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Basic Shooting Technique

THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS INSTRUCTION MANUAL BUT IS MEANT AS A BASIC GUIDE TO GOOD SHOOTING TECHNIQUE. If you are a beginner and would like to learn to shoot, please find a professional who is willing to teach you or attend an archery class. Standing. No matter which type of bow you shoot, you need to take a position that gives you stability. Body weight should be evenly distributed and centered, especially for standing positions. Individual styles may differ but good shooters are able to take a comfortable, relaxed and stable position that is the same every time they step to the line. Nocking One of the more difficult parts of shooting in the old days was setting the arrow on the string in the exact same place every time. Any minor variation will cause inconsistencies in flight from one arrow to the next. Most shooters now use a nock point to mark the place on the string where the arrow is level (perpendicular to the string and the bow face). This allows consistent placement and eliminates one variable from the complexities of shooting. If you are shooting a three-fletch arrow, you need to remember to turn the cock feather outward (if so fletched), away from the bow, to allow easier passage of the arrow. Drawing Drawing the string back consistently requires an anchor point. For uniform results, the same anchor point should be used each time. A position on the head or face is more effective. Various anchor points include: drawing the string to your nose, drawing it so your finger or thumb is at the corner of your mouth, drawing it to your cheekbone, or drawing it to your ear. If you draw to any position on your face or head, the position of your head will affect the anchor point. Therefore, hold your head in the same position every time with respect to your body to have a consistent anchor point. Most finger (tab/glove) shooters draw the string back with one finger above the arrow and two below. The arrow flight for these two methods will be different due to the difference of pressure around the arrow. Again, for consistent results, you should position your fingers the same way every time you draw. The muscles actually used in drawing back and holding the bow are those in the back and shoulder rather than the arms. Although your arm muscles do the initial pulling, most of the work should be done by your back and shoulder muscles. You should draw the string back smoothly and uniformly. If you have to use excessive force to pull the string back, than the bow is probably too strong a weight for you. Holding There are two reasons for holding at full draw in preparation to releasing the arrow. The first is to steady the arrow in position so there are no extraneous movements that may affect arrow flight. In order to steady the arrow, your bow arm may be 'locked' in place (although many people feel this is not necessary) and not moving, while your string hand should be snugged at your anchor point. Aiming Some aiming is instinctive while other aiming techniques compare sight marks or the point of the shaft to the target. When sighting, you should use both eyes or your dominant eye. One way to find your dominant eye is to extend your hands palm forward in front of you and make a diamond-shaped 'window' with your two thumbs and forefingers. With both eyes open, center this opening on a distant object. Close first your left eye, then open it and close your right eye without moving your hands. The object seen in the opening should be the same with the dominant eye as the object you originally sighted on with both eyes. (It will be a different image with your non-dominant eye.) Releasing Loosing the arrow should be done both quickly and gently. Whether you are simply opening your fingers to allow the string to release or pulling on a crossbow trigger, your actions should be steady and smooth to prevent any jerking that may affect arrow flight. The process of loosing is not completed until the arrow has completely left the bow. Therefore, your drawn and held position should be maintained until the arrow is beyond the edge of the bow. Anything that can impede or interfere with the string's movement will spoil the flight. Such hazards include but are not limited to: loose clothing, jewelry, catching hair in the string, improperly placed fingers.

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