In our last article we discussed the front end of your form, the grip. Now its time to get into what steers that arrow - the anchor point.
Archery is all about repetition. Accuracy requires that we repeat each part of our shot exactly the same in order to achieve machine like consistency. But lets face it, we're not machines. So the archer needs a system of reference points that can be used to aid in repeating that shot process each and every time.
Your anchor point is a critical part of that system. In its simplest terms, its composed of reference points that you can use to ensure you are doing the same thing each and every time. In its simplest terms, its a checklist system.
So for our purposes we will use 3 points of contact for reference when checking our anchor point.
Knuckles - the space between the index finger and your middle finger forms a convenient V shape. You can use this v to help you establish your first critical alignment point along your face. By placing that v along your jaw line, you will be able to repeat that positioning extremely easily. When executing your shot you just need to make sure you maintain contact with your jaw line and let that v "ride the rail" of your jaw line. Not only will it allow you to stay solid in your shot, it will also aid in keeping your elbow in line with the target.
Nose - When looking down range at the target you bring your bow along the side of your face and anchor with the knuckles at the jawline. But what tells you if your are pitched too far up or down? Well like they say "the nose knows" so use your nose to provide a second reference point. By touching your nose to the string at full draw, you can check alignment quite easily. Combined with the knuckles at the rear of the face you now have a 2 point alignment that you can use to establish some repeatable shots.
Note: depending on the string angle of our setup, its not always possible to get your nose on the string. This often happens with bows that have relatively short axle to axle lengths. In those cases, you might have to tilt your head too far forward to use the nose as a reference point. In order to use the nose as a reference point, you would either need to make the draw length slightly longer and align the knuckles slightly further back, or adjust the positioning on your face to make it more comfortable. We'll get into that subject in another article.
The Arrow - This is a critical reference point, that if used properly will let you know if something is off with your anchor for sure.
In a proper setup, the arrow should fit in right between your lower lip and the top of your chin. In this way, there would be no vane contact with your face. Contact would affect the trajectory of the arrow and lead to inconsistency. So ideally there should be no contact at all with the arrow when its properly aligned.
How do we use this point of contact, or should i say no contact? Simple, if you come to anchor and feel the arrow touching you, then you might be too high or too low on the face. Check your knuckle alignment, elbow alignment and nose contact. Once all three are in unison, you won't feel that arrow at all and you are ready to go.
So all together you now have 3 different reference points to work with on the back end of your form. By verifying they are all where they should be, you are establishing the basis of good form.