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Hi everyone,

I have been doing some fine tuning on my indoor bow setup and have begun shooting practice rounds. While doing so, I was video taping my shots on five arrow ends (NFAA blue face). I noticed that occasionally, my draw length has changed shot to shot. This is something that I cannot feel, however, it's obvious on video. The way I discovered it was that I framed my video, while reviewing it, so that the outer edge of my string side elbow would reach the edge of the image frame when I fully expanded during each shot. It became apparent that on some shots, my DL was inconsistent (too short). This could be that my string side elbow was slightly higher than my typical shot. With that said, how have you guys/gals corrected DL inconsistencies? I've thought about consciously lowering my elbow at full draw or squeezing my string side latissimus dorsi muscle to make my DL more consistent. What are your thoughts and insights?
 

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I had big problems with this some years back, perhaps worse than you. Would see it with arrows dropping unexpectedly on longer shots even when not fatigued.

I won't tell you how to get there bc I can't, just what worked for me.

I lock down my bow arm shoulder before set so it doesn't move. Then shoulders set out over hips rotational draw against that bow arm/shoulder to a back muscle 'anchor point' where I have full tension. 3 point anchor on the face the last thing. This gets me skeletal wedge-style alignment which has very little DL variance. Alignment and back tension are together key for me getting consistent full draw.

But you have to really connect with what your 'full draw is', tattoo it in.

For this draw drills helped, with a mirror and a marked arrow at my DL. I used rubber bands or cork as the marker during SPT so I can feel and see it hit the back of the riser. Builds it into muscle memory. Esp good when you tire during SPT and need to be told what full draw really is.

Fatigue is when my bow shoulder begins to ride up out of lock, no matter what I do, then I know it's over for the day.
 

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Learn to be aware of your body
1. How it feels at full draw and
2 Where your limbs end after the arrow hit the target.
We are not robots so our stances will not be automatically the same every time. Knowing why the arrow ended somewhere else in the target is the most important step in archery journey. And it is not the aiming the culprit.
There is one single exercise: force yourself to shoot 100 times One arrow. Ignore the score while doing this. Try to understand how it felt each shot and why. There is one single thing we can't do shortcuts with: the quality time behind the bow.
 

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Thank you, guys. I naturally shoot with a high elbow. Sometimes it feels like I am at full draw, but the elbow is perhaps slightly higher than normal. I will try some of the mentioned exercises.
Some top archers have a high elbow, particularly if anchor is low. I reckon consistent DL is all about alignment and back tension first and foremost.

Check Tom Clum's seminar on anchor and draw length:


Also look into Wedge alignment. Not sure if it was Draven who first posted it here but the below is a good reference.

 

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I’m a fairly new to archery too. I’ve shot thousands of arrows this year. One thing that helped me is to make sure your head is in the right position. It sounds very simple but I wasn’t holding it right and noticed it being more difficult to be consistent. There are no shortcuts, just shoot. A lot.
 

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Sometimes for some folks, the bow arm shoulder pitches up and into the neck. When bow shoulder goes to this inactive position, the right shoulder adjusts to the leverage difference. I shoot Hill style with longbows, but for years i used Vic Berger form with my target bows, even with that, at times I caught myself straining to get the clicker to fire on my target bows. The short draw was on the bow side shoulder and I was forced to strain the draw side to get the full draw.
 

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All good points. Without a video, we can only speculate. I see three main areas to look at, but there are others. The most obvious and easiest to cure is bow arm. Is the shoulder locked down. One of the first things I usually do after seeing someone shoot is have them address a wall without their bow in hand. Make a fist with the bow hand and come to alignment with the string hand/arm perpendicular to the wall. Then move your feet towards the wall so that your bow fist is one inch from the wall. Then I ask if they can move their bow fist forward and touch the wall. IF the shoulder is locked down they can't. I can count on one hand the number of people who couldn't touch the wall.

Next, is string hand. There's a lot of issues here. You could have an alignment problem? Alignment problems can be looked at from two planes. The up or down - high or low as mentioned. Or left or right in the horizontal plane. Either of these can be WAAAAY off, but they need to be consistent. Correct form is easily repeatable from so here's what it should be.

In the up or down elbow plane there's something called the draw force line (DFL). It's a line from the nock to the point where the bow is pushing back on the bow hand. Depending on the type of grip it's an inch to an inch and a half below the web of the thumb and forefinger. If you think about physics, it's the most efficient position.

