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How we learned to hit the mark

A place to discuss shooting styles, form, aiming systems, experiences, etc...

How we learned to hit the mark

Postby Chuckconder » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:03 am

I'm a new guy on the forum.  I started shooting a recurve about a year ago.  In the past few months I have really been upsessed with my recurve....the fever is bad. Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of my experience in the sport.  Only because I've learned that finding a starting point in traditional shooting can be hard.   My two sons have recently started shooting as well.  It has been up to me to coach them as I Lern myself. 

So in this post I wanted to share  a simple technique that I started using.  It is a simple process that provides a level of structure to teaching and learning an aiming technique that works for us.

I'm not very good at written tutorials, but I feel this may help some new folks so here I go...

We have several targets set up in our make shift backyard range.  None of the distance are set. We distribute the targets randomly when we decide to shoot.  I noticed that my boys struggled with the placement change resulting in disappointment and possibly interest all together.   After some thought I decided to start fresh with them.  

Step 1 .....(find comfort shot)
I placed four targets from 5-20 yards in 5 yard increments.  I asked each one to step up to the shooting line. I then instructed them to take four shots, one at each target.  I asked that thay placed the arrow in the center of every target and release.  No gap just center the arrow and shoot. I had them repeat this five times.  I kept a record of each shot.  The results allowed me to determine what distance they were shooting flat at.  What I call the "comfort shot" this would be the middle of there comfortable shooting distance (CSD).  They were both around 15 yards.  This will be our easiest shot.  

Step 2....(determine gap)
I placed two targets In front of the fifteen yard target and two beyond it.  I then asked them to step up to the shooting line, center the arrow on the target and shoot.  No gap just center the arrow and shoot.  Again, I had them repeat this five times as I logged each shot.  The results gave me the exact gap that they needed to use.

Step 3....(become proficient with your comfort shot)
I explained why this shot is important, but did not go into how we would use it in the future.  I removed all the targets except the 15 yard target and asked that they only shoot this distance for three or four days.  I spent some time on this one. We worked on form,   moved the nock up and down, increased and decreased tip weight.  Changed arrows, any and  everything I could do to get that arrow in the bullseye. Another trick I learned throughout this process was to reduce the area I wanted them to hit.  If I had a six inch circle they shot at seven inches.  So I shrunk it to two inch circle.  Amazing, psychology works in archery too...don't tell my wife. Anyway we adopted the slogan "aim small-hit small".

Step 4....(become familiar with your comfort shots distance) 
  On the fifth day I placed five targets throughout the yard in random spots at exactly 15 yards from the corner of our drive way. The all ranged at 15 but some appeared to be closer and others further.  I had them shoot this for the next 5 days.  ***It wasn't hard to maintain interest because the were hitting the mark.

Step 5....(explain the gap)
I explained there gap to them.  We talked about the comfort shot and explained how we could expand on it.   This is the middle of there CSD (comfortable shooting distance) anything closer you move down and further you move up.    I showed them my notes from sep 2.  I had drawn small targets on paper and marked each shot location.  They we able to see the results with real data. You should have seen the lights come on....gears were spinning! Before we left my office I made sure they understood. I had them draw out targets and estimate where they would be aiming and allowed them to ask all the question they had.  Luckily we picked the correct arrow and tip weight combo in step three so the gap isn't to awful big.

Step 6....(shoot the gap)
I set up 5 targets.  One at 15 yard with two in front and two behind.  The other 4 were random distances. I asked them to step to the shooting line and start shooting.  They both shot the 15 yard target first, I gave them no instruction as to where to start.  The results...amazing!  They both shot all targets.  Groups weren't there but no arrow chasing.  We worked on this step for about three days.  Now they are shooting amazing groups.

Step 7 ....(continuing distance training)
Step 7 Is ongoing.  I have them shoot only the 15 yard target once or twice a week. Each session they shoot between 70 and 100 arrows. Also, I bought a cheap rang finder, we play the range game when were out n about.  Hopefully they will remember what 15yard looks like forever.

I know that they have become confident at 15 yards, it's becoming second nature.  I've been expanding on that as much as possible.  I have them shooting wiffle balls, coke bottles and arial targets at 15 yards.    We shoot arial after each practice, the expression they have after they hit a flying target is priceless.  The small ongoing challenges keeps everyone Interested and excited. My family is amazed at how well they/we shoot.  My wife has suggested we join a father son(s) league....that's amazing in it self!

My boys Andrew and Austin are twins and they are 10 years old.   The shoot Genesis  bows. No sights.  I bought my daughters  each a bow this month as well. They are 4 and 6.  They are both shooting well at 5 yards

  I know allot of people disagree with the gap technique I'm using.   When I throw a target into the air I believe the shot becomes totally instinctive.  Everything they learned kicks into high gear and executed within milliseconds.   

 If you find you would like more info about this feel free to DM me and I'll get you my number.   I love to help especially when kids are involved. 

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Re: How we learned to hit the mark

Postby Bender » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:13 am

I think the most important aspect of what you're doing is "maintain their interest." With a new non-sight shooter do everything possible to make them initially successful. Even if it means beginning to develop a gap system such as you are doing.
BTW I seriously doubt if anybody here is going to get their panties in a knot over instinctive vs gap. Most here are at a point in their career where they are not slaves to ideologies and empty dogma, but rather are more "results oriented." Sometimes that means gap, other times that means instinctive. Whatever actually works.
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Re: How we learned to hit the mark

Postby Scottd9990 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:29 pm

I think any kind of plan is good! I use both gap and "Become the arrow" method! My son is also 10 and has become a good shot. We all shoot almost every evening in the back yard pretty much as you are. We started playing this game where there is a target on each end of the yard. We shoot one direction then the other. Now any misses you have to shoot from that distance. Keep targets small, aim small-miss small! We have lots of room behind the target for the missed arrow to travel, so makes for some very difficult shots, but we all have great fun!!!

We also toss our arrows across the yard and shoot from where it lands, this makes a varity of distances (each shot is different) Just shoot one arrow each person playing.

I try to come up with fun ways for us all to pratice. Sometimes I will come home with something different to shoot at, party balloons are great fun and give you a good pop when hit. The neighbor kids all have bows now also! So we get these great fun games going on behind my house.

Keep up the great work!!! Possibly we can shoot together sometime. I would love to come hunt up in you area!

Shoot the Dang Monkey!!!
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Re: How we learned to hit the mark

Postby bigugly » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:21 am

I have two sons and I work with them all the time. My main goal is to keep it fun and keep in mind my boys are 5 years apart at 8 and 13 so it can be hard to keep them both happy. Most of all is just keep it fun, in the backyard that means ballons, golfballs, tennis balls or contests with dad. At the club it means let them shoot from wherever they want, south course north course and they pick the distance or we all take turns on that rotating through. The best advice I can give on this is keep the poundage low to get best form. I really couldn't care less if they hit bullseyes just as long as they shoot good form with a nice smooth release, oh they hate blank bale days but it sure helps with release and follow thru...I can't shoot gap and I sure don't understand string or face walking, I love instinctive shooting but sure won't knock whatever style you decide to shoot, just keep them happy and interested.
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