There are a number of aspects that make shooting a long bow or a recurve significantly more difficult than shooting a compound. I would wager that most, if not all experienced “trad” shooters have more than once felt like pulling a Bo Jackson and snapping their bow over their thigh, head, or tree.
If you are one who has taken up the challenge, you know that in order to keep your traditional-archery shooting skills proficient, you must practice constantly. But one huge (and neglected) factor in improving your skills—and one that took me way longer to figure out than it should have—is learning how to properly tune your arrows.
It’s common knowledge that with a compound, keeping your bow tuned is essential, but with essentially a stick and string, what’s there to tune with a traditional set-up? With the bow itself, there isn’t much, just the brace height (the distance between the string and arrow rest or shelf). That can be adjusted by twisting or untwisting your string to either lengthen or shorten it. Most manufacturers have a recommended brace height, and I find that that usually works best.
The one thing you can tune that makes a world of difference is your arrows. The average bow-shop clerk will sell you the recommended shaft spine for your draw weight. Later, at the range, you will wonder why your arrows are flying funky or why they don’t go where you want them. The spine of an arrow is its measured value of flexibility per unit of length. However to be perfectly matched to your bow, the arrow length must also be correct. With the right spine rating and arrow length, the overall stiffness of your arrow will allow for a perfect archer’s paradox (the bending of the shaft around the riser) and ideal arrow flight.