Category: archery

When You Feel It You Can Repeat It

When You Feel It You Can Repeat It

I saw a recent post on a golf training site with the title above. And I asked myself: does this apply to archery? My first thought was, well, no, but then . . . maybe. It’s complicated.

In golf I think the statement reflects the belief that if you focus upon the feel of the shot you want to make you can make it. (Watching pros flub shot after shot puts the lie to that belief.) Maybe they mean “when you can feel a shot, it helps you to repeat it.”

The reason it is complicated for archers is when a shot doesn’t feel right you usually notice that after the arrow is gone, so that feel did not help you shoot the arrow correctly or repeat it. In fact, mentally, making a mistake, recognized by a funny feel to a shot, makes repeating the mistake more likely!

I think there is, however, a kernel of truth in this aphorism. Archery is a “kinesthetic” sport, that is one in which “feel” is important, but I think it is important mostly in training. We train to shoot good shots that feel the same, shot after shot, after shot. If we shoot a poor shot and it feels “not right” we consider a corrective, at least running a recovery program mentally.

So, we encourage our archers to focus on feel as it is a barometer of how well we are shooting. If the feels of our shots is inconsistent, our arrow scores are likely to be also.

There is one aspect of shooting that I focus on repeatedly regarding the feel of a shot is in the followthrough. Other than making an extra effort to hold our bow arm up in something kin to full draw position, I argue that we should do nothing else. The bow, an inert physical object, will respond to the forces acting upon it and roll (based upon COG which is based upon weight distribution (typically of stabilizers)) in a reproducible fashion. If the “bow reaction” is the same from shot to shot, than the forces acting upon the bow are consistent. So, I ask my students to pay attention to their bow reaction as it is their “consistency gauge.” Note—If you have watched elite compound archers shoot, you will see most of them cut off their followthroughs by bringing their bow back in toward their body before the bow finished its bow. This is because compound bows are much heavier than recurve rigs and the wear and tear on one’s bow shoulder might not be worth the data their “consistency meters” provide. Elite compound archers are attuned to the feel of their shots, so finely that the trade off of saving wear on their bow shoulder for the feel of the followthrough is warranted.

Originally from A Blog for Archery Coaches.