FORM by its nature is NOT a four letter word, nor does it mean COOKIE-CUTTER.

Posted: 2014/03/08 in From the perspective of an Archery Coach.

Well now, I’m quite sure this is a topic that will boil the blood of more than a few. So, let’s set the foundation for the basis of this opinion by engaging the puffed chest posture of experience or, as a few elitists among us like to call it, ego.

Over the course of my career I’ve trained in Marshal Arts, 6 nights a week, for many years. I learned how to clear the mind of negative thought and be calm in extreme circumstances, react without forethought or planned intention. I learned to move with fluid motion, practiced techniques to enhance physical performance and generate power from a foundation of stability. Years later, many students later, I transferred an understanding of human biomechanical function into the world of elite level baseball within Ontario, Canada. I was responsible for many young athletes learning the skills of pitching and hitting, enough so, to earn scholarships to various U.S. colleges and Universities. Some of these athletes now play in the Minor Leagues and one or two playing in the Majors.

So, what does any of this have to do with Archery? The truth is not much but I might know a thing or two about adapting the basics of what is considered good archery form to suit the individual in unique ways to prevent physical injury while encouraging positive results.

For example… One of my students has spine problems and without going into personal detail, we’ve adjusted the basic stance to a forward leg position, requiring that most of his weight, about 90%, be held in a rigid, slightly knee bent position to allow the rear leg to act mostly as a rudder to control torsion or the curvature of the spine. This provides a pain free foundation from which to shoot.

Another example… And, another male shooter… He has a problem with being able to stand with both feet in a parallel position, his leg bones from the hips down just won’t work that way. He was introduce to a toes-out stance with the target-side leg back, or open, about three inches. He also, intentionally, shifts his weight back over the rear leg and bends his knee so it is directly over the ball of his left foot.  Why? Because, again it provides a stable platform from which to shoot.

As a result of the adaptations these shooters have had to make other adjustments to gain consistency and a “basic form that is repeatable,” for them. And, those are the key words… “for them.”

There is one rule more important than all other rules in archery…

The person who puts the most arrows in the middle wins.

How you get them there isn’t important as long as what you do gets you to a level of repeatable and consistent results.

One more quick note… One day I was practicing, working hard on my form with an emphasis on holding and aiming when an older gentleman with a trad bow in his hand came in. He stood beside me on the shooting line and when all was clear to shoot he dropped to one knee, and holding his bow parallel to the ground, he drew back. I started to laugh, thinking it to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. I stopped laughing when his first three arrows hit their mark without fail. I asked him why he shoots that way… His response…

I hunt, I need to be low to the ground, I eat.

With that he went back to shooting and I learned a valuable lesson… Toss out the cookie-cutter thinking.

  1. Very true Shawn. this also sound some the discussion around BT releases. Shoot how and what you feel comfortable with.

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