This question came out of one of my students during a lesson. He had gotten so bollixed up he was ready to quit archery. After settling him down and fixing what was wrong so he was back to shooting normally and fairly well, I discovered that his quest was “to do it right.” My question in response was “Just what do you mean by “doing it right?”
People who right about archery form and execution (including me) don’t emphasize enough that what we write about is optimal form, not required form. If you saw the men’s team gold medal competition at the recent Olympics, the winning shot was made by an archer who had far from optimal form (Michele Frangilli, a former #1 ranked Olympic recurve archer). He doesn’t shoot like any of the books tell us we should (even mine).
So, if I were his coach, would I try to convince him to change? Heck, no! if you shoot with form that is sub-optimal, all that means is there is a cost to doing so, typically in hours of training that might not otherwise be necessary. If an archer has already paid that cost, then there is no problem.
An archer just starting out should be encouraged to adopt form and execution as close to the normal as possible as there is less training cost to achieve good form.
But my student, who framed this question, was well into his 70’s, and also had a muscular set of shoulders on him, both of which did not allow him to shoot like the athletic, lithe twenty-somethings for whom the books are written. There is no way he could execute they way they or even he could (50 years ago).
Most archers require some modification of standards form to execute well. This is why, if you look closely you will see that everyone shoots a little bit differently from everybody else.
So, you don’t have to do it according to the books, you just have to do it “right for you,” which is something we can find if we are looking for it.