Alignment or the left and right elbow plane, is a problem because it moves. Anything before alignment is collapse and anything after is good until you get too far and rip your lips off, lol. Instruction by one's self is about impossible. For a right handed archer a person needs to stand behind and about 2 or 3 feet above the archer. As the archer draws back, the person needs to tell the archer when the elbow, nock, and the point of the arrow are in line. That's alignment and the archer should continue that movement and release after alignment and before 'rip you lips off'. It's the 'J' everyone talks about. Mostly internal movement.

Next is head position. If you think of all the different ways the head can move, you can probably vary the draw length by over an inch with extreme positions. It starts with the stance and spine position The jaw bone should be at least horizontal or slightly up. Many archers have the head down and almost looking through their eye brows. But if you give them a pair of binos, when they want to see the clearest, they'll assume the correct position.

Drawing angular vs linear (push/pull) is also a great step to alignment and back tension. If you start the draw with your shoulders parallel to the shooting line you have to use back tension to get to alignemt and then its very easy to continue to get your fingers off the string. As Brady says, "I don't use my arms to draw back".

Also checking your string blur can be helpful. Doesn't really matter where it's at, it just needs to be the same.

Actually nice to be back from 3 weeks of hunting - two for myself and one for my brother.

Bowmania
 

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Drawing arm elbow should be inline with the arrow.
I've been persuaded by Kim Hyung Tak that the elbow should be above the arrow line, and on the draw force line:

Organism Gesture World Musical instrument Line


That makes mechanical sense to me. We're drawing the bow, not the arrow; the arrow's just along for the ride. Interestingly, Kim also advocates the elbow being above the "stretching band line":

Setup with stretch band:

Photograph White Gesture Font Line


Full Draw with stretch band:

Photograph White Output device Gesture Font


Since the stretching band line is essentially the draw force line, you'd think the elbow would be on, rather than above that line. (The two images above are from Kim's archery training app, which is quite good, IMHO. The archer is 2013 World Champion, Maja Jager.)

Starting at 4:05 in the video below, Kim explains that the elbow should be quite high for beginners because they will tend to drop it, so they should be taught first to have the elbow very high. I think that's why he teaches having the elbow above even the stretching band line, as stretching band exercises are used to prepare for drawing an actual bow.

 

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I've been persuaded by Kim Hyung Tak that the elbow should be above the arrow line, and on the draw force line:

View attachment 40930

That makes mechanical sense to me. We're drawing the bow, not the arrow; the arrow's just along for the ride. Interestingly, Kim also advocates the elbow being above the "stretching band line":

Setup with stretch band:

View attachment 40931

Full Draw with stretch band:

View attachment 40932

Since the stretching band line is essentially the draw force line, you'd think the elbow would be on, rather than above that line. (The two images above are from Kim's archery training app, which is quite good, IMHO.)

Starting at 4:05 in the video below, Kim explains that the elbow should be quite high for beginners because they will tend to drop it, so they should be taught first to have the elbow very high. I think that's why he teaches having the elbow above even the stretching band line, as stretching band exercises are used to prepare for drawing an actual bow.

100% to this. Great post.
 

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One comment if I may: your pinkie is the last finger to “enrol” in the way you grab the string. You might not feel it, but you are not doing the same that enrolling of it and you are doing it when almost at full draw This little finger is adding tension on your back of your hand and will play a role in the way your elbow goes up or down at full draw - I would make it consistent by holding the pinkie in a defined position right before you start to draw. Find a position comfortable and not disturbing your way to grab the string now - laying on top of your thumb somewhere or on the metal part of your tab. You know how to shoot and you are looking now to improve the subtle things to go the next level. This is the single thing I would work on physical part of the shot: eliminate variation of the pressure where you are touching the bow. I don’t comment on your right foot being behind the left foot (the “leading” foot) - that’s what makes a theoretical shot sequence you learnt working for you.
 

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Welcome. At your level yes. I was shooting two nights ago with a friend, indoor league, and he was moving the bow hand up at full draw to get his point in the gold. He was fighting gravity while aiming and once he did a small change (falling on the gold instead reaching for it) his scores for the last ends improved. Shooting a bow is actually about management of body tension on physical side. The shot sequence is a reflection and result of this management. Since this is brain’s job, our job is to eliminate whatever additional inconsistency we introduce in the “system”. KSL talks about pinkie and its position addressed in the beginning before drawing too.
 
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