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Form Tips by Perry Ratcliff

03-March-1996

Over the years I have developed a set of notes relating to shooting form that I rely on to help get me out of a slump. I took a layoff from shooting recently to work on my house and, on my return, found that I was shooting miserably.

I ran across the form notes the other day and was surprised at how quickly they helped me out of my slump. The notes may be a bit cryptic since they were written for me, but you may find them of some value. If you would like more explanation of any particular item in the list I would be happy to expand. I would especially like to hear from other archers on what techniques they use to stay on top of their game or help them out of a slump.

I maintain my bow arm position for at least 3 seconds following the shot.

I lightly rest my fingertips on the front of the bow to promote consistent hand placement and prevent the overdraw from hitting my hand on follow-through. (This is the one that pulled me out of my slump this time around.)

I shoot with a slightly closed stance. This one is a very personal choice. There is no single correct way to stand. Find what works best for you, as observed by watching your right-left grouping, and note the position of your feet. You would be surprised at how something as basic as this can screw you up.

I lightly rest the tip of my nose on the string as I come to anchor. This is not right for everyone, but it can help to promote consistent head position. Forgetting this little item cost me a four month slip three years ago.

I shoot with a strong bow arm and the elbow rotated down. This one is very personal. I shoot with a bent elbow against draw stops. If the bent elbow bends laterally, I have right-left grouping problems. If the elbow bends down, I push straight through the shot and group much better.

I get in a zone while executing a shot. The spot is my whole world. In one word FOCUS <this costs me more tournaments than all the rest combined>.

I integrate every aspect of the shot into a single smoothly flowing action. The anchor is part of the draw, the release is part of the anchor, etc. Building back tension to release the shot is a smooth transition from the draw to anchor to release. Any attempt to break the shot down in to discrete elements allows for distraction to interfere with the smooth execution of the shot.

I exercise the patience required to aim in the center of the spot before the shot goes off. Jumping on the shot is a short trip to hell.

I maintain my bow arm position and lock my eye on the spot throughout an extended follow through of the shot.

Develop rhythm in executing shot. Keep speed up, this helps confidence and prevents doubt and distractions from becoming a factor in your shooting.

I hope you find these notes helpful and look forward to hearing how you keep

on top of your game.

Good Shooting…

Perry