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I had heard good things about Core Archery by Larry Wise and finally decided to get the book myself and see what all the fuss was about. The book was $12 at Barnes and Noble and runs 140 pages. When it arrived I was eager to tear right into it and ended up finishing the entire book in just a couple of days. This initial post will cover the actual book itself and my impressions of it. As I attempt to put into practice the techniques taught, I’ll follow up with another post.

Overview of Core Archery

If you an unfamiliar with Larry Wise is, he is an international archery champion and renowned archery coach. He is a school teacher by trade which should give him a good background in writing and teaching others. Of course teaching archers is probably a whole lot more challenging than kids since we older archers tend to be more set in our ways and think that we know it all.

Core Archery teaches proper archery form while using the back tension method. Just because back tension is the main focus, people using other release methods should not shy away from this book. The techniques may focus on back tension, but there is a plethora of other good information for shooters of all styles as well. However, Larry’s case for shooting back tension is very strong and will probably convert many people to this style of shooting. I personally use back tension shooting and have always been decent with it, but not great. My expectations of this book were that I would learn more discipline and better technique and hopefully improve my shooting.

The book has a few main sections, some of which cover multiple chapters:  shooting objective, form and executing the shot, back tension, aiming/sighting and the mental game. Larry takes the reader from beginning to end of how to mentally and physically prepare and then executing the perfect shot.  I particularly liked the section that describes the back muscles and which ones should be used for a proper shot.  Throughout the book it is emphasized how the muscles should be prepared, set and moved to get the cleanest possible release.  There is even a section where Larry was hooked up to EMG equipment which registered which muscles were the most active at which points during the shot sequence.  I won’t give away too much of what is in the book; you’ll have to read it yourself to get all the details!

Conclusions about Core Archery

While I cannot fault the material that is in the book, I do wish there was some other information that would be helpful to myself and probably other readers.  The main focus is on back tension and shooting with a scope, there is little information on pin shooters (who are by far the vast majority of the shooters in my area).  Also, I’d like to see a section on how to troubleshoot problems with your shooting, for example, if I tend to throw a few arrows to the lower left every once in a while, what breakdowns in my form should I be looking for?  All of the information present in the book is so good, it leaves me wanting more.

Overall Core Archery is a great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who shoots a bow and arrow, regardless of what class and equipment you use.  It is a short and easy read, with a good portion of the 140 pages taken up with shot sequence photos, and the reader does not get bogged down in too many details.  I have read it twice already and have started with the Core Archery program myself, which you can read about in a follow up article later.  My tendency is to be quite good at scoring on NFAA 5-spot targets, but I break down on VEGAS style scoring.  If I had to guess why, I’d say I tend to be content with getting the arrow “close enough” to be in the white/yellow, but not score enough X’s.  Hopefully Larry’s method will make a breakthrough with my form and I can learn to take it to the next level.

What I liked about Core Archery

  • Short, easy read.  Straight to the point and no fluff
  • Well laid out shot sequence description
  • Detailed descriptions of how your muscles should be working
  • Overview of the mental game

What I was left wanting from Core Archery

  • More details on how to troubleshoot bad form
  • A little more attention to non-scope (open class) shooters

Purchase Core Archery by Larry Wise at Barnes and Noble

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