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    • gblue86
      Post count: 5

      I recently bought a 35# recurve bow and have been target shooting with it for about four months now. It’s a PSE blackhawk. I was doing pretty good with it (consistently shooting within the 8 to 10 area on the target), but in the last week or so I’ve noticed a huge change in my accuracy. My arrows are ending up in radically different places on (and often off) the target. I feel like I’ve got good form and I am doing the same thing for each shot, but my arrows are not landing remotely close to each other anymore. I am looking for suggestions on what could be causing this. I’ve attached a couple of pictures as well. Bring on the critiquing. 😉

      attached fileattached file
    • Vintage Archer
      Member
      Post count: 276

      While it is hard to critque a persons shooting form from a few pictures The firts thing I notice is your elbow on the bow arm is quite high.

      A high elbow will give erratic shots.It also is a indicator that you are not useing your back muscles .

      Try to keep your bow arm level and squeeze that shoulder blad back

      If you have acess to a video camera filming yourself whie shooting is a good way to analize your form

      Welcome to traditional archery.The fun is just begining.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Hi GBlue and welcome to tradbow.com, the friendliest hunting site in the known universe. I saw the same thing Joe mentions — your arm is high. It also appears that you may be torquing the string sideways at full draw, which could be a result of the high arm. So check those aspect of your form first. Beyond that it could be a release problem … we all go through phases where we just get sloppy. And too, there’s bow tuning. Since you’re new, do you have anyone who knows stickbow set-up to check it out? Brace height, string nock position, and matching arrow to bow all can mess you up. Since you were shooting OK and now are not, it could be that the string has stretched and the brace height is now too low. In order to get consistent accuracy with a stickbow there are certain elements that function basically like front and rear sights on a gun. Those settings have to be checked once in a while for consistency. I’m sure you’ll get lots more and better advice here soon enough. You’ll get it worked out, no doubt. A great backyard hobby. I would shoot even if I didn’t hunt. Dave

    • Arne Moe
      Member
      Post count: 147

      GBlue, I think Joe means your string arm elbow, not your bow arm. You look pretty good, have you had an instructor or are you self taught? I agree, that elbow is high and that can do strange things to how you hold the string and release it. Under my avatar is a link to some videos I did a while back that may give you some visual cues to help out.

      Also, as has been said, and especially in the beginning you will have good times of shooting and times that you feel you can’t do anything right. Hang in there, and remember that “us guys” were able to do it, SOOOO….

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Congrats on the bow and welcome to the forum! I’d have to echo the comments above about a high elbow – it’s something I have to continually correct myself on as well. I’d just add that I particularly notice it if I’ve been shooting a lot – I think that when I get tired, I subconsciously start shifting the work away from back muscles and into my arm. Sometimes it’s best to just take a break and/or stretch for a little while.

      And maybe you’re already on top of it, but I’d second Dave’s suggestion of checking your bow variables – nock height & brace height. Depending on the bow, it doesn’t take much of a change to sometimes drastically change the results. Out of curiosity, what is your string material?

      Hope that helps!

    • Vintage Archer
      Member
      Post count: 276

      Moebow wrote: GBlue, I think Joe means your string arm elbow, not your bow arm. You look pretty good, have you had an instructor or are you self taught? I agree, that elbow is high and that can do strange things to how you hold the string and release it. Under my avatar is a link to some videos I did a while back that may give you some visual cues to help out.

      Also, as has been said, and especially in the beginning you will have good times of shooting and times that you feel you can’t do anything right. Hang in there, and remember that “us guys” were able to do it, SOOOO….

      Moebow you are right I ment string arm.

      thanks I am sure GBlue was completly confused.

    • gblue86
      Post count: 5

      Gentlemen, Thank you for your input and encouragement. I am self taught and am enjoying the new hobby very much…just hit a little glitch perhaps. I will take all of your advice into account and will work on my technique. I will double check the tuning as well. I am embarassed to say that I don’t know what material the string is made of. It’s an entry level bow, so maybe there is a standard material that is used for most beginner bows. Thanks again everyone.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      gblue86 wrote:

      I am embarassed to say that I don’t know what material the string is made of. It’s an entry level bow, so maybe there is a standard material that is used for most beginner bows. Thanks again everyone.

      No worries. More important to just tune it well and keep checking that the nock and brace height are consistently in the ‘sweet spot.’

