Hoo Boy!

This is probably going to take a couple of posts to unpack. The subject is a USAA High Performance Newsletter post entitled “Minimum Qualifying Movement (MQM) as the Standard for Increasing Resistance” by Kyle Bissell, a L4 NTS coach. The missive doesn’t include whether or not the ideas in the post have been endorsed under NTS or whether this is a trial balloon, as they say. I am going to try to attach it to this post, but if I fail at that, any USAA can request getting the High Performance Newsletter, I believe. Possibly you may also need to be a USAA coach.

The first order of business in this scheme is stating the goal of coming up with a definitive sign that a boost in draw weight is warranted and in defining what that criterion is. According to Coach Bissell, this “minimum qualifying movement” for increase in draw weight is the achieving of the archer’s triangle upper body configuration. More specifically, he states that it is “achieving Barrel of the Gun (BOG) by coiling efficiently during Set Up is the Minimum Qualifying Movement for considering if increasing bow resistance is appropriate.”

I note that achieving the archer’s triangle before getting to full draw is Kisik Lee’s idea and I have not seen where the benefit is for getting there before the draw. Does it make the draw easier? Does it make the draw more consistent? Does it make for more stable form? Whatever the reasons, I have not seen them. The benefits of the archer’s triangle are valid but whether one gets their earlier or later seems moot. Well, actually, not moot. I think getting there earlier is more difficult and if there are no valid reasons for doing so, then that is just added difficulty for no good reason.

For compound archers “For Compound, once optimal draw length is set, achieving BOG as an outcome of Drawing past peak bow weight with comfort and ease is the MQM for assessing resistance.” Okay, basically this is the equivalent of “achieving good full draw position with ease and comfort.” I am fine with that, but what if an archer can do that ten times in a row but struggles more than a little when they get past twenty shots? I think you can see what is missing. The goal is always to be able to shoot the last arrow with the skill and technique of the first arrow. In any other criterion for increasing resistance, such as are being used in strength training programs, the numbers of reps and sets is part of the criterion. Here it seems that “achieving Barrel of the Gun form as an outcome of the draw” one time is all that is needed.

Second, if you examine all of the elite compound archers, you will find only a few use the archer’s triangle as their form at full draw (all most all of those are converts from the recurve ranks). Instead what you find is most have a shoulder line parallel to their arrows, rather than pointed at their bows (BOG). I call this formation, the archer’s trapezoid. This full draw position has many advantages which I have addressed in other posts. But stating that the archer’s triangle is the “minimum qualifying movement” for a draw weight increase would be promoting non-elite form to archers who shoot compound bows.

So, if you are interested, I recommend reading this missive and would like to know what you think.

MQM as Standard

If the link to the PDF (above) doesn’t work the only other link to the file I could find: https://files.constantcontact.com/af94ab47001/935b8343-a2b5-43a7-b36d-df28d206897e.pdf


Filed under For All Coaches

11 responses to “Hoo Boy!

  1. Coach Rama

    Hello Sir.
    This is interesting from the point of bringing a variety of separate subjects, into one standardised document.
    So the Biologically Efficient Shot Technique is now renamed as MQM. let those that feel plagiarised, take it up with the author.
    I have an issue with ‘resistance’ term in association with the compound area of archery. As we all know, the recurve area has an increasing draw force curve but also, that there is a dip approaching full draw, due to the design of the limbs. Compound is a different in so much that resistance is not so much apparent. Use force to pull a string until the cam design holds the string in place, aim with a telescopic sight and use a mechanical aid to avoid the string contact with the fingers 🤔
    I am a specialist in physical preparation and from experience, this subject has more or less been concentrated on top tier athletes for too long. Bringing it to the masses, is a very good thing and places emphasis on the importance of preparation itself.
    Micro, meso and macro cycles should be the norm across the board, but that’s a hell of a lot of work for those part time – fun – event coaches.
    Many years ago, I was in a seminar with Ki Sik Lee and we studied the ‘difference’ between the triangular form vs barrel of the gun shape.
    Anyway, let me stop here but one last parting shot.
    This document appears to be a reminder to all in the archery world; stop neglecting the important and get back on track with correct training methods.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Coach Rama! B.E.S.T. (Biomechanically Efficient Shooting Technique) was renamed the NTS (National Training System. The acronym MQM is a fancy name for the recognition factor that tells you when a draw weight increase is appropriate. I do not know whether this is to be part of NTS, it was just a newsletter post.

