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What if (Read 3529 times)
bernardz
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What if
Feb 16th, 2010 at 8:37am
 
Based on your experience with slings.

Say you are a medieval captain with a good knowledge of slings. You need slingers but there are none available.  You take say 50 young healthy males who know nothing about slings. How long will it take to train them to be reasonable slingers?





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Re: What if
Reply #1 - Feb 16th, 2010 at 8:59am
 
if I have them practice day in and day out ........i will guess about 2 months.......thats to have them be able to at least harass the enemy in a suffecient maner.
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Re: What if
Reply #2 - Feb 16th, 2010 at 10:23am
 

To get them to hit individual targets at decent ranges, forget it. To get them raining death en masse onto an enemy deck at up to 100 yards, a few days. You would need lots of stones for practice, but old ships carried ballast in their bilges if I remember correctly.

The oarsmen of Athenian triremes doubled as slingers on land, supporting the small number of hoplites and archers that were also in the crew.
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Re: What if
Reply #3 - Feb 16th, 2010 at 3:33pm
 
i'd say if this was a land captain, as in a captain in an army then it would take 3-1/2 months practicing everyday. one month for the feel, and two months for accuracy. then the last month on making slings, cordage, and perfecting the styles.
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Re: What if
Reply #4 - Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:57pm
 
Hi, Bernardz and welcome to slinging.org;
     I think that to train them to hurl stones in the general direction of a large enemy force with enough power to do damage at one hundred yards without hurting themselves it would take maybe two months of intensive training.  For them to hit individual enemies at that range consistently it would take you at least a year and a half.  
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Re: What if
Reply #5 - Feb 16th, 2010 at 5:27pm
 
xxkid123 wrote on Feb 16th, 2010 at 3:33pm:
then the last month on making slings


Don´t you think it would be more effective to make the slings before you start practicing.... Grin
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Re: What if
Reply #6 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 3:19am
 
This is one subject that I've wondered about myself.  To get people to the level of accuracy of say Luis (the Balearic sling champion) I have no idea how long it would take.  To be competent enough to just chuck rocks long distances, given they all have experience throwing things, a few weeks to a month. To get them to be somewhat accurate, meaning (I'll just throw something out here) hitting a man sized target 25% of the time from 15m, maybe another few months of intensive training everyday.

Which is one question I've got for other people.  In my own experience, I threw every few days, sometimes once with a few weeks to a month in between, this starting from about July 2008 to May 2009, I got to the point where I could hit a car from 20 yards every time, and hit a window of choice maybe 1 in 10.  After this I started going out every day. Within a few weeks I got to the point where I was in a 1m diameter circle at 20 yards every time, but seemed to plateau for the rest of the summer despite going out everyday. I haven't seemed to get much better than this, although it is very hard to quantify, I do tend to hit my target a bit more now, but the circle of where the majority of my shots go hasn't gotten any smaller. So my question to others is, has anyone else had the problem of hitting an accuracy plateau despite practicing a lot?
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Re: What if
Reply #7 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 8:01am
 
Rat Man wrote on Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:57pm:
     I think that to train them to hurl stones in the general direction of a large enemy force with enough power to do damage at one hundred yards without hurting themselves it would take maybe two months of intensive training.


I cannot agree with that. I reckon if you gave me a few blokes in good shape, some slings and a biiiig pile of rounded stones, we could start in the morning and by the evening they would be dropping three ounce stones into an area of a thousand men 100 yards away more often than not.

Lycurgus met me and C_A just over a year ago, he went from random stone ejection to militarily useful basic slinging in the course of a few hours walking around and chucking whatever stuff we found along the way.

The Romans I met at Flag Fen were total non-slingers. After a spending couple of hours teaching them on the first day, I went back the next day and they all had braided slings that they had made themselves and they were helicoptering tennis balls very convincingly. With a couple of hours of practice with good slingstones they would have battered any barbarian horde easily.
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Re: What if
Reply #8 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 9:17am
 
Thank you Rat Man for your welcome.

I noticed a wide variation in answers, please let me make a few observations, which might be relevant even though I have never used a sling (Note, I am keen to try a sling, so I have taken a plan off this site and will make one soon)


The reality is then like now, the military often takes what they can get.  In this scenario, we are not talking about the Roman legion, who had much more money to pay then our mediaeval captain. If they need slingers and all they get is trainees, they will take them.

Furthermore, I think there is a tendency for experts to exaggerate the skill required. The military in my experience often does not require as skilled people  like civilians. Here I expect many people have learnt to fire slings underarm, over arm, figure 8, etc. Our military captain would probably concentrate on one style. I could imagine him going like drill one ......, two ....... , three ........, four, etc.

Over his course, a trainee slinger would be throwing many stones. I have seen figures on this forum of six a minute. That rate is certainly not sustainable, but I suspect that many people, here would not be throwing that many as our trainee slinger would by the end of the course if it lasts two to three months.
Some people in the course would be more talented and quicker learner than others. Our mediaeval Captain could simply fire those that are not catching on.


