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Hi All,

I'm brand new to this forum and brand new to Archery. I bought my first bow about 5 weeks ago. I think I've found a new love. :) I've spent many years in the woods with my rifle. Now I am eagerly awaiting my first Archery hunt.

Anyway, when I bought my bow (Hoyt Cybertec...last years model), the guy at the Archery store had me bend my bow arm slightly to help avoid being hit by the cable when I shoot. One thing I've noticed is that I sometimes have trouble holding my aim, and I was reading in Bernie Pellerite's book, Idiot Proof Archery, that it is harder to hold your aim if you bend your bow arm.

So, should I be holding my arm straight? How do you shoot? Obviously, if I straighten my arm, I'll need to have my draw length adjusted. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, anyone from Pennsylvania know of a good archery club or teaching professional near the Montgomery County area?

Thanks
 

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Put it this way......you don't see any Pro spot shooters shooting bent arm. I used to shoot that way, but since switching, shooting has gone up ever since. Keep bow arm straight, but not LOCKED, shoulder relaxed and down in socket, and leave it there. Shoot away and drill Xs!!!! With that said, there is one guy that lives about 25-30 minutes away that shoots quite a bent arm, and is our current state 3D champion in freestyle, won the THE shoot in Ada, OK, and others. He could shoot the lights out on a 5 spot at indoor league last year! We didn't shoot a regular NFAA 5 spot round.......10 arrows at 5 yard increments from 10-30 yards with an extra 10 @ 20 yards. Scoring was X=5, outer white=3 inner blue=2 outer blue=1 His high-score was 265. the highest that us other guys got was......I think 244 (VERY good shooter with 3D bow. Pins, wrist release, modular stab.) Other than him, I think I scored the next best ONE time at 200. My friend with pins but a lens got 205. I'm sure he woulda been a 300 58-60X shooter @ 20 yards though. It just all comes down to what works best for you, but straight relaxed arm is the most popular. What has helped alot of people (including me) is to post a pic of your form from the side and the back, and we can evaluate it for ya.
 

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This is the best way I have found to show a person the correct bow arm position.
Put your arm out as if holding a bow. Find a wall in your house and lean on it. Straighten your arm out as far as you can, you will feel the muscle tighten in your arm. Now bend your arm , you will again feel the muscle tighten in your arm. Go back to the complete locked arm and relax it slightly. It will feel as if you can stay there all day. No muscle fatigue, your bow arm will be very steady at this position.
 

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Great question, great answers....remember, however, that archery form is composed of building blocks. There are several critical aspects that are now considered to be essential elements. One cannot, however, be considered in isolation without looking at your overall form. The best advice anyone can give you at this stage is to spend the money on a competent coach.
 

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it is easier to hold steady with it straight for some, some it is easier to hold steady with your arm bent. don't worry about what the pros do (not trying to bust on ya grant, lol). i say go out, and don't think about anything, just do what is comfortable. the #1 thing in archery is do what is comfortable. if something works for a pro, thats good. but it is not true because it works for him, it will work for you. so do what you like. and if you are new in archery, then don't take all of this so seriously. don't go out and try to shoot perfect. and one thing, and again, don't go out, and take it so seriously that you try to do it in a few days. you should be letting the dot, pin, fiber, ring, etc.... float, not trying to keep it on the gold. think about that, and remember, this takes months, and months, and months to master. sometimes even years. :)
good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your input.

I think I'm going to spend some time seeking out a competent instructor in my area.

Grant...you suggestion to put photos on the site here is a good one. I'll do that as soon as I get someone to take my picture.

Joe...when you say to lean against the wall...I assume you mean lean my back against the wall?
 

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The following was posted by George Ryals (GRIV) and reprinted several times. It is well worth the read...

I believe that the "surprise break" and back tension go hand in hand. When a release is used properly, back tension produces a surprise break.

Here is a little piece that I wrote a while ago on the topic.

What really is back tension?