      The term “barrel of the gun” preceded KSL and referred to the bow arm and shoulder alignment . . . of the Archer’s Triangle. If Coach Lee wants to argue that his version of the BOG was different from the people who invented the term, I wish he would have used a different term (to avoid confusion).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kyle Bissell

      Coach Kyle here:

      1) No, MQM is not BEST. I was originally trained in BEST. BEST, nor NTS, is a framework for setting criteria on assessing draw weight appropriateness for an athlete. I fail to see how this could be interpreted from my article. BEST / NTS are comprehensive shot cycle systems covering both mental and physical elements. MQM is a lens through which to consider draw weight changes – nothing more.
      2) Resistance of a compound bow is absolutely apparent. One must overcome the resistance of the bow in order to get to the valley. If, during the process of overcoming peak draw weight the athlete has to contort their core and posture (recruiting compensatory muscles), then the draw weight is too high for the athlete. To say that compound is not a resistance sport is like saying that rowing is not a resistance sport. Just because the oars come out of the water at one part of the stroke cycle does not negate the fact that resistance had to be overcome in an earlier part of the cycle.
      3) I am not clear on what you were addressing when you brought up your time with Coach Lee and triangle being different than Barrel of the Gun. To be clear, BOG is one leg of the triangle.


  2. Hi Steve
    It’s an interesting document with some good points. I do agree that an increase in draw weight should be trained for with weight training and not with a bow and with the correct forms of exercise.
    I like the progression flow chart, a very useful tool for all coaches.

    I need to read this a few times and get some of the ideas fixed in my mind before I comment further.


    • The idea of having “signs” to look for, or better tests, is very good. Coach Kim of Korea, has published a test as to whether someone is ready for a draw weight increase, which I have shared a number of times. My first reaction is being so specific to NTS that the BOG has to be completed in Set Up, which is an additional burden on the archer for no reason I have ever read. It makes the MQM specific to NTS and nothing else.

      I too need to spend some time with that doc to see what is of value in it. I may invite the guy to expand upon his points in an article for AF.

      On Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 3:25 PM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Steve,

        Yes, I am an NTS Coach. MQM is designed for NTS because the concept of setting BOG at the end of Set Up is NTS. Good point. I can absolutely see now that someone looking at the MQM model from a non NTS perspective would find the model confounding and, perhaps, useless. However, the concept of being able to move effectively and efficiently without using compensatory muscles across movement patterns to achieve optimal positions, repeatedly and under resistance, can be applied to angular or linear archery forms. Power moves us through patterns and into positions (see Nick Winkelman Language of Coaching).

        I consistently see athletes come to me from other coaches and their elbow is outside the arrow line, they are not reaching anatomical draw length, there is no loading, sometimes no real anchoring or transfer. They are trying to pull through the clicker and I can see target panic in the future. If you and I were personal trainers in a gym and we saw this type of deteriorated form with someone curling dumbbells, it would be considered grossly negligent of us (professional coaches) to allow the athlete to continue pumping out repetitions without intervention. We would instantly drop their weight. Someone might say, “Oh, they just need to have better coaching on what proper form is.” Perhaps. However, this fails to recognize the fact that no level of coaching is going to make up for an athlete’s inability to produce power to move resistance over distance. Resistance (draw weight) must be congruent with an athlete’s ability to endure repeated optimal movement patterns with proper positioning. Archery is a form-based sport that involves resistance (recurve or compound). Therefore we need a form-based observable metric for assessing if draw weight is appropriate or not.

        I stand behind MQM but, most importantly, I stand behind athlete-centered and evidence-based decision-making that optimizes performance and reduces mental and physical injury. Because MQM is ultimately about ease and efficiency of movement, mental and physical Holding is more likely to be achieved. If MQM evolves into something better – I will be thrilled.

        It sounded like you were not sure if the link you provided to the paper would work. It is also on my blog, http://coachkylebissell.com/

        Thanks for the conversation.



      • Thanks for the clarification. I understand that you created MQM as an adjunct to the NTS, but only they get to decide what is part of NTS and what is not.

        And, with regard to “angular or linear archery forms” I am still waiting for a definition of “linear archery form” as I can find nothing linear in archery form, other than imaginary things like primary force lines, etc. The human movements are never linear, they are at most curvilinear.

        Keep up the good work. There is way too much of archery form discussions based upon opinion (there is little else) and not on good science.

        On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 11:44 AM A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



  3. I went to see Coach Kim a few years back when he visited the UK. It was one of the most informative lectures on Olympic Recurve form and technique.
    I use a lot of his training techniques and I find his methods work really well on most archers.
    Looking back through my notes increasing draw weight when the athlete is not ready is a common theme because the archer wants to shoot longer distances with a more powerful bow.
    Another thing that is not great in the UK is incorrect anchor positioning, not hard enough in to the jaw and a gap between hand and neck. Possibly connected to not achieving correct alignment ? And often resulting in a kinked wrist.
    I’m going to have a word with a physio friend to look over the exercises in the training plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Nick!
      The hand positioning against the jaw is a complicated situation. If you look at an array of people you will see quite a wide range of jaw lines. Some are near parallel tot he ground, others slant upward a great deal. KSL has the jawbone placed against the valley between thumb and palm. But if you used his rule strictly, some people would have their elbows pointed straight back and others upward toward the moon. I think that all archery form is negotiable, we need to find what works. Firm contact between jaw and string hand is necessary, but in some cases it is only a small area of contact. What is to objective of the whole thing? I think it is consistent head placement. We tend to think it is all about bow placement, but what is the real variable? I think it is head placement. A compound coach I knew would have his archers draw and turn their heads away so he could see through their peep. He would then have them move the bow in to position (up, left, whatever) and then tell them when to trip their release aids to shoot a short range bull’s eye. He did this to take the mystery out of it. The whole idea is to place the bow in space so we can stand near it and see what we need to see.

