The hardest lessons to learn in archery are…

I’ve had a great response to my question “What they feel is the hardest lesson to learn?” and for that I would like to thank all my followers and readers for their input.
I know that there are many people out there that will have your own opinion on what they feel is the hardest lesson to learn,but based on the responses, there are a few things coming up time and time again.
  • Aiming or rather, how do you aim whether you are a gap shooter or instinctive archer?
  • Stance and footing on a field shoot, where you might not be on level ground.
  • Coupled with aiming is distance judgement, which can be especially tough on a well set field course, where the course layer has used every trick inthe book to fool you.
  • I think the biggest one though has to be drawing down or coming down when you’ve drawn up on a target but feel you have to release, even though you know something is wrong.
  • I’m also working on a post about the importance of arrow weights and importance of not shooting too light an arrow.
  • Over bowing, being to identify when you are shooting too heavy a draw weight bow.
My hope is to create a post on each of these topics in the next few weeks.
I’m planning on covering aiming in a future article but for those interested check out one of the recent coaching podcasts from the guys at The Push, which covers instinctive and gap aiming.
Thanks for reading.

Aim small, miss small

Nice video by Jim Grizzly Kent about aiming and focus with archery, which is worth viewing.

 

Some readers might remember I wrote something a while back Aiming for the Fish’s eye

Thanks for reading

Question from a reader – Aiming without sights

Recently I had a couple of questions sent to the blog by one of my readers.
It’s always good to have feedback and if I can help I will.  The subject matter of the questions posed are ones I think many would find interesting as one concerns the concepts of aiming and the other is on reducing the size of your grouping in the target.
I will try and answer each in turn over the next few weeks. Firstly I will discuss focus and aiming. The question was
“When you place your concentration on a small point at the target or animal, while you are pulling and about to get to your anchor point, do you take your eyes off the target for a second, and look at  the aliment of arrow with it ,or simply never see nothing else but the target point…”

There are a couple of things to consider here. One is focus on target with the other being arrow alignment.

Arrow alignment

When I first started archery I was very aware of the arrow. Sighting down the arrow to ensure it was pointing the right way.
This is what is taught to most archers to ensure they are lined up with the target.
I find now that I only do this when using a new bow or one I’m unfamiliar with. The rest of the time it is purely subconscious.
I try to fix my focus on a spot on the target where I want my arrow to hit.

Focus

So the simple answer to this question is no I don’t let my focus wander. I try to keep my point of focus set on where I want to hit. This is far easier said than done and takes practice and concentration. I  find if my eyes wander, then the arrow will follow where I am looking and not where I wanted it to go. Sharon and I both use this technique.
It takes discipline and practice, a lot of practise and I  don’t think I have fully mastered the technique yet.

The only problem is when you can’t pick a point on the target due to poor lighting. Something that can happen on shoots or at the end of the day as the shadows increase and light begins to fade.
Some of you will be aware that I’m not a gap shooter and consider myself as instinctive archer. Subconsciously my brain or should that read brain cell ☺is calculating the distance and telling my limbs when to release when i have where drawn up to. Great in theory but requires constant practice to maintain that awareness and internal sight map. It is also very fatiguing as it takes concentration of all things to relax and not second guess yourself.

Obviously this method doesn’t work for those archers using scopes or sights as they have to calculate the distance to be able to adjust the sights accordingly.

One book I have found resonates with me is Beginners guide to traditional archery by Brian Sorrells (book review here)
 Beginner's guide to tradional archery

The mindset of the author and style of writing is one I have found easy to follow and explain to others.
The concept of one arrow shooting I find  beneficial for developing focus. Here the author explains how you shoot only one arrow and then retrieve it and shoot again. This helps you focus on the individual shot and your form.

Another useful article is this one on various forms of aiming. It covers different forms of aiming from instinctive to gap shooters.

In the next post I will try to answer the question on improving grouping.
Thanks for reading.