A seasoned chemical salesman finds time to teach archery to beginners in Pasco

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Oliver Sohn, whose usual job is selling chemicals used in the cement industry, started taking lessons at the Tampa Archery School seven years ago with his son and is “fell in love” with this sport.

At this time, 58-year-old Sohn had been running the Tampa Archery School for three years. He resumed teaching at the certified USA Archery school in Pasco County when the school’s owner and founder, Bryce Smith, moved to Fort Myers. The school organizes shooting lessons on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The primary bow used by students is the traditional barebow, an Olympic recurve bow without sights, stabilizers and other accessories used by Olympians.

“The school charges $20 an hour for lessons if students use school equipment; $10 an hour if they use their own,” Sohn said.

The archery teacher spoke with the Tampa Bay Weather on what it takes to be a “dead eye” with the ancient weapon.

As a teacher, you must be good at this skill.

It is a relative term. I’m doing well. The good guys are at the Olympics and making a lot of money. Can I make effective use of it? Yes. That’s a better way to put it.

What is the correct position to shoot?

The easiest thing for new people to remember is the letter “T” (arms up and level). Letter “T” at the target. It’s the way you stand, aiming at the target. You are always a letter “T”. Any other shape and you won’t be fine.

How do you keep the string from snapping against your arm?

It’s (what happens) because you’re not holding the bow properly. And that’s what I tell new people. I don’t have to teach you how to hold the bow properly. The bow will do that for me, because you’ll break your arm every time. The reason you break your arm is because when you’re holding the bow, if you hold it with a mortal grip, your elbow is turned right into the string. You hold the bow correctly, with your knuckles at 45 degrees to the string. When you do this, your elbow is more perpendicular to the ground and the string will clear your arm.

So the idea is to relax the fingers of the hand holding the bow?

Basically, the easiest way to explain it is to not even think you have a hand. Think you have a stump so this way…when your hand is relaxed the only pressure point is just below your thumb…the fleshy pad of your thumb is the pressure point you use to push in the arch.

What is the correct technique for pulling the string?

You are not trying to shoot with your arm. Archery is not about arm strength. …Three fingers on the string then pull back with your shoulder. It’s much easier. …

Wherever that part of your hand is pointing (the heel of the thumb holding the bow), that’s where the arrow goes. You shoot archery. The bow shoots the arrow. So you first aim the bow, aiming directly at the target. Then, once you have everything lined up, you look at the tip of the arrow and place that point where you want it to go. … The other thing that is very important is called the anchor point. This is one of the most important things in archery. Once you draw, you have to come wet. The anchor is like the rear sight of a rifle. Your arrowhead is your front sight; the anchor is your rear sight, so you can line up the shot. The easiest place for a new person to find an anchor is the corner of their mouth or canine teeth, or a landmark on your face. So when you draw, you bring the upper right finger to this place. This is called your anchor point. Every time you draw, you anchor to the exact same place every time. Because if I move my anchor back, I put more energy into the arrow and the arrow sails over me. If I advance my anchor, I put less energy and the arrow dies. If I move my anchor up, the arrow goes down into the earth. If I lower my anchor, it rises in the sky. Each time you move it, your shot goes to a different location. … You draw and anchor, and your hand should be right over your face. … You put your hand firmly on your face.

Do you release the arrow when it is at the anchor point?

Nope. … (You) anchor, then it’s called expansion. The expansion consists of continuing this movement and aligning your elbow with the arrow, without withdrawing the anchor. What it does, it does something called adjusting the barrel of the gun. Because once you have all of that, that point, that point, and that point (wrist, left shoulder, and right shoulder) all have to be aimed at the target, and that’s how you get the shot the strongest and most stable. Because once you have the barrel of the gun, the bones are all stacked in line and the force is no longer on your muscles, it goes directly into your skeleton, and your skeleton is much stronger than your muscles. It’s much easier to hold on and then shoot.

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How long does it take for a beginner to shoot correctly?

We can get you turned around in 10-15 minutes, and you’ll be fine. You won’t hit the center of the target every time, but you will at least hit the target and then you will get better and better. … After that, everything is just practical.

What skill is involved in crossbow shooting?

The crossbow is like a rifle. You just point and aim. You might as well shoot a gun. When someone comes here and says, “Well, I’d like to learn to shoot a crossbow,” I say, “All you have to do is focus on the target and shoot. Pull the trigger. It’s like a gun.” “Oh, is it so easy?” Yes, that’s why they exist. That’s why the pope banned them. (Apparently Pope Urban II in 1097 and Pope Innocent II in 1139.) The Pope banned them because every peasant could be an archer, because all you had to do was aim and shoot.

For more information, visit archerytampa.com.