Archery | Stance
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Archery | Stance

August 13, 2019


Hi guys, this is NUSensei. Today we’re
going to be covering the topic of stance in archery. Stance is the foundation of
the shot. Not only does it provide stability and
comfort, but many problems in the shot process can be caused by incorrect
stance. Stance should be one of the first things that a beginner learns. First time shooters generally acquire sense of a good stance fairly quickly. Although some
people, especially those who are shy or lack confidence, may be very casual
on the shooting line. They might find themselves standing like this, hold the bow like this, and just not really paying attention to what a good stance and be. But most people do acquire a natural, strong stance. So what is a
good stance? In general, a good stance involves the feet being shoulder-width apart, with
equal balance on each foot. Attention should also be given to posture, so that the
back is straight, and the archer is not leaning back or forward. In terms of feet
positioning, the most common method taught to beginners is a square stance. The
archer places one foot on either side of the shooting line, standing perpendicular
to the target with the imaginary line over the toes, creating a square angle
with the shooting line. The second common stance is the open stance. In an open
stance, the front foot is placed at a diagonal so that the archer opens their body
towards the target, typically around 30 degrees. Although this varies based on
comfort and preference. Additionally, in particularly windy
conditions the archer may opt to open the stance even more for greater stability. Do
note that attention must be paid to hip alignment; their hips should remain over
the feet so that you do not twist your body around. If you’re using the open
stance and you twist your hips, you are effectively using a square stance, albeit with more tension in your body. By far the most common question in this case is, which is better, the
square stance or the open stance. When making this personal judgment, there are a
couple of things to keep in mind. One is how comfortable and stable you are, the
second is how consistent you are with your balance and foot placement. The square
stance is popular because it’s very easy to learn, a lot of places teach the square
stance as standard, because all you have to do is put one foot on either side of
the line, and there’s your stance. It’s very easy to replicate. The open
stance is generally more popular. I’d say the majority of archers will use an
open stance, and this is because the open stance is more stable, more comfortable and
more natural. The open stance is used for a lot of things, from combat in martial arts
to snooker to rifle shooting, and course archery. It’s the stance which most
people acquire naturally, without being told what to do. It’s just the way people stand when they
have a conversation, when they are participating in a sport, when bracing for
something. It’s just a stronger stance in general. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that
everybody should use it, and you see even at the top level, at the Olympic Games
many archers will simply stick with a square stance, because it’s just easy to do.
Just line up and shoot. It might not be as strong, but the person shooting might not
need that extra stability or comfort. They might find that the square
stance works fine. For many people, the open stance, is the preferred stance. That’s because
it’s more powerful, is more engaging the muscles, they feel more comfortable with the alignment and balance. All these reasons might be factors in, which stance you
choose. Now we’ve covered an open stance, a square stance, what about the closed stance? Now, the
closed stance is generally not taught as shooting stance. You can shoot from a
closed stance but, there are problems with this. Now, with an open stance, you have
stability, you have the ability to engage your core and your back muscles to
get a nice shot. With a square stance you’ve got a nice, natural, easy alignment which
is very consistent. With a closed stance, you have none of these. You’re angled away
from the target, you have to turn and twist your torso to shoot onto the
target. This is an unnatural twist, it’s not good for your back load, your lower back
muscles or your core muscles. It doesn’t really help you shoot straight. So, while you can do it, it’s the least
effective stance, it’s not something I’d recommend. Another determining factor is
string clearance. With a closed stance or a square stance, you may find that the
string is too close to your body. This may affect you by hitting body parts, which
shouldn’t be hit or clothing that gets in the way. An open stance gives you more
string clearance, giving the ability to shoot and get good groupings, without
worrying too much about the string coming across the chest or your clothing. And
now for some common problems. One thing you might find is the spacing of your feet. Now,
some people will naturally shoot with feet far too close together together, which is
actually not very stable. The second problem is when they’re far too wide. You often see kids, young kids
doing this. They’ll think, OK, open your feet out. That’s a little too wide, you don’t have to
do splits to do archery. The way we often teach people is this. Okay, you step on this,
