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Different designs of virtual reality simulators for archery have been introduced over the past years.
To support the users to learn and practice traditional archery in a virtual environment.
Yet, the question still arises whether this technique helps improve the shooting skills of the archers?
Simulators allow you to practice in your customized manner that can be advanced or simplified if you are a beginner.
They allow you to practice in your own space rather than stepping out each time you want to practice.
With all these conveniences and ease provided through this technique, people grow a bit distant from realism and forget about the real-life scenarios that may occur when they are out in the real world for shooting.
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Can Archery Simulator Really Improve Your Shooting Skills?
In this article, we’re going to dig deep into what an archery simulator is, how it works, the kind of services it provides to its users, and the extent to which it is helpful to archers.
What Is A Simulator?
Before starting with an archery simulator, you should first get the idea of what a simulator is.
A simulator can be defined as a computer program or a machine that simulates or replicates real-life scenarios and can be manipulated to achieve and observe different results of different actions in that particular scenario.
All this can be done without being exposed to the outside environment or any harm whatsoever.
This technique is used for various experimental and training purposes because it provides a rather realistic approach than theoretical studies.
The oldest tales of bows and arrows came from the continent of Africa, where its remains were found by archeologists.
These remains date approximately 70,000 years ago.
Later on, Azilian points were found in Switzerland with the remains of a beer and a hunter.
The people of the Nubia region were referred to as expert archers by the Egyptians.
By the 16th century, these Egyptians started using bows in the war and for hunting purposes.
Through contact with Europeans, archery came into America.
Then, it evolved highly in Asia too.
Archery is a sport that involves shooting arrows with the help of a bow at a target.
This sport had a major decline in the past, but it regained popularity back from the late 18th century.
The sport is rather complex as compared to the others.
In archery, you must have the correct stance to shoot properly.
Your body should be perpendicular to the target, along with the correct positioning of the feet.
It should be according to the shoulder-width distance.
There are different stances, such as closed stance, open stance, and neutral stance.
People usually opt for one of these depending on the difficulty level, whether they are a beginner or a professional.
These stances refer to the positioning of the leg furthest from the shooting line to a half or whole foot length from the other foot.
The most common arrow types consist of a shaft, an arrowhead with fletchings, and a nock at the end.
The bow consists of a bowstring, stabilizers, and other protective equipment.
Almost any material can be used to make the bowstring.
Darcon and other modern materials, due to their high strength relative to their weight, are used mainly for the purpose.
In the protective equipment, there might be a bracer, finger tab, and a thumb ring.
The bracer is also known as an armed guard.
It is used to protect the bow arm from getting hit by the string.
A leather glove/tab is used to protect the drawing digits.
For protecting the thumb, thumb rings are made of hard materials.
Multiple stabilizers may be installed at various positions so that they can keep the bow’s balance tuned in at whatever angles.
Also, these reduce the noise and vibration that is caused by the release of the arrow.
The stabilizers are supposed to be light-weighted with slightly weighted at their ends.
The back of the arrow is attached to the bowstring with the nock.
The bowstring and arrow are held with fingers or with a mechanical arrow release.
In modern practice, while shooting, the archer stands in an upright position just like a “T.”
To aim, either of the eyes can be used initially, and over time, the less dominant one can be made more productive.
So it may easily be paired with the bow hand.
The arrow is then released by easing out the fingers of the drawing hand.
Most people believe that the hand which should be drawing and releasing the arrow should be the most agile.
When it is released, the drawing arm aims to be rigid; the bow hand should be relaxed, so the arrow is moved backward using back arm muscles.
While most people think of archery as a stationary sport, it is, in fact, a physically demanding sport.
It requires upper good upper body strength, hand-eye coordination, balance, and focus.
It is a renowned sport for which various competitions and tournaments are held by sporting bodies worldwide.
Shooting at a target with accuracy with a defined distance is called target archery.
This is the most popular form of archery.
Another form of archery that is popular in Europe is field archery.
In this, archers shoot at targets set at various distances in a wooded setting.
Another form is para-archery, which is an adaptation for disabled people.
Another lesser-known form of archery includes flight archery.