      But for future reference when it comes time to replace the string, some string materials, such as B-50 will stretch a lot more than Fastflight-type strings.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      gblue86

      Congrats on the bow and welcome to the sport. You will run into the same issues you are having now, many times in the future. I have been shooting since about 8-9 yrs of age, and am 59 now. Been there done that, many times.:D

      I agree with all that is said above, in addition, make sure your release is the same every time. just like shooting a gun, the break of the trigger, or relaxing of the fingers for the release, should be a sub-conscience act. If you are thinking about it, you will NOT be consistent. That is one form of what is known as target panic. One way to eliminate that is to get about 5ft from a BIG target that is set to the height your arrow points when the bow is drawn. Have someone watch you just to make sure it’s safe, then cover your eyes, raise the bow to target level (this is why it’s set 5ftaway) draw and release as you normally do. whether it’s a snap shoot or full anchor, just repeat it. Do it the same way, each time. The purpose of this is to focus on the release, letting it be as natural and un-anticipated as possible. You will start to “feel” when it is slipping away before you “think” it to. That is when it’s right.

      Also things like changing your grip, as in gripping it higher or lower, harder or looser, all this can change the point of impact. There are some ways considered better than others, but for now, just be consistent.

      The importance of the string elbow being lower, is, as was mentioned, the use of the back muscles. You should be able to practice drawing a bow, without ever picking one up. If you use the back muscles like you would when drawing the bow, it is a form of isometric exercise. The only muscles of the string arm that should be used, are those required to hold the string. Let the back muscles, pulling the shoulder blades together, draw the bow for you.

      Lots to think about, I know, but take it one step at a time.

      Oh, and don’t worry about the string material, not all bows are rated for anything much stronger than B-50 dacron. Fastflight CAN break the tips off a bow, not built for it.

      Bows built for it usually have the tips reinforced with linen micarta or similar.

      Keep us posted on your progress.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Oh, one other point. For target archery, it is usually better, to keep the head full upright, and bring the bow string to you. I see a slight leaning of the head. If this is not consistent, that will scatter arrows as well.

      Target form is much more stringent than hunting.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Here is a pic borrowed from eddersbow.com.

      Look at the picture on the left to get an idea of what I was describing about the upright stance.

      When I described drawing the bow and releasing, without a bow, that is taken from the Koreans. Their olympic hopefuls, practice 6-8hrs a day, sometimes for 2 years, BEFORE EVER HOLDING A BOW. That is the importance of form in archery.

    • fattony77
      Post count: 59

      Do your arrows have plastic vanes or feathers?

    • gblue86
      Post count: 5

      fattony77 wrote: Do your arrows have plastic vanes or feathers?

      Plastic. One has already broken off and one is on the verge of being ripped out.

    • fattony77
      Post count: 59

      Of course all of the previous advice given is great, and given by MUCH more experienced and knowledgeable people than I. But I DO know that the plastic vanes don’t move out of the way as they travel across the shelf. It may not cause huge deflection, but it does effect accuracy. Hopefully with the previously given advice and some feathered arrows you’ll get to where you wanna be. Some more feedback, on this aspect, from the other folks, please? Anyway welcome to the site and this wonderful addiction!

      -Tony

    • Raymond CoffmanRaymond Coffman
      Moderator
      Post count: 1033

      Hi Gblue86-

      Trad archery is great fun, and a shooting sport one can easily do in the yard [as your photos show].

      To echo fattony77 feather fletch is best for tradbow arrows.

      I would recommend the Traditional Bowhunter’s Handbook by TJ Conrads – great primer [ even if you don’t hunt] excellent reference for trad archery info.

      Scout

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Good eye, Tony. I didn’t even occur to me to take a close look at fletching. For “off the shelf” shooting as you are Gblue86, feathers are the only way to go.

    • rwbowman
      Post count: 119

      Smithhammer wrote: Good eye, Tony. I didn’t even occur to me to take a close look at fletching. For “off the shelf” shooting as you are Gblue86, feathers are the only way to go.

      The vanes may be the culprit. The high elbow has a lot to do with form, but if your form is consistent and you can bring the elbow down level, you got it. I hate to ask but couldn’t help notice; what is your anchor reference? It looks like you may use your index finger as a guide, but in the first picture, it seems it may just be resting on your lower jaw. If your anchor is inconsistent, so shall your point of impact.

