Stephen GrafModeratorAugust 17, 2015 at 10:07 pmPost count: 2359
I just finished reading a book titled Archery Anatomy written by Ray Axford. With all due respect to all those authors that have written “How I shoot” books that we all buy in the hopes that we can shoot their way too… I have to say that this book, Archery Anatomy, is by far the most helpful.
It is written as an analysis of target archery using a recurve bow and anchoring under the chin. At first I thought this would limit the value of the book to a longbow hunter.
I was wrong.
It is full of anatomy jargon, but if you can keep from getting hung up on that you will appreciate that every other page is a detailed drawing of the body / bow machine including lines of force, bending moment, angles, etc.
The information and analysis in this book are irrefutable. And it it generalized to the various body styles. Which means you can see what you need to do to modify your shooting technique based on the requirements of your body style. Many wives tales exposed in this book.
I’ve done more in the last week to address my problems and improve my shot than I’ve been able to do in the last 5 years. What’s nice is it’s based on science, not anecdotes about what works for Howard Hill or Byron Ferguson.
Axford ends his book with the following observation: “Perhaps because modern man is so sophisticated, he expects too much from high-tech equipment, and not enough from himself”. To which I say, yea baby!
Best 15 bucks I spent on a book in a long time.
Arne MoeMemberAugust 18, 2015 at 7:54 pmPost count: 147
I have had that book for several years now and it is a GREAT reference and I refer to it often. Many “traditional” shooters SEEM to be of the mind set that “grippin’ and rippin'” is the only way to shoot (Don’t bother me with no durn details!!). There is SOOOO much to be learned IF we allow ourselves to study, not only archery form, but how our body/bones move and work (which amounts to the same thing).
BIOMECHANICS is not magic, but it is proven in many athletic fields and learning/studying it WILL improve your shot.
OH! AND it works just as well for “huntin'” as for anything else!
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorAugust 19, 2015 at 10:34 amPost count: 2359
colmike wrote: … Steve did say it has lots of pictures–always a good thing for an old Marine:D
It is a very methodically written book. Text on left page, accompanying figures on right page. Might need your glasses though…
I found I would read a page and study the figures, then run outside and take some shots to see what happens. Then go back in the house, read another page, study the figures, run outside, rinse and repeat.
I buggered up my back yesterday doing nothing more than sitting on the porch swing listening to the rain and petting the worthless cat. Stiff, sore, and out-of-sorts this morning with no shooting possible today.
Getting old sucks, but I guess it’s better than the alternative.
Arne MoeMemberAugust 19, 2015 at 10:26 pmPost count: 147
Would you give me a reference to the ” shoulder roll thing”, as referenced in Axford or video? As a coach, when I hear the word “roll” it concerns me. To be sure, there is shoulder movement, bow side and string side but if done incorrectly (by “rolling”) CAN cause injury.
To me, “rolling” the shoulder implies a change of angle of the clavicle to the sternum. IF you are talking about the bow shoulder, moving it into the bone on bone alignment we look for is a turn of the body which moves the shoulder into alignment but NO change of angle of the clavicle to sternum.
Col MikeMemberAugust 20, 2015 at 1:33 amPost count: 910
Steve’s reference to shoulder roll concerns posture not shooting the bow. The book and video link I posted has to do with those of us who experience back pain and choose to pass on the surgery solution. And it’s about as traditional as it can get.:D
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorAugust 20, 2015 at 12:19 pmPost count: 2359
Moebow wrote: Steve,
Would you give me a reference to the ” shoulder roll thing”, as referenced in Axford or video? As a coach, when I hear the word “roll” it concerns me…
Like Mike said, it was a reference to setting up good posture. Getting the shoulder down and back in a comfortable way.
But if you have your coaching hat on and want to help, here’s a question I had hoped the book would answer, but I don’t think it did:
As viewed from the elbow of the string arm looking toward the hand, as tension is applied to the string arm, the hand wants to rotate CCW until the palm is parallel to the ground. This causes me to torque the string. I’ve tried a variety of tricks to minimize it, but haven’t found a way to consistently overcome the affect.
