There are many valuable books on Archery, including several quite modern and up-to-date ones. They treat of the subject in many ways, from every viewpoint in fact, except that of the absolute novice—the person who does not know the bow from the arrow. Yet it is the beginner who needs help far more than the experienced archer, for which latter person most of the books have been written.
This book is written for the beginner or the teacher. It is written by one who has deep sympathy for the beginning archer, because if ever an archer got off on the wrong foot, I was that one. Everything that could have been wrong with my shooting was wrong. In fact, I think I invented a couple of new "wrongs " of my own. I banged my arm with the bowstring. I broke arrows by over-drawing, I shot all the skin off my finger tips—and those who were anywhere in the vicinity while I was shooting were certainly on dangerous ground. I never knew where an arrow was going to go, although I could tell infallibly where it would not go; in the gold! To this day I wonder how I ever stuck it out. Why, it was four years before I could feel certain of a hit at forty yards! What would I not have given then for a book for beginners!
It is still marvellous to me to see some veteran of three or four days in one of my classes get five or six successive arrows in the gold. It took me five years!
That is why I have such deep sympathy for those of you who start in on archery with such high hopes—and it is because I want to help you realise those high hopes that this book is written. In it I have tried to forget all of those early mistakes that the beginner usually has to make, and to have you stand in front of the target, bow in hand, with that advance information that will enable you to start making hits and golds right from the beginning. I have endeavoured, as well, to take the pain and injury out of shooting. I feel that I have suffered enough self-inflicted archery injuries on my own account for at least one whole generation of archers, and perhaps two. In other words, what I am trying to do is to set you on the road of shooting, armed with all the essential knowledge that these years have developed, and if you are able, with the help of these pages, to shoot better in five days than I shot after five years (or, as frequently may be the case, better than I shall ever shoot) then I shall be very happy indeed.
How can I thank adequately all those who have helped me in this enjoyable work? Veteran archers—Nichols, Chapman, Elmer, Crouch, Lambert, Spencer, Brush, Roberts, Hoogerhyde, Elizabeth Rounsevelle, Cynthia Wesson, Dorothy Cummings and many others have all done their share in one way or another, sometimes by helpful advice—often just by shooting where I could watch their smooth, effortless technique. Miss Hazelton at Purdue, where I first began this form of teaching, and Miss Freer of Illinois and Miss Frances Musselman of Chicago Normal School of Physical Education, where I gave my first two classes in this five lesson course, both enabled me to put into practice in large classes what I had developed in theory and with individuals. I wish I could go on and thank them all by name—especially the thousand and more physical education majors, instructors and department heads whom I have taught these last few months—but who have taught me so much more than I have given them that I shall forever be their debtor. I wish I could go on and make a regular archery directory of their names in this book, but even if their names are not here in print, they have all done their share towards making this work possible.
And, last, what can I say to thank that life-long friend, Miss Euphrosyne Langley, whose early teaching has been my constant inspiration—in whose school workshop in Chicago I made some of my first bows and arrows twenty-five years ago—and in whose delightful Edgewood School at Greenwich, Connecticut, I wrote this book that you all have helped me to prepare?
HAZEL CREST, ILLINOIS,
February 6, 1931.