What's the point to shooting?

By Larry Yien

Why do you shoot the bow and arrow? To hit the target. Right? I invite you to shift the emphasis from hitting targets to shooting good shots, while working on your shooting form. The first thing to do is take the target off the bale. If you have a target bag or 3-D animal put a blank piece of cardboard up or an old piece of fabric. Get the bale at shoulder height .

Standing about 4 ft. from the bale nock an arrow, come to full draw, make sure your arrow is pointing at the bale. At full draw close your eyes and shoot the shot, hopefully your arrow is in the bale. Shoot a few more with your eyes closed to get comfortable with this concept of shooting without being able to see.

Shoot the next 12 arrows in the 'eyes closed' mode. Get a sense of how the shot feels. Notice the different elements of your shot. Although there are thousands of elements in your shot, certain elements will stand out to you. I notice my stance, setting my hand into the grip and my other hand on the string, raising the bow up as I focus, anchor, and follow through. While shooting with your eyes closed observe yourself going through the various steps before, during, and after the shot.

The shot can feel different when your eyes are closed, for most of us it not only feels different, it is different. With your eyes open shoot the blank bale. If the shot does not feel similar, go back to eyes closed for a few more shots and then try eyes open. Keep working on it till both types of shooting feel very similar.

I use 'eyes closed' and 'blank bale' for learning and reinforcing certain elements of my shot, warming up, and trouble shooting. Shooting with my eyes closed removes many of the distractions which may hinder my shot. Unencumbered, I can develop a simple and consistent shot. I can also work on individual elements of my shot. In a given session, I may just work on hitting a solid anchor. I like taking a few warm up shots with my eyes closed, whether it is before a tournament, or heading out for a day of hunting. When I am trouble shooting my shot, I will often go to the close bale and start with the basic shot, and the basic elements.

This type of shooting accomplishes many things. Switching my emphasis from hitting the target to shooting good shots has made a big difference in my shooting. In the upcoming articles we will work on transitioning from shooting blank bales to shooting targets.

Shooting menu
Gap Shooting
String Walking
Perfecting Your Practice
What's the point to shooting?
Shooting on Target
Tabs and Gloves for shooting
Bridging the gap
Finessing Your Arrows

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