The bow arm Push?

Del the Cat

Well-known member
They are equal yes, and opposite, yes but the bow arm is not in line with the force acting on it towards the draw hand. The bow arm experiences a pull across to one side... to the right for right handers. What is the opposing force that keeps the hand from moving across to the right?
Like I said, if you are trying to draw 100# you arm wants to collapse (eg. The elbow wants to bend), to counter this you have to do something...
At which point we are in the murky area of:-
1. Semantics.
2. The difference between what we do vs what we think we do.
3. The actions we visualise or initiate to achieve a desired result.
For me it's pretty much pushing that bow hand away and slightly back.... it's definitely not trying to straighten or lock the elbow.
It is self evident that an opposing force must be applied... what one decides to call or how one instigates it is maybe irrelevant.
It's like coaching in general, it's finding an explanation or description that works for the person involved.
"Punch my fist out at the target" works for me, whereas "let your bow arm be like wet lettuce" ;) wouldn't
Del
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi Del, Yes. I agree about words getting confused and sending wrong messages.
Let me just take a very slightly different approach to the same issue. When an archer( often a newer one) collapses on the finishing of the shot. the " collapse" usually follows the same pattern, The bow arm moves across, to the right for a RH archer. The reason for that is the archer stopped working with the bow arm. Moving to the right was caused by not continuing to press across to the other side.( left) Although the bow arm mainly feels the bow pressing into the hand with 40lb let's say; there is still a force trying to pull the arm across to the right. It's a smaller force but still there. The collapse direction shows what force was happening to steady the bow arm before the collapse.
 

Kernowlad

Supporter
Supporter
Yep trying to explain with words alone is tough.
In surfing you just don’t know how you do stuff; you just do it and because you’re on a medium that constantly changing dramatically, your usual time references are removed. I’ve got to the end of a wave many times with almost no memory of what happened on it and have to ask others. It’s the ultimate example of disconnecting your brain and just doing it; no wave is the same so you can’t really practise; you just develop an instinctive way of dealing with what the wave throws at you.
That similar mindset would help sometimes in archery!
I definitely do less overthinking in rifle shooting.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Yes, KC it is about full draw and the forces at work at that time. I guess that actually getting to full draw is part of how things pan out at full draw.
So if an archer swings the chest round to bring the bow shoulder/ arm closer to the string line as they draw, the angle of the arm to the chest is getting closer to 180 deg from something like 170 deg. The angle is increasing so what muscles increase that angle.? The same ones that hold the arm against the pull to the right at full draw. Those muscles would go slack during that draw style unless they were continuously contracting/working.
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
AIUK Saviour
There are a lot of force vectors associated with a bow at full draw. It would be nice if they were coplanar but you are right, they aren't. The major draw forces are straight forward and a child instinctively knows how to deal with them. What makes a good archer is their understanding of the small forces such as small misalignments in the drawing hand and forearm, torque in the grip, slightly too high or low pressure in the grip, and also which muscles to engage and which ones to relax.
Ultimately it doesn't matter if you have good or bad form as long as you understand your form. The video I posted above shows Jesse Broadwater and Reo Wilde. In terms of form probably at opposite ends of the spectrum but both world class archers.
 
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geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Great stuff, Thanks.
I was really trying to clarify what the bow arm "does" at full draw,,,, and what we don't want it to do. ( or is it just me?)
I think " push" can imply a movement; so that pushing with the bow arm moves the whole arm closer to the target and further from the archer's face and/or draw hand.
I also think we need to clarify that the push isn't just in the direction of the arm itself. Doing that would tend to move the bow hand off to the right a little.
Watching archers who collapse at release, almost always drop the arm to their right. They have stopped using the muscles that were used to prevent a movement to the right, just prior to release. I like to imagine the arms are increasing the angle between them; like opening a book,,, the covers move from parallel to almost 180 deg. Thinking like that works both arms at the same time without thinking of one then the other.
 

