I shoot a pretty basic bow. It’s not a fancy Olympic recurve that cost almost $1,000. But my bow is very special to me.
I shoot a 62″ 29# Samick Polaris. On Wednesday I had a lesson with my Coach. We worked on a new technique for teaching me how to release properly. Which meant teaching me how to relax. Anyone who knows me knows that I fail miserably at relaxing. And this is even more difficult because I must relax only specific parts of my body. Very small parts, even, while keeping steady tension in other larger muscles.
The good news is that this new technique is very effective! It worked! And in addition to it helping me release it has also helped me with the motion of rolling to my anchor point. The first piece of bad news is that I cannot go into detail and say what this technique is, yet. Its supposed to be a surprise for my team mate and partner in crime, too.
After spending most of the lesson with the range’s 20# bow, she let !y pull out my bow for just a few shots. I had brand new arrows I had yet to shoot with, and I hadn’t shot my own bow in over a month, so I was just itching for the chance to put the two together and try them out!
First shot with my bow and the new technique went smoothly. Then I stepped back to the 18m line to do it again at full draw. Bow raised. Bow arm in good position. I started drawing back. I went to roll to my anchor without realizing that my shoulder had lifted. Suddenly my wrist popped, it felt like electrical wires had replaced my tendons. I involuntarily released well before I was ready. But I no longer had control over what my hand was doing. It flew open. The arrow flew wild. And my bow felt like it exploded out of my hand to go crashing to the floor.
Why had my shoulder lifted? A combination of things, really. One, this is an area I struggle with consistently. Two, a heavier draw weight that I was not accustomed to and probably not ready for (muscle development wise). I can tell you that this absolutely scared the crap out of me. I kind of became scared of my own bow for a little bit.
All my coach said was “Good bow hand!”. But if nothing else this taught me the absolute importance of good form. And relaxing. If I can’t relax I can’t keep my shoulders down and risk losing control of the shot.
It also taught me that I need to develop my back muscles even more. Drawing my bow is no longer the strain it once was, but better muscle development will mean that it comes easy. And easy will mean no shoulder lifting to my ear. OK. Less shoulder lifting, anyway.