There is little point in bolting on every stabiliser set-up currently in use by the
top 20 archers worldwide. If nothing else, not many people can lift twenty sets of
More to the point, the best stabiliser system is a personal decision. Every archer
has their own preferences and problems, and the best system for the archer is chosen
to fit their preferences and solve their problems. As with any other part of archery
technique, it pays to start by working out with what you intend to achieve, and why.
Since different parts of a stabiliser system can be used to control different types
of movement, it’s useful to start by thinking about the different types of movement
and what effects they have on the shot and the archer.
Displacement is a mathematician’s word for movement from one place to another in
a particular direction, without involving rotation, vibration or anything more exotic.
The centre of gravity of the system moves along with the object. For archery, it’s
usually convenient to think about three pairs of directions: up and down (vertical
movement), backwards and forwards (longitudinal), and left and right (lateral, or
sideways). For those with a mathematical turn of mind, those directions are often
associated with X-, Y- and Z-axes. Any of these movements can have a direct effect
on where the arrow lands; the most serious are vertical and lateral movements. Some
movement is inevitable as the arrow moves off, but the movement needs to be consistent
from shot to shot. Often, ‘consistent’ will be best achieved by ‘as small as possible’.
Rotation is movement around an axis. There are three axes of rotation important in
archery; approximately parallel to the arrow,
approximately down the centre of the riser, and through the grip from left to right.
The next few sections cover these in turn.
Draw a line through the grip from left to right. Rotation around that line, visible
as the bow tipping backwards or forwards, is forward or backward roll. Some movement
occurs as a direct result of the arrow leaving the bow above the hand position, causing
the bow to ‘kick’ upward slightly; that movement is usually compensated in part by
careful tillering. Other rolling movements may be caused by a centre of gravity well
above or below the hand position (see below), and, after the shot, by the centre
of gravity forward or behind the grip. For example, a heavy weight on a long rod
will cause forward roll after the shot.