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293daysThe past week has been challenging to get outside and shoot; the combination of another spring snow storm and lots of wind has made my ventures outside sporadic at best.  I have spent a good deal of time working out a few details on my form and doing a lot of practicing with a rope loop.

From reading Core Archery, I found a couple of things that needed immediate work.  The biggest is the way that I use (or rather shouldn’t use) my wrist on the shot.  After reading Larry’s advice, I filmed myself shooting and studied every bit of the shot very closely.  I notice one thing that I do when shooting back tension with a thumb release is that I pull my wrist forward to bury my thumb in the trigger.  This puts tension into the wrist muscles and tendons which is unwanted.  The wrist should remain 100% relaxed and the weight of the bow should pull the fingers, wrist and forearm into one straight line.  I had always thought my wrist relaxed enough but careful review of the video showed otherwise.

To remedy the problem I had to find a better position for the thumb trigger that would allow complete relaxation of the wrist while fitting right so I can use back tension properly.  This ended being a radical change in the trigger placement on the release, as well as on my hand.  It took several dozen shots using both the rope loop and my bow to finally settle on a position that felt good.  I’ve been using this new position for about four days now and it’s starting to feel natural.  Here is the before and after shot that really blew my mind how off I could be.

arm_straightness

The first four days of my program were spent blind bale shooting and shooting at a single black dot.  I have always been a fan of blind bale shooting because it allows you to really focus on your shooting form.  However, the problem is that you shouldn’t be focusing on your form but rather the form should become so natural that no focus is necessary.  Thus the black dot shooting after shooting five or so rounds blind.  I chose a solid black dot because it’s easy to focus on.  Larry’s philosophy is that once the arrow is nocked, the archer should be focused 100% on the dot and aiming there.  Everything else should be on autopilot.

On day five I shot my first 3-spot target.  Needless to say, with much of my focusing still on my form changes, along with some pretty good wind gusts up to 20 mph, my shooting stunk.  However, it felt great!  The change to my wrist and a much better understanding of which back muscles should do what, felt good and I believe there is progress.  Sure my scores went way down, but being on the right track and breaking bad habits is worth much more than a great score at this point.

There is a lot of horizontal scatter (I’m going to blame the wind on this one;  well, it could be more than the wind!) and some other random scatter as well.  A lot of it has to do with me still concentrating on executing the shot properly and not focusing on aiming.  Some of it is due to wind, and some do to form break down.  Overall I considered the day a pretty good success with the improvement in my form.  I’m very happy with the changes I’ve made though some more tweaks are in store I’m sure.  I’ll continue along the same process of focusing on the form, and as it becomes more natural begin to switch to concentrating on aiming more.

The full 300 days can be found here.

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