I think this is due to the way the two bones in the forearm work, but maybe it’s just me. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I’ve watched your video’s several times, BTW. Good stuff.
Arne MoeMemberAugust 20, 2015 at 6:06 pmPost count: 147
Steve Graf wrote: [quote=Moebow]Steve,
But if you have your coaching hat on and want to help, here’s a question I had hoped the book would answer, but I don’t think it did:
As viewed from the elbow of the string arm looking toward the hand, as tension is applied to the string arm, the hand wants to rotate CCW until the palm is parallel to the ground. This causes me to torque the string.
Haha. My Hat is always on for any who ask, I’ll do what I can.
You say, “…as tension is applied to the string arm,…”
Have you ever tried drawing with a Form master? That is the quickest explanation. Drawing the bow with your elbow via the form master allows you to have a TOTALLY relaxed upper and lower string arm. If there is no tension in the arm, the hand won’t rotate as you describe.
But, in words, I believe your problem is caused by too much arm tension that isn’t really needed. Here’s why I say that.
IF the muscles of the arm, biceps and forearm are relaxed, there will be no movement that is caused by muscle action AND IF there is no tension in the arm, wrist and hand then the bow string itself will align your hand to where the STRING wants it to be. I often see the “S” of the string as it sits in the fingers at full draw (string torque) but that is just the shooters using muscle that isn’t needed or even wanted in the shot. This OFTEN is caused by what is called an arm draw. Common in self taught shooters. Just “pull the bow back” however you can.
Here is another thing about this. When your string hand twists the string that way, how is it that the bow doesn’t rotate (like a propeller)? The string, especially at full draw, is 2 levers connected to the bow’s tips. IF the string is twisted, then the bow should move to try to take that twist out. BUT now, the shooter must GRIP the bow hard to fight that. IF the shooter has a light/loose bow grip, the string twist SHOULD let the bow turn to align itself.
So too much (any) tension in the string hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm Also requires bow grip tension in the bow hand. Tension begets tension and the shot goes downhill rapidly.
Finally a little experiment for you. Without a bow, hold a position like you were ready to draw. Bow hand out, string hand LIKE it is on the string. Now draw the bow, keeping your string arm relaxed, just move it to full draw position. (You could watch yourself in the mirror if you want). Does your string hand turn? REMEMBER, RELAXED!! All you are doing is “levering” your upper string arm (humorus) around until the string hand is at anchor.
The hand stays vertical or at least in the same relative angular position it started in. This is what the form master will show too.
The drawn bow is a basically triangular shaped plane of force. that plane WANTS to stay FLAT. If we twist the string we create a distorted plane. The plane will seek to flatten itself by causing the bow to rotate but we don’t want that so we put a “death” grip on the bow. See where this all goes?
Steve, you have a very common concern/error but in my experience, tension in the wrong places is nearly always the reason. Getting rid of it is not easy, but can be done. You just have to convince yourself to RELAX EVERYTHING that is not needed. This is also why “US IRRITATING coaches always recommend a light bow or rubber band to work on this stuff. You do need resistance to learn the movements but you don’t need RESISTANCE to the point that you can’t concentrate on the MOVEMENT.
Finally, and frankly all this typing trying to convey in words a technique is usually only one hour with a coach in person. The technique is much easier to explain and do in person than it is to write about.
Hope I gave SOME help!
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorAugust 20, 2015 at 11:37 pmPost count: 2359
Moebow wrote: …You say, “…as tension is applied to the string arm,…”
Have you ever tried drawing with a Form master? That is the quickest explanation. Drawing the bow with your elbow via the form master allows you to have a TOTALLY relaxed upper and lower string arm. If there is no tension in the arm, the hand won’t rotate as you describe….
I think we are talking about two different tensions. If there is no tension in the forearm, then the bow cannot be drawn. The drawing force developed in the back muscles must be transmitted, via tension, through the forearm to the fingers and to the string.
That’s the tension I am talking about.
