Communication is Hard and Then We Die

QandA logoI got a follow-up from that last post and I got something wrong (amazing isn’t it!). Here is the follow-up question and my response:

“What I’m having trouble with is the rotator cuff of my string arm. In order to ensure full expansion, I pull back until I feel an intense stretch in my rotator cuff. I’m pretty sure this is overdoing it, but to what extent should I expand?”

So, I got the shoulder with the problem wrong. First off you should not feel “an intense stretch in my rotator cuff” … ever! If you do, stop!Stabilizer + V Bars

There is a “slot” through which your elbow can go comfortably while making a shot. If your elbow is too high or two low, there can be a feeling of something “catching” … which is bad. How high or low your slot is depends on you. I have seen archers with quite high and quite low arm positions/slots.

You need to find your slot. With your lighter limbs on your bow try drawing (you don’t have to shoot) with your elbow way too high … then way too low. Focus in on the feeling in your draw/string shoulder. Then try draws at various other spots. Being of a systematic mind, I would go half way between “too high” and “too low” and then look to slots in the top or bottom half of that range depending on which seemed the most promising. So, eyes closed, focus on your shoulder, draw. Try different arm slots to see if you can find the one that works for you. It should be comfortable with no strain and no pain.

This is something I learned “along the way,” I don’t have any biomechanics to back this up. Let me know if you do.

Also, take it easy. You are still nursing an injury which you do not need to aggravate.


Filed under For All Coaches, Q & A

2 responses to “Communication is Hard and Then We Die

  1. The power of the draw ( string ) side comes from the mid trapezius and rhomboids pulling the scapula/arm to acheive the draw force line through alignment, the scapula rotation upwards controlled by the seratus anterior. With a high elbow/shoulder the scapula is aligned in such a way that these large muscles are poorly positioned to work effectively. In this position the body ‘recruits’ other muscles to complete the draw – mainly the posterior deltoid and supraspinitus. These ‘recruited’ muscles are much smaller in relation, have smaller energy reserves (which may call on other small muscles to get involved and so on) and are easily damaged as they are not for holding/moving loads. The rotator cuff muscles are ‘fixator’ muscles which fix and hold the shoulder joint allowing the scapula and humerus to operate as one unit. A dropped elbow, on the other hand, will also position the scapula in such a way that the main draw muscles are ineffective but with less potential for injury.


    • You are spot on. The problem is defining the word “high” in the phase “high elbow/shoulder.” When I suggested a range of elbow “slots” all would be considered “high” by a disinterested observer. The point is to find where the archer is comfortable and effective. Thanks for the assist.


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