The Nuances and Technique of Archery
Archery has its origins as a hunting activity and a war skill. But the advent of fire arms made archery obsolete in wars. However it still survives as a sport and as bow hunting. The most important factor that makes one archer better than the other is his expertise and skill which comes from experience, practice and sharpening of technique.
As far as technique is concerned, the bow is supposed to be held in the hand that is opposite to the dominant eye of the archer. Though many archers have their personal preferences in bow positioning that are different from the typical way of holding the bow. The hand in which the bow is held is called the bow hand, and its arm is called the bow arm. The other hand is known as the drawing hand or the string hand as the string is handled with this hand. Similarly the bow shoulder and the string elbow are parts of the bow hand and the string hand respectively. Archers with a right dominant eye hold the bow with their left hand and similarly, archers with a left dominant eye have their right hand as the bow hand. The side of the bow hand is the one with which the archer faces the target.
The first most important thing an archer does before shooting an arrow is taking the right stance. The body position should be in a perpendicular angle with the shooting line and the target both. The feet should be at shoulder level i.e. the distance between the two feet should be in an approximate equation with the width of the shoulders. The archer develops the professional open stance as he progresses from the beginner to the expert level.
For loading the bow has to be pointed to the ground, the shaft of the arrow is to be placed on the arrow rest attached to the bow window; the back of the arrow is to be attached to the bow string using the nock of the arrow. Though there is a specified three finger position to hold the arrow, a lot of expert archers develop their personal styles that help them in their performance, but these should not be copied unless the purpose or use of the position is clear.
Lifting the bow to target varies to. Theoretically, a the bow is drawn while lifting it up, but again the experience of an archer helps him develop his own style which is based on force application and personal strengths. The string hand when drawn rests near the face at an anchor point. The corner of the chin or mouth usually becomes the anchor point and it is a constant among shots. A perfect standing position for an archer would be a ‘T’ shape. Many bows have a device called the ‘clicker’ this device makes a clicking sound when the archer reaches the perfect position. The bow draw is when the arrow is released, it does not require a lot of force, only the fingers holding the arrow need to be relaxed. This makes sure the drawing arm does not move in position. A good archer always pays attention to the way his body’s recoils or follows through, as it helps in judging the quality of his form or technique.