      Above all of the excellent advice already offered, I would first look into getting some feathers on your shafts. Plastic vanes, while durable, do not “give” as they pass over the shelf as feathers do, and therefore the arrows flight is crudely altered when the arrow is released and the vane hits the shelf, typically causing the nock end to kick high, resulting in an erratic flight and miss.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      rwbowman wrote: [quote=Smithhammer]Good eye, Tony. I didn’t even occur to me to take a close look at fletching. For “off the shelf” shooting as you are Gblue86, feathers are the only way to go.

      The vanes may be the culprit. The high elbow has a lot to do with form, but if your form is consistent and you can bring the elbow down level, you got it. I hate to ask but couldn’t help notice; what is your anchor reference? It looks like you may use your index finger as a guide, but in the first picture, it seems it may just be resting on your lower jaw. If your anchor is inconsistent, so shall your point of impact.

      Above all of the excellent advice already offered, I would first look into getting some feathers on your shafts. Plastic vanes, while durable, do not “give” as they pass over the shelf as feathers do, and therefore the arrows flight is crudely altered when the arrow is released and the vane hits the shelf, typically causing the nock end to kick high, resulting in an erratic flight and miss.

      +1 on all the above, in addition, you will probably notice a shift in point of impact with the same aiming technique.

      My suggestion, is to go in order.

      First change vanes to feathers, then

      insure the anchor point (whatever it is) is consistent, then

      Drop string arm to horizontal

      See what improvements that makes, if not enough, then continue with all the items mentioned above, BUT, change only one thing at a time, including the in order items. If you change everything at once, and something is worse, you will have no idea what it is. Little changes can make HUGE improvements sometimes.

      Good luck, and again, for a self taught archer, your form looks very good. As I mentioned above, it looks more traditional than target, kinda of a hybrid.

      Oh and for what it’s worth, women and girls, seem to learn quicker than men in shooting sports. Why? Mostly because they have fewer “macho” issues to get past before learning. I say this cause now we expect BIG improvements:D. Just kiddn.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      handirifle wrote:

      Oh and for what it’s worth, women and girls, seem to learn quicker than men in shooting sports. Why? Mostly because they have fewer “macho” issues to get past before learning. I say this cause now we expect BIG improvements:D. Just kiddn.

      Ha. I have definitely found the same thing to be true with teaching fly casting as well.

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      One more suggestion. Not sure what you’re shooting into or what is behind the target, but be very careful. Make sure the backstop goes at least 3ft above the target, especially if there is ANY thing behind it you do not want to hit.

      I will tell you a story of a friend of mine. He shoot compounds, and with a mechanical release. He USED to shoot in his back yard, that had houses all around. One afternoon/evening he was shooting near dusk. He had made some changes to his setup and was testing them. he is also one of those guys that draws with his bow arm elevated, and brings it down as he draws the bow back.

      Well about his 10th shot, he draws it back, and with it only about 1/3 of the way back, the release did just that. The arrow zipped off and he heard a “tink” sound. Thinking it had gone over his block wall (lots of those in Southern Ca, and hit his neighbors far side block wall, he peeked over the fence. No one was there, it was getting dark, and the neighbors lawn was overgrown, so he decided to look the next morning. No biggie he figured. That was until a couple hours later, and he got a knock on his door. Answering the door, he saw a Deputy Sheriff, HOLDING HIS ARROW. The Sheriff asked to see his teenage son. Seeing the arrow, he said “I can explain that”, but the Sheriff insisted on seeing the boy. He finally explained, that it was HIS arrow, and what had happened. He asked where it was found, and the deputy saif, “Three houses down, it went through the dual pane, upstairs window, and stuck in the families armoire.:shock:

      Of course he told the officer, I will pay for everything, anything that needs repaired will be totally taken care of and was humbly apologizing. You see he and I both were air traffic controllers, and he was a second level manager, that would NOT look good on his resume!

      Sooo, be careful what is behind you before you let go of the arrow.:D

    • gblue86
      Post count: 5

      cyberscout wrote: Hi Gblue86-

      Trad archery is great fun, and a shooting sport one can easily do in the yard [as your photos show].

      To echo fattony77 feather fletch is best for tradbow arrows.

      I would recommend the Traditional Bowhunter’s Handbook by TJ Conrads – great primer [ even if you don’t hunt] excellent reference for trad archery info.

      Scout

      I have just ordered that book from the library. Am looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the input.

