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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the spirit of 'identify your weaknesses', here's one of mine: the inability to imagine a spot on a featureless single-toned surface at aim.

While I can shoot assisted/system, I prefer instinctive - the burn-a-hole-in-it kind. I'm often at anchor for seconds doing just that, 5 or more on the 40m+ shots. My accuracy and form are in a decent place these days, grouping quite well out to 35m or so, tennis balls at 20-25. But to do this I need to look at a spot/detail/blemish/mark, to become fixated on it totally. Bow arm floats to where it needs to, focus further, deeper, all becomes still, and bang.

Without a spot to grab on to I'm at a loss, an issue in certain hunting situations/conditions. I have to zone out to shoot well, not engage the brain in exercises of imagination.

For example, hitting even near the center of an unmarked featureless 2m diameter coloured disk at 15m would be an issue, whereas hitting a 3cm diameter dot marked at the center of that disk would not. I realise system shooting largely solves this, but I'm not personally interested in it.

Anyone else shooting instinctive struggle(d) with this? What worked for you, to imagine that spot without losing your 'deep mind' focus?
 

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If I am understanding you correctly I too have to concentrate on a very small spot to hit with consistency. If I were to tack a white pie plate to my 3d deer target and try to hit the center my groups open up. I used to put a small pink dot of duct tape in the center of the kill zone of my 3d and that helped me in the beginning. When I transitioned to no pink duct tape my groups openned up because I was used to faster target acquisition with the tape. I had to slow my shot down considerably to shoot the plain target. Picking a spot on the plain brown takes alot of concentration for me.
 

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Center of the center. Aiming is the easy part, consistency of form, doing it the same way each time is the challenge.
 

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I can usually manage to focus on a particular location. Maybe that focus is not as precise as when there is a small distinguished spot so yes my groups will open a bit. But my problem is maintaining that focus all the way through release and follow through. If my concentration drifts at all so does the arrow.
 

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"Burning a Hole" is usually associated with Instinctive shooters.
They Aim before they execute the shot and Aim during execution of a sequence (Unknowingly most of the time) and tend to shoot very quickly.
Understand that I'm NOT being condescending to those who do this.

Instinctive or "Eye hand coordination" to point an Arrow at something and hit it very quickly is absolutely effective at close up distances. I've taken Elk and Deer shooting this way until I changed my Shooting method in about 2007.

For better accuracy, I changed my shot sequence to a more controlled method which has an Aiming segment before I commit to the shot.

Stance
Grip
Hooking
Draw
Anchoring
Aiming
Committing
Follow through to conclusion

I omit release because releasing is simply a result of the shot execution and I DO NOT want to be thinking about it.

Typically I hold 2-3-4 seconds at anchor to Aim.

Instinctive is still in my Skill set and is valuable in some circumstances in the field but almost never needed.
Sam,

When this particular subject comes up I often scratch my head when people automatically associate instinctive shooting with quick shooting. Yes a lot of instinctive shooters do shoot quickly and are often called snap shooters because of that. But there are many of us who pause at anchor for anywhere up to maybe four or five seconds.

I personally don't have a set interval before the shot execution. It can be a second or it can be several seconds. When everything feels right I shoot. But I am not consciously using my arrow in any aiming system. I am often accused of doing so but I don't really care what people think.

Yes most of my shooting would be considered short range with my longest at about 35 yards. It is just the notion that instinctive equals rapid fire that I question.
 

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I started out teaching myself instinctive, and was about ready to move from 10 yards to 20, when some injuries forced me to put archery to the side for a while. By the way, I do not, under any circumstances, recommend tearing a tendon in your elbow. Let alone the same tendon in both of them. Buy, we aren't here to talk about my lay off, or the fact that im movi g from instinctive to a shooting system. I struggle with my release. Not with it not being clean, but with back tension pulling my fingers off the string. I have to put a step into my shot sequence, specifically to release. There is not an automatic response in it for me. Haven't been able to figure it out, yet. Maybe I'll get there, maybe I won't. My accuracy hasn't seemed to suffer with it, though.

And yes, without a reference to focus on, whether instinctive or aiming, my groups will look like a shotgun pattern. I have to have a reference to focus on. I figure that it's a product of a couple different things. I've always been more of a logical thinker, not much to imaginative or creative thinking. And all the firearms training and shooting over the years, where accuracy of the shot is the goal, to keep the animal or bird from suffering.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If I am understanding you correctly I too have to concentrate on a very small spot to hit with consistency. If I were to tack a white pie plate to my 3d deer target and try to hit the center my groups open up. I used to put a small pink dot of duct tape in the center of the kill zone of my 3d and that helped me in the beginning. When I transitioned to no pink duct tape my groups openned up because I was used to faster target acquisition with the tape. I had to slow my shot down considerably to shoot the plain target. Picking a spot on the plain brown takes alot of concentration for me.
Sounds like we have the same challenge.