Kernowlad

Supporter
Supporter
A hand held release adds another form muscle activity - hanging onto it - which I didn’t like. I prefer the action with a wrist release; only your trigger finger is involved.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
@KC no not that.
When the bow string is at full draw, a proportion of the draw force was trying to lift the bow. When the string is released there is a sudden drop in that force and the arm takes time to catch up, so the arm drops a little. But a collapse is loss of tension in the archer in anticipation of the release and the bow arm doesn't just drop down, it moves across to the archer's right as the bow was still under tension at that point, and part of that tension is directed at the bow arm pulling it to the right. Prior to release part of the force in the bow arm is balancing the bow's attempt to pull the arm across to the right. The result of a tension that is ,maintained until after release, is a slight drop and slightly left movement.
It is much easier to see when the archer is using a light mass bow and no stabilisers.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
A hand held release adds another form muscle activity - hanging onto it - which I didn’t like. I prefer the action with a wrist release; only your trigger finger is involved.
I find the opposite, with a wrist release I have to consciously hit the trigger, with a hand held release I curl my thumb around the trigger, increase back tension, and relax the fingers slightly until the release slides forward in my hand enough to push the trigger against my thumb and the arrows gone with no conscious thought apart from a gentle pull back whilst holding the bow on aim. (Easier to demonstrate than explain, but it works for me whereas a deliberate move to a trigger leads to me punching the release)
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
AIUK Saviour
Prior to release part of the force in the bow arm is balancing the bow's attempt to pull the arm across to the right. The result of a tension that is ,maintained until after release, is a slight drop and slightly left movement.
Ahh, I remember back in the eighties 'peeking' was frowned upon, where the archer moves the bow to the right to see the arrow, which develops into a permanent issue... Watch the girl at 22.30 but not sure if this is what you mean either :)
I remember being taught that the bow should move to the left at release to avoid peeking and you still see it today but most top archers maintain the forward alignment. I can't find any video of what you are alluding to but will keep looking.
 
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geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Cheers once again KC.
I watched the aborted shot which shows exactly how things work out when the tension in the back is slackened off.
In the actual, shot that was completed, the same movements occur though less obvious as there was no deliberate relaxing... just the unintended collapse.
Looking to watch the arrow is much easier if the bow arm collapses to the right. I think the two go hand in hand with some archers; they think it is supposed to happen like that.
An exaggerated form of what I am talking about, will show the bow arm and bow being thrown across to the left... as if to make doubly sure that there is no collapse to the right.
I feel that many archers fail to experience a shot that has no collapse and do not realise the anticipation they had that caused it.
I also think it stems from wanting to hit targets before they learn to shoot with a freedom to let the arrows land where ever( so long as the landing zone is safe.)
 
I often read the expression " push and pull" in relation to the bow being held at full draw.
I know of one high level coach who says, "There is no push," in his archery videos.
Sometimes that can be a bit difficult to accept, specially if the archer imagines how they hold their bow at full draw and feels "the pushing" like pressing forwards against the bow, which is being pulled towards their face by the string.
If I imagine my bow arm hinging( like a door) at my bow shoulder, so it can swing the bow hand left to right, I can now imagine how the bow can be held at full draw without any pushing.
If my bow arm tries to swing away to the left( RH archer) I can balance that tendency to swing by pulling a bit more with my draw arm. So, both arms are actively involved in drawing the bow, but the bow shoulder blade can remain almost static; in place against the rib cage. The bow shoulder muscles are working to prevent the bow arm/hand from being drawn across to the archer's right. When both shoulders work in balance, the sight is steadied like having two guy ropes on a tent pole steadies the top of the pole.
Unfortunately the discussion suffers from terms ill-defined. At full draw, you are pushing on the belly of the bow exactly as hard as you are pulling on the string. This is elementary physics. We use the word "push" for forces directed away from us and "pull" for forces toward us is all. The difference for archers is that the force on the bow side is created through the bones in a straight bow arm. Bones are very hard to compress and if the forces are lined up to go through the bow arm, they are "resisted" by the bones of the bow arm being compressed a very tiny bit. Almost no muscular activity is involved. So, when coaches say "there is no push" they are oversimplifying. What they mean is we do not use muscles to create the push, like we use muscles to create the pull.

If you try (start with a low poundage bow) you will find you can extend your bow arm an inch or more through muscle actions (in the shoulder and upper arm). We do not want this action as it creates variation in your draw length. By just using a straight bow arm and the bones aligned along the primary force line (just very close, on the line is physically not possible), a more consistent draw length is created which makes for a more consistent shot.

So, there is a "push" . . . it is exactly the same force as the "pull" . . . it is just not created using muscle.
 

Naedre

Member
I believe I'm a competent archer, (Traditional bows), and i have a fair collection of bling. I've always used the high start, draw down, using my back muscles to get 'inside' the bow. I find this to be much less tiring than other methods I've tried.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi Steve, I agree about the use of words being a bit vague at times. BUt the part I am concerned with is the fact the bow arm being out of line, with the draw force requires an extra force or component to maintain its position left to right. The draw arm faces a similar situation in that the humerus isn't in line with the draw force either. But its lever is half the length so is less likely to weaken at full draw.
 

Kernowlad

Supporter
Supporter
While the humerous is solid, the ulna and radius are far more mobile. Add your meta carpals and a truly solid bone to bone bow arm is very difficult to achieve.
Your pectorals work with your triceps and deltoids to push, your rotator cuffs (which are very fragile as my 40+ dislocations show) do the bulk of the lateral stabilisation.
Then with your draw arm it’s mostly lats but your traps will be doing a bit of work too as well as your biceps. Less stabilisation is needed as it’s anchored against your face.
 
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KidCurry

Well-known member
AIUK Saviour
Anyone interested in 'straight arm' shooting...
 
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