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Archery Aiming Question

Mike Wallace

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I am a PE teacher in the west metro. We run the NASP program in 3rd and 4th grade at my school. Because of the way the program works, we shoot bare bow and teach the kids instinctive shooting. We participated in the NASP State Tournament last year, took 53 kids, and won the tournament but comparing our scores to the national tournament scores, we aren't close. I need a way to create more consistency and still keep a bare bow.

I understand the concept of using a aiming point, whether it is the arrow point or something on the riser, but that is a tough concept to get 9 and 10 year olds to understand. Has anyone got any ideas on the process to get this concept across to 25 kids at a time?

Any ideas are appreciated.

Mike Wallace

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I just started shooting a longbow this year and have found the best way to start and gain the consistencey is to try and look down the arrow shaft. This will do a couple of things. First, with the anchor point on the edge of your eye - It is easy to get a relatively consistant anchor point. Secondly it will give the kids a point of reference By aiming down the arrow shaft.

There are a lot more people that know more than I, but this is what worked for me.


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As a level II NAA instructor, I've tried different approaches. I tend to shy away from 'aiming down the shaft' as it actually creates more inconsistency with form. Instinct shooting comes from lots of practice, and an "Ah-Hah" moment of understanding that the arrow doesn't go where it looks like it is pointed.

When teaching, I'd try to break the aiming process down by emphasizing periphal vision. The archer focuses and concentrates on the center of the target, and is aware of what the arrow is pointing at (usually a spot much lower than the bullseye) I will have them aim and make note of where the arrow is pointing, and where it ends up after being shot...sometimes I will even mark the spot they pointed at with tape. Consistency comes first. If they have acquired form to group arrows, then they can aim. So now their group is high and left of bullseye.....I move the mark or coach them to move their aim accordingly. It has worked well for shooters that have gained the concept of consistency of form...and get a grasp of periphal vision.

Breaking the concept down to simple forms and steps helps alot. I will first have them on the line and have them concentrate on the target center....then have them point with a finger right at the target...and lower that finger slowly until they can't see it....or move the arm out to the side until it is not visible (all while staring ahead)...letting them experience their field of vision.

Then I have them on the line with bow and arrow...draw to anchor...while staring at the center of the target...ask them where the point of the arrow is...ask them what it is point at....using their periphal vision....they make note of the "spot" on the target...then shoot..noting where the pattern results. It's a way to train the aiming picture..recognize where in the field of view the point of the arrow is so it results in a favorable shot..

Good luck with the NASP ...it's a great program...and nothing beats the look on a kid's face when they get a bullseye!

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Great to have someone with your expertise -I have a question for you. Where do you suggest anchoring when instinctive shooting? Like I said in the earlier post - I have been anchoring next to my eye. I am relatively consistant, but it feels rather awkward.

Thanks for any advice.


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Woody...I like teaching anchoring like the NAA recommends in the NASP...Three fingers under the arrow, pull back so the pointer finger touches the corner of your smile. This gives a constant anchorpoint, and establishes a solid T form with the shoulders level. I teach young kids three fingers under to eliminate arrow pinch, helps keep the arrow on the rest/against the riser. You'll find if the finger touches the smile, on some shooters, the string will also contact the nose for a second point of reference.

The other thing you reinforce by repeating "touch the corner of your smile" is a positive attitude.

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Thanks to all for your ideas and keep them coming. Your idea might help lead me somewhere that helps.


The other teacher that teaches with me is an experienced archer. Together whe have adapted the NASP anchor to try and create more consistency in the shoulders by also having the kids place the inside of their thumb along the bottom of their jaw bone and pointer finger in the corner of their mouth.

I also realize that unless their form is consistent, aiming won't matter.

As my fellow teacher and I experiment with using something on the bow or arrow to sight with, We have found that although he and I are of similar height and we have similar anchors, our points of reference are very different. At 15 meters his point is on the floor 18' in front of the target and mine is 2" below the target.

Are we fooling ourselves thinking that we can get this concept across to 3rd and 4th graders knowing that we won't be able to give them individualized attention in the 40 minute classes they are in gym? In other words, am I biting off more than I can chew? Should I just be satisfied that the kids are learning how to shoot and some will just be better than others?

I would really like to get more consistency out of them. Is there another way to do that?

Thanks again

Mike Wallace

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the time constraints and number of students makes it difficult to really fine tune it. When I did classes in my range, I typically had 5-10 students at a time. LOTS of individual attention, still some got it and some didn't as much.

Try posing this question on the Archery Talk forum. It is like FM but all archery. They may even have a forum dedicated to NASP. I know their are a number of pro shooters and coaches that frequent that sight.

goood luck

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