It's possible that the bow is shooting perfect, for someone that has a draw length of 30 inches. But what if the shooter's draw length is 28 inches? It happens.
If the draw length is correct it's time to watch the shooter and judge their form. I want to see where they're making their mistakes. It may be in the hand, the arm may be collapsing, they may be tourqing one way or the other, or they have a bad release problem. Those are the main things you look for right away.
Let's start with grip. The one thing I see most often in the hand is a shooter will hold their hand open and as soon as they release the arrow, they grab the bow. This is something you have to talk them through. It can take dozens of shots.
First you have the shooter grip the bow very lightly and really relax that bow hand. It's the bones in the arm and wrist that is going to hold the bow out there, the fingers should be totally relaxed. After awhile you will see that the shooter has quit gripping the bow and their fingers are totally relaxed. What you want to happen is have that arrow long gone before they tighten up any muscles.
What happens if the shooter's hand is not totally relaxed is a pulling or torquing effect. This throws the arrow off and it makes a bad tear hole on a paper, causes terribly erratic arrow flight, and the arrow never hits the target where it's supposed to consistently. The next thing I look at is alignment. The release arm needs to be in line with the arrow. The plane of the bow arm and forearm should be on the same plane as the arrow whenever the bow is drawn. Alignment is really just a matter of anchor point and draw length. Once you get that set up properly alignment will be right.
Now comes the release. I really think this is one of the biggest problems with shooters now that we have incorporated the mechanical releases. People get into a panic. They punch the release, they snatch it. They try to hit the dot when the pin is floating around the dot and that makes them panicky so they just jerk that trigger real hard once that pin gets close to the dot.
It's a tremendous problem and some archers have quit the sport because they couldn't control the release and didn't have anybody to to teach them how to perfect their program.
Problems with the release are pretty easy to read. The shooter will flinch, maybe even jerk and the bow arm will collapse. It takes a lot of work to get a shooter out of this condition. As far as the bow arm collapsing, it's as I stated earlier. You must relax that hand, and the arm. Once I get them to relax then I have them shoot into a blank bale. Not just a few arrows, but hundreds of shots.
There's no targets or marks on this bale to confuse the shooter because that's what panic is all about; you're afraid of missing the spot you're aiming at.
The shooter doesn't have to be far from the bale. I put them about five yards away and I tell them not to aim an arrow.
After they have shot over and over and over until they get into the groove with the release, I tell them now they can shut their eyes and shoot some more.
At five yards they close their eyes and squeeze the trigger until it goes off. Do that now over and over until their mind is set on how to squeeze that trigger.
Some people think you can work out of a release problem by going to a back-tension release. Shooters can set them off and I've seen people pick them up and snatch them as well. The best thing to do is get to the point where you are very comfortable just releasing an arrow and then start shooting some closer targets and then work into some longer shots until you have the feel for the proper release.
There are a few other little things you can work on like your stance, but those minor things don't take much to straighten out. The main things, a proper draw length, a relaxed bow arm and hand, and a good release will get you to the point where you can put together a good group of arrows at 30 to 40 yards. You get those things in line and the shots will go where you want them to.
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