This form is known for shooting at greater distances.
Also, this sport has been in the Olympics since the 1900s.
Various designs of archery simulators have been made to practice this sport at home without any outdoor hurdles.
What Is An Archery Simulator?
You can also view this as creating a virtual version of archery shooting.
The aim is to support the users in learning and practicing the motion sequence of traditional archery in a virtual environment.
Indoor virtual archery is set up to help beginners practice their shots in a much more controlled and comfortable environment before stepping outdoors in a harsh environment.
Also, the system is quite versatile.
It provides different levels of comfort, depending on the user.
If it’s a brand new archer, the system will be starting with complete basics.
This involves a comfortable grip for the archers, a stable stance, and handling the crossbow safely.
If not for a beginner, the system will start with many advanced levels.
Now, the majority of these simulators are dependent on people’s imaginations.
It means that one can have the ability to create different scenarios.
They can introduce different obstacles.
They can set up different shooting positions and various strategies.
They also can introduce fast-moving objects etc.
All these abilities provide people with unparalleled opportunities to practice.
Hence, the simulators’ ability to alter physical situations while interacting in a different scenario is appreciated by the trainers.
As users are presented with challenging situations, they learn how to think quickly and take proper immediate actions.
And with even a little bit of creativity, the teaching scenarios in the simulator programs become boundless.
How Does It Assist?
These interactive hunting simulators project the real wildlife scenes on a screen.
Archers are then supposed to shoot at the screen with the help of specially designed blunt points that are provided with the simulator program.
These points are basically designed to bounce off the screen displaying the area where you have shot.
Afterward, the result of each shot appears on the screen of the projector.
Once you start, these archery simulators put you into a kind of shooting situation.
For which you get the least of seconds to analyze your situation.
To strategize it.
You analyze the shot angle, check your position, shot placement, correct your timing before releasing your shot.
This reflects an actual shooting situation or a hunting session.
You are placed with an animal or object in front of you on the screen, and within seconds you must decide how, when, and where to shoot at it.
The main idea is to help the archer master the shot placements.
This skill is vital in archery – certainly one of the most critical ones.
While shooting an animal, let’s say a deer.
A deer’s heart, lungs, and liver are the archer’s intended target.
To hit these exact targets the shot placement is very important.
Because if a shot is hit too far forward or if it’s too backward the arrow may hit possibly to some other thick muscle or bone which may lead to slower painful deaths.
But, if shot placement is accurate enough to hit the vital organs it will deliver a quick humane kill for the animal.
For this purpose, i.e. getting a stronghold on the shot placements, deer target practices on the simulator are much advised.
Rather than a bull’s-eye target.
Because for them the aiming point is easily identified whether or not the station is moving.
But, for practicing with deers, the position of the deer relative to the archer varies with every second.
Thus, the aiming point varies too and is not easily identified.
But, for a beginner, the simulator helps in grasping the shot placement skill through bulls-eye targets as well.
Following up with the example of shooting a deer, there are various shot angles that are preferred by professional archers that assure a quick death.
Broadside Angle; exposes the vital organs of the deer.
It’s when either side of the deer falls perpendicular to the archer.
This angle provides a large space or target for a good hit.
This angle is considered to be the best shot.
While you are aiming at a deer from a broadside angle at ground level, you can easily divide the vital section of the deer into three horizontal segments.
The top section of the bottom third segment will be your vertical reference to aim at.
At this height, about 3 inches behind the line where the shoulder of the deer meets his midsection, will be your aiming point of this angle.
Now, the question arises that why the bottom third segment when there are enough vitals above this line.
There is a logical explanation behind this.
While an archer is releasing the arrow the sound generated by it reaches the deer before the arrow could even hit it.
As we all know the speed of the sound is much faster than the arrow.
After hearing this sound, the first instinct of the deer is to jump and run far away from the particular position.
In order to run, the deer transfers all of the load into its legs and spirals downwards preparing itself to leap.
If at this point the archer aims towards the vitals in the midsection these hits are most likely to go over the deer or hit just above the aiming point.
