My dear friend, the one who first encouraged me to think about participating in competitive archery, had to take an almost 9 month break from the sport due to work and injury. Recently we got him back! I’ve been so excited to shoot with J again, and uplifted by his presence. I don’t think I realized just how much I missed him until he came back to the range.
A day or two ago he asked me to be his interim coach and get him back into the form be used to have. I’ve been Level 2 certified for almost a year now, but I didn’t think I had that much to offer him. He is well into being an intermediate to advanced archer himself. Didn’t he need someone more skilled than me? Of course I would help him! I just didn’t know how much help I would really be. Turns out, more than I thought.
J gave me permission to post before and after videos from our lesson today.
The first thing I wanted to do was just watch him shoot. Closely and from several angles. Then video the next end to confirm what I thought I was seeing and be able to show him the trouble spot I found that I thought we should work on first. Here is one of J’s before videos.
I used Coach’s Eye to draw some simple lines to detail the problem area I saw. At the start you can see that one hip is higher than the other, but spine is straight and shoulders are aligned. As the video progresses you can see his weight shift, and instead of coiling around the spine and keeping the lower body still, he twists at the hips so that his whole body rotates. The shoulder blade winds up where the spine was, the hips twist, and his right shoulder to elbow line lifts upwards.
We worked on foot placement, because the placement he was using was almost T like, back foot parallel to the line and front foot pointed at the target, which left his base unstable.
We also worked on isolating the right shoulder muscles for movement, allowing just the right shoulder blade to drive the draw process. In the video above the hips were driving the draw instead of the shoulder.
I like people to see what I see and for us to collaborate together to fix the problem. I’m partial to the Socratic method, so I tend to ask more questions and to also explain why I’m asking for a specific change. It’s my hope that in doing so the instruction and change sticks with the person longer. I know that the more collaborative I am with my own coach the more I get out of my lesson. So I showed this video to J and we talked about what changes to make.
This the result, after some practice.
See how his hips are much more even and how they stay still during the draw? Part of that is due to the change in foot placement, allowing a more stable base. Part of it is on focusing on allowing the right shoulder blade to drive the entire draw movement. There is still a bit of twist going on, but it has minimized drastically.
I am so proud of J! It’s extremely difficult to come back to a sport after extended time off. I couldn’t be happier with his decision to return and I’m grateful for his permission to share our experience here on my blog. J’s last end for the night looked like this!