Consistency

geoffretired

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I hear the word " consistency" mentioned quite frequently in relation to archery.
Different people sometimes use it in the same sentence, even though these people have probably never met one another.
" It's all about consistency," they say to fellow archers. Often it is part of an informal helping sessions, where a more experienced archer is chatting to newer archers.
I think a consistent draw length is pretty important. A consistent anchor point or reference points, are about equally important, too.
A consistent hand position in the bow grip; a consistent bow shoulder position; foot positions; shoulder alignment; head position. It does make quite a list.
It is starting to sound as if it really is "all about consistency".
Something about this idea, I find, does need further explanation. It can bring unexpected side effects.
When consistency becomes "what it's all about" it is possible, as a side effect, to lose something far more important.... control.
The archer's routine gets established after hundreds of shots have been made and the consistency improves; sometime in a natural way as the archer gets used to repeating it; sometimes in a more deliberate way, as the archer works on specific aspects over the weeks and months.
The routine can become so well established that, the archers can shoot almost without thinking about it. We can drive cars in a very similar frame of mind.
Is the archer still in control or not?
Ask the archer to change one aspect of their shot; and it becomes obvious that their routine is dominating their shot process.
The archer who has fallen into the habit of a "touch and go routine".... where the shot goes off as soon as the string touches their jaw.... will really struggle to hold and aim a bit longer. It goes off as usual before they get a chance to control their finish. It's gone before they can do anything to change things.
Similarly; the archer who gets to full draw and then spends ages trying to settle the sight somewhere near the gold before releasing, will find getting the shots away sooner, almost impossible. It just seems wrong to do that and there is a strong urge to try that bit longer to get a better aim.
Perhaps we should be telling archers that it's all about Control.
 

AndyW

Well-known member
Good points, my form is very consistent but in a bad way. Changing anything after a number of years repetition is a biggy - I've tried and still can't stand "properly". Controlled - yes, but probably scoring lower than had I been coached with correct form and instilled that for 30 years.
For me the deconstruction and rebuilding (though it be worthwhile) would have too many costs.
 

KidCurry

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I don't think it is about control. If you feel you are controlling the shot, or need to control the shot, then you are almost certainly forcing some element of the shot process. Consistency comes from repeating the same action to a point where the control is subconscious and embedded in muscle memory. At this point, as you say, it is like driving a car without thinking about it. In some cases you will execute the whole process and have no mental memory of the shot. These are my favorite shots to execute.
 

geoffretired

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Thanks, both for your replies.
Perhaps I should define "control" so that there are no misunderstandings between what I have written and what I meant by that.
By control, I mean things happen as you have planned them to happen and as you want them to happen.
So, for example if I plan and work at getting something to happen without having to do it deliberately, when I reach that state it is happening the way I want and expect. I controlled what I wanted.
Put another way, the release can happen without my being aware that I triggered the shot. That can be uncontrolled if it goes off before I am ready.
I could control when I release after a clicker has gone off. If I want it to go off "at the click", and work at that, I can get it to work that way. If I want the shot to go off after the click but not immediately at the click, I could work at that until I get what I want.
I would be out of control if the clicker wouldn't go off without a deliberate, possibly prolonged struggle.
 

ThomVis

Member
I agree with KidCurry.
The problem is control. What you pay attention to grows, which means changes.
Control(ing) means you're ACTIVELY monitoring the shot execution, and within our bodies that means you're steering the movement, which you cannot do consistently shot to shot. Try to monitor the bending of your left knee next time you walk and see what happens.
Just like walking or driving your shot execution should be subconscious and embedded in muscle memory, and you are monitoring the process.
When something goes wrong or feels wrong you have the CHOICE to abort. So you are in control, but not controlling.
Changing the subconscious shot process means an interruption, but necessary to improve. Then you need to control that specific action so your subconscious learns the new motion. One action at a time.
 

geoffretired

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Hi ThomVis, and KidCurry
I think I made a poor start with this thread. Let me start and explain "Control" again.
If Tiff Needell goes round a bend at high speed, he may drift out the back wheels to get him round the corner in a quicker time. He wanted that to happen, and he was in control of the car.
If I drove round the same bend and drifted out the back wheels I would have lost control because I had no intention of drifting the back out. It would have been a mistake on my part.
Control, in the way I mean it, is when you manage to get things to happen as you want them.
I suppose one way of defining it is , "The opposite of out of control".
I can get lucky shots in the X. They aren't good shots; they are accidentally lucky. I was not in control of how the shot was executed... it may have gone off too soon or too late or went off just as a twitch moved the sight out to one side. The shot did not go as I had planned.
Letting well established form run its course, is fine, I am not saying that is wrong. I want that to happen. I am in control because I let it happen that subconscious way. My control is not interrupting that; I allow it to happen that way.
 