For this reason, professionals suggest aiming at the bottom third segment, a bit lower from the vitals so that when the deer makes its movements the arrow may hit the exact point ensuring a lethal hit.
Quartering Away; another favorable angle for a good hit.
Exposes all the vitals of the deer and presents a large target when the angle is slight or moderate.
But if it’s too sharp the arrow might only pass through a single lung or so.
Making it harder than ever for the deer to recover.
To get the aiming point for this angle, you should think of the exit spot on the deer’s rear side and aim towards the spot on the deer’s near side that lines up with the exit spot on the back.
With this shot, you have the possibility of aiming at the deer’s middle section, i.e. its liver.
Maximizing the chance of a lethal shot.
Quartering Towards; deer is facing the archer slightly but is not direct.
Only a good hit if the angle is extremely slight.
If it grows even a bit the vital organs will appear smaller and the shoulder and the back will come into focus.
If you are not extremely careful with this shot you might strike at the deer’s shoulder or a thick bone or a thick muscle and it will be all for nothing.
Other angles may include, Uphill/Downhill, Straight on/Straight away.
The straightaway or head-on shots are not the best options to go for the archers.
These shots have mostly the probability of exposing the deer’s brisket or lower neck which contains thick muscles and a whole lot of bones that make it a lot harder for the arrow to penetrate the body.
The Uphill or Downhill shots are the faraway shots that provide lesser odds of a successful hit.
When you are shooting from a treestand that is high enough or with quite a distance, you need to aim slightly lower than you would normally when you are on a ground level.
Proper aiming points in such cases can be best learned from elevated positions.
But, taking a shot with extremely steep angles such as the deer standing right underneath your stand can be sensitive, although the range is short.
This angle may cause one-lung wounds making it difficult for the deer to recover.
Hence, not a humane hit.
What some professionals suggest is that archers should always go for the shots that inflict an exit wound.
Meaning, the deer must get both, an entry and an exit wound.
These two-wound hits are known to be one of the most successful hits.
Such wounds make it easier for the archers to hunt down the deer after it is attacked because there are visible blood trails to follow.
The simulator presents the deer on the screen in the same positions as they are supposed to be, relating to the upper mentioned angles and positions.
The learner has to quickly analyze the aiming point in whatever scenario and go for the shot.
Just like real-life scenarios, the simulator ensures that the learner visualizes all these shots and angles along with the quick motion.
For beginners, the simulator may also provide a red dot on the body of the deer which will be the aiming point.
And as the level of difficulty increases, the learner has to figure out the exact aiming point on its own relating to whichever position the deer is at the moment.
How Does It Work?
Once the archery simulator is set up, you are supposed to put on the wrist strap.
It consists of a sensing system that is used to analyze or record the user’s motions so that it can help in correcting the movement.
So, the wrist should be the one the user is going to use for drawing back the bow.
Now, the screen projects whatever scenario you want to practice in.
Once you are ready, draw back the arrow and release it.
After you have hit the animal, an analysis of your shot is displayed on the projector screen.
There are various simulators out there that offer dual-mode simulations.
For example, you can compete with your friends on shared targets and get instant feedback.
Not only bull-eye targets or deers, but you can practice on all sorts of wildlife animals as well as birds.
Also, the learners won’t have to worry about the outdoor weather for their practice.
There won’t be any sun, rain, or wind while practicing indoors with simulators.
You have the advantage of practicing whenever and how much you want to practice.
It has no limits.
But with all these facilities, the system doesn’t come very cheap.
Even the second-hand models may be very costly as much as the moderately priced old model automobiles.
Concerning the preceding article, it can be seen that this technology of archery simulator may be considered as an absolute must for those who wish to learn this amusing sport.
It may not be possible for those who are just starting on this sport to go outdoors every time to practice.
And without regular practice, it may not be easier for them to get a good hold of this sport.
With the help of this technique, they are free of the troubles of the outdoor environment and get to experience every realistic outdoor situation that may occur during a real wildlife hunt with the help of simulations.
The simulator ensures to present every possible scenario so that the learner isn’t left out with any important detail.
It may not be wrong to postulate that this method may help improve the shooting skills of archers to a greater extent.