I must have an anatomical anomaly in my arm. If I hold my string arm up to my anchor (no bow, just relaxed and standing there) and have my hand vertical, I can put a pee on my thumb and fling it across the room when I relax my hand as it rotates so the palm is horizontal. It takes a fair amount of effort to keep my hand vertical.
It’s the same feeling you get when you hold your hand open. Open your hand and fingers. It takes effort. When you remove the effort, your fingers curl up toward your palm. The same effort needed to keep your fingers straight is what I have to do to keep my hand vertical.
Hmmmm I wonder if shooting deer with pee’s is legal 😳
Arne MoeMemberAugust 21, 2015 at 1:34 amPost count: 147
Steve, We seem to be missing each other’s point of view. I struggle with your description of the “tension” through the arm.
Here is one more experiment for you to try if you want. Get an old galvanized bucket, the kind with a wire bale for a handle. Fill the bucket with water to make it relatively heavy (3/4 full or more). Set the bucket beside your foot on the string arm side of your body.
Now, squat down far enough so you can “hook” the bale with your string fingers. Keep your arm hanging straight and completely relaxed from the shoulder to the finger tips EXCEPT for the “hook.” Then stand up straight, lifting the bucket with your body and maintaining the hook.
Feel the weight of the bucket on your finger hook and the shoulder. NO tension in any part of the arm except that needed to hold the hook. That is how your arm should feel at full draw. The entire arm is just a chain connecting the “hook” and the shoulder.
Now, get someone to gently rotate the bucket left and right about a 1/4 turn. KEEP THAT ARM RELAXED!! See how your hand follows the bale on the bucket?? You don’t use muscle to move the bucket but your hand follows the wire bale.
That is the feel you should have when shooting. The string elbow is completely relaxed (nothing but a loose hinge whose angle is set by the BOW, not you), the wrist is completely relaxed (in fact you may or should feel the bones in the wrist actually separate a little). ALL you are doing is holding the hook.
As I say, in person this is pretty easy to explain and demonstrate. It’s much harder to say in words.
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorAugust 21, 2015 at 9:43 pmPost count: 2359
Moebow wrote: Steve, We seem to be missing each other’s point of view. I struggle with your description of the “tension” through the arm.Arne
I think you are talking about muscle tension. I am talking about the tension force that must be applied to the arm to draw the bow. It’s the same tension that is in the string of the training device you mentioned.
When at full draw, the upper arm is under compression and the forearm is under tension. No muscular involvement here.
I tried the bucket thing. Sort of interesting. For me, if I pick the bucket up with the bail and my hand aligned front to back, it will rotate around till it is pointing at my side and my palm faces back. If someone turns it, it goes right back. Cool hah?
It’s the same thing that will happen if you pick the same bucket up with a 1/2″ or larger diameter braided rope. The bucket will rotate as the rope unwinds under tension.
It makes sense to me as the bones and muscles of the forearm are sort of twisted up.
They say that there can be up to a 20% variation in bone to bone angles in normal people. I probably got really lucky and got a combo that makes my hands resting position pronated.
Arne MoeMemberAugust 21, 2015 at 11:43 pmPost count: 147
Nice try David. I was a military pilot for 36 years, but it would be hard to get me to endure the TSA crap they have going these days. Driving is a better choice for me.
Steve, If you have that much “natural” pronation in your arm, have you considered bowling? REALLY, just kidding, but I think you would have a deadly hook.:shock:
Col MikeMemberAugust 22, 2015 at 12:20 amPost count: 910
That’s some of the best “long distance” coaching I have read. Bravo. But I’m thinking that if Steve visited Ausjim for a bit and practiced the bucket thing–perhaps his arm would untwist.:lol:
Seriously, your insightful responses are a pleasure to read.
Thanks for the time and effort.
PS What did you fly and for whom?
