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Archery Simplified

Chapter I

The Best Way
Part 1 of 4

Is there any best way to shoot the bow and arrow?

That was the first question that occurred to me when it became apparent that a clear and concise method of teaching archery must be developed before the sport ever could have a really permanent footing in this country. There are certainly many ways to shoot; in fact, there have been almost as many ways as there have been archers and I believe that is one of the reasons why shooting has not been more popular. My natural answer to this question was, "No, there is not any 'best way' to shoot! " But I have reached the point where I no longer believe what I believe, as the Irishman said, but look upon my definite convictions with a cold and calculat­ing eye.

There have been many revivals of the sport of archery with long periods of quiescence between. I believe that a great deal can be learned about these peaks and valleys of popularity by a study of scores of the various periods. It becomes quite apparent, even to the most casual observer, that low score and low interest in this sport go hand in hand while high score and keen interest are also inseparable companions. All of this comes right back to our orig­inal question. Is there any best method of archery? And to-day I believe I must say "yes," for reasons that I shall presently give.

I know that this is contrary to the accepted ideas of this sport and that many old timers will probably feel that I am completely and thoroughly mistaken in my ideas. They will feel, as I have felt for years, that archery technique is a highly individual matter and that it must vary according to the constitution and disposition of the archer, and also because of many other factors. But I now believe that a very concise and definite method of technique, taught to every one, in exactly the same way, is by far the better plan; and that individual variation is not only undesirable but a distinct disadvantage.