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Author Topic: Want a SOLID bow arm????  (Read 1473 times)

Offline Dave Bulla

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Want a SOLID bow arm????
« on: October 22, 2003, 10:12:00 PM »
Well do ya?  Do you want a rock solid bow arm???

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and give some "advice" on form that I maybe shouldn't since there are a lot more better shooters out there than I am.  Why?  Well, it's working for me that's why.

Over the last couple of years I battled target panic, short drawing and general poor form with some good results and some so so ones.  I've beaten the short draw solidly and am making good progress with target panic and in the process have had to become something of a student of proper form.  I believe poor form contributes more to target panic (and inacuracy) than anything else in beginning shooters.  I've had the chance to see, talk to and shoot with some very good shooters in the last couple years and almost without exception ALL of them seemed to place great importance on and take great pride in having a rock solid bow arm.  Sure a good release is important but the best release in the world with a sloppy bow arm will give sloppy results.  Kieth Baine got me thinking along these lines and more or less told me that he could get away with an occasional bad release because he has a very good bow arm.

Well, how do you "get" a solid bow arm?  Muscles?  Concentration?  Willpower?  Sort of, but the bottom line largest contributor I've come up with is form.  More correctly, proper body alignment with the target.  By playing around with shooting blind, I found that when I drew with my eyes closed, I naturally settled into a very solid stance.  Basically I believe that with the eyes closed the body holds things where it is naturally strongest because there are no visual cues or distractions to tell it otherwise.  This is the "form" or body position where the bones are doing as much of the work as possible and the muscles are working the least.  When I shoot from this position, nothing moves in my bow arm.  And ya know what, the arrows go where they are supposed to WAY more often too.

So....how could I use this to my advantage I wondered?  I messed around a bit and figured a few things out.  I'd pick my target, stand where I thought I was lined up properly and think to align or "aim" my whole body instead of just my bow arm.  Then I'd close my eyes and draw the bow.  When I hit full draw, I'd open my eyes and see how far off target I was.  Many times it was several feet!  This flat amazed me since I could stand the exact same way and draw with my eyes open and everything felt just fine.  I was compensating for poor body alignment with my bow arm because my eyes and brain told me to.  Only thing was, when I'd shoot, my bow arm would move and accuracy was erratic.  The only reason I could think was improper body alignment causes muscle strain in my arm and the strain turned to movement when I released the string.  Now comes the important part... To fix the alignment problem, I'd draw with my eyes closed and then after opening my eyes, instead of adjusting my aim with my bow arm, I'd keep my upper body in that rock solid position and aim with my legs and hips.  To aim lower, I'd bend my forward knee and hip and straighten my rear leg.  To aim higher, I'd bend my rear leg and extend my forward one.  Left and right is just a simple swivel from the hips down.  What a difference!

My plan is to practice adressing the target and draw with eyes closed then open them to check how close I am to my "spot".  I hope that with practice it will begin to come naturally and consistently.  It's a lot like the old bit of advice everyone knows to bend at the waist when shooting down out of a tree stand but taking it one step farther to applying it to every shot.

Couple this technique with a consious effort to relax on target and follow through after the shot and the results are amazing.  It's actually helped my target panic too because my confidence has gone up but I'm also taking some of Jay Kidwells advice about getting on target, then off, back on etc without shooting to break the conditioned response that caused the target panic in the first place but that is a topic for another thread.

If any of you try this (and I hope some of you will) let me know what you think.  It seems like something that might not always work in a hunting situation where you are in a hurry but I think that if a guy could learn to naturally align his body with the target so that he hit his natural "sweet spot" or strong point in his form at full draw without thinking about it, it would really make a difference in his accuracy.  In fact, I believe that most guys who are natural great shots do just this without realizing it.

Hey, I like that.  A "sweet spot" in your form.  It actually makes sense to me.

Dave
Dave


I've come to believe that the keys to shooting well for me are good form, trusting the bow to do all the work, and having the confidence in the bow and myself to remain motionless and relaxed at release until the arrow hits the mark.

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2003, 10:28:00 PM »
Whew! I thought this was going to be a thread about you falling out of a tree and breaking your bow arm and them putting it in a plaster cast or something   :D  

Was starting to get afraid to open threads started by Dave Bulla   :bigsmyl:
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline DiamondD

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2003, 12:43:00 AM »
USE THE FORCE GRASSHOPPER!   :D   LOL!  

It seems to make sense to me Dave and I am going to try it!  When I learned to shoot a rifle from a rock solid, locked in position my DI would tell me to do the same thing you are talking about and when I opened my eyes my front sight should be on target.

