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A thread on aiming (Read 20683 times)
Matt Borel
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #15 - Nov 16th, 2011 at 11:05pm
 
I just found this topic, Morphy, and found your advice helpful.  One thing that helped me recently get more consistent was to keep my eye on the target. This is probably a no-brainer for some, but I realized I was starting off supervising my rock in the pouch, then moving my attention to the target as I moved toward the pitch.  When I consciously made an effort to ignore the stone (sling, et cetera) once it was in the pouch and focus on target exclusively, I found the throws going nearer the target, and more consistently in the same area throw after throw. It made for one of those "plateau" moments, where, far from perfect, you feel like you just moved up a level. Your part on "consistency" reminded me of this, so I thought I'd add it. Good topic. Thanks for taking the time.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #16 - Nov 16th, 2011 at 11:29pm
 
NP Matt, thanks for your addition. That's what this thread was meant to be about, everyone adding things that helped them. I still find I need to remind myself to do that at times. It's good advice for everyone IMHO.

I am actually glad you brought this thread to the top. I was thinking about it the other day. I was thinking a revision to my first post was in order with a focus on more specific things everyone can do to really help their accuracy.. Maybe you bringing it up is a sign to get it done. I might have to do that when I get back.

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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #17 - Nov 17th, 2011 at 1:00am
 
Great thread, glad it came up again.  I find a clue for me is putting my mind into my hand, where it then focuses 100% on the target.  What does that mean?

Actually, I can tell you that it happens if you are pouring a pot of boiling water, or working with a razor sharp knife.  You know when the only thing that matters is not dropping that glass cup or expensive antique.  Similarly, you have to orient everything around your throw towards that target.  It happens when you throw a ball.  If you focus too much on your whole body or some aspect of your form, you are getting away from the all important sling hand.  When you throw a ball, you don't focus on the twist of your hips but on the goal you have for the ball in your hand.  It's the same with slinging except with slinging, there actually are techniques that do and don't work.  Throwing a ball is much more straight forward. 

Excellent slinging technique with accuracy is something which is discovered through much experimental practice, then lost through concentrated practice, then rediscovered again through more experimental and concentrated practice, only then to be lost again through more concentrated practice.  Every time you try to hone in on what you discovered instinctively so that you can do it again, you loose it because you don't yet know what it actually is and you only think you know.  The instinctive mind is not the rigid concentrated mind and yet both parts of the mind are needed to be a consistent and successful slinger.  When you concentrate, you loose your instincts.  Yet this battle between the two minds is necessary until you learn where to concentrate to make your instincts flow.  Does that make any sense?  It's just another way of putting things I guess. 

Without mentioning the obvious like starting your throw with the sling hand held back, or some of what's already been said above, I think there are only a few universal things that are common to almost all accurate techniques be they Balearic, figure 8, Greek or whatever else.  Morphy definitely mentioned a lot of them in his initial post:

#1 Technique is called “Tracking.”  At least that's what I call it.  In this technique you must focus on the pebble and finally you become one with the pebble. 

Ok in plain language, in tracking, your arm, or forearm or at least your wrist, or hand follows the sling around during at least a portion of the final rotation of the sling, prior to the throw.  Your windup could be behind you, or over your head, or left out altogether.  It doesn't really matter but prior to your throw, during the final rotation of the sling, your arm will give way to align with the sling before the throw, to track it around so that it's pre-aligned before you throw.  This tends to occur with a "Breakout."  That's another term I've found helpful.  In Balearic slinging the slingers tend to windup tight and behind, usually low, then they suddenly allow the orbit of the sling to break out from this tight orbit, pulling their loose arm behind it.  That's tracking.  The stone is guiding their arm rather than their arm guiding the stone.  It's a give and take you might say.  This is less obvious in figure 8 then in most other techniques but I believe it still occurs during a section of the throw.   

#2 Technique.  “Throw at Target!”  Yep, that's it.  If you don't concentrate on that, it doesn't matter if your form is flawlessly consistent every single time.  Every single movement you make during slinging must be oriented around that target and little else other than the ground you're standing on.  It's easy to forget this as you focus too much on your form.

#3 Technique. “Economy and Ergonomics of Slinging Motion.”  With the above two nearly universal principles, find what works for you and the more consistently you can do it, the better.  For some this means a focus on a very static technique in which they try to move their arm as little as possible from my windup position prior to the throw.  For many others, it means a very dynamic technique in which they throw their whole arm and body into the movement every time.  Many others only allow their forearm to track the stone.  Find what you can make work consistently and accurately.  We all have different bodies and minds so we will end up with different paths to success.  You will find what works through experimentation but many of the clues you find will be only yours and won't be something that can be done by others.  Every little thing you do will affect where your shots go but different people will have different biomechanics and get different results from the same techniques.  You'll find trends and learn a lot this way until you find what puts you on target again and again.  Hopefully once you discover it, it's not something too difficult to do on a regular consistent basis....   


