October 26, 2008
from K.O.E. of Germany:
"Dear Coach Lee,
Firstly, thank you for sharing so much technical information on your website, which is a continuing well of information for many archers all over the world and is also followed closely by most of our coaches and club members. I have recently gone from recurve to compound and have used most of the form details described in the KSL Shot Cycle very successfully shooting compound. We recently had a lengthy discussion at our club in view of some recent articles published advocating no string contact with the face at all or at best, very light. Further, recurve archers are advised to centre the string on their chin and not having a side anchor, which seems to fly in the face of your teachings and the successes you have had with your archers. We would appreciate very much to hear your views on this.
Rather than commenting on belief by others, I would like to share with you my teachings on the subject of string contact for both recurve and compound.
Firstly, the string is used for aiming for both recurve and compound and as such it is the rear sight for both. String alignment is extremely critical and compound has the advantage here, being able to employ a peep sight for perfect sight/string alignment. The string should not be in the center of the chin, but slightly biased to the drawing side, as it allows the archer to come more in-line. It should be noted that the face should be as much face on to the target as possible, for reasons I have demonstrated and proved many times at my lectures.A more face/eye on-position provides for a stronger bow arm and a better neurological connection to the back muscles. I have recommended head rotation exercises for some of my archers to be able to achieve a more ideal head position.
We must be careful to avoid too much side anchor, as high speed video analysis has shown flight inconsistencies of the arrow when going through the archer’s paradox. I advocate having the string touch the center of the nose lightly, as this provides the most repeatable reference point and in addition avoid any string clearance issues on release. The string must have a solid connection with the face, as it provides for a stronger neurological connection, making the bow one with the rest of the body and as such gives an overall stronger connection. This concept is not very well understood by most.
I sometimes use the analogy of two walls; if you can touch both walls with your hands you can push and develop more power. However, if the walls are too far apart than you can’t push the walls harder. Further, correct head and eye position is very important and the eyes must be level or slightly tilted towards the draw hand.
The above would equally apply to compound archers, with the only warning that for compound archers, draw length is critical. If the draw length is too long and especially with high let-off bows it would be easy to distort the string on the face and consequently there could be a considerable string drag on the face on release.
It is recognized, due to a constant string peep sight location that the vertical draw hand position for compound archers’ varies slightly on the face at different distances. However, recognizing this and assuming correct draw length is used together with a good head-on position, there is no good reason not to have a strong string face contact the same as for recurve archers, as the benefits will be for a stronger and more consistent shot.