I was reading a book on Barebow today and came to the tuning chapter and the first thing said was “You should first strive to develop a reasonable (reasonably? SR) good and biomechanically efficient shooting form.” This is in perfect agreement with my aphorism that “you cannot tune any better than you can shoot.”
My gripe is with “biomechanically efficient shooting form.” This was a misnomer the first time it was uttered and still is. It sounds impressive but it is just . . . wrong. What makes it wrong is the word “efficient.” Nobody gives a rat’s ass whether or not they are being efficient. To be efficient is to minimize the energy expended so that X shots take less energy than they did before. Does anybody actually care about finishing a tournament fresh as a daisy?
Ask any archer “Which would you choose: finishing twelfth but feeling energetic at the end or finishing first and being dead tired?” Is the answer even in question?
Athletes have never cared much about efficiency except in endurance events and then that was never a primary goal; it was a means to the end of getting higher finishes.
What we have learned in the last half century is that biomechanics, the study of human movements using the tools of physics, can help us identify what optimal archery form is. (Prior to that we lived in a “monkey see, monkey do” world of copying the form of people who did well and, of course, we still do to a large extent.) Of course, no one actually shoots this way, with “optimal form.” Being human beings we can only approximate good form. And, trust me, good form is all that is needed. One does not need perfect form to win. What one needs to win, is the ability to repeat their process precisely under varying conditions.
If you need any evidence for this, just look at the form and execution of the champion archers in your style. All of them have either full blown form flaws or, at the very least, quirks. Some seem to have nothing but quirks. Perfect form isn’t need; good form is.
This is not the only misnomer in archery. Compound release archers have had “back tension release aids” marketed to them for decades. The marketers didn’t invent the term, but it sure sounds like a deal to me—if I buy one of these things, I will be able to shoot with back tension. Uh, no. No release aid requires back tension and all release aids can be shot with back tension or without it. Shooting with back tension is something an archer does and a release aid can’t force them to do it. I do not use the term “back tension release aid” and I recommend you don’t either. I use the term “triggerless release aid” which is, at least, accurate (none of them have triggers).
Oh, “biomechanical efficiency”? What we really want is biomechanical effectiveness. Archers will spend a great deal more effort, that is be less efficient, if it means that their arrows land in the center more often. Effectiveness has a straightforward measure (higher scores), efficiency does not.