In this article I want to talk about what it means to study your float patterns, the benefits of doing so, and then what to do with the information once you’ve got it. Drawing back and holding on target to not fire an arrow is a tool that not nearly enough people utilize. You can learn so much about your shot and release execution manner by just looking at your float and watching what it will do. You can find form flaws, equipment flaws, and much more just by knowing what your pin is doing on the target and also by seeing what is normal float for you to have as well. Let’s break this down and look at the process involved.
The part of archery that everyone understands is shooting the arrow at the target, but what if you could benefit from not shooting that arrow. What if you could draw back and hold on target and just watch what happened and increase your scores? This is what studying your float patterns can do for you. It’s breaking down the shot process and what is happening throughout. It can show you if your set up is correct and the same each time. It will show you tweaks that need to be made to your draw length and loop length. It can show you tension in the bow hand. It can show you if your release execution style/method needs to change, and so much more. What you want to do is first see what’s normal. This involves drawing and holding on target for 8-10 seconds several times, resting in between each session. During this you want to look and take mental notes what’s happening. Do not try to force or control the pin, just let things happen and watch. Is it slow, fast, buzzy, choppy? Does it slow down at some point and almost stop? Count in your head and see at what time things happen and when your float starts to break down and become erratic. Look for the timing when it slows the most and holds the steadiest. How long does that time last? All of this is so valuable when it comes to reaching the next level as an archer.
Let’s go more indepth now on the timing portion. What you’re doing with this is creating your shot window. This is the time frame that you will hold the best, before your float becomes erratic. An archer will typically release the arrow at the same time +- 1-2 seconds on every shot. So what can you do to make yourself score better knowing that? When you study your float and time it out, you can find the time gap on each shot that you hold the steadiest on target and adjust your shot sequence to release in that window of opportunity. This is one reason why I like a hinge so much. I can fine tune the adjustment of the speed to get me into this window on every shot.
All of these things rely so much on form, bow set up, and release method. And they all have to work together. You may have your form and bow set up perfectly, but if your release technique changes your float pattern after you’ve found the smallest float your body will give you, then you have to address why it is changing and what you need to do to correct it. This is where pictures, videos, finding someone to watch you shoot, or getting a coach can be so valuable. Getting the right set up and going through the right methods can make or break an archer.
Here are two links for videos on float patterns and how different inputs change your optimal float.