KidCurry

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Ahhh... you mean 'control' as an adjective rather than a verb (I think) :) 'The car was under control', rather than 'He was controlling the car'. Mr Needell was probably playing 'Oh what a beautiful morning' in his head while drifting the car round the corner, while others would probably be thinking 'OMG, did I pack the spare underwear'. To be honest probably two similar thought processes found on the shooting line. 🤣
 
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geoffretired

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I do understand that there are two differing ways of using "control" and that each is valid in different senses.
The meaning I want to use is the one where the Archer is in control of the shot process in such a way that everything goes according to plan. Tha Archer's own plan. If that plan includes aspects that are left for the subconscious to manage,then that is fine.
The other part of the thread is my feeling that sometimes the automatic aspect of the shot, can leave the Archer with a real struggle to change a particular element. The routine takes over and the Archer cannot correct it so the Archer is out of control.
One example is with my target panic. The release went off before the sight reached the gold. I was unable to get round that for over 10 years.qI had a consistent form. But it had an element that I was unable to control. The routine I had accidentally established, took over.
 

jerryRTD

Well-known member
I do understand that there are two differing ways of using "control" and that each is valid in different senses.
The meaning I want to use is the one where the Archer is in control of the shot process in such a way that everything goes according to plan. Tha Archer's own plan. If that plan includes aspects that are left for the subconscious to manage,then that is fine.
The other part of the thread is my feeling that sometimes the automatic aspect of the shot, can leave the Archer with a real struggle to change a particular element. The routine takes over and the Archer cannot correct it so the Archer is out of control.
One example is with my target panic. The release went off before the sight reached the gold. I was unable to get round that for over 10 years.qI had a consistent form. But it had an element that I was unable to control. The routine I had accidentally established, took over.
Ithink you still have a problem with the way you talk about your TP Geoff and that is ''The release went off before the sight reached the gold.''It is as if you are blaming the release for the shot going off before the sight was on the gold . Releases do not go off archers set them off. You should not be in able to set the release off until you have completed the draw .anchored and put the pin on the gold. then you execute the shot, It is control that enables you to do this, It is consistancey that allows you to do it the same every time.
 

KidCurry

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The other part of the thread is my feeling that sometimes the automatic aspect of the shot, can leave the Archer with a real struggle to change a particular element. The routine takes over and the Archer cannot correct it so the Archer is out of control.
There are two elements here that are really important. Once a routine is ingrained into the subconscious and muscle memory it can be extremely difficult to correct. This is why it is important that only good form is practiced. The routine must take over to avoid the archer trying to control the shot. If something goes wrong in the routine/shot process and the archer tries to take control, things will normally go to pot. The archer needs to come down, reset and start the routine over again. You could argue that staying within your shot routine/process is staying in 'control', which is what I think you mean, but it is not the same as controlling the shot routine, the point I was making :)
 

geoffretired

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Jerry, It is very difficult to explain how to takes over some people. If I could have done anything to avoid the issue, I would have done. I tried all sorts, but the release happened before I could get control and prevent it.
 

KidCurry

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Jerry, It is very difficult to explain how to takes over some people. If I could have done anything to avoid the issue, I would have done. I tried all sorts, but the release happened before I could get control and prevent it.
...but it is the demand for control that causes the release process to happen too early.
 

geoffretired

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KidCurry I realise how important this is. It is the main reason for posting this thread.I accept that the best way is to establish good form rather than any old form. We were all self taught when I started. And for the last 10 years I was on my own. I do not disagree with what you say, I just have a different message to put out. One thing about , aborting a shot that starts to go wrong that needs considering is what stage we reach before it goes wrong. Sometimes it is in that last fraction of a second where it is too late to prevent what has just been started. Another aspect of this sort of problem is the slow and often undetected slide into a bad habit. Beginners often start their archery with quite good form until they start shooting without anyone watching them. A typical situation is the change from drawing the string to anchor and a little further... That slowly modifies into drawing to the face and it's gone! The Archer in question gets really relaxed release and no stress about aiming. They like the sensation and it becomes a habit. One they find hard to break. When they try, the drop off in results brings them round to go back as they
were.
 

geoffretired

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Hi KidCurry whenI suffered in that way, I had nothing to help me. That was pre internet days. I only did what I felt was right.When it went wrong I had no idea what was wrong. I knew I did not want to shoot that way but every shot ended the same way. I tried to improve the ending by holding on longer.... But it went off despite my efforts. It is the ' Incurability" that leads many to give up archery. It took me ten years to eventually get some sound advice.
 
