It’s hard to dance with two left feet…. It makes you clumsy and your direction and balance is all off. Then you’re embarrased because maybe you’re stepping on someone’s toes, or you feel like you’re being watched by everyone. It’s not a comfortable feeling!
And it’s the same way in archery.
I’m a big believer in letting my body work for me, not against me. If I can get everything in line and pointed the right directions then there’s not much else that needs to be done to shoot good scores. So where does all of this alignment start? The same place it does in most everything you do, your feet.
When I am standing on the line I know exactly where I need to put each foot to start my body’s alignment to keep my left and right’s consistent. But how did I figure this out? Trial and error. But don’t fret, it’s not difficult at all. There’s three steps I took to get this dialed in for me.
- Place or stack a target to get it covering the area just below your shoulder to atleast your nose. Place an arrow down onto the ground with the end of the point facing directly at the target, and the nock of the arrow facing away from the target. Now, put your toes on both feet just against the arrow shaft. Now, nock an arrow and draw your bow back with your eyes closed. Make sure you’re close to the target, just a couple of feet away. Keep your eyes closed until you have anchored and settled in. Now open them and see where you are aiming. If you’re a right handed shooter, you’ll probably be looking to the right of the center of the target. Next step here is to move your front foot back, say one inch. Now start the process of drawing and anchoring with your eyes closed again and see where you are aiming this time. Keep doing this and adjusting just the front foot until you are centered on the target. Draw a chalk outline or some form of outline around your feet in this position so you will be able to stand in it again for step two.
- For the second phase of this you’ll need an old bow string, or if that’s not available a thin strip of tape maybe a 1/4 of an inch wide, placed vertically along the target. Try to get this as straight and level as possible. Now, go back to the position you marked previously for your feet and line back up the same way. Next, draw back the bow, anchor, and aim at the string/tape and make as good of a shot as you can and try to hit or split the string/tape. See if this is possible to do a couple of times. On each shot try to take notice of how your body feels and if you are wanting to be moved off target left or right during your shot process. If you are and it’s in the same direction each time, adjust the feet position again until you feel centered up on the string/tape and can make consistent shots hitting or splitting it. This will also give you some insight on whether your draw length is set too long or short, because you will have to have an extreme foot position to compensate.
- For the final step after you are zero’d in up close, move back to the longest distance you are comfortable grouping and making good shots at. Take note of the position your feet were in before and replicate that now again. Next, shoot some groups and with each shot try to make your best shots. If you have a bad shot that’s worse than 75% of your best, just discard that arrow. Follow how your grouping is going and how your body feels. Again, if you are showing patterns to the left or right consistently, adjust your feet position to correct this until you get zero’d in again. Once you’ve completed this and you are no longer fighting your body anymore to get good centered shots you are good to go! Just keep a reference for the position of your feet so you can replicate this each and every shot.
Keep in mind each time you make a draw length change or form change, this process will more than likely have to start over again because your bow and body have changed.
Good luck on working with this and making your shots easier to find the center!