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The Point of Aim and Other Mechanical Expedients
Part 3 of 6

Now the question arises: Are we ready at this time to officially legitimize methods not unlike those which are adopted in all branches of true sport, or shall we go on casting shunnning looks and epithets upon those who go out of the time-honored paths of our conceptions, until they are ashamed to acknowledge that they even employ these methods in their private practice?

Last summer I shot a team round over my own range with a gentleman who has recently shot himself into the zenith of archery. He had shot several ends before I arrived on the ground, and looking for my artificial point of. aim, which was a small piece of white oil-cloth, I found it nearer the target than I usually placed it, and not imagining he had placed it there, cooly placed it at my own point for that distance, with the explanation that my eyes required a definite point of aim. The funny part of it was, he said absolutely nothing; though I soon became conscious that the point from which I had taken it was again occupied by a small piece of white paper, which he must have placed when I was not looking. It is needless to say, I was careful not to again disturb it. Near the end of the round I said to him: "I am glad to see that you employ an artificial point of aim as I do." But he wouldn't even then frankly acknowledge it was of any special benefit to him, as he "gazed principally at the target when shooting." Furthermore I have been creditably informed that this same gentleman in his earlier practice wound a sighting point upon his string. Though he has contributed a number of valuable archery articles, he has never mentioned either of these accessories, and it may be that he now regards them as the rudimentary acts of beginners. In justice to him, I wish to say, that he has recently shot in important contests under the most severe trying conditions of wind, with phenomenal success, and apparently without any of the tabooed aids.

This instance to which I have hesitatingly referred, is only one of many that has convinced me that archers, as a rule, arc reluctant to openly acknowledge the employment of unusual mechanical expedients, even in their private practice, that have not been officially legitimized as part of the game, and yet perhaps these archers may not hesitate to employ any method secretly which they find adds to their pleasure and to the earlier acquirement of skill without them; because they sooner arrive at the subconscious habit of locating exact positions which is absolutely necessary to the highest skill. The reason for this is simple: No one likes to be laughed at as a weakling, or to be pointed out as one whose scores are dependent upon unusual unsportsmanlike advantage.

In the purely mechanical field—aside from individual endowments—there are three principal factors that enter into the act of shooting which, I believe, all archers will agree with me, are necessary and must be in repeated harmonious relations to each other with all who make repeated high scores, whether the factors are separately cognized and striven for at the time or not. These factors which form the indispensable combination of skillful archery relate to the position and relative length of the sides of the right angled triangle, whose base is tin-arrow, and whose perpendicular starts from the knock and intercepts the hypothenuse formed by the line from the eye to the point of the arrow, and the whole in its lateral and perpendicular relation to the target.