When I came across slingshot a few years back, I was wowed by the cool gear and the excellence of the top shooters. I couldn't believe I hadn't already known about this sport! Until then, I’d thought of slingshot as a toy that was pretty cool, but nothing to get "serious" about. One of our F+B class participants said it well recently; "It never occurred to me that somebody might get good at this!" But yes, one can get quite good!
Though, for every new shooter aspiring to reach the highest levels of international competition, there will be hundreds more who’ll enjoy slingshot as a fun and relaxing pastime, as an inexpensive way to get together with friends, as a way to commune with the outdoors, as a practice of meditation and personal growth or for other reasons. Still, for these folks and the top competitors alike, it’s a whole lot more fun to hit the target than it is to miss it. So, getting a little more accurate brings quick rewards, even for the casual hobbyist. Among the many things I love about slingshot is that there’s something in it for everyone!
"It never occurred to me that somebody might get good at this!"
F+B Group Participant
Slingshot is an approachable, challenging, affordable, fun, rewarding and relaxing sport. I love getting outside every day and checking on the birds roosting under the deck in the spring and hanging out with the neighbor’s farm animals who watch me train from the fence line. I love that I’m making time to stand in the warm sun or make peace with a brisk day and take in the fresh Connecticut air. I love picking off dead leaves from trees on the trail. I love how slingshot has improved my general focus and ability to center. I love the feelings of achievement, especially those that are earned over time.
I love everything about slingshot!
Who wouldn’t? “Who wouldn’t love this?” That’s the question passing through my mind as I hang with the cows and the donkeys and the birds. People need to know about this! Too few in the U.S. are aware of the development of slingshot into the international sport it is today - a demanding precision target sport comparable to Olympic archery. Advancements in natural latex processing allowed for this evolution, and the material potential was exploited by networks of dedicated shooters around the globe, collectively elevating the game. But if this type of competition isn’t your thing – these developments make backyard or trail play that much more fun too! There's something for everyone.
It was just a few years ago that I bought my first slingshot in a hardware store on a whim. I struggled getting started, assuming there wasn't much to know about slinging a little ball with an elastic band. Boy, was I wrong! I was soon online trying to learn proper form and what I found was a whole big
world of avid slingshot aficionados sharing their sage knowledge and advice. I joined many of the groups on social media and paid close attention to the discussions, especially the advice of the top shooters. I read what books I could find. I watched hundreds of YouTube videos on shooting and equipment and DIY tutorials, and I practiced.
When I bought my first quality production slingshot, it was a major improvement over the hardware store impulse-buy I started with. That had a lot to do with the flat latex bands it came with. They were more accurate than the stiff tubes my old one had. It also fit my hand much better. When the online recommendations about properly tuning bands and matching ammo finally sunk in and I succeeded in customizing bandsets for myself, my accuracy improved and I was forever hooked.
I still had a lot of questions, but I had learned a lot too. I'd spent countless hours gathering scattered pieces of information from across the internet, videos, and books. I created and recreated my training areas both inside and out, building different catch boxes, testing backdrop curtains, trying out different types of targets and ammo, building my gear, and a hundred other details. I’d jump at the opportunity to share what I’d learned with anyone who showed interest, and many did. And, perhaps because I’m a former college teacher, I love sharing the game.
After months of dedicated practice, I achieved the rank of Marksman I in the International Slingshot and Catapult Online Ranking (ISCOR). Though just the first level, it was a meaningful accomplishment for me - there are some great shooters on that list. When I picked up slingshot, I was transitioning into semi-retirement prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic. I'd been a professor for a time and, before that, a cabinetmaker. I had a major health problem and was slowly regaining strength and ability. Then, the pandemic made it such that I couldn’t go much of anywhere even if I was able. All of this allowed for the practice time I needed.
While practicing, I reflected on my fortune. I was lucky to have the time and resources to devote to my new interest. My family has a spacious enough backyard that slingshot shouldn’t concern the neighbors. I was able to practice outside nearly every day during warmer weather and in the garage (at a shorter distance) while raining and through the colder months. Lots of people in Connecticut don’t have these things, I thought.
Wouldn’t it be cool if people had a place to go to learn and play slingshot target sports? When I got obsessed with other sports like bowling, golf, tennis, disc golf, racquetball, billiards, darts, (and many more :-)), I had a place to go where people were playing and talking about a shared hobby. There was no such place for slingshot, at least nowhere near Connecticut. I thought, I’d like to have a place where people could come to learn about slingshot sports and get together with friends, where leagues would form and community would be built. If you’re familiar with archery or axe throwing, you might easily envision the kind of place I have in mind. That’s what we hope to build - and we're on our way. I started Fork Plus Band Slingshot to introduce Connecticut to modern slingshot, to help folks get started in this growing international sport, and to provide beautiful, high-quality gear to do it with.
We're here to get you started!
Andrew M. Cislo, PhD
-Owner, Fork Plus Band Slingshot