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jerryRTD

Well-known member
...but it is the demand for control that causes the release process to happen too early.
Only if the archers shot sequence allows the release. If your shot sequence keeps your finger off the trigger until after you have anchored and put the pin on the gold then your chances of early release are almost zero.
 

KidCurry

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To be honest I have often thought that drawing a compound bow with your finger/thumb on the trigger of a release should be banned as it is even more dangerous than a high draw. It would sort out a lot of TP overnight; but that's a different thread :)
 

geoffretired

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Kid Curry. I think you are right about that.It is relevant to this thread, as the routine, if dangerous, gets established ,it can be corrected, but the old way can still take over when under stress. I was encouraged to change from finger to thumb to rule out that possibility
I guess that this thread is more appropriate for archers who are not having regular and sound coaching. That is likely to be a large number.
 

Hawkmoon

Member
Never having had any formal coaching I can empathise with Geoff about when things go wrong but it is about realising something is going wrong and putting it right.
But first consistency and control for me it is simple, I can have total control but no consistency but I cannot have any consistency unless I am in total control of my shot. To have control I need a bow that I can shoot (not over bowed), have the physical ability to make the shot (lots of training/conditioning) and I need to know exactly what I have to do to make a perfect shot. If any of these elements are missing there can be neither control nor consistency.
I ended last outdoor season on a decline in my scores and the indoor season (what we had) was very hit and miss, at one comp' I'd shoot a county record and at the next not even place, I shot one round for the January challenge and placed sixth with 551 but could not shoot within 150 points of my average at the indoor champs. It turned out I had learned to consistently repeat an anchor that was twisting the string bringing inconsistency to the shot. Now I know what I have to do I have put this right and am back on course, but if I had had regular formal coaching this would probably have been picked up much earlier.
Now to the TP issue, from what I have been able to gather it seems to be more an issue of transferring focus from the shot to the target. Simply put, it takes almost no effort to point your finger at the gold on a target face and it shouldn't take much more put your sight pin/arrow point on the gold, it does however take a lot of effort to maintain and control your form and shot cycle, so you should be focusing 99% on your shot and 1% on the aim, the problem seems to be when an archer starts to focus more on aiming and the shot cycle suffers. Most archers with T/P can shoot perfectly on a blank boss or with their eyes closed so it is not a control issue. So the solution may be to go right back to basics and build a complete new shot cycle bringing the focus back to the shot and away from aiming.

Just my rambling thoughts.....
 

geoffretired

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When I suffered TP on every shot, I was unable to keep off the trigger and it would shoot the arrow before I was on aim.
It is easy to say that I was doing things in the wrong order. It was impossible to change at the time; because I was "lost" in the mess that TP creates. I was certainly not in control. What I wanted to do was clear enough. Getting it to happen just failed; every time I tried.
I consistently did things in the wrong order.
 

Draven

New member
I have another take. Consistency can’t be achieved until you personalize the shot sequence you were taught how to execute. When you personalize a technique you actually convince yourself why you should do each steps the way you do. When you convinced yourself about the value of each step in your own shot sequence your awareness will control each subtlety of these steps that will provide in the end the expected result of the shot sequence as a whole. In my opinion just from this moment up you can start working on "awareness controlled consistency". I don't believe consistency can be achieved without this step. Yes, you can repeat and repeat and repeat until you start to think "I've got it" and right after this the brain is looking for shortcuts - subtle shortcuts like holding at anchor or not - and you will not be consistent or "in control" anymore.
Yes, you can execute and get a bad result and smile because your awareness rang the bell but you ignored it. No bell rings if it is not installed by yourself - no matter how many bells a Coach might try to install, he is not shooting in your place.
An archer who's "owning his shot" will be able to change things without feeling lost. In the end is not a matter of control or consistency but ownership. The Champs own their execution, and it is visible.
 
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