Contemplating purchasing a new bow? How important is it really to keep up with the very latest technology, and does it warrant the now substantial cost of upgrading regularly? Roy Rose reveals if it’s worth it…
This is a great question, and one I am quizzed about regularly.
There is no doubt that it is the annual goal of the bow manufacturers to innovate and leave no stone unturned in the effort to produce their best product ever. If you are an elite-level competitor, then even the minute advantages that the latest models may provide could well be a positive investment, and perhaps yield those couple of extra points that prove significant at the tight end of the competition wedge. You haven’t mentioned in your question at which level you are at competitively, or whether you shoot a recurve or a compound.
If you are a club shooter of some talent, either recurve or compound (as this question most often emanates from an archer in that category) it’s often not going to be feasible for you to update your whole setup every year, or even every couple of years. In fact, if you have a model you really enjoy shooting there may be no immediate desire to change anyhow, even if financially possible.
In the case of the recurve bow, it is a relatively simple mechanism, and not as prone to advancement in design and manufacture as the compound. Remember that as long ago as the 80s the likes of Darrel Pace were shooting 1350+ FITA rounds with what were, by today’s standards, relatively primitive recurve bows and aluminium arrows. The world record for the women’s 1440 round, at over 1400 points, was attained back in 2005, so unless your scoring is in that ballpark I’d wager your equipment is perfectly functional and fine as it is, and it’s your form and execution that demand more of your focus.
Equally, despite major design innovations, the compound bow records reveal some interesting statistics. Clint Freeman’s 1409 world record, shot in 1998, stood for ages, and the current world record is only 10 points higher, yet Clint’s bow of that vintage was frighteningly average compared with today’s products. Clint also shot scores in the 1420s in unofficial events almost two decades ago. My present Hoyt is the same model John Dudley used to shoot a 1428 at the Easton indoor facility some years ago, so clearly where equipment is advancing, the technology itself is not the main ingredient in attaining elite level scoring. You are!
Despite my many years, I am not living in the past, nor am I arguing against technological advancement – I’m just simply stating that when it’s financially viable to update your equipment by all means do so, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your three, four or even five year-old or older bow is not capable of shooting high scores. Place your practice focus on your form and execution and your bow will surely do its part, even it is not quite the latest model.