you shuffle your feet once, twice, and there you go. That’s a perfect width. That’s great. It’s very
fun, especially young people, once, twice, there. That’s your stance. It’s about
shoulder-width apart, it’s very easy to teach people this way. Another problem is, having rigid legs. Some people have a tendency to lock their knees in place.
It looks like this. You’re shooting and your knees are locked in. By locking in,
you have no flexibility, there’s no relaxation in your legs, it’s all tense, and
you walk around with legs like wooden planks, looks really silly. But the problem is
that there’s so much tension in your legs, your muscles are under tension, it’s actually unstable to
do this. So, learn to relax your legs, you don’t have to be locked in and fully rigid. You
can be a bit more natural, and what you find is, many people will start to relax their legs.
They kind of shake their legs, they kind of go up-and-down a bit on the line, just
to remember to relax those leg muscles. So the stance should be fairly natural, and not
locked into place. The next problem is leaning. Some people will lean too far
forward, some lean too far backwards. Now, the people who lean forward tend to reach
towards the target, stretching out, and the back foot lifts off the ground completely. So, you
see that this is the normal stance, they lean forward and forward, they’re on
their toes on the back foot, and it comes off the ground. This is a habit which some people have. Most people however have a tendency to lean backwards, and that’s seen in
this way. You’re holding the bow, the weight feels heavy, so you naturally lean backwards, and this
is a very subtle thing for some people, but it’s more pronounced in others. Now, it’s
actually quite hard to stand straight, to understand that a straight stance means, your head and shoulders above your feet. That’s what it should be. But in the
course of shooting some people just forget their focus on the weight of the
bow, which means that you might lean forward, or back. What we often tell people is
naturally since you lean backwards, put more weight on your front foot. This doesn’t mean that you are leaning
forwards, what it does mean is that you will naturally come into a balanced
stance, if you put more focus on your front foot. Now, again this doesn’t mean
lean forward what it does mean is that you are
naturally thinking, you were leaning forward but you aren’t, You’re actually perfectly straight,
in line and balanced. So, sometimes you have to psychologically compensate for what
you think might be an error, but most people inherently lean backwards. Another problem is weight distribution.
This has to do with balance, and which part of your feet carries most of the
weight. Now, let’s say this is a foot, the ideal distribution is around 60% to
70% of your body weight should be on the balls of your feet, in
this part of your foot. That will hold most of the weight, so you slightly incline forwards.
The rear of the foot should only carries between 30% to 40% percent of your body weight,
and this has some really pronounced effects. If this balance is not right it
can cause some serious alignment problems, form problems which you may not realize. Now,
what happens when you put too much weight on the back of your foot or your heels, is
this. Alright, and what you might see here is, I’m leaning backwards and I’m arching my back. Both of these are very bad form faults. Your muscles aren’t in alignment, your shots won’t be as powerful, your muscle engagement is much
weaker, and it’s just less stable. It’s more fatiguing, and you don’t shoot anywhere near as well. Unfortunately when you get tired,
and fatigued throughout the day these are the things which will slip. Now, one thing you can do,
to help remind you to shoot with proper balance, is to grip the ground with your
toes. By doing this, by using your toes and feel the pressure on your toes you would naturally begin to acquire proper balance. When you putting the weight back on the front of your feet where
you’re more stable. Just by gripping the ground with my toes, it looks like this. And
that feels right. My back is straight, my shoulders are aligned, my hips are in the correct alignment, and these things
can be practiced. You can practice it in the shower, you can practice it while warming up, when you’re off the line and waiting for people. Just remember to wriggle your toes, shake your
knees, and then when you get the right tension in your legs the right amount
of weight balance on your feet, and that leads to good, stable positioning and
stance. Of course this is all fine and easy when you’re shooting in standard
conditions at a target range, when you have flat ground. But if you’re shooting the
field, where you have obstacles, you have to shoot from uneven surfaces, or you have to kneel
when you’re undercover. These things will of course change the way you stance. Now for
that, all I can say is, keep in mind your hips are a big determining factor. Whatever stance
you use, your hip alignment determines your positioning, that helps your shoulder alignment, and that helps your
shot. So even though you might be shooting from a crouch position, the fundamentals are
still there. This is NUSensei, hope this is helpful. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hi nu, is it essential to let the bow drop when shooting with a stabiliser, as it thinking about purchasing one soon after I improve my form, and it seems pointless.

