Three Steps for Excellent Shooting Form
Posted on April 18, 2011
Shooting with proper T-form allows for steadier, more relaxed aiming, while training your back muscles to “fire” the shot produces a surprise release, which will increase shooting consistency.
1.) Bow Fit and T-Form: Comfort and consistency only come by using a bow with the proper draw length for your body.
To determine if the bow’s fit is correct, look at the overall position of the archer’s body. While at full draw, face the archer’s back. Optimally, the archer should represent a “T”. Draw an imaginary vertical line through the archer’s torso area, and a horizontal line from the bow hand to the drawing arm and elbow.
In most cases, the big sin here is too long of a draw length. If this is the case, you’ll notice that the archer’s draw-side arm and torso are tilted, not following a straight line.
Perhaps the easiest way to detect improper draw length is to look at the draw-arm elbow. Look from behind the elbow – it should be perfectly in line with the direction of the arrow, not to the right or left. For a right-handed archer, a “left” elbow means too long of a draw; a “right” elbow, too short. Also, looking from the side, the middle of the elbow should be even with or slightly above the arrow for optimum use of back muscles.
2.) Back Tension and a Surprise Release: Like when shooting a rifle, a good release comes totally by surprise. If not, the chance for flinching, creeping, shot anticipation, and other nasty shot “hiccups” will occur, degrading any level of consistency in shooting. A surprise release also allows you to stay occupied in the most important thing, and that is to stay glued to aiming at where you want the arrow to hit. It’s that simple.
However, learning how to execute a surprise release is one of the more difficult, time-consuming chores in archery. Yet, once this technique is absorbed by your subconscious mind, the act of shooting this way will become natural.
A surprise release only comes from using your back muscles to “trigger” the let-go of the bowstring. Here’s how to do it.
Adjust your wrist-strap release so the trigger bisects the upper crease of your finger. This will allow you to point your finger downward, so you can curl the trigger like a hook.
At full draw, you should be able to rotate the right shoulder blade in toward the other and feel the pressure of the bow’s weight in your back muscles. This is the movement you’ll execute to “trigger” the shot. You can practice this movement without a bow as well. Just pretend like you’re practicing with your bow arm out and your release hand against your face, and rotate the shoulder blade; you’ll feel the movement and a slight burn.
Now with an arrow nocked and the bow drawn, standing only 5 yards from the target butt, pull with your draw-side shoulder blade, allowing your forearm, hand and finger “hook” to take in the pressure of the trigger. The shot should come in about 3 to 4 seconds. Play with the trigger pressure until you get it right. Note: you don’t want the trigger set scary light, which will prevent you from getting aggressive about using your back muscles, nor do you want it set too heavy, which can cause you to wander from the aiming process, wondering when on earth the shot will go off (anticipation).
3.) Breathing: This is a vital step. Be sure to breathe the same way on each shot. Do whatever feels natural by experimenting, but a good system is inhaling a deep breath as you come to full draw, anchor, and let out a half breathe as you acquire the target. Then hold your breath and aim, until the shot happens.