David CoulterMemberAugust 22, 2015 at 2:47 pmPost count: 2261
Arne, no wonder you have the discipline to keep it all straight. As Mike said, your long distance coaching is great. It’s not unusual for me to begin or end a day with a few minutes of MoeBow to help ingrain what’s important in form. I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise. all the best, david
Ps, there is a Bow Hand and Arm, Part 1 video. Is there are part 2? dwc
Arne MoeMemberAugust 22, 2015 at 8:43 pmPost count: 147
No “part 2” yet. Been trying to think out what to put into it AND work up the energy to do it. I keep thinking I should show several common errors, then think, “I shouldn’t show negatives.” Mentally bouncing around how to make “part 2” a complement to “part 1.”
Another problem I’m wrestling with is that SO much of the Bow arm is connected to what we do with the string hand/arm, my thinking seems to start blending the two together. That would probably be material for “string arm and hand “part 1 & 2.”
OH GADS, I’ve created a MONSTER!!!!
David CoulterMemberAugust 22, 2015 at 9:30 pmPost count: 2261
Well Godzilla, we’re all appreciative. It’s obvious that you put a lot of yourself into these, which is why they are helpful. I tend to agree as not to put negatives into our malleable minds, but it also might help us recognize what the heck we’ve been up to. When this thing rises up out of the sea, let us know. Thanks! dwc
Col MikeMemberAugust 23, 2015 at 3:00 amPost count: 910
Ha the F-100 Thunderbird ages you.:D Retired out of Eielson–you likely supported one or two of our ops way back then. Pm me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see.
Back on thread–as Dave said chapter two eagerly awaited, when you link body and mind as you do, it becomes a true pleasure to shoot the long bow.
David CoulterMemberSeptember 2, 2015 at 2:29 amPost count: 2261
Tonight I pulled a similar book off the shelf to give it a second try. I don’t think I was ready for such an unpeeling when I first picked this book up. It’s Core Archery, by Larry Wise. It’s basically about using the proper muscle groups to get repeatable results. Anyone else read this? I can’t give it a review at this point and I’m not so sure I should be messing with form questions this close to hunting season when I’m shooting fairly well right now!!
Brennan HerrMemberSeptember 2, 2015 at 2:58 amPost count: 403
I got the Archery Anatomy book myself. But I am not reading it until the new year. No need to start new things until I have the time to fully ingrain them into my shooting. But let us know how It’s core archery reads please.
Arne MoeMemberSeptember 2, 2015 at 12:39 pmPost count: 147
Folks, “Core Archery” is a TOP book written by a TOP coach, Larry Wise (USA Archery Level4 – NTS coach, multiple time champion a few years ago, and VERY active in archery and archery coaching). I frequently recommend this book when I am responding to compound shooter’s questions.
I seldom mention it on “Trad” forums due to the backlash of “OMG!!! That is a wheel bow technique so can’t possibly have anything good for us in it.”
Core Archery DOES show all the correct techniques that are easily applicable to our “Trad” ways. There is discussion about using releases, but basic form is basic form!! And Larry’s book is at the top of a short list. We all can( I have!!) learn a lot from it IF we can leave the “trad bias” out and perceive the “meat” of the book.
David CoulterMemberSeptember 6, 2015 at 10:14 amPost count: 2261
I just finished Core Archery and plan to read it again right away. The author, Larry Wise, gets right to the point, so it’s a pretty quick book to go through, and go through again. As Arne suggested, don’t pay attention to the type of bow, listen to the information on back tension, the mechanics of shooting and the importance of exercising your mind in the shot.
There are portions that I did not read that were specific to release aids, but I might include those parts in the reread. After all, it’s back tension that makes the release aid work, so it can probably be applied to finger shooting.
You could easily couple this book with Arne’s videos and have some excellent lessons.
Maybe I’ll put Archery Anatomy on my winter reading list now. thanks, dwc
Arne MoeMemberSeptember 7, 2015 at 12:59 amPost count: 147
YES! Core Archery is the compound NTS book for all intents and purposes. Another that MAY be of interest is the book “Archery” by USA Archery. An inexpensive NTS form book that is relatively inexpensive; less than $20 from Amazon and other places. It is pretty much “target” form but again, looking at different perspectives can only give more information.
