Archery Stance: Why It Matters

why should you be in a stand during archery

Archery requires a solid and repeatable stance to give you the best chance of consistently executing the rest of your shot. The stance should help you get good posture, which in turn should help the rest of your shot. There are three different stances an archer can use: the square stance, the open stance, and the closed stance. The square stance is the best way to start off in archery because it is very easy to learn and simple enough to consistently reproduce. The open stance gives you the greatest stable platform to shoot from by moving your rear foot forwards. The closed stance is used if you are having problems aligning your shoulders. This is done by moving your rear foot backwards, though it can lead to clearance issues.

Characteristics Values
Feet position Both feet should be placed on each side of the shooting line, with a distance of approximately shoulder width between them.
Foot rotation The feet should be rotated into a "square stance", with feet parallel to the shooting line.
Head position The archer's chin should be rotated over the shoulder of the bow arm/hand.
Hip position The hips should be tucked or rolled under the upper body to flatten the lower back.
Torso position The chest and ribs should be lowered downward toward the stomach.
Shoulder position The shoulders should be pushed downward and pulled backward.
Knee position The knees should be straight, but not overextended or locked.

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Standing allows for better maneuverability

Standing while shooting a bow allows for better maneuverability. This is especially important during the rut when deer are unpredictable, and you can't tell where the shot will present itself. You may need to shoot off the right side, the left side, or even behind the stand.

Standing also allows for better consistency in shooting. When you stand, your feet should be placed at shoulder width, with toes pointing slightly outwards, and your back and bow arm straight. This is the most stable position, and it is also the most common stance among archers.

The "square stance" is the most popular form of stance, where your feet are placed on each side of the shooting line, with your hips and shoulders in line with your direction of aim. This stance is simple and efficient, requiring minimal torso and abdomen rotation to achieve shoulder alignment. It also places less stress on the body, which is helpful if you lack flexibility in your back and torso.

The "open stance" is another option, where the feet, legs, and hips are facing the target more. This stance provides a more stable platform to shoot from, but it requires more rotation of the upper torso and abdomen.

The "closed stance" is used if you are having problems aligning your shoulders, by moving your rear foot backward. However, this can lead to clearance issues.

Regardless of the stance, it is important to maintain proper alignment throughout the shot execution for consistent and accurate shots.

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Standing leads to more consistent shots

Archery is a sport that requires a lot of practice to master. One of the most important aspects of archery is your form, which refers to how you stand while shooting your bow. This includes the positioning of your arms, back, head, and legs. While many new archers think that only the arms are important, you use your full upper body to draw and aim the bow, and your lower body supports your upper body. Therefore, your legs, feet, and back are vital aspects of your form.

Foot placement during a shot can affect arrow flight. Your body has a natural centering point, and if your feet are not positioned properly, your shot may be directed towards your centering point in a fraction of a second during the shot. There are three basic foot positions, all of which should be shoulder-width apart: the squared stance, the closed stance, and the open stance.

The squared stance is the optimal stance for most archers, including Olympic archers. It is easy to learn and keep consistent, and it helps you to keep your back in the right position and gives you great stability. With the squared stance, you keep your feet parallel to the shooting line. Your feet should be placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with a line drawn through your heels pointing at the target. The hips, shoulders, and feet should be in line, which helps achieve correct shoulder alignment. The squared stance also places a low amount of stress on the body, which is helpful if you lack flexibility around the back and torso.

The open stance gives you the greatest stable platform to shoot from by moving your rear foot forward. However, it is much more difficult to perfect, and if it is not properly executed, you will experience misalignment of the hips and shoulders and uneven weight distributions that make you unstable.

The closed stance is used if you are having problems aligning your shoulders. This is done by moving your rear foot backward, though it can lead to clearance issues.

When shooting, your weight should be on the balls of your feet, slightly tipped forward. A good tip is to press your toes into the ground. Your knees should be straight, but not locked, and your spine should be straight. When you draw your bow, your spine should be straight, and your shoulders should be in a straight line with your bow arm.

Standing also allows for more maneuverability, which is critical, especially during the rut. This is because deer are unpredictable, and you can't tell where the shot will present itself. You may need to shoot off the right side, the left side, or even behind the stand.

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The square stance is simple and efficient

The square stance is the most popular stance among archers because it is the simplest and considered the best option for beginners. It is also the optimal stance for most archers and is used by some of the world's best.

