Slang in archery? It’s true: Archery has a secret universe with its own language. Most of its vocabulary includes technical lingo that can confuse first-timers. But soon enough you start understanding, and you’re the one bringing friends into the conversation.
Becoming fluent in archery is like learning to ride a bike. You just have to believe you can! Lancaster Archery is making it even easier with its blog “Archery Slang.” So let’s dive deeper into seven words to help boost your street-cred in any arrow-slinging conversation.
Struggle Stick/Training Wheels
Both terms describe two bow types. The recurve bow and longbow are called a “struggle stick,” while compounds inspired the term “training wheels.” Archers who favor one type often use these terms against each other in fun, of course, and also use them in jest about their own bow. A good time is had by all, no matter which bow they shoot. Which type do you shoot?
No, we’re not describing how your clothes come out of the laundry. An “inside-out” is when an arrow’s diameter is within the center circle of the center ring of a target. In other words, the arrow is in the target’s very center. This term tends to be used more for indoor archery (when targets are 18 meters away). Shooting the target’s middle happens more often, and so does calling arrows “inside out.”
This word describes an arrow that could not be placed any closer to the target’s center, even by hand. The cross, X, middle and center are all technically the same thing. However, because the cross in the target’s middle seems to look like a bug (in this case, a spider) from 18 meters, it gives you something to aim at. Everyone wants to crush the spider! Even so, this one can’t crawl all over you and give you the heebie-jeebies.
First, imagine the target you’re shooting with a buddy. When your friend exclaims they just shot “a tweener 9 at 6,” you might think they just rode a rocket to Mars because they made no sense. They hit the second to middle ring, so what? Well, archers like to get technical. A “tweener” is an arrow that hits between two scoring rings. What they meant is: “I shot a 9 that could be a 10, but I’m not sure. It’s right below center at 6 o’clock.”
You might think we’re referring to a kid who can’t seem to quit eating strawberry jelly. Not to fret. This is the same idea, but just less jelly.
When you lick the remaining jelly off that jar, you’re targeting that one little droplet left behind, right? Imagine that droplet is an arrow that’s just touching the line of the next scoring ring up. Even if it’s just barely touching, you get that extra point. Yes! Thank you, jelly!
Back to school, folks! Just kidding. Using a little “English” describes the moment archers release the shot and instantaneously move their bow arm in a direction to counter what they think was a millisecond of bad aiming. This can usually be followed by exclaiming “get up, get over, get in,” etc. Some of these movements are pretty entertaining, too. But archers know they can do nothing, no matter how fast they try, to change an arrow’s trajectory once it’s in flight. Unless, of course, you have psychic powers … but we don’t have those.
Punching comes from the world of compound-bow shooting, and it has nothing to do with fist fights. It means “punching” your release aid, to be specific. Punching occurs when a compound archer is aiming, ready to shoot, and wants it to go off. But instead of naturally releasing it smoothly, the archer forces things with an overly aggressive thumb or trigger finger.
Navigating the archery world can be intimidating at first, but with these additions to your vocabulary, you’ll be the one who archers want to hang out with! Write these down or bookmark this page in your phone for easy access later.
Words aren’t set in stone. They can be added to or even changed. If you think of another way to say something, own it. Maybe it will stick with others you shoot with, and spread around the archery community!