Many shooters are mystified with the notion of “back tension.” For many shooters it is this mysterious feeling you get in your back when your shoulder blades are rotated, tucked, pulled, and squeezed into just the right contorted position that enables the elusive “perfect shot”. For others it requires a medical degree and a body chart to locate ambiguous muscle groups that must be flexed and pinched at just the right interval while poking at your release trigger. Ultimately, it is a confusing distraction that takes our mind off aiming, and aiming is the grand wizard of tasks that must be completed without distraction to complete the perfect shot.

All kidding aside, “back tension” can be simplified as a dynamic tension that is set up at the beginning of the draw and it is continues through the release of the arrow. I feel that it is the second only to aiming as the key fundamental part of shooting form that generates accuracy and consistency. Proper setup and use of this tension can help you shoot longer by relieving fatigue. It will make you a more stable shooter by relieving muscle tension in the arms and hands. Dynamic tension also reduces the amount of muscle groups involved in the shot. This will diminish muscle tremors that can cause sudden misses, quick shots, and general unsteadiness.

What does it feel like?

Try this exercise. Make a bow drawing motion (without a bow in your hands). For most people it is easier to isolate the back without the weight of the bow or the tension of the string. While making a drawing motion, make sure your hands, forearms, and shoulders are relaxed as they can be. Actually let your hands dangle loosely as you do this. Keep your back straight, head up and turned towards the target, and straighten your bow arm, but keep the elbow unlocked. As you reach full draw, you will be able to feel your back working to hold full draw. Keep your elbow high. The lower your elbow gets, the greater your chances become for your back transferring the pressure to your arms and hands. Loss of tension is usually unrecoverable without letting down and restarting the shot. Leaning back at full draw is also another common cause of tension loss. I had this problem and it is hard to fix because you can’t feel it. Stick a bow square or an arrow in your waistband and let it go down into your pant leg next to your leg. Usually an arrow works best because of its length. It will remind you to stay straight as it stops you from leaning as you draw. This feels weird, but it does help.

This is the critical juncture in the whole technique. If your hands and arms take over, you will increase your shot time and will lose stability. The longer you stay with the shot the more unstable you will become, almost guaranteeing a miss. You can test this feel just as you did above by going through the same motions except make your fists super tight. You will be able to feel a diminished amount of tension in your back and if you keep your hands balled tight enough, you can feel the shaking and muscle tremors caused by this loss of tension.

How do you shoot a bow with well placed tension?

Dynamic tension is a simple push pull technique. You need to feel a balance between the push and the pull. Imagine drawing a bungee cord and you are stretching it between your bow arm and your drawing hand. Dynamic tension or the push pull effect stretches the cord. Most pro shooters set up this dynamic tension when they raise the bow to the target. This stages the proper muscle groups. The muscles that you use to draw the bow are the very same muscles that you use to aim the bow, and the back muscles will give you the most stability. I feel that it is virtually impossible to reach your full potential as a shooter unless you draw the in this manner because it is extremely difficult to draw the bow with one muscle group and then, at full draw, switch to the proper muscle group. If you draw it with arm and hand power, you are doomed to aim it with arm power, which is incredibly unstable. As you reach full draw you should pull the bow into the stops and continue to apply mild pressure as you align your peep with the scope and the dot with the X. Once everything is centered and anchored in the center of the target, You will then commit to the shot and the release opens in time.

How do you shoot a release while using Dynamic Tension?

We have reached full draw and aligned the whole shebang up with the X. Now what do you do? Well the release better go off pretty soon or you will pull the wheels off of the bow. With a trigger style release, usually you will need a slightly stiffer trigger than you are used to. This will let you build strong tension with you r finger on the trigger without risk of pre-fires. I allow my wrist muscles and the tendons in the back of my hand to slightly relax as I pull. This causes my hand to yield on the release. There is no real perceivable movement, but it is just enough to change the pressure on the trigger, and the shot is released. A rotational style release works in the same manner. When you commit to the shot and your tension builds allow your hand to soften or yield on the release and that is just enough to change the attitude of the release handle to make it fire.

How do you know if it is right?

This is where the mystery is revealed. If your elbow is above the plane of your shoulder, your are pushing and pulling, and there is no undue tension in your hands or arms, you have to be doing it right. Your bow will feel easier to hold, and your sight will hold tighter on the dot. If you feel like you are working too hard you are probably not doing it right. You may be over pulling. If your shot will not go off, you have lost tension. Let down and reset.