Too my knowledge, there is no NTS style book written strictly from a “Trad” viewpoint. I TRY to show NTS techniques in my videos, and the Jimmy Blackmon videos are good too — also on You Tube.
IF!! a person is interested in “biomechanics” and how it MAY apply to their archery, the more perspectives one can review the better.
David CoulterMemberSeptember 7, 2015 at 1:16 amPost count: 2261
Thanks for the tip on the “Archery” by USA Archery. I have also found some helpful things in Shooting the Stickbow by Anthony Camera. One thing that helped me early on that I found in Shooting the Stickbow, was to work your form backward. Without or with the bow in hand, extend the bow arm. Put your string hand where it should end up, just behind the ear. In the position you can feel the correct tension in your back near the spine. I think it’s put better in the book, but that’s the gist and it was helpful to me.
This is a grand adventure. best, dwc
David CoulterMemberSeptember 27, 2015 at 3:49 pmPost count: 2261
Steve’s thread got me going by pulling Core Archery off the shelf and then Arne mentioned Kidwell somewhere, so I pulled Jay Kidwell’s Instinctive Archery Insights. I looked it over several years ago and now thought it deserved a closer look.
I think his idea of watching and programing the trajectory of the arrow into your shooting, rather than just point of impact, is interesting. I have not given that a specific try, but intend to. I do watch trajectory and definitely work it into my shooting, especially when stumping. But have not trained this way on the range with any real intention.
Has anyone else attempted this? Maybe it’s more widespread concept than I thought. Best, dwc
David CoulterMemberOctober 2, 2015 at 12:56 amPost count: 2261
I’m trying hard to pay attention to the details in the books, including back tension, follow through, following the trajectory of the arrow. I have to say I feel a difference. Once in a while I’ll step back to about 35 yards just to do form work. I’m happy to keep the arrows on the backstop. This morning I pinned a sycamore leaf to the bale and at the 35 yard mark I was hitting all around it and a couple of times in it. The first shot shows the usual proximity. After the direct hit, I moved in to hunting yardage to shoot a few and they were flying right in there. Neat stuff. ➡
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorOctober 2, 2015 at 10:54 amPost count: 2359
I started out using leaves on my target too. I like it. But the leaves don’t make themselves available in the winter.
I started using a piece of folded up paper towel. Just rip a rectangular corner off, fold it in half to make a square.
I use a wood shish kebab stick to hold it to the bale.
Arne MoeMemberOctober 2, 2015 at 12:06 pmPost count: 147
I’d suggest that you are making a common error in your training. You appear to be trying too many things at the same time. You mention BT, Arrow flight,Targets out to 35 yards, etc.
Work on one thing. Here is an example. IF you decide to work on back tension this session, then work on BT!! NO target, NO different ranges JUST BT!! Once you have that THEN AND ONLY THEN you might decide to move to a different distance. I’m talking a month or two here.
OK, Move the target out a couple yards, NOT to 35 yards!! Now you can work on the target BUT!!!!! you remain conscious of BT!! IF your shot changes a little ( loss of or change in BT) you STOP at the longer distance and return to the BT drills.
ONE thing at a time. As your targets move out in distance the “become the arrow” (trajectory) information will filter in.
When working on a form item, checking your progress by shooting at a bull’s eye, leaf, whatever is a prescription for “instant relapse!”
Slow down on the technique changes, ONE thing at a time. Work on that ONE thing until you have it pretty well mastered and tend to accomplish it nearly every time. Then move to the next item and work on that BUT don’t let the first thing you worked on get lazy or change. Don’t “check” your progress by shooting at a target. Your “progress check” is YOU and your analysis of your shot execution; NOT!!! where your arrow hits.
Remember, even a bull’s eye can be a mistake!!
David CoulterMemberOctober 2, 2015 at 7:53 pmPost count: 2261
Arne, I appreciate your advice. Most of my shooting of late has been blind bale, as my free time to shoot has been before daylight, but since the season opens tomorrow I’ve been shooting for accuracy as well when I get the chance. The 35 yard shots were out of curiosity and I was amazed I was as accurate as I was. Your thought to slow down and simplify is well taken.
