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Read about high - medium - low grips in Archery Steps to Success. Here is an interesting article about the advantages of a low narrow grip:

http://bowsite.com/bowsite/features/practical_bowhunter/grip/index.htm

Its the weekend - let's get outdoors and fling some arrows!

Newbies - describe what you learned today. Post some pictures of archery success and failure. Let's learn together.
 

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My first thing today is the importance of always coming to your full draw. Makes for a much cleaner release. The other thing is to take breaks even before you feel yourself starting to fatigue. I tried this and it made everything just a little bit easier.
 

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Barefaced tightropewalker
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My first thing today is the importance of always coming to your full draw. Makes for a much cleaner release. The other thing is to take breaks even before you feel yourself starting to fatigue. I tried this and it made everything just a little bit easier.
At the moment of release you must be stretching the bow, forwards and backwards equally. To do this you must be using the 'pulling' muscles of the back and NOT the 'holding' muscles of the upper arm*. It is harder than it seems to maintain the pulling while at anchor, very easy to slip into 'holding' (especially if tired). But this is what must be done while taking the time to refine your aim.

Once the aim is as good as it will get (and it will be wobbling around- don't try to stop it totally), then the feeling* of further back and forward expansion is used to trigger the release. The follow-through is a natural side-effect of the continued use of back tension. You don't practice your follow-through, it happens. What you practice is pulling with the correct muscles while keeping your draw arm and hand relaxed so when your release occurs the follow-through is automatic.

* The actual degree of movement that occurs in expansion is very small, so the 'feeling' of expansion is your guide to knowing you are getting is right.

* If you see someone who's release is a horizontal salute, that's a 'holding' release. And a lot of good archers do it.

Rod Jenkin's mantra of 'Excessive pulling to anchor. Balanced pulling at anchor. Increased pulling (expansion) to shot conclusion.' is a way of saying what I just have ...... in a way Tradarcher would appreciate.


Anyhow, got side-tracked, what I meant to say is that if you use correct back tension AND keep your draw arm relaxed your release WILL be clean.
 

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Barefaced tightropewalker
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Good link Blinky. Thanks.
 

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Read the link. Pretty cool. Kyudo is much the same way. With the Japanese bow it's weird though. If you hold the bow correctly upon release, the bow will spin around your hand to the outside. Very hard to perfect. The grip similar. It does make sense to hold the bow "low" as the pressure is more evenly spread down the palm and then straight through the arm, rather than minimal contact, which seems like it would mean less control?
 

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I'm getting frustrated. I haven't had any time to practice, and I'm still very much a beginner, but hitting the target seems to be eluding me. I am good at aiming left-to-right, but vertically I seem to be either six inches too high or six inches too low. The trouble is I have no idea what I'm changing between shots. I think it's somewhere in my shoulder positioning, but that's just a guess. My instructor couldn't spot what I was doing wrong visually, so it's something subtle.

I get that it takes time, but I see a lot of newbies with horrible form just plugging away at the target, and I'm wondering if I'm just completely deficient in this or if there's some trick I'm not seeing.
 

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Barefaced tightropewalker
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Littlefleche, a couple of things to try.

Ensure where/how you press on the bow is consistent.

Ensure your string fingers are each consistently taking the same percentage of pressure.

If you haven't done so, put a second nock set on the string, width as per nock plus a little extra, say 1/16".
 

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I'm getting frustrated. I haven't had any time to practice, and I'm still very much a beginner, but hitting the target seems to be eluding me. I am good at aiming left-to-right, but vertically I seem to be either six inches too high or six inches too low. The trouble is I have no idea what I'm changing between shots. I think it's somewhere in my shoulder positioning, but that's just a guess. My instructor couldn't spot what I was doing wrong visually, so it's something subtle.

I get that it takes time, but I see a lot of newbies with horrible form just plugging away at the target, and I'm wondering if I'm just completely deficient in this or if there's some trick I'm not seeing.
I'm curious about what "aiming system" you are using. Knowing it may be an area for self inquiry that may help. Also, follow through to a definate shot conclusion should help, if not correct your problem. Be sure... absolutely sure, that you are not quitting on the shot until long after the arrow has left stick and string.

I believe that, if possible, by quantifying your shot in terms of say gap, AND the follow through, you will enjoy the success you're looking for. Best of Luck!

Tom
 

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Maybe your not letting your draw arm shoulder sit down in the pocket consistently? You're shrugging?
 

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I *think* the problem is with my bow arm. My shoulders are very flexible, which is overall quite useful, but I think I'm not good at ensuring that my right shoulder (I shoot left-handed) is in the same place every time. Any mental tricks that work for anyone? I try to think of expanding my back to keep the motion out of my shoulders. I don't hit my arm with the string any more at all.

I have a consistent anchor point, I think.

