Archery Tips | 10 Things Beginners Do (And Why You Shouldn’t)

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Hey guys, this is NUSensei I’ve made a few videos or a few hundred videos on learning archery covering the basics from day one to more intermediate and advanced techniques. As a club instructor, I’ve overseen hundreds of learners coming through, learning on their first day, making all the mistakes, and eventually going through, buying their own bow and doing their first competition and in this time I’ve seen a lot of really weird habits. For a regular, experienced archer, some of these things look very silly and bizarre, but in fairness I’m sure most of us have gone through most if not all these things at some point. So today I’m going to go through ten things that beginners tend to do and how you can fix that. This is probably the most common thing that an instructor has to deal with. Many first-time students use has a fear of being hit by the string and do whatever they can to avoid having this string anywhere near their face. It’s as if they think the string is an elastic band and will come back to hit them. This is actually a rather dangerous habit as this often causes the shooter to torque their body and this actually makes it more likely to get hit by the string. This inherent fear of the string causes a lot of problems when trying to teach people how to shoot. When it comes to activities that involve overcoming fear, archery isn’t exactly what you think of, but you do have to overcome certain fears. You are meant to have the string right in your face, That is normal you’re meant to have the fingers on the corner of your mouth And you are expected to have the string touching your face and that’s normal. If you shoot Olympic style, it’s actually right in their face you see their nose and their lips closed around the string and again that’s normal. The reality is the string won’t carve off your face. The contact is not going to scrape and cut of the ear or anything It’s just simply touching here the string moves forward and you’re okay. So don’t be afraid of the string It’s not going to hurt you, but you will hurt yourself if you keep being afraid string and trying to avoid it at all costs. Beginners always aim too high. You look at the target you pull back, aim at the middle, and the arrow goes high or sometimes way over the target. This often results in broken arrows and this is actually an ongoing cost for archery clubs. This is why it happens: It seems logical that you place the arrow over the middle of the target because that’s where you want it to go however, because that’s where you want it to go however, what you are actually doing when pointing towards the center is this: I’m only five meters away, and look at how high I am aiming. If I aim right at the middle, I will literally put a hole through the shed wall Instead of aiming towards the center of the target, place the arrow tip on the bottom of the target. Exactly how far down you go depends on how far you are shooting and the strength of the bow. Generally, you should be aiming lower than you think you need to. This is what happens when I adjust my aim. The reason why you have to compensate for this is because there is a gap between your eye and the arrow Your eyes are up here the arrow is down here. l’ve been shooting the normal style shooting if you’re shooting the Olympic style, that’s even lower So it’s very deceptive when you think about where you’re aiming at you think middle of the gold is where I aim, the reality is that you are aiming so high, you’re going to shoot down a plane The instructors gets frustrated by this because we tell you to aim low. We can see you this is the thing as a third person. We can see you doing this and we know you’re going to go higher We say go lower But people are thinking ‘aww must be just a bit lower’ ‘or a bit lower’ ‘or a bit lower’ No, no, no, it’s going to be a lot lower that is what can be frustrating for the shooter and the instructor The instructor knows what you are doing, and they know why you’re doing it. But the shooter is letting their natural instinct take over, and they think that it’s going to be in the middle of the gold therefore I’ll aim there. It just doesn’t work that way and oftentimes, the instructor will actually physically pull the bow down and it may shock you but the reality is, we lose a lot of arrows with people going way too high, they’re hitting wood, or posts, or target frames, and this can be easily solved by resisting the instinct, listening to the instructor and shooting straight. This one is a natural interesting which must be addressed immediately. Often learners will grab the string with every finger on their hand. Sometimes learners use too few fingers, and at times at full draw, they actually lift a finger off the string before shooting. Unless you are learning an alternative form of archery then you will always use three fingers one two and three. Now, depending on where you learn you might learn the split finger method which is one finger over and two fingers under the arrow, or you might learn the three under method, which is three fingers under the arrow. But it’s always three. The trend that I often see with learners is that they instinctively grip the string with their little finger. The thumb might be okay, but the little finger keeps hooking onto the string and the more fingers you use the more likely the release will be fouled, because it will snag on your fingers. It won’t come off cleanly. You really only need three for the maximum control and maximum power any more than that is superficial and just make it harder to get a clean release. However, I have noticed that a lot of