Shot window and accuracy
© 2004 Bert Seelman revised 2011
How to Immediately Increase Accuracy with Repeatability!
Getting better accuracy in archery requires better implementation of certain basic skills. Being proficient at those skills requires certain physical abilities. For instance, the right strength in the right areas are essential. Strength and its proper use is something too often not adequately considered in many sports.
I met and have had the pleasure of working with Pete and Jon Shepley, owners of Precision Shooting Equipment, for over 30 years. They had employed me to help them with better conditioning for intense hunting conditions and health improvements. During this time I was also fortunate to be able to work with a lot of their Pro-staff, friends and other archers. One of the most standout observations I made was archers now and throughout history usually are and needed to be in good physical condition.
One of the first things I started to hear from most of the archers I met was about their ability to not just to shoot well, but to shoot well repeatedly. Repeatability of good shots was the goal whether it is for hunting, target, or even just for recreation. Consistency it seemed was everything making the shot window (as it is called) the key area!
The time between when an archer draws their arrow and when it is released is called “the shot window.” The ability to hold the draw weight, be steady, concentrate and release without shaking or straining, is of major importance. Without this window being held without straining, shaking, quivering and then to not panic into release, is critical! If this is accomplished with ease and steady handedness the shot will be delivered with more concentration and consistency!
It is critical to position the body in the correct position while performing this task of drawing, holding, concentrating, and then releasing. The requirements are strength and knowledge. Of course we are considering the individual to already have good basic techniques. So let’s consider for now what is it that will give us the ability to repeat those good shots.
Anything that requires physical movement is made easier or more repeatable by strength! Even endurance depends on strength. When I say strength, it is important it should be considered only on an individual basis. To compare strength with two different individuals would serve no purpose as this would have too many genetic variables. So let’s do this in a way that would be as accurate as possible. We will use only one and the same person as an example.
Let us take an individual and test that person at two different levels of strength. The “not so obvious” is that the ability to do more repetitions would be when they are stronger. To show this let me give this clear example. Say our individual was capable of doing exactly timed repetitions at an exact distance for 20 reps with 300 pounds at their earlier level. Now let’s say at a later time we take this same individual when they are stronger and able to do these same distance and timed reps at a level of 20 reps for 600 pounds. Now let’s give this same individual only 150 pounds and tell them to do as many reps as possible to test their endurance. The individual will find they can do way more repetitions with the 150 pounds at the stronger or 600 pound level.
Why? Simple math shows the 150 pounds is only one fourth of the 600 pound level. However, the 150 pounds is actually one half of the lighter 300 pound level. Common sense and mathematical calculation show the higher your strength the less the weight is in proportion to the stronger level of ability. The ability to do more repetitions with a lesser resistance or weight is simply totally obvious. However, egos will always try to refute most everything..
Therefore, simple observation and self evident facts show us strength is endurance. However, only on an individual basis! When I am stronger I can do more reps than when I am not as strong. Not too difficult, huh?
Now let me state that strength has its limits also. Howeverm by having this working knowledge, an archer or athlete can start to understand and work with these limitations to their advantage so they can excel far beyond their competition and enhance their own performance.
Now let’s start with the fact when a muscle is pushed or worked to a point of exhaustion or momentary failure, it recovers its ability in stages. When a muscle can no longer contract or pull at a level and then is rested for 3 seconds, it can deliver around 50% of its original strength or performance. When that same muscle is rested after momentary failure for 20 seconds it can deliver 70% of its original strength or performance. However, when the muscle fails and then is rested for 50 plus seconds, it can perform at 90% or more of its original strength or performance. This means when we shoot and shoot without adequate rest between shots we are limiting our ability to shoot to our true potential. Simply put we cannot hold our shot window to our possible potential.
The stronger we are the more ability we have to control our shot window and realize better performance. Now obviously the individual should not “over bow” themselves by trying to use more draw weight than we can comfortably handle. So if you are having problems with consistency in shots, maybe you would want to consistently take a few more seconds between shots. Imagine if you let your muscles recover just a few more seconds, you will hold a better (longer) shot window. It is about “better shots” not more shots!
This has been tested to show when consistency of muscle recovery is allowed, individuals shoot way more consistently. So if you want to be less frustrated shoot more consistently and enjoy your results more. Slow down and space your shot times! Oh, you may want to get stronger and then you will find the greater your strength, the easier it is to hold longer shot windows.
1) When shooting, take the first shot, then wait 20 to 50-plus seconds for your next shot. This will allow more muscle recovery for a stronger, more stable second shot. (The more close to 50 seconds you can wait the better the recovery.)
2) When competing take the first shot as soon as possible, then allow as much time as is available between the next shots to again allow more stability for accuracy.
3) You may want to utilize a small watch with a second hand for optimum use of this muscle recovery.
More repetitions are never better for practicing a specific skill. Better repetitions are preferable. When a heavier ball is used, or a weighted anything is used, you are recruiting muscles and nerves differently than are normally required. This will only serve to frustrate the athlete or individual. Never practice a skill when tired, as you will be recruiting muscles and nerves to utilize a pattern of recruitment that is inappropriate and inaccurate. Conditioning and strengthening are to be a totally different activity. Remember ego and intelligence are opposites, so use information to gain the edge.
I have over 40 years of work in the field of human performance and thousands of clients to attest to this. So be smart, be sure, use the body the way it is designed, as well as the bow and success will be yours.
Copyright 2004 bert seelman revised 2011Leave a comment...