Why Do Olympic Archers Swing Their Bows?
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Why Do Olympic Archers Swing Their Bows?

August 12, 2019


Hello people, this is NUSensei. I often get this question: why do Olympic archers drop their bows? Firstly it’s not just
the Olympic target style recurve archers that drop their bows. Barebow target
archers also drop their bows and some compound archers will do the same. Why do
they do that? There’s a very simple explanation:
they don’t actually grip their bow. You might be wondering: why would you not
want to hold the bow? Don’t you want to control it? And that’s
actually the point. Gripping the bow causes a loss of control and I’ll show
you why. This is more apparent in a light barebow. Many beginners who do archery have a habit called the death grip.
They’ll grip the bow really really tight like choking the life out of the bow
tight and you see this a lot on the line. It’s quite a normal thing. You see some pull back at full draw and the hands are like white knuckles showing. It’s really tense
and what happens when someone does that is that the shot becomes very shaky.
The tendons in the fingers and the hand counteract each other and you have shake,
you have torque. It’s quite unstable. The complete opposite of that is not
holding a bow at all, so what you find is the Olympic style archers will do this.
They’ll pull the string back and they’re not holding the grip at all. The fingers
are in fact off the riser. With no uneven pressure on the grip what should happen is that the bow should sit naturally in the hand. There is a problem if I let go.
The bow is going to come flying out of my hand. That is why people use slings.
They can be finger slings or wrist slings and the point of the sling
is to wrap around the riser so it catches the bow when it drops. The bow is
meant to drop. That shows us that you’re not applying any pressure on the bow.
This is important because for an archer, there are only two physical contact
points: the bow grip and the drawing hand. Most of the mistakes that happen are due
to one of these factors. When people start shooting freestyle they might get
a little nervous. So, you often see people, even with the finger sling on, still
hold onto the grip and they’ll shoot like this, fingers still on the grip and
they’ll hold onto it like that. That’s a fairly normal thing and it’s kind of
hard to train out the habit of hanging on to the bow because there is no way
you can shoot with the same consistency if you’re still gripping the bow. If
you’re shooting like this and especially shooting target you really should be
teaching yourself to let go and let it drop. As long as your sling is correctly
applied the bow will not fall down and if it does fall down then you’re doing
it right. Unfortunately, the bow might not like you for it. So, a proper shot process
and release and follow-through should look something like this. There are several different ways
people let the bow drop. Most archers will let the bow drop in front of them
so it swings out this way. Other archers will let the bow swing outwards or let
the bow hit their leg. It largely depends on several factors such as your
preference or the way you were trained. Again, some people naturally expand and
swing outwards others prefer to keep it in line and swing it inwards. The
important thing is that the follow-through and the bow drop should
not be a conscious action. It’s not a flair. The archers are not intentionally
doing this for the camera. They’re doing it because when they don’t grip the bow,
that’s what naturally happens. Also note that if you’re shooting barebow,
the bow might actually tilt backwards rather swing forwards. Most barebows
tend to be back heavy unless you put on a lot of front weight. The only way to
get that majestic swing is if you’re using a full stabilizer setup with the
Olympic recurves. Also note that the follow-through
doesn’t affect the shot itself. It doesn’t matter if you twirl it twice, do a 360 spin and brush your hair back. The arrow has already left the bow so it’s
going to hit where you pointed the bow at, not what you do after the shot. For
that reason, you may see some archers deviate from their normal follow-through.
For someone who is a top-level shooter who might be always swinging inwards and
twirling around, some shots might involve them actually popping out this way
suddenly, and it may be because of a different level of tension in their back.
They might be forcing a shot through a certain way. They might be counteracting
wind, but their shot is still on target. The follow-through doesn’t matter for
the archer. They may have recognize that they have done something different and they will
internally reflect on that shot process, but the shot already happened. What they
do here doesn’t matter. The lack of follow-through is more evident
with compound shooters. You will find that many club level compound shooters
will make use of a wrist sling. Some target compound shooters will use a finger sling
but many compound shooters don’t bother with sling at all. The arrow will leave
the bow far before you actually do something with the bow itself. You won’t see many compound shooters with that swing. That’s why many people
recognize it as more of an Olympic recurve technique, even though it technically
isn’t a technique. it’s just a consequence of the shot process. If
you’re not shooting Olympic recurve there’s no need to replicate the twirl.
It doesn’t add anything. It’s really just superficial. For those shooting other
styles, what you should keep in mind is to make sure your grip is as relaxed as
possible. For those who are starting out shooting and wanting to learn good form
and good grip, often they just use two fingers around the grip so that way they
don’t grip the entire bow, but they still retain it without using a finger
sling. Many archers will be told to use the sling to get them used to the
correct grip. If you’re shooting barebow and you’re not competing you still might
want to give a finger sling a try. Many of your form faults may be caused by the
bow grip and you might not realize it. Anyway, I hope that answers your question.
Thank you for watching. This is NUSensei. I’ll see you next time.

