Archery- Humankind’s First App

How many times have we seen this scene from “Brave” play out at our local ranges?

By: Tim Case
By: Tim Case

As a coach, businessman and archery addict, I often find myself looking for ways to breakthrough to new participants or put a concept, such as arrow speed, into a relatable context. Yeah, I spend A LOT of time alone in thought, so sue me. Here at home, in Erie, there is a really exciting tech entrepreneurial vibe and community growing. Yup, you guessed it, thinking AGAIN. I’ve got to stop doing that.

By definition an app is a small, specialized program typically downloaded to a mobile device. Combined, this device and its app(s) make up a system and an integral part of that system is human input and feedback that produces tailored and nearly instant feedback to the device holder. This is accomplished using algorithms- a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or problem solving operations. 

In archery we have our oldest mechanical system, which is also a mobile device, powered by us and our input. The shot process is the algorithm and our mind is the computer which takes what we programmed, runs it through the process and then gives us the feedback almost immediately. When there are flaws in the algorithm we evaluate and reprogram accordingly. Most of us are inclined to examine the mechanical when things aren’t working right, but like most situations with our modern devices, it is the human element that is flawed and our input to the system isn’t quite right and the results downrange show. 

Even our modern devices, like shooting form, are subject to interruption resulting in poor results.  Have you ever been interrupted by a call or text while communicating with another on your smart phone? How about a dropped call or lost signal? Just like being at full draw and having someone or something momentarily disrupt your shot process, you have to return to where you were to continue forward with what you were doing. We can learn a lot about modern technology in humankind’s oldest technology. Isn’t it nice to know that brand new isn’t always so new and that the same frustrations are eons old?

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