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Kiss Kentucky English goodbye.

Kentucky English can be described as not having your sites adjusted to where your arrows are flying. So when you are shooting you are compensating for a sight that is not pointing to where your arrows are going. For example: If you are holding your sight pin at 5:00 o’clock on the 9 nine ring to get your arrows to hit in the center than you’re using Kentucky English.

This is a real common practice for a lot of beginners but I hear even the wily old veterans doing it occasionally.I suspect the reason in most cases is that it’s difficult to adjust the pins to match the arrows flight. Today’s modern sights usually have a gang adjustment so it’s much easier to adjust the pins. If it’s too hard to adjust your particular sight buy a new one. What concerns me more than the excuse for not adjusting the sight is that the archer may not understand just how counterproductive a miss aligned sight can be to accuracy.

Let’s discuss how your brain naturally aims, and how you can re-enforce good aiming technique with practice. Your subconscious mind will automatically point at whatever you are looking at. Your natural tendency when trying to hit the center of a target is to look at the center of the target. Note even a child that can’t yet speak will point at objects of interest. The same happens while you are shooting a bow. If you concentrate at looking at the x ring your sight will migrate it’s way to where you are looking. This is in fact how nearly all the top shooters describe their aiming. It is not a conscious effort being applied but rather a subconscious reaction. I know I Know this sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo voodoo but if you work at this during your practicing you’ll begin to see that this is a very effective way of shooting. Try this while practicing, concentrate your vision on the center of the target and let the aiming pin settle on where you are looking. Each release of the arrow you will be re-enforcing this subconscious aiming behavior. Every single shot re-enforces the subconscious aiming behavior and the subconscious aiming behavior helps you to aim better.So you are essentially body building the one natural tool that your body already possesses. This re-enforcement can have a snowball effect that leads to significantly higher scores. It can also help when you are hunting, resulting in more confident shots and less buck fever.

Now perhaps you are already seeing the issue with Kentucky English but let me elaborate. The only way you can aim using Kentucky English is if you are making a conscious effort to over ride your natural tendency to look at the center of the target. You are also forcing your brain to calculate how much over and how much down you need to compensate for each shot. OK practice like this for 2 weeks and you’ll train your subconscious brain to make these calculations. What happens if two weeks later you pick up your bow and it seems to be shooting low and left?Well now you need to train your brain to hold high and right. So the previous two weeks are not only wasted work but now you need to overcome both your natural tendency to look and aim at the center of the target and unlearn the previous two weeks of practice.What happens here is that you never nurture the natural tendencies of the brain and your practice time becomes counterproductive because it is not re-enforcing any one thing. You stagnate and your shooting doesn’t really improve.

Ok if that wasn’t enough to convince you think about this. You’ve spent the last 6 years saving up preference points and have finally drawn that coveted elk permit you’ve been looking for. Your hunting on some prime elk habitat that holds that bull elk of a lifetime.Just then you hear the twig snap, there he is 47 yards directly below youhe starts to move into the only opening available to shoot through. If you’ve been using KE your mind is thinking ok at 40 yards I’m aiming 4 inches to the left an three inches high so… , ah no wait that was last week this week it was shooting high so I need to aim lower and to the left. Ok wait should I be using my 50 yard pin or my 40 yard pin. ok ok I’ll use my 50 so now do I aim high or low oh crap he’sin the openingshoot shoot shoot ahhh damit gosh darn it I missed!If you had always had your pins set to point where your arrows were flying you would have put the 50 yarder just inside the hairline of his belly and be showing of the antlers at the local watering hole.

So now I hope I’ve convinced you to kiss your Kentucky English good buy. The next time your arrows aren’t landing where the sight says they should, pick up your Allen wrench and fix it. Don’t waste your time re-enforcing bad habits and confusing your subconscious.Shoot straight and happy hunting.