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Trying to "become the arrow"

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Trying to "become the arrow"

Old 10-14-2011, 05:18 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 60
Question Trying to "become the arrow"

My son and I shoot recurves. We read a great book called "Become the Arrow" and are trying to "Become the Arrow" We don't use sights and are trying to shoot instinctually. I think the idea is like learning to throw a ball. You don't use a sight, you just do it and through practice you "get it" But I don't get it. It seems like all we are really learning to do is index the arrow head above or below the target and I don't see how this is different than using a sight. And I think a sight would be a lot easier but I really liked the book. What am I missing?

I'd love some advice on this topic!
temphank is offline  
Old 10-14-2011, 06:32 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Adirondacks
Posts: 1,305

Becoming the arrow is simply memorizing it's trajectory and sort of applying visualization for the shot.By referencing the arrow point in relation to the spot you want to hit you're actually using the Hill method of aiming.You can read more about Hills method in his book Hunting the hard way or John Schultz's book Hitting them like HH.Good luck!
Bernie P. is offline  
Old 10-14-2011, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 78

I found roving, or stump shooting, instead of hammering a target butt, was a huge help when I first started, and it quickly led to rabbit, squirrel and, quail hunting.

Grab some Judo points, so you don't spend all day looking for arrows, and hit the woods. Some flu-flu arrows would, also, be a good investment.

The flu-flu arrows are easier to see and they seemed to help make visualizing the trajectory a breeze. Going back to regular fletching will flatten the trajectory, at longer yardages, but this was an easy adjustment because, now, there was a reference point to go from.

The other thing that helped me get more of a feel for what the arrow was doing, was to find my "point on" range. After I found, and became comfortable with, where my arrows hit if the point was on the target, the rest of the distances just seemed to fall into place.

When I was just standing in front of my target, it seemed like the first few arrows went pretty well then, there would be a high hit and I'd try to hold a little lower then, there would be a low hit and I'd try to hold a little higher and, before you kown it, I couldn't hit a bull in the a## with a scoop shovel.

With the stump shooting, every time you shoot, it's at a different target at a different distance and your concious doesn't try to override your subconcious (or instinct if you like) as much.

I still get a lot of enjoyment out of stump shooting/squirrel hunting while I'm doing my pre-season scouting and don't have to spend nearly as much time hammering my target butt.

This might, or might not, help you as much as it helped me but, if you and your son do it together, I guarantee, you'll have a blast.
olfatguy is offline  
Old 10-21-2011, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 31

If you can launch the arrow on the same trajectory every time, you have a pretty good aiming computer between your ears that will send the arrow where you are focusing.

The hard part is getting your form to do the same thing on each and every shot. If you draw back to here on this shot, but there on the next shot, if your anchor is not the same, if the pressure point of your bow hand is different, if your fingers on the string are not exactly the same, it will alter the trajectory and confuse your computer.

Many people think that instinctive aiming is simply a subconscous gap aiming system. Maybe, maybe not. I don't think that it's all that important. As long as you can set up and execute your shot exactly the same every time, you will be able to hit what you want.

If you want to get really good at instinctive aiming, do most of your shooting on a blank bale and focus on one part of your form at a time. Mentally "see" if you are doing it both correctly AND the same on every shot.

The human brain is an amazing thing. It can accomplish great accuracy if you will simply train it and then get out of the way. An excellent book on this is "Free Throw" but Dr Tom Amberry. Nothing to do with archery, but lots of good stuff on the mental side of being accurate.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:13 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 3,596

In my personal experience, what the book refers to as "becoming the arrow" is very different than what you're describing by "indexing the tip of the broadhead".

You are correct in that the method YOU are using, referencing the broadhead tip against the target, is NOT becoming the arrow, and it IS indeed using a "sighting system".

While I don't buy into the whole voodoo hippy "become the arrow" jargon, I do understand the philosophy.

Personally, when you become ultimately comfortable with your bow, you won't need sights, and likely can shoot from nearly any position and make contact.

When I was a kid, I shot fiberglass wally world special bows with wooden arrows all the time, for rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc. My dad taught me to shoot these bows by focusing on my target, and just letting the arrow hit it. At first, I practiced similar to how you are, by referencing the tip of the arrow against the target, but with practice, I learned to shoot by "feel". Now I simply focus on the target, and let the arrow hit it. I just "know" how to hold the bow for it to hit the target.

