Last week, I posted an introduction on going back to the basics while starting up archery practice again. I talked about the importance of practicing form while executing a good shot. You want to create muscle memory in your body because focusing on form is the least of your worries when you are competing. You focus on the target, the score, and your fellow competitors. You want it to feel as natural as possible.
Almost all archers go back to the basics, especially at the beginning of the season.
If you are like me and the majority of archers, we take a break once the season is over. We may pick up our bow during hunting season, but we still aren’t practicing each and every single day. Over time, that muscle memory will begin to fade. You forget about the small things that greatly impact the shot. I compare practice to riding a bicycle, once you master the skill, you won’t completely forget what you’re doing.
I want to talk about footwork. Footwork is extremely important to having good form. It affects where your arrow goes once you hit that release button. In the beginning you want to put some focus on how your feet are placed before you anchor, aim, and shoot.
What is the correct form of foot placement?
You want your whole body to be roughly at 90 degree angle of your target. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. If you stiffen your knees, your whole body will be stiff as well. This can result in mistakes due to poor form.
How do I know if I have the correct footwork?
There’s two things I did to improve my form:
- Take pictures or video of yourself shooting:
When I started my archery journey in 2018, my footwork was horrible. My body was at a 90 degree angle from the target, but my feet were not. When I look back at the pictures before I entered the competition world, I can tell a difference in the footwork. I understood why I wasn’t hitting the target where I was aiming. I can understand why I was frustrated with archery in the beginning.
2. Watch any Archery video on Youtube:
You’re probably wondering why I included this piece when we’re focusing on your footwork. If you watch the fundamentals and importance of footwork from a tutorial video like School of Knock, it will begin to make sense. Watching archery competitions from previous seasons will also help because you get an idea of how you need to stand in competition.
I highly recommend School of Nock for any fundamentals of archery. You can watch the video on footwork here.
Pay attention to how they stand and make a mental note. Whenever you are practicing, pay attention to your foot placement. When you start noticing your feet and making corrections along the way, eventually your footwork will come natural to you.
When working on foot placement, you do not need to be far away from the target. Josh and I work on our basics 4 yards away from the target. We aren’t so worried about hitting a specific target on the bag. We are focused on our form. Once we have our form down once again, then we will step back further from the target and practice executing good shots on the target bag.
This is my second year in the competition world, and I still look down at my feet before I draw my bow back. This isn’t because it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s just a quick mental check because a lot goes on in competition and it’s possible to forget the small things that can impact your performance.
If you are taking this archery journey, let me know how you place your feet when you shoot and what you did to improve your footwork. Also, let me know if you notice a difference in where your arrow goes.