Recurve Archery Technique – The Elbow
It may seem obvious, but I recently watched someone shoot many arrows, wondering why all his arrows fell short until it finally dawned on him that the string was ‘catching’ on his shoulder. (If you habitually shoot in a heavy jumper, now might be the time to move to t-shirts.)
If the string connects with the shoulder of a bulky garment, or the flapping sleeve of a t-shirt (always a problem when shooting outdoors), it will be slowed down by a random amount. The arrow will similarly be slowed down, and it will be impossible to get a consistent vertical group – often it will be impossible even to hit the target.
The solution? Wear a light top, preferably not too loose-fitting. A chest guard (roughly a tenner from your friendly archery suppliers) will also help hold your clothes in check. Rolling up an awkward t-shirt sleeve can be useful.
A related (but infinitely more painful) problem can occur if you have a nobbly elbow that sticks out into the path of the string. Many are the hideous bruises I have taken home from a shooting session. But this need never happen! This problem is caused by locking the left arm, in the belief that this will (a) hold the bow steadier or (b) get a longer draw. Actually, (b) is true enough, but any benefit is thoroughly outweighed by the disadvantage of the string hitting the elbow.
The solution? Relax the left arm a bit and rotate the elbow slightly clockwise, so it sticks out to the left a bit. You’ll probably find that it’s harder to stay at full draw in this position, but your muscles will soon adapt to the increased strain.
See you on the archery range today for a mini-tournament!