Do not over complicate the feel just push and pull. Practice this on a blank bale until you get it down. Then practice it on a target at close distances until you can forget about it and allow it to naturally happen. Then move to your normal distances and go for it.

If you need a visual aid go to www.archeryhistory.com and click on “archers” at the top of the page is a video of Terry Ragsdale and Eric Hall in a shoot off in Australia 1985. Terry, in my opinion, is the model for good form. In the video, he exhibits flawless form and perfect shot execution. Grab the 20meg file. It will take a while, but it is worth it.

George Ryals IV


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Don't overthink it; you might outsmart yourself.

George Ryals IV
 

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archery1 said:
don't worry about what the pros do (not trying to bust on ya grant, lol). i say go out, and don't think about anything, just do what is comfortable. the #1 thing in archery is do what is comfortable. if something works for a pro, thats good. but it is not true because it works for him, it will work for you. so do what you like.
Finally someone said it.
 

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The best book on compound bows (IMHO) is James Park's "Mastering Compound Bows," and you can get it as a .pdf file from

http://www.archery-forum.com/afstore/

Park advocates a very recurve-like style for the compound, and it features a straight bow arm that is kept in line with your shoulders.

Park also has two new books that are supposedly published, but I have yet to get my copies. One is on analysis of form (perfect timing!), and the other is (if I recall) on bow tuning. Park is quite smart, and it is well worth reading his work.

Another book that you should probably read (although it is for recurve) is "The Simple Art of Winning," and this is probably the best single book on archery.

kgk
 

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Grant,
I have shot with Crawford for quite awhile and although I agree with you to a point, shooting 59-60 x's indoors is more of a mental deal than it is a great shot deal. Anyone can hit an X at 20 yards. It takes a heck of a mental game to do the exact same thing each time. I have shot with people that had the worst looking form in the world and had terrible shot execution, but if they did it exactly the same way everytime, they shoot lights out.

You do not have to look like you come out of a cookie cutter of a pro shooter to shoot good. Alot of pros have a complete different style ane you can's tell them that any of them is wrong if it works for them.
 

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If the pros jump a cliff are you going to do it too?!
A bent arm is the way to go, or at least for me. I get better back tention that way and i've never had the string hit my arm!
 

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Look at how much bent arm shooters that shoot long distance events in the pro ranks use a bent arm. Slim and none even former bent arm shooters are going to the straight arm. It's all about consistency. It's easier to keep your arm consistently straight then have to bend it the same all the time.
 

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i use to shoot with a bent arm, and resisted changing it for a long time. I now shoot with a straight arm and now I have fewer misses and am more consistant from day to day. With a bent arm, consistency was a problem. My 2cents worth of experience!
 

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Grant,
Sorry, thought you were talking about the guy that won the THE shoot in Open in Kansas and at Ada. He was the one I was talking about.
 

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Its not in my arm its in my back. And keeping a bent arm consistant isnt too hard.
The way i see it bend the arm and dont get wacked or keep it straight and get wacked. Am i right on this?
 

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Just food for thought--here is what I did, which resulted in a postive change for me, and was based on coaching advice --1)open stance about 10-15 degrees--2) arm straight but not locked. Here is why: a slightly open stance takes muscle tension out of the deltoid. Stand perpendicular to the target without an open stance or bow and you can feel tension in the deltoid. Also, by opening the stance, you create more distance between the bow arm and string, avoiding string contact with the arm. A straight arm is a bone to bone line which tends to be more consistant, transfers energy straight down a T style form set-up, and most importantly, eliminates muscle tension more easily. I agree, however, that form must also be comfortable and work for your body style.
 

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Not bent but relaxed. If you are hitting your arm you are usually to long a draw or to deep in the grip with your hand. These are the two main reasons I see shooters hitting their arm.
 

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PBH
Do you know where French Creek Outfitters is outside Phoenixville?
I know they give lessons, but I have no idea how much $$$. Or just head on over, look around, watch & ask a few questions.
John
 
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