Sponsorship and draw weights: Ask the experts

Our expert panel answers your questions. Send yours to john.stanley@futurenet.com

Question

I have read a number of other pieces on reversals but none mention bow poundage/ draw weight. If draw weight is mentioned, they just say increase draw weight but don’t say what to start or finish with. As a club/state archer I can hold 38lb at full draw and can manage about four reversals (15sec load, 20sec rest) before having to push myself.  Should I be using say, an 18lb bow to do reversals for the full 20-30 minutes? Should I ever expect to do 20-30 minutes of reversals with my 38lb draw weight?  

Reversals are an essential part of any winner’s archery routine

Answer

I would say there is not much point in doing reversals at your shooting weight if you cannot handle the weight for more than four reversals.

To be honest, I’d even question whether someone who cannot do more than four reversals should be shooting that bow weight in the first place!

Everyone is guilty of being overbowed at some point in their shooting career, and it’s quite often because they don’t want to admit that they can’t control a certain bow weight that they feel like they “should” shoot, but as my coach always says “It’s better to shoot a controlled ten, than a fast nine.”

I’d recommend using trial and error when you’re figuring out a bow weight for reversals, I personally wouldn’t say there is a need to go as low as 18lb, but there is no harm in trying that. If you can manage 18lb for 20-30 minutes and it’s easy, make it harder by adding a band to the bow, or using heavier limbs.

You want to be able to complete the whole session and work up from there, even if it does mean dropping the bow weight very low. You should be comfortable doing reversals at a bow weight within a few pounds of your shooting weight and if you can’t do that, you should consider lowering your shooting weight.

I’ve dropped my shooting weight over the indoor season due to a seemingly never ending run of injuries, from 42lb last summer to 38lb at the moment. I do reversals on a spare bow with limbs that come up at around 36lb and I am comfortable doing 20 second hold, 20 second rest for 15 minutes at a time, and can do this multiple times per day.

If I wanted to stretch this to a 30 minute session, I’d probably want to drop down to 34lb just to make sure I was comfortable with the bow weight and could keep my form correct. Those few pounds make a big difference.

But, personally, I find that multiple sessions per day of 15 minutes with a bow weight closer to the bow weight I shoot is more beneficial than one longer session with a lower bow weight.

If I wanted to do a reversals session with the weight I shoot, I’d probably try doing 15 second holds, 15 second rests for 10 minutes at a time, and if I couldn’t manage that I’d probably think about lowering the weight I shoot the bow at.

If I find it manageable, I’d increase to 15 minutes. Then after I got used to that, I’d increase the hold time to 20 seconds, and match the rest time to the hold time. Then once that is easy, add another five minutes etc.

I wouldn’t want to hold the bow for more than 20 seconds at a time because I’d rather work on volume of reversals with time, rather than the length of each hold, to simulate a long day of shooting.

This whole process could take weeks, it isn’t something that will happen overnight, but every session will help build strength. If you can throw in ten minutes of reversals at the end of every shooting session, you’ll notice yourself getting stronger in a few weeks.

Doing 20-30 minutes of reversals at the bow weight you shoot at should be an ideal goal to aim for, and it will take a lot of hard work. But if you want to be able to shoot to a high competitive level and have the strength to shoot an entire competition weekend without flagging towards the end, it will absolutely be worth the time and effort with reversals, because they will get you there.

REBEKAH TIPPING

Thanks to Jeff Garner for the question. 

Question

I’ve been shooting for a year or so. How do I go about getting sponsored by my favourite bow company? Most don’t seem to answer emails. 

Answer

I have to ask you: why would you even send out inquires to be sponsored? As you say, you are new to target archery, so what do you have as value for a bow company to give away their product?

I am not trying to be demeaning in any way, but archery is a business, and you are wanting a free or discounted product from a company in exchange for your value shooting it. So what would be your value? Will people buy the bow because you shoot it and talk it up? If so, how many? two? five? ten? Plenty of archers already shooting said company bow are already promoting it for free having bought the bow. You promoting the bow is thus lost in a sea of others.

Are you really ready to be sponsored?

Companies aren’t vast rich machines that make so much product they can give it away by the truckload. Most of the bow companies have a limited ability to give free or discounted gear.

Even Hoyt has a limit to what they can do, and a large percentage of their sponsorships are only discounted to dealer pricing, which means Hoyt still makes the same on the bow. Only a handful of the very top pros get their gear free.

Many bow companies are small operations (you’d be surprised how many companies in the archery world employ less than five people) and have very little budget to discount or donate gear. 

You don’t necessarily have to win to be sponsored. Many other factors are more important. Personally I never made a podium at a large tournament, and my scores were average by international standards.

But I sold a load of bows for the company by shooting their gear at tournaments and promoting the brand for free. I let other archers at tournaments shoot my bow and limbs.

I ended up selling so many bows over a three year period that the company made me a distributor (in fact, I was selling more bows than any other store or shop in the USA for that brand.) I was offered the distribution of another European brand, but as I didn’t shoot it myself, I didn’t think I could do it justice. So I politely turned it down. 

I get requests and resumes all the time from archers who won national this, international that. Usually they are so full of themselves, they say things like “I will be happy to START promoting your product if you sponsor me”.

This is not the way to think about sponsorship. You first have to prove to the company that you are an asset to the brand, and that you sell bows by your promoting. People start to associate you to the brand, and the brand to you. You become a spokesperson that is knowledgeable and accessible. You do those things, and sponsorship will come to you. 

Two years ago, I was approached at a tournament by someone asking about a possible sponsorship for a nationally ranked archer. As I was the USA contact, I said I would speak with the bow company at the next major tournament where they would be in attendance and see if i could put in a good word.

Then I spoke briefly with the archer and said: “I understand you are interested in sponsorship, and I can introduce you to the company reps to help make that happen”. The archer actually said to me “Well I’m not sure yet I want to be sponsored, I will have to shoot the bows first to see if i like them”. 

Needless to say, the introduction never happened, and that archer was not sponsored. That archer had the wrong attitude. The bow company isn’t going to give you two free bows so you can SEE if you like it or not and will then agree to be sponsored. It’s what can you do for the company that gets you the sponsorship / gear. 

Sponsorship may not always even be a good idea. I know archers who buy MK bows to shoot, but have a Win & Win sponsorship , so they can’t shoot the bow they pay for at a tournament. Being sponsored may make you shoot gear you don’t like, or that does not produce the best results. 

It is very rare that you get a sponsorship by asking, unless it’s a brand new company and they need archers. Also, most will not respond to say no, because most don’t have full time people to answer all the emails asking for sponsorship. They have to prioritise the ones asking for info on their product, or answering emails for orders/ shipments. 

Being a new archer, your best option first is to be at your local range. Help out, become known as a friendly helpful person that is passionate about the sport. Get out in the archery community, become an asset to companies and to the sport. Then you will get noticed by the archery companies.

Good luck with your archery. The passion for competing and wanting to get to that step will hopefully carry you through. When you are ready for sponsorship, it will come knock on your door. 

CHRIS HILL

Chris Hill is the North American distributor for MK Korea Archery and an MK sponsored archer.


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