  2. Thanks for the video. What I found difficult about stance was being taught by a male coach then a female coach with quite a flat chest. They both tried to teach open stance which doesn't work at all for me. I have to use a square stance so the string sits comfortably at the side of my (not small!) chest at full draw. It's really uncomfortable in open stance. I think many lady archers have this issue, and most coaches don't! I found an Artebo chest guard really useful too- ordered from Germany.

  3. That 20# wooden bow really vibrates on release; watch those limb tip in the first minute or two of the video .. enormous osculation 🙂

  4. instinctive trad shooter here 🙂
    i am mostly in forrest areas shooting 3D courses…so stance is different every time.
    non the less….if your stance isn't good, if you don't feel stable enough…your shot will be not that good!

    50% of a good shot depends on a solid stance…..at least in my opinion 😉

    really like your advise with the shuffle 😀

  5. Another great video thanks. I just started shooting a recurve after years of shooting a compound and your videos have been very helpful thanks and keep up the great work

  6. Sensei,

    Could you help me build a 1,500 USD Recurve Bow?

    I watched your video series "what's the difference" but, when I actually took a look at things online, I still couldn't tell the difference between a 500$ Win&Win Risers and a 650$ one.

    I know that in general, I should look for a more expensive riser and everything else should be cheaper (except for the finger thing). Nevertheless, I still have no idea what price range I should aim for the other components if I only want to make 1 purchase for the next 2 years or so.

    You don't necessarily have to choose all the pieces for me (unless you want to), but could you breakdown how much I should approximately spend for each part?

  7. At 5:55 you showed an easy method for teaching the square stance is there a similar method for teaching the open stance?
    I personally find that I will have more string slap with a square stance than with the open stance…in fact there are times when I don't even bother with the arm guard I'm that confident.

  8. Just a note on closed stance. I'm a trad / barebow shooter and use about a 10 degree closed stance. While the open stance is much more natural and comfortable. A slightly closed stance offers one key physiological advantage. Quite simply both arms are positioned straight out from the body. Without a clicker the use of the closed stance for me offers a much more consistent draw length.

  9. Korean and top Olympic recurve archers use an open stance but I thought that their hips were still square to the target?

  10. hey uh guys can i get suggestions here,alright so i made a bow and ive been shooting it for about 2 weeks now but i got this pain in my fingers everytime i draw back the bow what can i do to fix this?

  11. You said open stance more natural how come more natural? Natural do not twist your body . Your natural body position is twisted? Or straight?

  12. Very good points! I think you fully covered the subject.
    A question might be if the stance is the same when shooting with different types of bows like long bows or composite bows.

  13. I think you didn't cover one aspect of stance – alignment of shoulders. My coach told me that you are required to twist your upper body so that your shoulders are aligned in parallel to how arrow is supposed to go. So they will be perpendicular to your target. Because of this I think that square stance is more comfortable.

  14. Hello 1st sorry im dyslexic so sorry for my grammar … ok 2 im new at archery getting on abit im 47 only been shooting arrows for 2 weeks but my coach says i must have my bow arm parallel to my shoulder so my shoulders takes the most strain but when i fire a shot my arm is at 1 o clock after looking through the little target loop not at 12 I;E + now im shooting my shoulder seems a bit sore is that down to my shot not been at 12 o clock or just lack of muscle power ?? thanks any reply would be gratefully received ty for your time

  15. I have heard a little bit/seen some instructions about bowhunting while sitting down in a chair, or kneeling on the ground. Do you know whether these are okay forms, or are they bad for accuracy/precision?

  16. Hi Nu Sensei, this video helped me to clear some doubts about stance and improve my accuracy with a better stance. Thanks a lot.

  17. I can't stand with equal balance on both legs due to PoTS and EDS causing problems. Will this cause a lot of problems in my shooting form?

  18. I thought when you use an open stance and rotate your hips thats called a rotational draw and there is nothing wrong with that and it is a legitimate way to draw that bow. Your video confused me a little. Malta Archery made a video on the rotational draw and he did what your side was incorrect so whos right whos wrong

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