Saturday, 15 August 2015

Musings on Shooting Form

I'm not a great believer in overthink, or over analysis, but one has to be aware of what you are doing as opposed to what you think you are doing.
I don't do a lot of shooting or a lot of practice, I'm also shooting different bows all the time as I make 'em.

I've noticed my shooting has got sloppy over time and also my physique has mellowed a tad (to put it euphemistically) sore elbows, stiff neck and the usual ailments of age.
I always say solving problems is easy, the hard thing is actually identifying the problem.
So here we go, problems with my form.
1. Draw is now a tad shorter and can be inconsistent in length.
2, Tendency for left arm to be thrown away to the left with no 'follow through', (that's remaining on target until the arrow hits home).
3. Tendency for left arm to waver or collapse to the right.

I think these 3 are all related so I looked at my arrows which are two sets with lengths of  about 28" to the base of the point and 27.5" to the base of the point. The shorter ones are where a point has broken off and been replaced. I keep the sets separate and usually use the longer for open shoots.
I think striving for a full draw with the longer arrows is  over stretching me in terms of reach and poundage (to a lesser extent). This is only slight in absolute terms but I've tried going over to the shorter set.
It gives me a more comfortable/consistent draw and I know I can push out the bow hand firmly at the target giving the full draw, better stability of the bow arm that helps alleviate problems 2 and 3.

I went round the 3Ds at the club today with a few mates, I wasn't too fussed about the aim or score, more getting a full draw, a stable left arm and holding position until the arrow struck home (or missed!). I felt my form was better with improved left right accuracy. Missing left or right is V annoying, as it should be the easy bit, the distance estimation and judging the elevation is the hard bit.
The other big thing I've been trying is to hold the draw for an extra half second or two whilst keeping neck and jaw relaxed. My dentist will testify to my habit of clenching my jaw when concentrating.

Normally its draw, anchor on a count of "one",  "and" then loose on "two", I've been trying the extra hold to help condition/stabilise the left arm.
It's a tricky compromise because I don't want to start "thinking" or "aiming" whilst actually drawn, two things which IMO are almost fatal leading to now't but indecision.
I normally draw a whisker above point on the target, then adjust down or up without deliberate thought. Before draw I'll have thought the target is either further than point on, less than point on, or my 10 yard shooting into the garage distance, everything else is gut feel relying on eye/brain coordination.... occasionally on long shots with something like a standing bear I may think I'll put point onto his nose and let the arrow drop into his chest as it's beyond point on range.
It should be smooth and instinctive without any conscious thought other than maybe the mental check list of...
Anchor... yes
Full draw ... yes
Steady left arm...yes
concentrate on where you want the arrow to hit (aim small, miss small)
Relaxed jaw ... yes... Oh, I've loosed.... thud...
The best shots are those when one is barely aware of how it happened.

There may be many target archers, coaches, and people thinking this is total nonsense.
That's fine... it's my take on it and I always say to people who ask (and some who don't!) it's good to listen to all the ideas and advice, but only take on board the stuff that you think makes sense, or works for you.

The hardest thing is separating what we think we are doing from what we are actually doing.
If in doubt set up a camera and take a bit of video, you may get a nasty surprise!

Why now? There's an open shoot at Avalon next week and I haven't shot as well as I should for a good while. Mind I'm not chasing scores, I just want a reasonably consistent form with a few first arrow kills and not too many 'blanks' (miss with all 3 arrows). Mostly I just want an enjoyable day out where I can remember the good shots.

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