To achieve the square stance, place both feet either side of the shooting line, with a line drawn through your heels pointing at the target. Your feet should be parallel to the shooting line, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. The hips and shoulders remain in line with the feet.

The square stance also places a low amount of stress on the body, which can be helpful if you lack flexibility in the back and torso. This is because you don't need to twist your body as much, so the back and spine are under less load. It is also a good option if you rest the bow on your foot and lift it just before shooting.

However, the square stance has a narrower base along the shooting line than an open stance, so it can be less stable in the wind. It is important to use the correct width of stance for your body to make the square stance as stable as possible.

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The open stance provides a stable platform

The open stance is a powerful tool for archers seeking a stable platform to shoot from. This stance involves positioning the feet so that they face the target more directly, with the rear foot moved slightly forward. Here's why the open stance provides a stable platform:

  • Greater Stability in Windy Conditions: The open stance is particularly effective in windy conditions, offering more stability than the square stance. This advantage is due to the wider base along the shooting line, which helps archers maintain their balance even when faced with strong gusts.
  • Improved Weight Distribution: With the open stance, archers can distribute their weight more consistently along the toe-heel line. This even weight distribution reduces the tendency to sway forward or backward along the shooting line, enhancing overall stability.
  • Enhanced Rigidity: The increased rotation of the upper torso and abdomen in the open stance creates rigidity through the body. This rigidity provides a solid foundation for executing powerful and accurate shots.
  • Better Bow Shoulder Alignment: The open stance, when executed correctly, can improve the alignment of the bow shoulder. This alignment helps archers maintain proper form and reduces the risk of injury.
  • Facilitates Correct Shoulder Alignment: The act of rotating the upper body during the setup phase teaches archers the necessary movement for achieving correct shoulder alignment. This learning aspect of the open stance helps beginners develop a solid foundation for their shots.
  • Reduced Back Arching: The rotation and activation of the abdomen in the open stance help prevent archers from arching their backs. This reduction in back arching promotes a healthier posture and reduces strain on the spine.
  • Compatibility with Bow Limb Resting: Archers who prefer to rest the bow limb on their right leg may find that the open stance complements this technique very well. This compatibility ensures a seamless and stable shooting experience.

While the open stance offers these benefits, it's important to acknowledge that it may take longer to learn the correct vertical posture with this stance. Additionally, the increased torso rotation can place more stress on the spine and lower back, requiring more strength and flexibility in the upper body. Nevertheless, the open stance remains a valuable option for archers seeking improved stability and accuracy in their shots.

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The closed stance helps with shoulder alignment

The closed stance is a good option for archers who are struggling with shoulder alignment. This is achieved by moving the rear foot backwards, which can help with shoulder alignment but may cause clearance issues. The closed stance is often taught to beginners as it is easy to replicate and visualise, and it gets learners on target right away.

Archers should stand with their feet parallel to the shooting line at shoulder width. While shooting, the back and bow arm should be kept straight, and the shoulder blades pulled together to get both shoulders in a straight line with the bow arm.

The closed stance is similar to the square stance, which is considered the optimal stance for most archers. With the square stance, the feet are parallel to the shooting line, which helps to keep the back in the right position and gives the archer great stability. Archers should experiment with different stances to see what works for them.

Frequently asked questions

The square stance is the best option for beginners as it is easy to learn and simple to reproduce consistently. It involves placing both feet on either side of the shooting line, with a shoulder-width distance between them.

The square stance is simple and efficient, requiring minimal torso and abdomen rotation. It can be quicker to learn and maintain correct posture, especially for those with less flexibility in the back and torso. It also places less stress on the body.

The square stance has a narrower base, which can make it less stable in windy conditions. It may also require extra attention to ensure the core and legs are engaged properly.

The open stance involves placing the feet so that they, along with the legs and hips, face the target more. This provides a more stable platform but requires careful rotation of the abdomen and hips to maintain proper alignment. It is useful when you need more maneuverability, especially when deer are unpredictable and you need to shoot off to the sides or behind you.

Your stance is critical to achieving accurate shots. If your feet are not positioned properly, your body's natural centering point will affect your arrow's trajectory. The correct stance, unique to your body, will ensure your form is consistent, and you are not fighting against your body's natural tendencies.

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