Monday, June 29, 2009

All Skill

The fist time my dad took me to shoot our little .22 we set up cans and pieces of wood to shoot at. I didn't hit very many targets but I got close. IT WAS MY FIRST TIME SHOOTING EVER, and I got close?!

As the technological advancement of a weapon increases, the skill required to work it, (seemingly) decreases. Since the sling is only one step up from your throwing arm, having almost no technological complexity of any kind, save that of the lever...The Sling is All Skill

Contrastingly, my first shot with a sling landed on my right foot, my second one went backwards, my third went straight up in the air and landed about a foot from me taking my sling with it. The second time I went slinging I was aiming at the the broad side of a building standing about 30 meters away. I slung 10 walnuts, never even touched the building, ironically I almost hit a squirrel. Good thing I was slinging walnuts...hey maybe that explains the squirrels... BUT at least they all went in the general direction of the building... I was already getting better.

Only practice has improved my slinging, but I'm still not keeping track of how many times I hit my target, rather, how large or small my angle of error is on either side. I'm still just getting close. Ok once...once I hit a telephone pole from 20 paces.

I think this is what I like about the sling, there's some difficulty to surmount, skill yet to be obtained. What slinging stories do you have? Post them in the comments!

with much yet to obtain...
mr. slingmoore

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How to Sling, Lesson 1

The overhand throw. (see 2nd video for demo)

This is the safest and easiest sling. With your trigger hand close to your body, hold the loaded pouch out in front of you. Point the shoulder of your non-slinging arm toward your target. Drop the pouch and swing your slinging arm with the fall of the pouch to accelerate in a circle. As you approach the top of the arch, lengthen your arm out all the way and release the trigger at the top of the arch or just before.

DON'T SWING THE SLING IN A BUNCH OF CIRCLES! You can't get the pouch going much faster than you can on the first pass, plus it increases your chances of hitting something, or someone, you did not intend to hit, including yourself. Admittedly it looks cool, but that's about it's only usefulness.

Get your sling on...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Slinging Basics... and by basics, I mean physics.

Consider circular motion:

An object moving in a circle is only doing so because it is forced to. At every moment it's circular motion it's being accelerated toward a center, in this case by our stays. But, at the same time, at every moment the object would much rather travel in a straight line, and will do so if given the chance.

The slinger intends to give the object that chance... BUT wants to choose the moment. The moment, of course is the release of the trigger. As soon as the trigger is released the object will move in a straight line that is perpendicular (90 degrees) to the radius of the circular motion. Simply put, when released, the object will travel along the tangent at any point on the circle.

This isn't surprising considering simple throwing. With a baseball, if you want the ball to go roughly forward, you have to release it at the top of your swing. When you release a frisbee to throw it forward you release it out to the side. In both of these cases the release is 90 degrees from the direction of travel. This is more difficult with the sling because the stays put the slinger at a distance instead of directly holding the object.

But of course the real world is not frictionless so there are three delays you need to consider:

1. Trigger Friction
2. Object/Pouch Friction
3. Weight of the Pouch and Stay

These three factors will delay the moment that the object actually leaves on it's new life as a tangent traveller which means only one thing for the slinger... RELEASE YOUR TRIGGER JUST A FRACTION OF A SECOND BEFORE THIS PERFECT 90 DEGREES.

get your sling on...
mr slingmoore

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Parts of the sling

The Sling has three parts.

The stay
The pouch
The trigger

The stay and the trigger work together during the wind-up to accelerate the ball. At release, their jobs diverge. The stay is held firmly, while the trigger is released. At this moment the trigger is the catalyst transitioning the pouch from the holding job to the releasing job... These contradictory jobs are described in more detail above. It is the precise moment of the release that is the most difficult thing about slinging.

Moore attention will be given to specific techniques is subsequent posts, but for now it's important to note that the trigger must be released on the tangent. That is, exactly 90 degrees from the ball's intended direction of travel. This is not intuitive and difficult to master at first. But as with most things in life, it can improve.

Two jobs...

The Sling. Simple in concept, but the design of an effective sling is subtle. The sling has two contradictory jobs.

Sling's Two Jobs:
1. Hold the ball
2. Let the ball go

The very best sling designs excel at the transition between the first job and the second. So while the cradle of the sling must be secure enough to keep the ball from rocketing off in some unintended direction during wind-up, that same cradle must also open quickly when the trigger is released. If the ball has to spend it's momentum pushing or rolling its way out of the cradle it will lose exit velocity and accuracy. In this way a good sling is known in the same way that relay races are won... that is... in the handing off of the baton.