I can't say the same for my new Bowtech Destroyer 350. Even though I can shoot my new bow MUCH more accurately while using sights, if you take the sights away, I'm a mess. I'm just not nearly as familiar with how it shoots as I was with those old fiberglass bows.

Using the ball player analogy: Young ball players practice throwing over hand in the same form over and over. They use the same form, and can deliver very accurate throws. HOWEVER, if they're forced to throw from a different position, like a backwards flip, or a spinning toss back to 1st from left field, their accuracy will suffer greatly. On the other hand, pro ball players can make these "off angle" tosses with amazing accuracy, some out field players are even famous for "no-lookers", where they can field the ball and throw the ball accurately back to home plate without even looking at their "target". They just KNOW where the ball is going to go.

Similar to the ball players, or my cheap fiberglass kids bows, I'm also able to shoot "instinctually" with my first rifle, and my 2nd handgun (which I shot a LOT more than my 1st handgun, which was a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44mag).

My Marlin 99M1 was a hand-me-down from my grandfather to my father, then to me. My father had lost the rear sight when HE was a kid, so all I had to go by was the front sight. That is, until the FRONT sight fell off when I was in high school. I took that rifle EVERYWHERE, and even though the front sight fell off, I was still able to shoot it incredibly accurately. Surprisingly, I still shoot that rifle to this day almost as well as I shoot any other open sighted .22lr rifle, but without any sights, just by looking at the target and letting the bullet hit it, whether it's a shot on a running coon in front of our hounds at 50yrds, or on a rabbit in a pasture while hanging off the back of our coyote wagon, it just HITS what I tell it to.

Also, I'm able to shoot my Ruger Mark II .22lr pistol very instinctually. I bought it when I was 16, and it's basically been attached to my hip ever since. In high school and college, I'd go through at LEAST 100rnds a week, coon hunting, rabbit hunting, plinking, shooting mile-marker signs out the window of my truck while I was driving home from school, throwing pop cans in the air, etc etc. Whatever condition, from the hip, aimed, light, dark, moving targets, awkward footing, or at a dead sprint, I can deliver hits with that pistol. I just look at the target, and deliver the shot.

For whatever reason, I have 2 newer Marlin 60's WITH sights, and several other Ruger Mark II and Mark III's, and I can't perform the same shots as I can with the "familiar" weapons.

Now, all of that is fine and dandy, however, when you are after utmost accuracy, you NEED to use sights. No matter how familiar they are with their bow, competitive archers still rely on their sights. These guys could very likely "instinctually" toss an apple in the air at 10yrds and hit it without sights on their bow, but when it comes to delivering precision strikes, the sights offer MUCH better control.

If you're able to shoot enough to be able to shoot your bow instinctually, then when you combine your familiarity with your sights, you'll really have a winning combination.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:47 AM
Boone & Crockett
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 11,974

Nomercy is correct in that for the utmost in accuracy you need sights. The guys in the traditional forum can probably be of more help to you than in here. With that being said, I have been shooting bows for a long, long time. Well before the idea of a compound bow was thought of. Recurves and long bows were the only game in town. And almost every hunter shot instinctive. And we were quite effective. But each 'ethical' hunter knew his limitations and didn't shoot beyond them. Also, our bows were a lot slower than today's compounds. If your bow shot 180 fps it was fast.
My advise to you. To begin shooting instinctive is to do what the book tells you - no matter how silly it seems. I totally retrained my self to shoot instinctive because I went from anchoring my index finger in the corner of my mouth to using my middle finger. And I started shooting at 10' from the target and a dime size dot. I would shoot 20 -40 arrow a day until I started busting nocks. Then I backed up to 10 yds and shot at quarter size dots. The idea is to focus on the target, raise and draw the bow in a fluid motion while maintaining focus on the target, anchor and release.
I am a bit rusty now from lack of practice. But I am confident enough that I can take that bow out today and would be capable of killing a deer at 20 yds.
But with that being said, I would be a lot more comfortable with my compound. Especially after killing a nice buck with an arrow thru his heart at 43 yds. A shot I would never attempt with my recurve because I don't think I could make it.
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