If it's not your body isn't aligned right maggot!  :knothead:  

I'm going to try it as I struggle with my bow arm!
Dean Daniel

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Offline lphuntsman

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2003, 12:57:00 AM »
Maurice, the way you have described the alignment makes sence....sometimes i am "right" on with my shooting and then there are times when i would swear i am doing exactly the same as i always do but cant hit squat....my brain has been trying to wrap its self around the problem for awhile now and this just may be the answer.

I will give it a good try and post back soon!

Thanks for the info! Lance
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Offline Dave Bulla

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2003, 10:27:00 PM »
BV, nope, I wasn't saying to shoot with your eyes closed.  I was saying I do that myself to work on form.  Ya have to get real close to the target obviously.  

If any of you guys have a video camera, maybe try having somebody tape you when you are shooting normal and then again when using your legs to adjust your aim.  Maybe even shoot some with your eyes closed from up close.  Pay close attention to your bow arm when you watch the video and let me know if it works for you or not.  I find it's easier to follow through when my bow arm doesn't jump on release too.  I'm trying to learn more myself and I'd appreciate any feedback on this and how it works for other people.

Dave
Dave


I've come to believe that the keys to shooting well for me are good form, trusting the bow to do all the work, and having the confidence in the bow and myself to remain motionless and relaxed at release until the arrow hits the mark.

Offline Tom Lagatol

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2003, 07:11:00 AM »
Sounds like you've got a "plan" Dave. FYI I know an archer who "concludes" his shot by getting back on target (as best as possible) after the arrow contacts the target..that's how much he thinks of a solid bow arm and followthru!

I too am a big fan of shooting on the bale. I don't think a day goes bye that I don't shoot a dozen arrows there to reinforce my form and shot.
Good Luck. TomL  :wavey:

Offline bodkin

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2003, 08:51:00 AM »
One funy idea I had once = get a piece of line ore bowstring.Hold one end in your bowhand and step on the other end.Now try to keep it under tension but dont`t pull.See if you can shoot holding the line without it the becoming slak.If it does you dropped your bowarm.

b.

Offline Chortdraw

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2003, 02:16:00 PM »
Use the force!!!!!!!  This is more true than you can imagine. Confidence in the shot.

Online Doc Nock

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2003, 02:31:00 PM »
Dave,

That is freakin beautiful, man!   :)   Seriously, I have to 'limit' myself to mid-50 and under bow weight due to some shoulder issues and wobblin wa a part of that issue.  

One thing consistently bugs me.  there are times when due to a stiff neck (I thought) I tended to move my bow arm unconsciously from being perpendicular to my feet to actually out in front more parallel with my feet! Talk about a wobbly bow arm on release!

I'm now thinking that you have masterfully hit the proverbial nail on the top knot!  I gotta try this... gotta hurry though cause after tomorrow, the DST will be gone and it will be dead dark 30 when I get home..sorta limits the time to shoot mid season..hate that.  

Wonder if the landlord would mind if I brought a bag into the kitchen and shot from the doorway?  

  :bigsmyl:  

That had to be a bear to put into words, but you handled it very well, btw!

Thanks, Dave B!
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Offline Mudd

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2003, 08:32:00 AM »
Good job Dave! Sounds like you may be helping more folks than just yourself. I can honestly say I haven't known another archer that has been as dedicated as you have been on licking what you thought were your weakness'. Much to your credit I might add. The bending you refer to is what I refer to as the Kerwin Crawford crouch...lol It puts the eye and the target in a more direct line-o-sight. I found that by watch and immitating others forms who shot well I could incorperate some of it into my own style and well.. some of it just didn't work for me as well as I had hoped it would. I think you've done a real nice job of taking it back to the basics. Once a shooter has a shooting foundation thats solid the rest kinda sorta just falls into place with little tweek of personal variation. Thanks Dave.. Hope to shoot together again in the not too distant future
God bless,Mudd
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Offline Killdeer

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2003, 11:09:00 AM »
Thanks Dave for the tips! I found that same thing in shooting Rifle Silhouette, and dunno why I hadn't applied it elsewhere. Will go practise it immediately! Maybe I will be able to take shots longer than 4 yards once I get this incorporated into my "style" (or lack of it).

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Offline Dave Bulla

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2004, 12:24:00 PM »
ttt for Dan.
Dave


I've come to believe that the keys to shooting well for me are good form, trusting the bow to do all the work, and having the confidence in the bow and myself to remain motionless and relaxed at release until the arrow hits the mark.

