Form Vs Technique

archery techneque

Form Vs Technique

When discussing Form Vs Technique, I have been looking at some of the top archers shooting over the past few weeks on YouTube and was astounded at the way the archers were shooting. “Surely they have better technique than that” I was saying over and over again at the screen, yet the scores were consistently good. That got me thinking, do you really need to bother with all of that technical stuff if your arrows are going in the middle of the target? So I sat down and started to go over the pros and cons of both arguments to see if one came out on top.


Well all was put right on YouTube and my faith was restored when the Koreans stepped up with breath taking form, great posture, fantastic timing and the end result was a foregone conclusion. It was like watching a mini classical masterpiece from beginning to end. Being able archery technequeto shoot to that high technical standard takes time, dedication and discipline.

Yes I know, I know, the Koreans have the drive and determination to reach these levels and they have incredible strength and depth, yet the archers just keep on coming. All of this said the archers still have to produce the goods when it matters. The down side for a lot of other countries is whether they have the drive and determination to achieve, and if they hungry enough to make it!!! A coach I know (who is a lot wiser than myself) once said “To be a top archer you need to be selfish.” I understand why when you see the training logs, amount of good technical arrows shot, weight training programs completed and sports psychology sessions attended, let alone the weekends away shooting in competitions.


Here is one for you. I have a friend who was shooting recurve at the time and hadn’t shot for 6 months due to work and a whole host of other excuses. He was shooting a club league match (Short metric local comp between clubs in the county) and he needed some new arrows. “Got any Cartel triples?” He asked, “Yes” I said, “What length do you want them, and also what pile weight do you want?”  “O, about this long.” Handing me a fatboy from indoor shooting. “And about 120 grain piles.”

form archeryI made up the arrows and he fletched them over night so only had the sighters to make sure they hit the target. Now this guy does not have the perfect technical style; however at the point of execution he can replicate the release of the arrow very, very consistently. How he gets there, let’s just say is not the most orthodox method. Oh yes, the short metric, he shot 666!!!

Then you have the question if you are a form shooter and you change your shot to seek ‘The Perfect Shot’ will you ever be able to shoot to your current standard again?

Bottom line is even if you tweak your current shooting style, or to take the plunge and try to seek the “Holy Grail” and pursue the perfect shot, you may be lucky enough to have the “X Factor” of raw talent, or you have work tirelessly at your shot to achieve your goals. It’s all about consistency at the end of the day. Keep shooting regularly, don’t over bow yourself, and most importantly enjoy your shooting. The more you shoot the better you will become.

If you have some thoughts on this please do drop us a line at and title your email “Form Vs Technique”, and some of the replies will be posted on line. Please let us know your thoughts.

Shoot em strong and see you on the shooting line soon.

National Series Final

What a blast

Practice all week had been going very well, we arrived at the venue at 10.00am plenty of time to get settled. Practice on the day was nice and relaxed, bit of banter between competitors plenty of laughs.

Then came the first match, nothing can prepare you for this except doing it.  My heart was pounding and I was sweating profusely and my hands were shaking so much I could barely get the arrow on the rest. Not daring to look at the crowd, the screen, my opponent for fear of distraction, I focused solely on the target and going through the shot I knew would put it in the middle.

I managed to make a few reasonable shots and found myself the winner, speaking to Simon afterwards he was in the same state I was.

Time flew by between matches and the semi final was against Adam, pleased with just getting through the first round I managed to relax a bit and  was just looking forward to having 2 more matches in this fantastic atmosphere.

The match started out alright, despite the dodgy 8, and 15 arrows later and a score of 145 I found myself heading into the Final.

The final came and went in a flash, shooting wise I don’t remember very much, just trying to stay focused on the gold, the first I noticed of the crowd was a ooohhh when I shot a 9 on the eighth arrow. The final score of 146, my best pass of the day, was enough to beat Simon and win me the title of National Series Champion 2015, and $2000.



Warm Up Misconceptions for Archers

All too often when I am either at training or attending competitions I witness many archers, of all different ages, performing little or no warm up whatsoever. This can be very detrimental to performance for numerous reasons. One of the main reasons for this lack of warm up is that I am yet to find any good resources in the sport that offer the insight into how archers should warm up correctly. Now, some of you may read that and think, well I have read plenty of books and articles from ex archers/coaches discussing how to warm up properly. The problem with those resources is that they are now out-dated and I believe, for the most part, the information is now incorrect with what we know from today’s current research. On a side note, I also believe that it is not the responsibility of a coach to provide insights into how to warm up and train for the sport. That responsibility lies with a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Now, I am not blaming anyone for writing what they have in the past as that was the “correct” information back then, the problem now, however, is that it is the only resource people use today. And, as we know now, ideas and theories behind enhancing performance has surpassed what it was previously. The whole premise of static stretching before competition or training is incorrect and needs to be put to bed. All you are doing with static stretching is decreasing the ability for your muscles to work optimally as many studies have shown that static stretching prior to exercise decreases strength, reaction time, power output and so on.

Why should we warm up?

Before discussing the warm up routine, maybe I should clarify what a warm up is and why we should do it. By definition, a warm up prepares us for the activity or sport we are going to participate in. Therefore, we should warm up because, on a physiological level, we will increase heart rate, blood flow and core body temperature which all enables for greater muscle contractions as warm muscles can contract at a faster rate than cold muscles. Furthermore, following a warm up routine prior to exercise, has shown increases in rate of force development, power, strength and reaction time. All sounds great, right? Right, so why are people still not warming up?