    • gblue86
      Post count: 5

      Wow…thanks everybody for all of the info. I have lowered my arm and can definitly see a change in my accuracy…very encouraging indeed. I hope to be investing in some feather arrows in the near future. All of the above advice is good and very appreciated. Thank you. I will keep you updated on my progress. 😀

    • Raymond CoffmanRaymond Coffman
      Moderator
      Post count: 1033

      gblue86 –

      Your welcome — enjoy

      it is a great sport, and I use it as a stress reliever–

      keep us posted on your progress and continue to join the camaraderie of this excellent website.

      Scout

    • tombow
      Post count: 103

      Welcome to a great pastime It may just become a huge part of who you are, a fiber of your being if you will. I would whole heartedly agree with what has been replied to you above. Another good book to look into is “Shooting the Stickbow” by Anthony Camera, a very detailed book on shooting,equipment and proper equipment set-up. I would urge you to get rid of the vanes ASAP as feathers will be much more forgiving of slight changes in shooting form. Shooting a bow is all about consistency and moebow has some great videos on YouTube concerning proper form.

      The sudden change in accuracy would have me looking toward equipment issues. Check your arrows for damage, bent shafts, cracked nocks, etc. Also look at your string for broken fibers. If the string is damaged, or at least not in good condition, it may be stretching which will cause your nocking point to move and your brace height (distance from the deepest part of the grip to the string when the bow is at rest, strung but not drawn). You will learn many terms and please ask questions! You will find that trad archers are a wealth of information and are all too willing to help you out to understand the ins and outs of the magic of archery. Best of Luck!

    • Wexbow
      Post count: 403

      Hi gblue, welcome to trad archery. I totally agree with everything said above. As a self taught archer and still relative novice, my advice is to develop a shot sequence. This is probably a bit more target based than pure trad but I belive this is the key to progress. It’s hard to do this in apost but just to give you a flavour mine is STAABAR (easy to remember acronym):

      Stance – set your feet (i like a square stance), slightly bend the knees.

      T-form – key to everything you do! Drop both shoulders and keep those elbows down! bend from the waist when you move on to up/down shots.

      Abs – lift the pelvis and tighten those abs (this goes back to t-form really)

      Arms – i like to set my arms and prefer a straight arm draw where the bow arm is set out in front in t-form, the string hand is placed wrist forward (thanks to Moebows advice) which rotates the arrow into the shelf on drawing. you’re then ready to draw

      Back muscles – engage only the back during the draw and anchor!!!

      Anchor – wherever you prefer but the exact same every time!

      Release/relax fingers – let the back and the bow do the work. the hand should finish back on or towards the rear shoulder if you’re using your back properly!

      Just the way i do things and certainly not the only way or right for everyone but a great way to learn consistant form when staring out. Keep us posted on your progress…

    • pewanogo
      Post count: 35

      TJ Conrads book from the library is good for your immediate problem but you’ll find that this volumn is a referance you will return to again and again. It is very resonably priced and well worth every penny to anyone who is or wants to be a Traditional archer. I keep mine on my bench and constantly refer to it when shooting, building arrows or other related archery activities. It’s a gold mine of info , easily understood by either a novice, or a geezer like me.

    • woodchuck
      Member
      Post count: 40

      Ditto on TJ’s book!!! I got it earlier this year, have already had to have my daughter-in-law (the librarian) do some repair on the book 🙂 Yeah, it’s been gone through that much in just a few months. I keep referring back to it whenever I’m trying something new, or when something “just isn’t right”.

    • fattony77
      Post count: 59

      Another shooting form aspect (that I constantly struggle with) is “follow through”. Keep aiming until the arrow hits the target. I know when I’m not hitting where I should be (usually low) if I hold my position upon release until the arrow hits, it usually starts clearing up. Apparently, your bow arm drops when you look to see where the arrow will hit, causing the arrow to go wherever it’s pointed when you release. (?!?):shock:

    • pewanogo
      Post count: 35

      It’s called peek-abooooooooooooooooo

    • archer38
      Post count: 242

      I’m no expert, in fact I’ve only been shooting traditional for about 6 months now but in that 6 months I’ve gone from shooting all over the place to shooting squirrels and rabbits on a regular basis. The biggest reason for this is a fellow named Rick Welch. His shooting method and teachings are awesome. Search on-line and find everything you can from Rick Welch and his instinctive shooting method.

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