After you hook your release onto the bowstring and set your hand properly on the bow grip, you’re ready to enter the set position. This is the final step before beginning real movement with your bow.
In set position, you’ll want to look at the target, position your torso for the next step of set-up (raising the bow), and verify one last time that your stance and posture are correct.
Stage 1: head position and shoulder alignment
Remember that we learned how to set the stance in our first feature about shooting a compound bow, and while your feet and hips point toward the target, your shoulders will eventually be (mostly) square or perpendicular to the target. This encourages core activation (abs, anyone?) and increases your stability.
Your head should be up, looking directly at the target, with your shoulders about 75 percent in line with the target. This helps maintain the proper weight ratio on your feet. As a reminder, you want about 60 percent of your weight on the balls of your feet and 40 percent on your heels. This ensures proper balance and added stability. Test it out: Can you lift your toes without losing your balance? If so, you’re ready for the next step. If not, transfer a little more weight to the balls of your feet.
Stage 2: Torso Alignment
With your head and shoulders properly aligned, make sure you have a flat back (no arching or leaning), while slightly activating your core muscles. Hello, abs! An activated core also promotes stability and balance, which will greatly influence your shots.
Stage 3: Mindfulness
At this point, clear your mind and begin your mental process (whatever that might be). This is probably one of the most overlooked steps in the shot process for beginners, but it’s also one of the most critical steps. As you clear your mind, repeat a mantra in your head, or simply state the steps in the shot cycle. It’s important to be mentally checked in at this step in your shot.
With your position set and mind clear, you’re ready to raise and draw your bow. Practice mental clarity by envisioning success. With the proper form, a great attitude – and a lesson or two from your local archery store! – you’ll be arrowing bull’s-eyes in no time.