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Form pics.....a theory

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Dave Bulla:
Well, as I'm sure you all know by now, the form pics thread is a wealth of knowledge and is one of the best archery threads ever to hit cyberspace.

One constant comment is the importance of a solid bow arm and that is coming from guys who really KNOW how to shoot.

Now, I aint no Robbin Hood by any means and I've fought target panic and poor accuracy for several years but in the process, I feel like I've learned a little about the importance of good form and what exactly good form is.  I've beaten the short draw and still have trouble with relaxing on target but I think my overall form when properly executed is pretty good.  Anyway, that's just to let you all know where I'm coming from here.

In my "quest" to learn proper form I came up with an idea I thought was original but I've since read similar thoughts in books and online.  

The idea has to do with stance and addressing the target but the result is a very solid bow arm.  What I found is that when you draw a bow blindfolded or with your eyes closed it is very natural to hold everything solid and square.  Sort of a natural "sweet spot".  Everything is in line and you naturally make a + sign with your upper body as Terry Green (I think) said on the form pics thread.  When I shoot from this position, nothing moves in my bow arm and my release is clean.

Aha! I thought, if I could just learn to address the target before hand so that I am in that "natural" alignment I'll shoot a lot better.  And it's true!  I've been playing around with using my legs and stance to get situated so that when I draw my bow I don't have to move my bow arm left-right or up-down and it seems to help a bunch.  I really believe that a lot of becoming a good shot is learning to do just that but I bet most "naturals" don't even realize they are doing it 'cause it comes ....well, naturally.

Since everyone seems to be trying to improve their form and accuracy now that the seasons are winding down in most states I'd sure like to have some of you all try this and let me know what you think.

Do this:  Stand in front of your target and position your feet and upper body where you feel "lined up".  Close your eyes and come to a full, natural feeling draw.  Open your eyes and see where you are pointed.  If you are right on target, forget the whole thing 'cause you are already doing it naturally.  If you are off left-right, let down and adjust your stance.  If you are off up and down, bend or straighten your knees as needed to move up and down.  Bending front leg lowers impact and bending aft raises it.  Keep that + shape in your upper body.  Now of course left-right or up-down can be adjusted by swiveling but to start out I prefer to get the stance correct in relation to the target until it just happens natural.  Later, when it feels natural, practice swiveling for hunting situations.  Think of a point somewhere above your hips between your navel and spine as an unmovable point that your body can move around.  Nothing in your upper body should change in relation to the center and the lower part is free to move and make adjustments but also can't disturb the center point.  

In the mean time, try to develop a feel for total body alignment before the shot.  Pay attention to follow through and see if you see any difference in how solid your bow arm is.  If you don't have the 12 and 6 o'clock alignment from arrow tip through string arm elbow you might still see movement.  Try increasing back tension to get everything in line before giving up though.

I've found that my bow arm is naturally solid when I do this and aim with my legs but that I still have some tendancy to try to adjust my aim with my arm which leads to movement at release because things are not aligned in that "sweet spot".  When I use only my legs, things are rock solid.

I'd really be interested to hear what some of you think of this idea wether you are a good shot or a bad one and if it helped you in any way.

Now, if I could just improve my release, learn to really concentrate and relax "on target" I'd probably be a pretty good shot.....    :rolleyes:    

One step at a time though.  I've got a lot of old habbits that need fixing.


Charlie Lamb:
Dave... I do something very similar to what you are talking about. The exception would be that my legs/lower body are out of the equation.

Upper body alignment with the target is very important to me. In John Schulz's great shooting video he talks about lining up the bow shoulder with the target and bringing the bow up in a straight line with the target and that's what I try to do.

I have gotten to the point in my shooting that I tend to focus on left/right alignment with the point to be hit. Elevation comes without thought. (for me)
Once full draw/extension is acheived it is important to switch focus to the target and block out any other thought.
I do think you are onto something with this excersise!

herb haines:
Dave ,
 i am slow on clock positions have 3 o'clock (arrow point ),9 o'clock elbow . where are 6 and 12 . dumb huh -- herb

Douglas DuRant:
Dave you seem to have good insight into shooting even when you have problems with doing so.

I think your + analogy is a good one. I think bending at the waist from a tree stand is important to maintain the +.

Bob Weslly (sp) talks about keeping the bow arm shoulder down. Some people tend to let it ride up toward their head which breaks the + sign so to speak.

There is more than form involed in good shooting though. There is the hard to put in words mental aspect. Since I have recently read "Free Throw" by Dr. Tom Amberry, I have thought you might be interested in what he has to say.

The author at 73 shot 2750 free throws without missing. You can put him on the line with any pro from the NBA and he'll out shoot them in short order.

Way to much for me to cover here, but he has some very good stuff on shooting under pressure, focus, concentration, and confidence. He tallks about letting go with the consious mind to let the subconcious and the body make the shot.

Not trying to hijack this thread, but I have been meaning to pass this info on to you about his book.

Naked in NH:
It's not an uncommon method for learning to shoot a rifle offhand.


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