Having said that if you disagree with my observations, I am probably wrong and would like to know why.
I am basing this on the closest analogy I can think of my experience with a crossbow. I taught myself.  Everyday I took a few shoots within a few weeks. For the first few weeks while my muscles were building up, I went through a terrible agony. Soon I had to stop. People today are often not as strong as then. I expect a typical villager than to be much stronger than now. Maybe their muscles need less developments.  However, in less than a month I was firing about 6 bolts a minute with reasonable accuracy at a short range.  Having said that I suspect that a sling is a much harder weapon than a crossbow to use.
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Re: What if
Reply #9 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:25am
 

I wrote this description of the helicopter style after my experience with teaching the Romans at Flag Fen:

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1252484095

I broke it down into simple steps with a counting system in the windup to get the timing of the throw right. This description includes the fast reliable two handed reload technique that I use to get ten shots per minute from an ammo bag. 

You dont need a lot of muscle power for any slinging style, in fact it is best to throw with less than 100% strength because you will be much more accurate that way.
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Re: What if
Reply #10 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:37am
 
bernardz wrote on Feb 17th, 2010 at 9:17am:
Having said that if you disagree with my observations, I am probably wrong and would like to know why.
I am basing this on the closest analogy I can think of my experience with a crossbow. I taught myself.  Everyday I took a few shoots within a few weeks. For the first few weeks while my muscles were building up, I went through a terrible agony. Soon I had to stop. People today are often not as strong as then. I expect a typical villager than to be much stronger than now. Maybe their muscles need less developments.  However, in less than a month I was firing about 6 bolts a minute with reasonable accuracy at a short range.  Having said that I suspect that a sling is a much harder weapon than a crossbow to use.

The only point where I see an issue is trying to use the crossbow to base your assumptions off of. When you begin slinging you'll understand why the two are like apples and oranges immediately. Crossbows are a line-of-sight weapon, whereas a sling is not. Unless something is grievously wrong there is not as likely a chance that a bolt will fly off backwards or sideways, but with slinging the stone could go anywhere. Have you ever played baseball or cricket? The question is more like: How long would it take to train the average Joe to become a decent, if not major league worthy, baseball pitcher.

My vote is for a couple weeks to a month, because I don't imagine or captain being as sling proficient as C_A and DM. Double that for man-sized accuracy and triple it for rabbit-sized.
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
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Re: What if
Reply #11 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 1:19pm
 
Based on my experience:

To learn how to properly use the sling without droping rocks or wild shots- About 5 hours
To achieve a decent amount of power and a good technique- Maybe 2 weeks
To throw projectiles where intended- No less than 3 months
To throw projectiles with accuracy- 6 to 8 months
To achive individual accuracy- About 1 year
To be a reliable slinger, who has a good chance at scoring a headshot-2 years or more
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Re: What if
Reply #12 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 4:56pm
 
David Morningstar wrote on Feb 17th, 2010 at 8:01am:
Rat Man wrote on Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:57pm:
    I think that to train them to hurl stones in the general direction of a large enemy force with enough power to do damage at one hundred yards without hurting themselves it would take maybe two months of intensive training.


I cannot agree with that. I reckon if you gave me a few blokes in good shape, some slings and a biiiig pile of rounded stones, we could start in the morning and by the evening they would be dropping three ounce stones into an area of a thousand men 100 yards away more often than not.

Lycurgus met me and C_A just over a year ago, he went from random stone ejection to militarily useful basic slinging in the course of a few hours walking around and chucking whatever stuff we found along the way.

The Romans I met at Flag Fen were total non-slingers. After a spending couple of hours teaching them on the first day, I went back the next day and they all had braided slings that they had made themselves and they were helicoptering tennis balls very convincingly. With a couple of hours of practice with good slingstones they would have battered any barbarian horde easily.

DM, I don't sling with other people much, so I was basing my answer largely on my own experience.  It took me several months to get to the 100 yard mark.  There are many of our members here at slinging.org that have been slinging for quite some time and still can't reach 100 yards, let alone hit a target at that range.  Maybe a poll would help shed some light on this question. 
    I think we're all in agreement that to have accuracy at 100 yards, say to hit a man sized target even just half of the time, would take years of practice.
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Re: What if
Reply #13 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 5:24pm
 
Hi Leuts,
the easiest kind of a sling is the staffsling.
It last about 30 min till one hour to train a beginner.
I did this, bevor a medival battle on the  castle of Herzberg, last summer.

The slinger also had an handicap - a glasseye!

The "staffwalking" (grip) he learned very fast and was able to hit targets in different ranges.
He himself couldnt believe how succesful he was after such a short training.


greetings
Jaegoor

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Re: What if
Reply #14 - Feb 17th, 2010 at 6:38pm
 
I agree very much, Jaegoor.  Last summer some of my neighbors observed a friend and I using a staff sling.  They were very interested and wanted to try it.  Though neither of them had ever used any kind of sling before, their first shots each were pretty good, blasting off into the woods.  If you gave your 50 young healthy males staff slings you'd be way ahead of the game.
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