      Every archer needs to find their way to do this and sometimes people cannot do it “by the book.” KSL seems to insist upon “the book” a tad too much for my liking, but then my liking isn’t needed by him or really anyone else. :o)

      The only time hand position is a problem due to alignment is when someone hasn’t been properly coached. I work with quite a number of Recurve archers, the vast majority have very poor line (these are not elite or even necessarily advanced archers, although I have walked the Senior Men’s and Women’s lines at the Outdoor Nationals here and I would say that at least three quarters of the archers competing had poor line). The first corrective I apply is to close their stances. The open stance has become a dogma, but that stance works the lower body in the opposite direction of the upper body. When they close their stance, their draw length gets longer and they get into line. Once I have them accustomed to shooting with good line, I tell them they can experiment all they want with stances, but never at the cost of good line.

      The open stance is recommended as it makes torsion in the torso of the archer which makes for a more rigid shooting platform. (Nice argument.) I asked would not the same benefit ensue for a closed stance and I was attacked as a heretic. The answer is, of course, the same benefits would result. The shoulders are 10-12 degrees closed and a 40 degree closed stance would provide the same torsion as a 30 degree closed one.

      I also argue that the Korean obsession with the open stance, which they learned about here in the US in the early 1980s, is from the success of American archers, especially Pace and McKinney at that time. I also argue that those two gentlemen were so flexible, that they could get so far past line that that was a source of uncertainty in their shots, that is they couldn’t feel whether or not their full draw position was the “same” as last time. By opening their stances, they actually made getting in line harder and they had a better feel of the muscle tension in their backs when they hit full draw. And we recommend this to archers who usually have limited flexibility at best. (How many inches past being in line can your archers get their elbows? McKinney is shown in photos with his draw elbow being a good 3-4 inches past line. What was good medicine for overly flexible archers is not necessarily good for less flexible archers.

      Sorry about the rant, but people keep preaching “form” as if it were sacred when it really is a puzzle that each archer needs to figure out. The better we understand what form elements do (e.g. open stance = shorter draw, closed stance = longer draw) the better we can help archers find what works for them. That, I think is the right path. (And I have plans to write a book on coaching based upon physical principles, but I have a lot of plans … don’t know if I will live long enough t see them to fruition.)

      Sorry for the rant! Cheers from Chcago!


      • Kyle Bissell

        1) Archery is a form-based sport just like a martial art. When NTS and other form-based physical activities are approached from a linear pedagogy mindset, there appears to be a very narrow window of “acceptable movement patterns.” When nonlinear pedagogy is employed, athletes are given space to explore, discover, and adapt, and athlete autonomy and sovereignty is maintained. In addition, to the athlete, there does not appear to be “one right answer” but an abundance of movement solutions available to solve the outcome you, the coach, have presented them with as the goal. It is a coaches job to provide relevant constraints and cues within the context of whatever modern model of form is being promulgated. NTS is not a cookie cutter approach. It is not trying to get everyone to look the same. I was a professional ski coach for 13 years and trained with Austrian, US, New Zealand and Canadian coaches. Each country had their own national model. Sometimes people would quip that “the model is trying to make everyone look the same”. This misunderstanding was damaging to the field, as it is here.

        2) Why are people preaching form? Because when inefficient form is used it can cause injury, both physical and something called paradoxical performance (target panic, yips). Because if you don’t get your thumb or pinky correct on your Hook, you place your shoulder at a higher risk (especially if you are using linear draw). I could write pages of examples here. Why do professional coaches in weight lifting preach form? I must be misunderstanding you because I am mystified why you would question the value of form in a form-based physical endeavor.


    • Coach Nick,

      Yes, the common thread of archers and coaches increasing draw weight as a strategy to reach farther distances is prevalent in my observations as well, sadly. That was precisely my motivation for developing a form-based observable metric (for NTS compound and recurve) that when an athlete was ready to move up or if they had moved up too much in resistance.

      Please note: If I could rewrite the exercises in the training plan again, I would. I’ve since studied Dr. Stewart McGill in my Applied Sports Science class (I’m a PhD student in Integrated Health Sciences…think sports science, human sports performance, coaching, and athletic training combined) among others (including trainers at the OTC) and I would write the plan differently. I tried to get interviews with the OTC trainers before publication date (so that I would avoid this from potentially happening) and was not successful. Specifically, I have concerns with some of the twisting exercises and now know more about core strength vs core stability. FYI – I would head more in the direction of core stability (a la McGill Big 3) as that is where evidence-based practice is aligned at this point in time.

      I will eventually update the plan on the paper that is on my blog. http://coachkylebissell.com/

      Thanks for writing.

      Coach Kyle


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