(music playing) With archery becoming an increasingly popular sport, more and more people are buying bows and teaching themselves how to shoot. Although the predominant recommendation is to go to a club and take lessons. It isn’t an option for many people. And some people just don’t want to mess around with the club scene. Fortunately there are so many resources available online, that teaching yourself how to shoot using video references is becoming increasingly viable. It is common online for people to recommend archery channels on Youtube. Among these channels there is Archery TV, the official channel for World Archery. Coverage of World Archery events including the World Cup and World Championship are put on this channel. And you can see the world’s best competitive archers in action. Because of these world class archers and champions, this channel is occasionally used as reference by some people to learn how to shoot. Watch the pros and copy them. Personally I don’t like that advice. While watching them as a spectator can be quite enjoyable, learning from elite athletes isn’t the easiest way to go about developing your skills. When people tell beginners to watch the pros an copy them, I get a little annoyed, because it kinda disregards the learning process and the individual’s needs. One thing to remember is the difference in equipment. The pro athletes are using target style equipment with modern materials, sights and stabilisers. If you’ve just gotten your Samick Sage and you’re shooting traditional bare bow, then it might not be a good idea to copy what they are doing on Archery TV. The shooting style is different, technique is different. And while there are similarities – Yeah they are both recurves and there are similar techniques. You wouldn’t really shoot a traditional bow the way would shoot an Olympic bow. Even if you do have the same equipment, remember – they are professional athletes. They spend their entire lives training and conditioning and competing. If you are only shooting casually once or twice a week, there are going to be huge differences in the way you shoot. For example, if you watch some of the matches, you often see the top archers hold onto the shot for what feels like forever. Now this is actually a bad habit. As a beginner you are taught to execute the shot smoothly and within a certain timeframe. You realistically have around 2 seconds to get to your anchor point and release. If you hold on for any longer than that, you start getting the shakes. And in fact if you look at some of the pro archers, they actually do go through the shakes when on the line. Now, the difference is that with the pro archers, they are conditioned to the point when they do have the muscle control and the stamina to hold the shot for that perfect 10. And as a casual shooter or as a beginner, even as an intermediate, you probably don’t have that conditioning. And it is still a bad habit. You should be focused on process and a smooth rhythm and shot sequence. Rather than trying to aim, hold and get that perfect shot. That’s something that only a pro can do. And even so, it probably is discouraged by their coach. And they are only doing it because they have to get that perfect shot. And even then it usually isn’t the case. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do that. It’s more of a skill that’s developed over time with intensive training rather than something that’s copied. The most important thing to remember when trying to learn from pros is that watching them is only only valuable if you know what you’re looking at. You can’t become a pro footballer watching Ronaldo. You can’t become professional boxer while watching Manny Pacquiao. They make it look easy, sure, but remember, these guys had years of training, with someone to explain concepts, they’ve learnt through experience. And they have skills which are specially trained up. If you never experienced the same kind of training, you haven’t been exposed to that, then it’s very difficult to pick up why athletes do certain things. I call this the spectator spectrum. Depending on your level of expertise and your experience in the sport, you observe different things. For someone who knows nothing about archery, watching the archers ath the Olympic games is lot like: “Hey a bullseye!” If you’ve actually done archery training, and you’re a novice or intermediate, you start making comparisons between what the pros do and what you’ve been taught. You observe their shot process, the stance, the rhythm, the anchor. You watch these really fine points in their technique. And you start observing and predicting which shots will be good shots and which ones will be bad shots. Even to the point where you can incorporate some of their techniques into your own style. And as you become more advanced, you become more critical of what archers are doing. You identify different shooting styles. You pick out habits that people have. You can accurately predict the result of a shot before it’s released. This is basically coach’s vision, if you have a coach they’ll do this. They’ll talk to you while you’re shooting, the coach is standing over here and they’re just watching you. They don’t care where your shot lands, they are watching you. And with enough experience, you can actually read a person so well, that before they even relese the shot, they know where it lands. They know it’s gonna go left, they know it’s gonna go high, just by watching what you are doing. That’s the advanced level. And from the spectator point of view, when you’re watching these pro athletes, you really look for these fine things like the way they use their clicker. And even things you can’t actually see like back tension. To benefit from watching pro athletes you need to have awareness of what they are doing. To get that awareness, you need someone to actually explain it to you. You have to learn from someone, from another archer. Or from someone who is commentating. Or from a coach and your own training. For someone starting out no experience and very little knowledge of archery, it’s very difficult to explain things like back tension and anchor and release. It’s very difficult to acquire these skills by yourself. And it’s one thing to copy what they are doing. But if you don’t understand what they are doing, you also don’t understand if you’re doing it wrong. When you’ve learned what anchor should look like, then it makes more sense when you watch somebody else. When you understand these nuances about archery, then you can fully understand why people do certain things. You start to understand why people personalise their equipment in a certain way. Why they use a certain sight, or why they use a certain stabiliser setup. Archery is such a personalised thaing, that it’s really about what suits you. Which technique suits you. Or which equipment suits you. Telling people to go and watch the pros, especially when they never really learned archery before, isn’t really helpful in my opinion, because the pros have thair established styles. And they’ve learnt through trial and error, through hard experience what their preferred shooting methods are. And really for a beginner, they should be learning more from their mistakes. The learning process is starting out from scratch. Learning everything as a new thing. Be taught the basic fundamentals, before acquiring advanced skills. And by watching pros, while you can be inspired to learn more about archery, which is fantastic, it’s not necessarily great learning. You’re not really bridging that gap. Watching the pros kinda skips that development process. And really, as a beginner, you will probably benefit more from doing your own shooting and figuring it out by yourself, rather than watching someone else and copying them. Arguably, the same can be said for nearly every sport. Now, I’m not saying don’t watch the pros and don’t watch these events. These events are greatly entertaining. And you can learn a lot from the top shooters. But my point is that the more you already know about the sport, the more you gain from watching better shooters. So my question is – Do you watch competitive events, and why? Do you get something out of it, or is it something you’re doing just for fun? Write your comments below. This is NU Sensei. Bringing you another archery annoyance.