I’ll keep you posted. Thank you, david
David CoulterMemberOctober 7, 2015 at 11:51 pmPost count: 2261
I know this has been covered, but a quick search didn’t lead me to it.
The question is about the ring finger on my string hand. That’s the finger that gets sore if any of them do. It seems like the flesh in the finger rolls under the string sometimes. Most of the time, there’s no problem, but sometimes that last section of the ring finger gets sore or even a little numb. Seems like it had to do with where the elbow was positioned, as in too low and the ring finger hurts. Any thoughts? thank you, dwc
Stephen GrafModeratorModeratorOctober 9, 2015 at 7:42 pmPost count: 2359
Since no one else has responded to this, I will quote some from Archery Anatomy. I am not sure exactly where your pain is, but here are two of the conditions / solutions explained and illustrated in the book:
1. Taking string on the pad of the finger instead of inside the last joint: “…the (finger) tips are further compressed and, unable to escape past the constriction of the string, balloon up, forming an even higher ridge for the string to climb. The string finally clears the trench by leaping to the side, and the loose is at last complete, but at a cost. There may be a tingling in the finger tips as the circulations returns to the strangled cushions, if not in the first loose, then certainly after (many shots)”
2. Uneven string pressure applied to the fingers: “Therefore, because the middle hook is so deep and the finger almost closing around the string, the loose is slowed as the finger quits the string in the order, three, one, two instead of all together. The problem may be recognized by a callus developing on the inside edge of the third finger. The cure is to develop an equal hook with the first and third fingers before the middle”
I can vouch for the fact that taking the string in the grove of the last joint is the best method. But getting even pressure on all three fingers is a challenge, at least for me.
I have found that if I take the string in the first and third finger as Axford suggests, with just a little pressure, and then rest the second finger on the string at the joint, then when I draw the bow, I am much more apt to get even pressure on all three fingers.
I have found that the potential accuracy of the shot is determined even before the bow is drawn. Your setup for the shot, and your confidence in the shot account for 90% of a good shot. The other 90% is luck (at least for me 😳 )
I am guilty of being a member of the “grip it and rip it” gang. I am attempting to discontinue my membership.
Axford also makes the general observation that a callus is the result of sliding, and if you have a callus on your finger it is because the finger is not getting out of the way at the loose, and the string is sliding along it robbing accuracy and speed.
Looking at his illustrations which show the lines of force and string / hand motion confirm his observations.
Hope this helps 😀
David CoulterMemberOctober 9, 2015 at 8:09 pmPost count: 2261
Steve, Thanks for taking time to respond. It’s an intermittent problem and the odd this is it seems to have increased as I am paying a lot more attention to my back tension. I suppose I could blame this on you, since you started this thread :D, but I take full responsibility for my awkwardness with the bow.
I do hook the string in the first joint of all three fingers, shooting split finger style. I can tell that the string sometimes starts to slip forward in my ring finger, causing the compression on the tip of the finger. I supposed I need to keep a stronger hook, yet relaxed hand. I do like the idea of applying pressure with the ring finger and first finger before the second finger comes into play. I’ll have to give that a shot.
It’s a journey and I love it. Thanks for your help! best, david
Arne MoeMemberOctober 9, 2015 at 8:30 pmPost count: 147
Maybe not so much a stronger hook but rather just do not let the string roll or move IN your hook during the draw. Any movement of the string in your hook will change all the careful placement you used to set it in the first place.
David CoulterMemberNovember 28, 2015 at 10:02 pmPost count: 2261
I wanted to post an update, but also move this thread back up. Good stuff here and there have been some new members joining us.
I’ve been blind baling almost every morning. I’m also squeezing in a little accuracy in the daylight. I really have to concentrate on the parts of form but the payoff has been worth it. Great stuff. Thanks to Steve and Arne. Best, david
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