Wolfie Hughes, a great Welsh instinctive shooter (long at anchor also), says for the blank surfaces one needs to fabricate a spot in mind and put it where you want it. He doesn't go into any more detail than that, the look of that imagined spot, how he locates it (for instance at intersection of bisecting lines etc) nor if he imagines it and fixes it before drawing such that he's taking less mind away from his focus at aim.
 

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If you can truly group inside a tennis ball at 20yds then you should be winning at Vegas.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
If you can truly group inside a tennis ball at 20yds then you should be winning at Vegas.
Surprising to read. Hitting a tennis ball at 20m, say 2x out of every 3, is not an uncommon level of ability among good archers I've shot alongside in the EU. Reliably being able to do so 4 arrows in a row, or 3x at 25m, is another thing entirely. I will not consider myself close to mastery until I have that consistency shooting instinctively.

Any case, I can barely hit an all white side plate at 15m if it doesn't have a spot on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sam,

When this particular subject comes up I often scratch my head when people automatically associate instinctive shooting with quick shooting. Yes a lot of instinctive shooters do shoot quickly and are often called snap shooters because of that. But there are many of us who pause at anchor for anywhere up to maybe four or five seconds.

I personally don't have a set interval before the shot execution. It can be a second or it can be several seconds. When everything feels right I shoot. But I am not consciously using my arrow in any aiming system. I am often accused of doing so but I don't really care what people think.

Yes most of my shooting would be considered short range with my longest at about 35 yards. It is just the notion that instinctive equals rapid fire that I question.
100% to this. This idea that instinctive == snap is relatively recent, and seems more dominant in the US. There are many great instinctive shooters that hold for several seconds, executing when it's 'on', when it's right, and not before. This does not imply the archer is consciously measuring a gap, nor lining up their point. Would be great to see the scene move past this.

In any case, a fundamental weakness in instinctive shooting is what to do when there's no spot to grab on to.
 

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I agree with you completely. In a sea of monotone whether it is brown, white or anything else it is much harder to focus on a small part of that larger area. I sometimes try to visualize a crosshair overlaying the larger area. The problem is that it is easier to drift without a hard focal point. Occasionally if I manage to put my first arrow where I want it then I have that "spot" to shoot the rest of my arrows at.
 

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I was pretty good at “picking a spot” but I seem to have lost that ability over the years to what it used to be. I also acquired “floaters” in my right eye Which doesn’t help. Its usually targets passed 25 yards that give me trouble. I don’t hunt anymore so the critters are safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree with you completely. In a sea of monotone whether it is brown, white or anything else it is much harder to focus on a small part of that larger area. I sometimes try to visualize a crosshair overlaying the larger area. The problem is that it is easier to drift without a hard focal point. Occasionally if I manage to put my first arrow where I want it then I have that "spot" to shoot the rest of my arrows at.
Hah, like I'm reading myself! I use the same trick with making a 'spot' out of my first arrow. I'll try your crosshairs mental picture tomorrow. Great stuff.
 

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Surprising to read. Hitting a tennis ball at 20m, say 2x out of every 3, is not an uncommon level of ability among good archers I've shot alongside in the EU. Reliably being able to do so 4 arrows in a row, or 3x at 25m, is another thing entirely. I will not consider myself close to mastery until I have that consistency shooting instinctively.

Any case, I can barely hit an all white side plate at 15m if it doesn't have a spot on it.
Vegas targets come with an X in the middle, should be simple.
 
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In Masters of the Barebow there was a segment about this. One presenter said “most archers don’t pick the spot, the spot picks them”. Meaning we look for a identifiable spot on the deer, such a a tuft of hair that may be a little different color and is close to the spot we want to hit. He used, I think, a button and would practice looking at the button then trying to visualize the button on the target. I tried that but it didn’t work for me.

For me I aim for the top of the bottom third of the ribs in line with the where the knuckle would be if broadside. I can find that spot very well and concentrate on that.
 

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I started out teaching myself instinctive, and was about ready to move from 10 yards to 20, when some injuries forced me to put archery to the side for a while. By the way, I do not, under any circumstances, recommend tearing a tendon in your elbow. Let alone the same tendon in both of them. Buy, we aren't here to talk about my lay off, or the fact that im movi g from instinctive to a shooting system. I struggle with my release. Not with it not being clean, but with back tension pulling my fingers off the string. I have to put a step into my shot sequence, specifically to release. There is not an automatic response in it for me. Haven't been able to figure it out, yet. Maybe I'll get there, maybe I won't. My accuracy hasn't seemed to suffer with it, though.

And yes, without a reference to focus on, whether instinctive or aiming, my groups will look like a shotgun pattern. I have to have a reference to focus on. I figure that it's a product of a couple different things. I've always been more of a logical thinker, not much to imaginative or creative thinking. And all the firearms training and shooting over the years, where accuracy of the shot is the goal, to keep the animal or bird from suffering.
No debate from me on any shooting methods. I have learned that forums are the last place to discuss "Instinctive".👍
 
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