Offline tom sawyer

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2004, 01:04:00 PM »
I think I read somewhere that the most important part of an Olympic shooter, was his/her legs. I thought it was odd when I read that, but it might be related to what you discovered for yourself.
Lennie aka "Tom Thumbs"
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Online Terry Green

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2004, 01:24:00 PM »
Nice thread Dave.  Some of use have been preaching alignment for some time.  Not only is it important to be consistant, but its more important to do the same thing correctly over and over, than the same thing wrong over and over.

As for the legs,...as a bowhunter, I can't guarantee my legs anything....its the upper body alignment that counts for me.  Take note, that alignment can be pivoted at the waist to even further facilitate the bowhunter.
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Offline Bpaul

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2004, 01:29:00 PM »
Thanks for bringing this back up, I'm going to try it for a few shooting sessions and I'll post back.
Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.  
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Online Doc Nock

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2004, 01:42:00 PM »
What BPaul said... I'd forgotten all about this post, but the bow arm concept I hold onto..it's that idea of doing it eyes closed that is so interesting.

There was a video by Bowhunter mag and a young kid who won an essay was with some "sage" bowhunter who was helpin him with form.

He suggested you lean against a door jam with your bow arm, arm outstretched like it held a bow and LEAN.  His advice was to have that same "feel" when you draw the bow... can be bent, but locked like you were just leaning and the "lean" was the pull of the bow... that made sense, but that idea of it being total body alignment is just priceless.

I can occassionally shoot with the bow off angle and really lock er down and get away with it, but when it's "aligned" right, it's sweet...like your "sweet spot" Dave Bulla! Cudos!
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Offline Dave Bulla

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2004, 12:31:00 AM »
Terry, some of your comments and those of others are part of what got me to paying attention to this.  After seeing your shooting video later, I was more or less in awe.  I don't know how much of your form came naturally and how much you have done deliberately but it sure was pretty to see.

A lot of my problem is old bad habbits and not sticking with my own advice long enough and strictly enough to make it natural and effortless.

I also realize most guys don't worry about their legs but rather more a waist up alignment and that is fine.  The whole point of my mentioning paying attention to leg position is to let someone new to the concept of alignment see and feel the difference stance can make in the shot.  To find that sweet spot repeatedly.  Once that upper body alignment is burned in and natural, I agree, a good shooter can forget about their legs in most cases.  They might have the wrong foot forward and be twisted at the waist while shooting upwards into a treetop and keep good alignment.  

It's like instinctive shooting to me.  More of a goal than a method.  In fact, I kinda feel that getting the upper body in alignment without thinking and shooting instinctively are strongly connected.  You can't do just half of it well.  

Then there are different degrees of alignment.  Where a beginner might work from his feet up, an experienced shooter might aim from the hips or waist.  A highly gifted shooter might be able to shoot well with just arms, shoulders and head aligned because he has developed a "feel" for the shot.  

My goal is to be able to get the best form possible out of the position I'm stuck in wether it's kneeling in a deadfall, crouched behind a bush, leaning out of a tree stand or standing flatfooted shooting at a clueless deer under perfect conditions.

It's all shades of gray with a couple absolutes here and there....
Dave


I've come to believe that the keys to shooting well for me are good form, trusting the bow to do all the work, and having the confidence in the bow and myself to remain motionless and relaxed at release until the arrow hits the mark.

Offline N. Naiden

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2004, 02:19:00 AM »
A wonderful book you may enjoy
Archery Anatomy by Ray Axford
Souvenir Press

Although he describes it for target shooters the physics is the same for all of us. And the understanding the book brings about the importance of form, even down to tiny details, is simply and clearly done.

Before I shoot I close my eyes, do an exercise called "grounding" in psychological parlance, and say to myself "form." When I remember this and the check it forces me to do, I shoot better.

I also shoot far better when I only practices some 20 minutes a day. Longer and I lose accuracy and develop bad habits. I learned this the hard way from watching the best shooter I've ever seen...an older guy at the Longbow Safari in Orgeon years ago. His son said "He only practices 15 minutes a day!"
The older man grinned. "But I do it EVERY day." He then winked at Monty and me.

Took me a while but I finally saw that he was onto something. He didn't miss a target, did incredibly well with a very light bow too. But he didn't over do it, he was consistent.

Check out Axfords book. You can often find it used.
N. Naiden

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Offline OH at work

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2004, 06:58:00 AM »
Dave,
Another asset to good form is that it helps prevent bow drawing injuries as well.  :thumbsup:

Joe

Online Terry Green

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Re: Want a SOLID bow arm????
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2004, 08:09:00 AM »
All aspects of the shot need to be refined.  Discounting any one aspect, and you'll never be as good as you can be.

And, I wanna make sure we don't confuse alignment with 'position'.  You can still be properly aligned, and shoot in a multitude of positions.
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' An anchor point is not a destination, its  an evolution to execution' - Me

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