective spine of your arrows.

My message here is simple, I believe the string to be the poor relation to all other equipment in most archers tackle case, alright maybe not yours, but some time spent in finding out just how it can improve or possibly make worse, your shooting will result in you being a more informed archer and that can only be a good thing.

Have fun,Brian Williams. County Coach.