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  1. Frequently Asked Questions / Comments:

    tl;dr version?
    Olympic archers use a relaxed grip. The bow swings freely due to the long stabiliser rods. This is not an intentional motion, but a follow-through.

    Did War Archers Drop Their Bow?
    https://youtu.be/n2HJwTVg5LM
    No.

    Why do people shoot accurately without dropping the bow?
    Different standards of accuracy. Most people who claim accuracy aren't shooting in the long-distance format that Olympic shooters compete at. Practical shooting means hitting a target. Sport shooting means hitting the dead centre of the target.

    What's all the stuff on the bow?"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9sjmrFxzBs
    You're mostly looking at the sight and stabilisers. They offer tighter control for precision shooting.

    Can you shoot accurately without them?
    Yes. They're not required for shooting. However, they make a big difference. A barebow shooter typically can't compete on equal footing with a freestyle shooter.

    What about Legolas/Hanzo/Robin Hood/Hawkeye?
    Fictional characters can do whatever they want.

    Why is the video 8 minutes long?
    Answer is in the first minute; also provided here. I do tutorials on this channel with extended responses, so this shouldn't be surprising. If 8 minutes is too long, you wasted more time whinging about it.

    Why is this in my recommended?
    YouTube algorithm. Go figure.

    Can't you just catch the bow?
    The drop happens much quicker in real practice. I've slowed it down to emphasise how odd it looks to a casual viewer. With proper shot execution, the drop and swing are actually quite sudden.

    Why did you add movie bow effects?
    You're probably hearing the sound of the leather tab on the lapel mic.

    Why isn't modern archery more exciting?
    This is only one form of archery, and as a sport, it follows a common rule set so that people can participate for recreation. It's not everyone's idea of fun, but neither is golf.

    How would this be practical in war?
    It wouldn't be.

  2. You don't have to swing your bow just to prove to everyone that you have a relaxed grip. I don't swing my bow and I shoot just fine. Swinging the bow is a huge annoyance for me. That's the last thing I want to worry about is the bow limbs swinging up towards my head when I'm trying to concentrate on form and release.

  3. Looks like compensation for poor skills. Like all that hardware attached to your bow. Is this how the English long bownan did it? Or did they just train longer. I use compound bow and my shots are grouped tightly.

  4. after the arrow leaves the bow you still have time to "catch it" but this move they make is for show off

  5. I've often wondered about this but I never think of finding out when I'm online. I might take the sling off my compound bow now. Thanks youtube

  6. Why do so-called "archers" use so much gear? Is it because theyre not real archers and need every advantage and use perihperals to be able to actually fire a bow?

  7. Your video just came up in my feed. Thank you! This has bugged me about competitive archery since I have first seen it.

  8. Thanks again YouTube for showing me how to do something that I'll probably never, ever need in my life, but still, interesting video.

