The Essence of Modern Slingshot Shooting with Mike Petruski
Today, we had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Petruski, often referred to as one of the godfathers of the modern slingshot era. For many, Mike is the face of the East Coast slingshot tournament. Others even draw parallels between him and iconic figures such as the late Blue. Regardless of the titles or comparisons, one thing remains clear: Mike knows how to bring energy and fun to any event.
The Basics of Slingshot Shooting
When we asked Mike about one of the most fundamental aspects of slingshot shooting, the draw length, he leaned on his extensive background in archery. Drawing directly from the archer's Bible, Mike uses a simple method. "The tip to chest," he explained, "serves as the archer's draw." He transfers this technique to slingshots, making use of an archer's anchor point. This point forms an archer's triangle, spanning from the thumb to the mouth, the eye, and then onto the target. For Mike, his draw length is approximately 27.5 inches, consistent for both his bow and slingshot.
Understanding Active Draw Length
Diving deeper into the intricacies of the sport, Mike shares his approach to determining active draw length. Instead of getting bogged down in the technicalities like using a specific divisor (4X, 5X, 6X, etc.), Mike goes by instinct. What he looks for is the sensation of tension in his back, often referred to as 'back tension'. This informs him of his optimal full draw.
Having shot bows and arrows for over 35 years, Mike has developed a keen sense of his equipment's capabilities. He notes that his band set typically allows for seven to eight shots, attributing this consistent performance to his unique draw style. This approach, according to Mike, results in prolonged band life.
Band Life and Forks Condition
Mike emphasized that the condition of the forks plays a critical role in band life. He noticed that bands often skid when tied in a particular manner. Even when shooting over the top, band friction can be evident, sometimes leaving marks on the bands.
Simplifying the Complex
While the technicalities of slingshot shooting might seem daunting at first glance, Mike believes in its inherent simplicity. For beginners, he advises focusing on the fundamentals, much like practicing free throws in basketball. One should pay attention to the anchor points and the band's tension to ensure the projectile is released with force.
Mike distinguishes between shooters like Fred, who release almost simultaneously as they draw, and his style, where he touches the anchor and releases the projectile quickly.
Mike's love for instinctive shooting becomes apparent as he discusses the sport. He likens it to the innate feel a baseball player has when deciding the force behind a throw. He advocates for maintaining consistent power and rhythm in shooting, which becomes evident when watching him in action.
In conclusion, Mike offers a blend of complex insights and simple truths in the world of slingshot shooting. While he can dive deep into the intricacies of the sport, at its core, he sees it as fundamentally straightforward. With years of experience and a passion for the sport, Mike's insights are invaluable for both beginners and seasoned shooters.