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The case of greater archery

Modern day English longbow archers and recurve archers have a split-finger release covering the nock of the arrow, and the medieval style of one finger above the nock and another below it reigned for a long while - some still shoot that way, I'd say. However, with barebow, the archer applies a technique called string walking; a clever method, whereby the archer places their fingers on a specific portion of the bow string's serving. This placement is discerned by counting rungs on the serving or by the stitches on finger tabs - or by many other means of measurement, depending on what suits the archer. The point of the arrow is - most of the time - placed on the gold, or the centre most ring in 3D when the archer takes aim and if they have worked out the distance correctly, the arrow will strike the target. The accuracy of the shot, however, will be determined by the archer's shooting form ultimately.

Barebow requires ingenuity, and whoever came up with this idea was obviously an unconventional thinker.

This is the shooting style which should be added to the Olympics. Barebow is a great amalgamation of modern shooting, artistry, and ingenuity in the sport. It opens the public up to another shooting style and creates a jar in the normally firmly shut door from which they can get a peek and the vast array of bow styles, ways to shoot and perhaps even competition formats that exist beyond the severely narrowed view of the Olympics.

For justification, recurve archers might fall back to their form, the textbook rigidity and discipline required to land an arrow in the gold on a 90m target. This requires a great amount of skill, and when watched in a major competition, the archer appears flawless, so much so, that everything looks effortless too. But this textbook form is not everything and most importantly, it is up to the archer to find a way that works for them in terms of a shooting form. Yes, where a beginner course is concerned these basics must be taught, however, this information can then be modified by the archer in a way which allows them to excel. I know countless archers who shoot remarkable rounds without adhering to the textbook ideas of what an archer's form should look like. Archers, especially newbie archers, should not be put down because their shooting form does not conform to textbook standards.

One popular archer, a traditional fella I'm sure many of us know from YouTube, once remarked that archers were making an issue of how he nocked his arrows, because he was not preforming an action known as threading the arrow, and therefore, not doing things properly. I mean seriously, wise up.

How much more attention could archery get from an audience? When they see archers leaning in to scrutinize the rungs of their string serving, or the stiches on their finger tabs, before placing their fingers in what would initially look like an odd position on the string. This could initially carry the intrigue of new and different as the audience watches something that clashes with their frame of reference for what they believed archery looked like.

Furthermore, if the distance of the target is outside of the length of the archer's serving, gapping can be brought into play to make things a bit more intense. With an unmarked target, the audience get to play the game of figuring out the distance for themselves before the archer looses their arrow.

Whilst recurve does have the tension of watching an archer loose an arrow, and wondering if it will land outside the gold or red, barebow would bring in the sudden upsets as an arrow goes too high or low on a target, the result of an archer failing to accurately find their mark, or correctly discern the distance. There is the excitement of a competitive game without archers constantly missing the target, and greater opportunity for a lead position to change hands throughout the match.

Archery is myriad in how it is performed. It would be obnoxiously arrogant for any governing body to point to a single shooting style or bow type or competition type and say, 'this is how we're defining the world's best', or 'this is how we are representing archery'. Naturally this creates a problem for World Archery and the Olympics, because their is so much diversity in archery. However when the focus is on the sighted styles - in the case of the Olympics only on Recurve - neither is doing the sport any good, or even promoting it properly. If there are twenty-two different cycling events in the Olympics, then why can we not at least get a few more shooting styles across a few different competition formats? As harsh it sounds, archery at the Olympics is boring. A strictly linear shooting style in an unimaginative and uninspiring target competition format is a far cry from the kind of exciting and diverse coverage archery deserves.

To expand beyond what barebow, lets see something historic, with archers on horseback, or longbow archers shooting a popinjay round. A 3D round in a pseudo-natural setting or the toughest target sets up seen in field rounds would look amazing and open up an adventurous feel to the sport for the audience. Archery represent culture in how it is preformed too, from the Turkish horn bows with thumb-release shooting, to the modern compound bow shot at 2D and 3D animal targets. Archery is vast, infused with culture and history and art and this needs to be seen in major sporting events such as the Olympics and within World Archery's top tier championships. With barebow added to, or replacing recurve in, the Olympics, it could break open a new - and much needed - renaissance for archery.

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