Q&A How Does One Develop a Consistent Draw?

Marcus Valdes
of Georgia (who seems to be willing to take advantage of this service . . . Hooray!) wrote asking “how does one develop a consistent draw”?

A consistent draw is not a thing in itself, it is a consequence of other things. It is important to distinguish between things “you can do” and things “that just happen.” The perfect example is the followthrough. The bow does what it does based upon the forces acting on it. All you do is let it do its thing. It is not something you do, it is something that happens. Why bother with it at all, the arrow is long gone? Because the bow is telling you what happened to it. If it behaves consistently, you are behaving consistently. If it behaves “correctly,” you are behaving correctly. It is an instant critique of each shot. (There are other reasons, too.)

A consistent draw requires proper and consistent positioning of both hands on the bow and string/release aid. It requires proper and consistent full draw body position. It requires drawing to the same point each time.

So you must focus on each of these in their turn. This is what a shot sequence does for an archer. It lists what is necessary to do and when it is necessary to do it. Can you think of reasons why it would be a bad idea to set your feet . . . last? (I’ll bet you can come up with quite a list.)

Some people think that putting a clicker on their bow will cause them to have a consistent draw length. I think this is backward even though a great many archers were trained this way. (And which is why clickers have the reputation of being pains in the keester.) This is using a clicker to force a consistent draw and, as I said, a consistent draw is a consequence of other actions, not something you want to try to create, so this is a mistake. We suggest that you need a consistent draw before you install a clicker. The test we use is to take a marking pen and ask the student to adopt their full draw position. we then put a dot on their arrow opposite the hole their arrow rest is in (or any other reasonable close recognizable spot). They let down, rest for 15-20 seconds and repeat. When I have 3-5 dots I look to see how far apart those dots are. If the farthest spots are an inch or more apart, no clicker. If the spots are well less than an inch apart, a consistent draw (by feel!) has been achieved and a clicker can be installed.

To achieve a consistent draw, a student needs to pay attention to their hands, their posture at full draw, and their draw hand anchor position. Trying to be consistent in those will result in being consistent in their draw length. A clicker can then make things even more consistent, but realize that we want a consistent draw length with good form, not just by itself. And you now have a test to see if your draw is consistent.

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