Stance is important to set yourself up for shooting the same way every time. It’s often forgotten as you ‘grapple’ with the bow. Get your stance right and the rest will follow.
You should stand side-on to the target, with your feet about shoulder-width apart (or apart so that you are comfortable and ‘grounded’) pointing along the shooting line. Do not point your feet or your knees towards the target.
Once you have the feet sorted out, you must pay attention to your upper body. The only parts of your body that should move when you shoot are your arms and your head. You should not rotate your torso towards the target, nor tilt your neck at all. A good way to accomplish this solid stance is to put 80% of your weight on your back foot.
Getting in to a routine is a great way to make sure that you have your stance right and the same very time you shoot. Create a habit and a sequence of actions, as an example:
- Stand on the shooting line as described above.
- Facing directly along the shooting line, stand up straight with your head level, as if you were about to have your height measured.
- Keeping your neck still, turn your head until you are looking down the range to the target.
- With an arrow in place, and with the bow facing the ground, hold the bow handle with your left hand and the string with your right hand – both lightly, just enough to get tension on the string. Moving your left arm, lift the bow upwards towards the target with your right arm following the upward movement.
- Moving only your right arm, draw the string back to your face. Do not bring your head down to meet the string. Your hand should rest in the same place every time.
You can practice this stance without releasing the arrow to remember how it feels.
Don’t forget you can study experienced archers and coaches as they are shooting to check timing and movement.
If you want to see how you look you can ask one of the coaches or another archer to video you. Using an Apple or Android based device (mobile or tablet) you can use one of the two most popular video applications:
- UBERSENSE www.ubersense.com (free+ in-app £ upgrades)
- Coach’s Eye www.techsmith.com/coachs-eye.html (approx. £5).
Using these video apps will allow you to review your stance so that you can compare it with coaches and experienced archers.