  9. What kind of bow would you recommend for the upcoming zombie apocalypse, and the collapse of human society?

  10. Number of archery videos watched: 0. Number of archery related search terms in my history: 0. Youtube: You should watch this… Turns it it was actually intersting.

  11. No clue why youtube recommended me this video in 2019 after massive censorship but thanks I know something more.

  12. Thanks youtube for very not random recommended.
    Next recommended, why are rocks shaped like rocks and not like carrots.

  13. What would happen if you were to shoot an arrow in space, would they still "drop" it that way?

  14. I’m assuming cuz I watch Rogan and I know Rogan got high probably watched this in his haze is why it’s in my recommendation

  15. just a couple days ago i started playing this game archero and started browsing some related content on chrome…… and this popped in my recommendations…

    I liked and subscribed.

  16. Dude you know your stuff. Mad respect. Idk why I'm here but glad I watched. Never even heard of or had seen a bow swing before this video lol! Love your passion.

  17. Hey, isn't this that guy who (somewhat) infamously feuded with Shadiversity over a misunderstanding?
    What's he doing in my recommended?

  18. Tbh i dont know why YouTube recommended this to me but I've always wondered why archers do that, thanks YouTube.

  19. My first time doing archery I was hitting every single target from a decent distance (25 yards I think). Do I have a natural talent for archery, or was that just dumb luck?

    Nope never I'm a natural, just read what you originally commented and that's how my style/posture was :)) TOO BAD IMMA STICK TO BECOMING A PRO GAMER AND A successful YouTube/twitch streamer hehe

  20. Me… that's odd, I was just shooting a bow earlier today and talking about it…

    Youtube… I know, I heard your conversation and thought you might find this interesting.

  21. I am here after watching kagome's fail and win shots at Inuyasha and watching Katniss at Hunger Games 😂😍

  22. When I did archery as a kid we used to train the hand posture by holding clothespins between thumb and middlefinger. Reasonably easy to do, but a lot of disputes over clothespins afterwards.

  23. Short answer: caused by friction, gravity and tendon. Also due to potential force. Also sometimes due to bad posture.
    There, saved 8 minutes of your life.

  24. I only ever shot longbows (really difficult to shoot for me) and bare bows but I've noticed that I shoot a lot better while applying a light grip than using all my strength to hold on to the bow. Now I know why. Thanks for that.

    It's actually similar to the grip you use while riding a motorcycle.

  25. I drop my gun, my glass of water, even drop the steering wheel of my car after a turn…ALL FOR THE SAME REASON YOU STATED

  26. I saw the world championship in archery on tv not long ago. And I was actually wondering about this. 10/10 recommendation YouTube.

  27. Never looked up anything archery related on youtube, but got this recommended. I did however practice recurve archery several years ago and was taught to use the sling, but never fully understood the purpose of it. Thank you for the explanation.

  28. This is why modern archery now is not good. If he use it in hunting they cant shoot another shot because they let go the bow fyi u can use your thumb and forefinger to grip it after you shoot not let go the bow thats is bullshit

  29. Thank you for this awesome insight. Have archers always done this? How far back does dropping the bow go into archer history?

  30. Im sure there is alot I dont understand, but I feel that bows have become too complicated as time has gone on. With all the aiming assiting looking things and whatnot, bows worked without it all, way back when. But again, I am sure they have importnant uses

  31. I have actually use this finger sling in my seasonal practice when preparing for hunting, I got very good results last season, full freezer. Archery is just a great hobby all around.

  32. Unlike so many others, I know EXACTLY why YouTube recommended I watch this video. It's because YouTube GETS ME, you guys!

  33. YouTube thank you for trying to pull into archery ..i.must say you have very been successful at it.
    what's next now?
    may be horse riding

  34. My son is 6 year old Archer but he shoot a target but not correct aim he learn advance plz send me shoot tips vidio for children i wait my watsup 7734987561. I hope you understand me

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