I'm not really sure what I'm doing to aim. I can use the riser to adjust left-to-right, and I'm pretty consistent there. A typical target for me are two very low, one very high (usually after I adjust), but all in a straight line. Should I sight off of the point of the arrow?

Would it make sense to start at a shorter distance? I'm shooting at about 20 yards now, but when I move closer I get the same pattern.
 

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Barefaced tightropewalker
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You can try to use the muscles around the shoulder joint to steady the arm.

Brace the drawn bow by pulling the two hands apart, working against each other. This is a mental impression, the actual work is being done by back tension.

For experimental purposes, try this. At 10 yards, come down the string to the point where your index finger and third finger meet when your four fingers, kept together, are brought to the nocked arrow from underneath (i.e. stringwalk). Use your thumbnail to mark the spot when your hand is touching under the nock and slide the top of your tab down the string to there. This should give a very rough 10 yard crawl. Then draw and put the tip of the arrow on the centre of the yellow and execute a relaxed shot. Repeat a few times.

Ignore left-right issues. If you are grouping then your aiming method is at fault, if not your form is at fault.

This is purely a diagnostic exercise not a sneaky way to get you stringwalking. However............
 

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I *think* the problem is with my bow arm. My shoulders are very flexible, which is overall quite useful, but I think I'm not good at ensuring that my right shoulder (I shoot left-handed) is in the same place every time. Any mental tricks that work for anyone? I try to think of expanding my back to keep the motion out of my shoulders. I don't hit my arm with the string any more at all. - littlefleche

The "think" part is what's got me wanting to say that much can be benefited by learning proper use of the bale. It's a safe place one can learn-experiment and improve one's shot. In really knowing your shot, you can then improve it.

Tom
 

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I'd recommend starting at 5 yards. Use a desert-size paper plate. Once you hit it ever shot, move to 10 yards. Rinse, repeat. Your shoulder scenario is the same as mine. I had some bad shoulder injuries years past. Now I really try to listen to my body....

So- instead of compensating after 2 shots, just do form work, or blank bale even. Once you know where the arrows go, you can compensate. And as your distance increases, mix it up with closer shots. I shot like you describe until I did bale-work at 5, 10, 15, 18, 20, 25, and 30 yards. The close shots are vital- these really force clean release as the feathers won't "correct" before you hit the target. This is why so often my friends are more accurate 20-30 yards, but inside 20 they are notably off. They don't spend the time on 5 and 10 yard bales.

About aiming- I am the worst person to tell you how to aim, since I "learn the arc", shoot off the knuckles, use mismatched arrows, and use "instinctive" aiming (which means I kinda guess accurately a lot).
 

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At the moment of release you must be stretching the bow, forwards and backwards equally. To do this you must be using the 'pulling' muscles of the back and NOT the 'holding' muscles of the upper arm*. It is harder than it seems to maintain the pulling while at anchor, very easy to slip into 'holding' (especially if tired). But this is what must be done while taking the time to refine your aim.

Once the aim is as good as it will get (and it will be wobbling around- don't try to stop it totally), then the feeling* of further back and forward expansion is used to trigger the release. The follow-through is a natural side-effect of the continued use of back tension. You don't practice your follow-through, it happens. What you practice is pulling with the correct muscles while keeping your draw arm and hand relaxed so when your release occurs the follow-through is automatic.

* The actual degree of movement that occurs in expansion is very small, so the 'feeling' of expansion is your guide to knowing you are getting is right.

* If you see someone who's release is a horizontal salute, that's a 'holding' release. And a lot of good archers do it.

Rod Jenkin's mantra of 'Excessive pulling to anchor. Balanced pulling at anchor. Increased pulling (expansion) to shot conclusion.' is a way of saying what I just have ...... in a way Tradarcher would appreciate.


Anyhow, got side-tracked, what I meant to say is that if you use correct back tension AND keep your draw arm relaxed your release WILL be clean.
Thank you, I shot a very short round today focusing on just pulling through from the back and my groups tightened up considerably and fliers were *almost* eliminated.
 

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littlefleche,
You don't need an aiming system. In the early days it can be just a needless complication. And at very close range you don't need to care where the arrows go. It is more important to feel the shot and gain consistency in your form. As you learn that the arrows will naturally begin to group together. After that happens we can help you move the group to where you want it.

Re the front shoulder- try to keep it low, no shrugging. The shoulder has a sort of a loose socket. Try to feel the shoulder settling into it as you begin the draw. In most aspects of the shot feeling is more important than thinking about it. Try to feel what is smooth, efficient, stable and strong. - lbg
 
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Great idea, Blinky! Your posts reflect the joy in discovering archery. I'm there, too, but I'm not sure about the term "Newbie." Can't think of a better one right now, though.

I want to confirm that I've learned to "keep drawing through the release." I try to slow down time so the movement is imperceptable, but keep drawing. The metaphor that I think of is that it's like snow falling off a evergreen branch, from the great mad Hungarian horse archer Kassai Lajos.
 
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