Once again this week the weather was less than cooperative but I was able to get outside to shoot a few times and spent a lot of time time practicing with the rope and in front of the camera. Most of my time is still focused on getting my form down to the point where the subconscious takes over and my mind can focus on aiming. However there are still several little parts of the form that I need to “check list” each shot to make sure that I am not breaking down.
This week I focused quite a bit of attention on my foot placement and weight distribution. I have always shot with an open stance because it seemed more comfortable with me. After reading the section in Idiot Proof Archery about shoulder position in relation to foot position, I decided to find the optimal placement of my feet to set my shoulder properly. So what do your feet have to do with your shoulders? If the feet are aligned properly (usually some amount of an open stance, varies by person) the shoulder socket will align properly when the bow is pointed at the target. This takes some time to really focus on your bone structure while lining up for the shot and feeling where the bones are and how they are lined up. After experimenting with my normal stance and slowly opening it up by a few to degrees, I feel that I found a position that gives me a little bit better alignment by opening my stance about three more degrees.
Once I settled into my (hopefully) improved stance, I did a bunch of blank shooting to try to ingrain the position into my head. When I moved to shooting the target, I found that a little more of my shake had disappeared and the scope was holding more steady. This gave me more confidence in my form and my conscious mind was better able to focus on aiming. The results:
My overall shooting and aiming has improved significantly over last week, though part is due to there being only a stiff breeze rather than the heavier winds I experienced before. The grouping has shrunk and there is an interesting pattern here that I’m not quite sure what to make of. The first target I shoot (lower left) has a mostly left-right pattern, the second (top) has a left-right and up-down and the third a mostly up-down pattern. I am not sure if there is something significant here or not.
Almost always my first shot finds my mind hitting the form checklist fairly heavily, the second less and the third is the most relaxed shot. If the pattern of shots persists, perhaps there is some correlation to be found with my state of mind for each shot. Future weeks will hopefully tell.
This coming week I will be experimenting with the position of the release in relation to my fingers. I have almost always put the release behind my first knuckle, but have dabbled a bit with moving it to the second knuckle. Lately I’ve been reviewing lots of videos from pro shooters and noting their different hand positions and find that there is a huge variety. My conclusion is that I owe it to myself to experiment a bit more and not just settle for the status quo.