Some archers claim that the rules should prohibit using any artificial aid such as an aiming marker. These, however, will invariably be found to be the fortunate ones who have the inborn judgment which enables them to shoot well without the use of a marker. No good archery association will ever be found willing to enact rules for the special benefit of the few members who are so favored. On the other hand, the purpose of every one interested is to encourage success. And surely the great majority of shooters will agree that the use of an aiming mark is a valuable aid to them in target shooting.
A substitute has been introduced, in the form of a peep sight. This is a piece of wire or other metal attached to the bow, which is adjustable and actually after careful experimenting can be placed in the exact position required for shooting at certain distances. There have been objections made to the use of these sights, but they cannot fairly be prohibited. Indeed, to rule them out would be a reactionary step deserving of every archer's condemnation.
It may be just a coincidence, but it has been noticed that since the introduction of the use of the marked point of aim, mentioned by Horace Ford of England, archery in this country has improved to a marked degree. To-day American archers rank as the best in the world, taken as a class. And the great revival of interest in the sport is due, not to blindly following time-worn practices, but very largely to the exercise of intelligence in developing the sport in keeping with the times. Those who object to such valuable improvements as aiming marks and peep sights cannot be said to have the best interests of archery at heart. And it is altogether wrong, too, to assert that these are artificial aids to shooting. Without doubt, the principle of indirect aiming was known to many an archer before Ford. And as for the peep sight being a mechanical contrivance, there is in fact nothing mechanical about it handling of bow and arrow.
Shooting to the left is a sore fault with many a beginner, and with some oldtimers too. The old hand, however, has the advantage of knowing what is wrong and how to get out of the trouble. The beginner is not so well off.
An experienced archer can detect the trouble by watching the shooter in action. He may try the arrows, and find them weak in spine. The only remedy for that is for the shooter to make the necessary allowance to compensate the throwoff. Or he may detect the shooter in some error.
Throwing the left hand as the arrow is released, which also causes shooting to the left, is common in beginners. It can be permanently cured by concentration and careful practice.-Yet I have often watched archers shooting at a mark placed several feet to the right of the target rather than go to the trouble to cure themselves of a bad habit. No good archer will ever advise such a lame expedient.
Drawing the right hand away from the anchor position simultaneously with the loose likewise results in shooting to the left. The hand should not leave the face during the release, nor immediately afterward.
The right arm should be held horizontal not only when the string is drawn but it should be kept right there until the arrow has sped beyond the bow. To drop the arm will probably put the arrow over the target, while to advance the arm may cut down the flight to half the distance.
Pinching the arrow is a habit at times acquired for no apparent reason. It shows up promptly enough in the trouble the shooter has in holding his arrow in position against the side of the bow. The habit is not easy to overcome; except that if much shooting is done it some-times results in a corn between the fingers just at the side of the nail which becomes rather painful and is about as good a cure as any. A pinched arrow means a bad shot in most cases.