over a 30,000-year heritage the sling, time and time
again, has proved itself to be an effective ballistic
device. Its far-reaching use into antiquity can primarily
be explained by its simplicity in form and consistent
functionality. Whether pitted against the average dodging
mammal, or flailed out towards an anticipant military
unit, the simplistic nature of the device often belies
its effectiveness and accuracy.
Compared to the modern hunters regalia of bambie blasters,
the sling is often unduly characterized as an archaic
device unwarranted of attention or use. Admittedly,
the sling does lack aesthetic appeal, showcasing no
polished wood or slick trigger. While its plain character
does play a factor in its unpopularity, the main reason
for its lack of continued use is the sharp nature of
the learning curve. The sling, initially, is very difficult
to employ and it takes a healthy dose of devotion to
gain accurate usage.
When using the sling, the dilemma that most people face
is accuracy. To attain accurate throws, the slinger
must pay careful attention to bullet weight and shape,
the speed and angle of rotation, and most importantly,
the exact moment of release. To gain reliable accuracy,
a technique must be worked out that considers all of
At a basic level, technique minimizes randomness. It
allows for a pattern of consistency that, with careful
attention, can be tweaked until accuracy is attained.
With slinging, technique is often categorized by the
type of throw (the angle and direction of sling rotation).
When deciding on a base technique, most people go with
what they feel comfortable with, and what gives them
results. Some people favor the overhead (helicopter)
rotation and release. Others favor the baseball and
It should be noted that no one technique is the “best”
or “right” technique. Every person has a
different body and sling to deal with. Thus, what works
for some will not work for others.
The key to finding your individual technique is experimentation.
Try everything you can think of. If you think that it
will help to stand upside down to gain accuracy, ignore
the blood rushing to your head and give it a go! Just
remember to pay attention to what happens. Experimentation
is only useful coupled with adaptation.
Another means of learning good sling technique is by
observing those who have mustered good technique of
On a more personal note, after a good deal of experimentation
I have found a technique that allows for accurate and
powerful short range throws that would lend well to
hunting and target practice.
When I first started slinging, I was faced with the
dilemma of not having a spot to sling; I live right
smack in the middle of a city and I often have to travel
thirty minutes out to my parent’s rural home to
practice. After a bit of hiking and sneaking around
in a state park nearby, I found a nice little meadow
off the beaten trail. At the center of the meadow is
a very large aged oak tree. Having such a wide trunk,
I thought that it would make a perfect backdrop for
my throws. And so it did.
For a target, I set up a crushed tin can on a log at
the base of the tree. At the time, I was more interested
in practicing short distance powerful sling throws as
opposed to distance slinging. Across the meadow there
is a large field, and I admit to taking a few long distance
throws out of curiosity. With my lack of ammo, however,
I soon had to go back to the meadow where it was easier
to retrieve that which I threw.
From the beginning the sling type that I felt most comfortable
with was the overhead counter clockwise release. I would
rotate my sling overhead until I felt comfortable, then
release at my intended target. The major problem that
I had with this technique was consistency. Eighty-percent
of my throws would veer to the left of my target. While
they were landing in the woods in roughly the same spot,
it certainly wasn’t where I wanted my ammo to
With much practice, experimentation and adaptation,
I worked the quarks out. Here is the technique I have
found to give me the most accuracy and power.
My stance is rather much like the basic martial arts
readiness position: Body facing east of my target with
my feet at more or less a 45 degree angles. My sling
arm lies ready shaped much like an L, with pocket resting
just above the ground. I point my free left hand, balling
up my fist, at the target (I’m not sure why, I
just feel more balanced and it helps me focus). When
I’m ready, I begin to swing my sling, starting
in the resting position it travels over my head counter-clockwise.
As I’m near completion of the first full rotation,
I step forward with my right back foot towards my target.
With this step, I swing the sling around for the second
(and last) rotation. I have found that stepping forward
and rotating my hips with the release will increase
the momentum of the bullet. Now for the strange part:
at the end of the second rotation, I arc my sling arm
towards the ground with kind of an under hand sling.
When my hand is facing palm up, and slightly to the
right of my target, I release!
Thus far, this technique has led too much more accurate
throws. I am able to hit a tin soda can fairly consistently
at about 10 yards (this may not sound very like very far
but a tin can is a pretty small thing from that distance).
If you were interested in hunting in thick forest or brush,
I would also advocate that you practice the baseball or
softball throw. It is fairly impossible to rotate a sling
horizontally if you are surrounded by trees. Swinging
vertically can be much more advantageous.
picture highlights the location of the can. It's
hard to see in the video until it tumbles down
Again, the method that I explained above may not work
for you. Stick with what you feel comfortable with.
Utilize what works, discard what doesn’t. Above
all else, ignore you initial frustration and have fun.
With resignation, you will be impressing the bowman,
gunman, or casual observer in no time!
- Leon Robadey
leon1H.mov (QuickTime format, 1.4mb)
leon1.mpg (MPEG format,
leon1.avi (AVI format,
download the movie, right click or ctrl click (for macintosh
without two-button mouse) on the download link and choose
"Save target as", "Download link to disk",
or something similar.