by Pól Ó Briain
Moving your feet when shooting can mess with your aim and you can find your arrows going all over the place (no consistency or bad grouping). For this reason, once you start shooting don’t move your feet until you have finished shooting that end of arrows. To improve things more you can mark where your feet are so that for every end your feet are in the same place. If you are shooting in grass golf tees are useful for doing this. If indoors you can use masking tape (please remember to remove at the end of the shoot).
Having a correct stance is one of the most important and overlooked parts of archery. It helps ensure you have your weight distributed as evenly as possible and all so makes you’re shooting more consistent. If your stance is not correct you will find it very hard to improve your archery no matter how much you practice. Like a building, you want good foundations.
There are 4 main archery stances. You should in ALL of them have you weight evenly distributed between both feet and roughly shoulder width apart. Not every stance works for everyone and each stance has their own advantages and disadvantages.
The even or square stance is where your feet are inline with each other and line up with the centre of the target (see image left). This is a very easy and natural stance and is what most archers should start with. This is a good stance for target shooting on even ground but not one you want to do when you are half way up a hill or as you’re bending around a tree as it does not provide you with sturdy balance. Some women may have problems with this stance as the string may impact your body if you are of a larger build.
The close stance has the front foot ahead of the back foot (see image left). This is better for more uneven ground & high winds than the even stance. This stance has the same problem for some females as the even stance has (in fact is worse for them). The stance can also cause archers to over-draw their bows.
The open stance is the opposite of the closed. This time the back foot is ahead of the front (see image left). Again this is better for uneven ground but does not have the problem over-drawing your bow and has lots of string clearance. The drawback to the open stance are that it tends to make archers use their arms more instead of their backs to draw their bow and some smaller archers can find it hard to get the needed power for longer shoots.
The oblique stance is the same as the open stance expect that the front foot points 45 degrees to the target (see image left). Again this gives good footing for uneven ground as well as good clearance for the string. This stance doesn’t have the same problem getting power into your draw as the open stance does but it is hard to maintain and so is mostly used by expert archers.
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