Archery | Fundamentals First

August 18, 2019

This video is intended to be an extension
to a response I made to a practice video uploaded by PC Genie. This is not in any way meant
to call out PC Genie – he hasn’t done anything wrong. However, I’ve seen many
people make this mistake when doing practice videos and assessments, and it generally doesn’t
end very well. I’ve already written a lengthy critique,
including a general comment about how the groupings in this video are a result of pointing
the bow in the general direction of the target, and I emphasised the point that there was
no purpose in trying to explain or analyse groupings when the fundamentals are not there.
This may sound harsh, but I’m not exaggerating, and I’ll prove it. What you’re seeing on the screen is me flinging
arrows into a target and getting a grouping that is just as good, if not better, than
what PC Genie recorded. What’s the point of this, you ask? Well, I’m using this.
A miniature decorative desktop ornament. Obviously, there is no semblance of correct archery form,
but as you’ll see throughout this video, I still get a grouping at a similar distance.
I’m not doing this to make PC Genie look bad, or show off how good I am – because
there’s nothing worth bragging about in accomplishing this. It’s to prove the point
that if you have a practice routine in which you don’t pay any attention to basic form,
you’re running a random number generator. I’m talking about the fundamentals of stance,
grip, anchor and release – and especially the anchor. If you don’t anchor in any way,
then nothing else matters. There’s no point in trying to explain inconsistencies through
things like power, patience or timing. The very fact that the draw can end at any point
in front of or to the side of the face means that you are pointing the arrow in a different
direction each and every time. And I’ve said this to PC Genie: there’s no point
in getting frustrated with a shot that goes too high or too far to the right, because
that is all explained by the floating anchor. That’s exactly what I’m showing here:
pulling the “bow” back far in front of my face, and I’m doing the equivalent of
spraying and praying. And I’m getting fairly good at it. The reality, however, is that
I’m not controlling where the shot goes. I might be accurate – but I will never be
precise. The problem I’m trying to highlight is that
you need to focus on the fundamentals in order to improve. You need a foundation. Whether
you are self-taught or trained by a coach, you need to walk before you run. Nocking and
shooting quickly, or just doing snap shooting, is something you do after you have the basics.
And really, the more time you put into the superficial “cool” things, the longer
it takes for you to actually learn how to do archery properly. Remember that the people
who do the things that you might find cool, like hitting really difficult targets or doing
stunt-shooting, spent years honing their skill, not taking shortcuts. So if you’re shooting like me and using
your groupings as a benchmark, don’t. Groupings tell a story, but if you’re doing what is
the equivalent to closing your eyes and letting go, it’s not a story that you had any part
in. Focus on your fundamentals first and then you can write your archery story.

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