Failure to warm up may not result in short term injury, like many people have been told, but will almost certainly result in an accumulation of injury risk and performance decrements.

I believe, and always have, that a warm up should be viewed and treated as a crucial part of one’s preparation for competition and not something done half heartedly, or not at all, just so you can get onto the shooting.

Example of a warm up routine

Instead of just explaining why you should warm up I thought it would be best to leave you with an example. Below is a sample warm up routine you can follow prior to your training or competition. The idea with this warm up is not to fatigue you but merely get you ready for the task ahead, which is shooting your bow. The warm up should take between 5-10 minutes to complete and the more often you complete it, the quicker it should become, as you will be more fluent with the exercises and sequence. You can also add or take away sets of an exercise depending on how you’re feeling on a certain day. For example, you may feel really achy in your mid back so you may want to perform an extra set or two of the first exercise (bent over thoracic rotations) or your chest may feel tight so you can perform extra sets of exercise two (shoulder dislocations). You can completely customise this warm up to fit your needs. I am simply just laying down the starting point for you.

Equipment needed

Yourself and a light resistance band (theraband or tubing).

Side note on band tension:

Typically with resistance bands the colours go from light to heavy in the following order: Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, Black. I would advise you to usethe yellow or green.

Warm Up Routine: 

Exercise Sets Reps

Rest (sec)

A: Bent over thoracic rotations 

1 8 e/s 15

B: Shoulder dislocations (band)


10 – 12


C: Wall slides/floor angels




D: Y handcuffs


6 – 8


E: Banded external rotations




F: Band pull-aparts 2 12 – 15


Key: E/S = each side. The rest time is either between sets if there are more than 1 being performed or the time you have to rest before starting the next.

For a FREE downloadable PDF of exercise demonstrations and descriptions please click here.

Summing it all up

So there you have it, a really good starting point for your own warm up routine designed to prepare you for archery training and competition (applies to all bow types). I hope you have enjoyed my post on this topic and hopefully I have been able to open your eyes to new ways of preparing your body for competition. Please feel free to contact me via my social media links below if you have any questions.

Till next time,



Social media links:

Facebook: USP Training

Twitter: @benhumphrys1

Instagram: @ben.humphryspt

YouTube: USP Training


To scope or not to scope that is the question.

scopeson shoting line

To scope or not to scope that is the question.


When you enter a competition it can be a little different than when you are shoscopeson shoting lineoting at your club. You manage to get your tent up, bow is all together and at that point you look for your target only to see a mountain of scopes on the shooting line. You ask yourself “Will I have any room to stand?”

But before we fight our way through to the shooting line let’s look at the pros and cons of using a scope in competition.

Depending on the cost of the scope (which can range from £50 to £1,500), the scope will be able to illuminate the boss you are shooting on, and depending on the quality of the lens, could pick out your nocks and fletchings at your longest distance. If you are lucky you might be able to get a steal on EBay and save yourself a small packet.

Being able to check the arrow positions on the target throughout the end you are shooting can be a bonus when weather is let’s say unpredictable. Adjustments to aiming can be taken into account to keep the arrows in the gold…

But is that enough to have this equipment with you? Let’s have a look at some of the issues that can follow the use of a scope:-

The cost of the scope can be an issue. If you are lucky enough to get a good deal then it can ease the pain, however to get a good quality scope to see what you are shooting at will cost a bit.

One of the biggest issues with a scope on the shooting line is that the archer is obsessed in looking for every arrow they shoot. To the point where the archer Spotting Scopewill be looking for the arrow in some cases before its hit the target. This has long term effects with the archers form as they are moving before the arrow has hit the target, and that the archer will be relying on where the last arrow has landed on the target. The result is that the archer then starts to move the sight after every arrow to chase the last shot. This means the archer is concentrating more on the end result rather than on shooting a strong shot.

Weather can play a big part with using a scope. Water on the lens from rain can cause an unclear image. Being able to keep all of your equipment dry is important, but to keep your lens clear of rubbish, fingerprints, and especially water should be at the top of your priority list.

Wind can be just as destructive. If you are going to use a scope on the shooting line make sure you peg the tripod down so your scope doesn’t blow over. As you will see from the image they are not the sturdiest designs in the world. You will have paid a lot of money for your scope and to see it on its side is bad enough, however if you take out 2 or 3 othScope on tripoder scopes when yours falls over, it could turn into a very expense day!!!

So to wrap up here are a couple of things to think about when you are looking into using a scope:-

  • Make sure the scope is in your budget.       If it’s too expensive, look into binoculars they are cheaper and they can’t get blown over on the shooting line!!
  • Use the scope on the shooting line for sighters and get as close to the centre of the target as you can. Then remove the scope and concentrate on strong positive shots. You can have a look at the end once you have shot them. You know whether you have made a good shot or not.
  • If you leave your scope on the shooting line PEG IT DOWN!!!!
  • Try not to look and chase every arrow, feel the good shots instead.

If you have some thoughts on this please do drop us a line at and title your email “To scope or not to scope that is the question.” and some of the replies will be posted on line. Please let me know your thoughts.

Shoot em strong and see you on the shooting line soon.