Meridian Star

October 18, 2013

Archery 101: the basics Perfecting muscle memory (shooting form)

By Terry Rivers
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Perfecting muscle memory is what archery is all about. Someone once said, “there is no right way to shoot a bow; you just have to shoot it the same way every time”.

    Before shooting the first arrow it is important to learn how not to shoot. The first week after finishing the body building exercises and before we begin blind baling learn how to engage and disengage the trigger (slowly and deliberately–at full draw)–without pulling the trigger.

    Practice the trigger exercise until comfortable and then let-down s-l-o-w-l-y from a full draw without pulling the trigger. Repeat this exercise before every blind bale session for the next twenty-one days.

    NEVER pull a bow back or let down with the finger in front of the trigger!

    The let-down exercise is essentially the same thing as the body building exercise except that we are no longer trying to exhaust our muscles and we have added engaging and disengaging the trigger without actually firing the bow.

    After learning to let-down safely and comfortably we are ready to blind bale (shoot at a blank target with eyes closed) extremely close to a target. The blind bale exercise should continue for twenty-one days. Shoot the same arrow 60 times a day in sets of 15 to 20 with five minute rest periods.

    Blind baling may be boring but it is probably the most important learning exercise anyone can do. Many pro archers have had to go back to this beginning exercise to overcome some flaw in their shooting form. Shooting with eyes closed is the easiest and best way (perhaps the only way) to perfect shooting form (muscle memory) and shot sequence provided we practice the right way. Draw length, grip, anchor point, back tension release method, and a proper fitting release is essential to practicing the right way. Practice does not make perfect; only perfect practice makes perfect!

    CAUTION: All blind bale shooting should be done extremely close to the target (three to five feet). It is important to make sure the nock “clicks” on the string. If the nock does not click, the arrow may fall off the string. A poorly nocked arrow may result in a “dry-fire”. If the nock doesn’t click, replace the nock.

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