learners don’t realize their pinky is on the string and I’ll say three fingers and and they don’t change, they’re thinking they’re using three fingers, their thumb’s off… three fingers, and they’re like ‘I’ve got three fingers’. That’s four fingers and people don’t realize it for some reason. So keep your pinky off the string, let it hang naturally don’t extend it try to keep out of the way You don’t have to. Just let it curl naturally and it should rest in this position. Also, don’t use your entire hand , that gives you no control over the draw. You have fingers moving in opposite directions, So it’s very very hard to get a clean release if you’re using your entire hand. You only need three fingers in the conventional draw. This is perhaps the most annoying part of being a new archer. The arrow keeps falling off the rest. Even if you put your finger on it it comes off as soon as you move it. There are two reasons why this tends to happen. The first reason is called nock pinch. It’s when the shooter pinches the arrow between their fingers very tightly like this and this is particularly prevalent if you’re anxious or you’re nervous. You tend to tense up and grip things so if you are actually touching the arrow with your fingers then that’s going to cause the arrow to move when you move your fingers that’s obviously a bad thing so one general advice is to give some space between your fingers and the nock, but just remember that when you’re nervous you will naturally clamp down, so that’s one of the causes. The second common reason is because the dra.wing hand is incorrectly set The correct way to draw a string is To keep the back of the hand flat. You can see that I have no knuckles showing. Once I start seeing knuckles that means I’m clenching my fists and my fingers are curling inwards. That’s wrong. That’s right. If you see this on the bow, if you clench your fist and form knuckles with the arrow on the string. This is what happens: Knuckles, and then it comes off. That’s because you’re applying a twist on the string. You are moving your fingers inwards and that means the string is being pulled inwards. If we keep the back of your hand flat like this there is no twist. That means you can pull it straight back without incident. Back of the hand flat, pull it back and it does not come off. It only comes off if you start putting a twist and curling your fingers, you show knuckles and that’s what happens Okay, so you’re looking pretty good now yup good anchor point, nice line, you’re on target. Just let it go. When you’re ready, you can let it go. You. can. shoot. You can let it go now. Just…let the string go off the fingers and it’ll go. Just, just do it. Just do the shot Just let it GO *anger* This can be baffling to the instructor we just keep saying let it go let it go And, the more we say it the more likely we’ll get sued by Disney. In fairness, considering that many learners have absolutely zero knowledge of archery, not even movie archery, they don’t have any understanding as to how the bow actually works. So they’ll pull it back and they think that the bow will shoot by itself. We have to pull trigger or something. So it doesn’t occur to them that they’re in control and they can choose when to let it go. That can be something which, as an instructor, you may have to remind yourself to actually teach. We always tend to assume that this is the easy step, is letting it go because that’s simply opening your fingers But again a lot of learners don’t think that way and you have to remind yourself to Open your fingers or imagine dropping something. That’s the act of letting go. Speaking of which… (music) To an observer it looks kind of silly but from your point of view it looks completely fine. You’re just aiming and… The idea that a lot of people have is that the more you aim the more accurate you will be, that’s actually completely not the case. You know those archery games where you have a stamina bar or you have that thing where if you hold for more than a few seconds you start to really shake? That’s actually true in archery. You actually do have a time limit. The more you hold the bow at full draw, the more you will tire. After around three to five seconds you start to see that pain and shake and collapse That will ruin your shot. So spending more time aiming is coming at the cost of being able to execute the shot you want. So in short, aiming more does not make you more accurate. The irony in this is that the moment you pull the bow back and you touch your anchor point, you are probably already on target, so if you let go there and then, you’ll probably be okay. I’m not saying you have to shoot quickly. What I am saying is that you don’t have to micromanage or fine tune the aiming step. At a typical beginner distance of five or ten meters you don’t need to be that careful with aiming. You just need to make sure that your arrow is pointing towards the target. You’re not aiming too high and you’re probably okay. Any mistakes you make can be compensated in the next shot. Basically, learn to trust yourself. This is essentially the fundamental of instinctive shooting You see a target, you look at it you pull the bow back and then you let it go. That’s a simple process And if you practice that then it won’t be any worse than if you spent half a minute aiming a shot. Generally, if you follow a smoother, cleaner process, you will see better results and this surprises a lot of people. You tell someone, ‘Look trust yourself.’ ‘Just let it go as soon as you feel ready’, and then they go from bang-bang-bang to Gold -gold-gold, and they’re shocked. They’re like, ‘Wow how did I do that? You’re a great teacher!’ I’m just saying, ‘Look, you’re on target already, just let it go.’ The first thing you’re normally taught is how to stand and most people get this quite easily. The problem is that the moment you finish your shot, you move your feet and that means shuffling sideways to pick up your arrow and bizarrely some people have a habit of stepping backwards every time they shoot and load. We have to tell people to step forward. The reason why this is so important is because everything in the shot process depends on your stance. Your hip alignment, your shoulder alignment, your string alignment, all these things can change if your stance changes. If you aren’t consistent with your stance, then your shooting won’t be consistent. We tell you your stance is is good, stay there and then you shuffle off and you walk away, then each shot you do will be different. Understand that learning a new skill can be complicated and it does take time to learn each step but this is what instructors typically have to work with ‘Okay, so remember what we thought you, okay, that’s good. Grip the bow correctly correctly, three fingers’ ‘That’s right. Pull it back. Pull it back to your face, that’s okay. Just start again.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Lift the bow up. Pull it back to your face. All the way to your face. Anchor. Touch the corner of your mouth.’ ‘Little higher. Yeah, that’s okay. All right. No, no a little higher’ ‘Keep your head still. No, pull it back to your face. Back to your face.’ ‘Keep your arm straight and push. Push the bow out, and that’s it. Okay now hold it straight’ ‘Hold it steady’ ‘No no, too high go lower, go lower. No no, pull it back to your face now’ ‘Push the bow out, up to your mouth. All right push the bow’ ‘It’s okay to start again put the arrow back on the string. Now pull it back to your face push your arm out’ ‘Okay, really stretch out this time. And it looks really nice’ ‘Yeah… that’s, that’s fine’ I don’t really have a commentary on this. Some people just have a hard time following a sequence of instructions, and that’s fair. It does depend on the person and I imagine that includes things like dance choreography. Then that’s a similar problem as well. A lot of it comes down to what I said earlier about confidence and hesitation and being scared. If you trust the instructor and follow their steps you should be okay. Don’t try to second guess yourself too much. If you follow what you’re told to do, then you’ll be fine. So you’ve learned all the steps, you’re looking pretty good and then… [arrow missing intensifies] This is painful to watch and often the most dangerous part of archery because you’re basically doing the equivalent of shooting a gun with your eyes closed. There’s something about the point of release that makes people panic. So you’re at full draw, everything looks really good. You’ve done everything instructor said but for some reason you have this moment of sheer terror and you go and then arrow flies over the target. That sort of thing is… it can be disheartening and demoralizing for both you and the instructor. But it’s something which you do have to overcome. All I can say is relax. Everything is going to be okay. The arrow won’t hit anybody, it won’t hurt you, if you miss you miss. If you hit bull’s eyes, you hit bull’s eyes. That’s okay. But don’t try to think too hard about what will happen if you let go. Trust us. We’re qualified instructors. We know what we’re doing. If we tell you it’s okay, it’s okay to let go. Oh, right, speaking of bull’s eyes. (music) (music)
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(camera shutter) (music) Look, I don’t really want to take away from your achievement, but bull’s eyes really aren’t that important. They can be flukes for one and secondly when you do archery it happens so frequently that it’s really not a big deal. Also consider that normally the range will set up a very easy target so at 10 meters you might be shooting at these big targets where it’s kind of really hard to not hit gold. If it is your first time and you think ‘yeah! I can do it!’ Fantastic, but taking a photo I don’t really think has that impact. You might share it on Instagram or Facebook, get a few likes. But it’s the same thing as taking a photo of your food. You’re not ever going to look at it again, really. The reason why this is something of a negative and sometimes instructors might be annoyed is that it can slow down the line. When you’re doing a shooting session there are people shooting three or six arrows and you want to fetch them and get back to the line and shoot again as frequently as possible. If you’re taking photos at the target, and people are waiting for you, then just be aware and be considerate that other people are using the range as well and do respect the etiquette of that particular range. Okay, one more special honorable mention because this happens all the time. So you’re teaching someone how to shoot and you tell them to draw the string back and touch the corner of their mouth and they do this or this Do you not know where your mouth is? So that’s ten things that beginners often do and these things aren’t necessarily bad things They’re just thing is that most learners will come across at some point or another. If you’re just learning archery you feel a little silly, don’t worry. Everybody does it. If you’re an instructor and you have to put up with this I empathize with you, but again it’s all part of the learning process. Most of these things can be solved and worked around and most of the time it’s about overcoming your fear or nervousness and listening to instructions This is NUSensei. Thanks for watching. And I’ll see you next time.

 

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