The method of teaching Archery which has just been described is, as far as I know, entirely different from anything that has ever been done in this sport. I, myself, was not convinced of its real value in the beginning but I tried it as an experiment. It has proven more successful than I could possibly have imagined and I know that it is the most rapid method of teaching beginners that is in use to-day. I say this with the background of many years' experience in managing archery ranges, in supervising instruction in schools and colleges, and in observing archery as it is taught throughout the entire United States. The method is based on certain definite principles that I believe to be basic, and I feel that similar methods could be adopted successfully in many other sports.
Some years ago, when I opened the public range at Pinehurst, induced Major Chapman, former champion of England, to come down from Canada and help us with the instruction. At that time it was deemed necessary to give very considerable explanation to the beginner before permitting any shooting, and the entire first hour lesson was devoted to explanations of one kind or another. I doubt if any one who did not have the dynamic personality of Major Chapman could have held the interest of the beginner for this period. Even at that, I sometimes felt that we were not accomplishing as much as we might in creating initial enthusiasm, or rather in taking advantage of the enthusiasm that the beginner already had, for, if there is anything that the beginner wants to do right away, it is to hit the target. For this reason, one of the first things that I determined to try, in evolving a scientific method of teaching archery, was to permit the beginner to shoot at the very first possible instant, or at least the first instant that he could begin to shoot in good form. This, I believe, is the first factor in the success of this method.
The second principle that has aroused greater interest, and has overcome many otherwise common mistakes of the beginner, is forming the correct position. Under the old method of shooting, the archer would sooner or later, usually later, fall into a definite technique.
The strange thing about this was that when he finally did evolve a correct technique, or at least a technique that showed the best results, this technique was very closely adherent to certain definite fundamentals. The difficulty in the way of forming this technique at once seemed to be caused by the physical effort of holding a bow drawn and at the same time having the various parts of the body assume the necessary positions. I determined to begin by putting the archer through the various positions without a bow. These positions are quite simple and can be learned in a few minutes. They are repeated a few times until they begin to become a habit and then, and only then, is the beginner permitted to take up a bow. I believe that the development of this proper kinesthetic sense is also a basic principle of this method of teaching and that this, combined with the beginner's interest, are two of the main factors in achieving such prompt results.