     
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #18 - Nov 17th, 2011 at 3:58am
 
Good approach, Whipartist, old friend, and also that of Morphy, to the fascinating question of accuracy. It is an issue that should be continuously active for each brings their experiences. I think the secret of accuracy  passes first through an exhaustive mastery of the technique, then by a constant practice for a long time until the technique becomes unconscious and we enter the intuitive phase, in which the only thing that we must pay attention is the feeling emotional, or spiritual if you want to call it that. At this stage what must  grab the attention is the intense desire to hit the target, nothing more. In Spanish that feeling is called "tino" and I don´t know how to translate it properly, but it is what we have when we throw a stone at hand without being conscious of the arm or the body, but only of the strong desire to hit. It's the feeling to be sure of hitting the target. This is the final training, to develop the "tino", to intensify it, forgetting everything else. For that we first have to get a skill with the sling so that it is a real extension of the arm to which we pay no attention.  
     
(Ah, my server is kaput from several days and I have lost by the moment the images)
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #19 - Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:29pm
 
Hondero,

Great to see you're still on the forum and also competing, old friend!  It's been a few years and I remember you talking about writing your book on slinging, which is now complete, and amazing!  Congratulations on such a great work; I have very much enjoyed reading the English version!! 

I like what you say about the final development of slinging mastery and I agree entirely.  I've glimpsed at this many times with some amazing shots resulting, but it sure is easy to loose that "tino," even if you're blessed enough to find it in the first place.  But it is essential because although consistent disciplined slinging technique is essential to accuracy, to focus on it is a distraction in the end from the best accuracy in which only the target is being concentrated on.    







 

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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #20 - Nov 22nd, 2011 at 1:05pm
 
Whipartist wrote on Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:29pm:
I like what you say about the final development of slinging mastery and I agree entirely.  I've glimpsed at this many times with some amazing shots resulting, but it sure is easy to loose that "tino," even if you're blessed enough to find it in the first place.  But it is essential because although consistent disciplined slinging technique is essential to accuracy, to focus on it is a distraction in the end from the best accuracy in which only the target is being concentrated on.    
 



I agree fully with you, the concentration on the target is essential, to such an extent that the zen bow masters, another intuitive discipline like the sling, affirms that you have to become one with the target, even saying that “when you hit in the center of the target, you hit in the center of yourself”. This mysterious sentence, like all zen sentences, possibly contain a great wisdom, besides a highly spiritual meaning in the line of Eastern spirituality. From the point of view of a western mentality and something more pragmatic, I imagine that they talks about that the archer gets to develop an unconscious mechanism of accuracy of great perfection and that his task consists only of acceding to it and to leave it to act automatically. For that reason when you hit on the center of the target it is because you have contacted with that mechanisms that is in the deep of you. The masters of zen bow are able to even hit the target with the lights of the shooting room off, which indicates that they take the target in their interior, perfectly located in relation to their position; until that point they are identified with the target.

You are also right, and I believe that it happens to many of us, that after some shots of extraordinary accuracy, the aim vanishes and began to fail as if "something" mysterious had become disconnected and we had lost the “tino”. That "something" is without a doubt the unconscious mechanism of accuarcy, and its disconnection is due to our lack of emotional intensity, to our relaxation of the emotion to hit. We shoot routinely as if we had ensured the success of the first shots, and the disconnection takes place. We do not know what happens because we make the same things that before, but we do not realize that no longer we have mobilized the same emotion. For that reason, the main consistency that there is to develop is the emotional one. If we are not able to make arise from our interior the emotion of the perfect shot and to maintain it of consistent way, our precision will be mediocre and irregular. In my opinion this is the final training, not easy to get neither a short training, and that requires a psychological (or spiritual) work. I am thinking about working on it facing the next Balearic competition  Cool.

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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #21 - Nov 22nd, 2011 at 1:28pm
 
That's true,Hondero,one has to have an emotional motivation to hit the target.Slinging rutinely tends to ruin this.Although practicing is very important too for the physical part,the spiritual part what can make those incredible shots,and so hard to reproduce every shot.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #22 - Nov 22nd, 2011 at 2:52pm
 
Morphy, that was excellent.  I have found it's a "feel" and that's what is most addictive about it.  When you're zoned in it's an amazing feeling.  Runners, archers, shooters, musicians, dart throwers have all felt it.  One thing that has helped me if I don't have a lot of time or ammo is "dry throwing 2 or 3 times with no ammo and getting my groove, then I'll throw ammo then "dry throw" a couple.  It has helped me.  Again, this was an excellent post, you're always chock-full of good info.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #23 - Nov 22nd, 2011 at 10:27pm
 
Practicing at 13 meters.  My first throw this morning wasn't so great, but I quickly corrected my form and placed 2 good shots just 4 inches to the right of the tin can I was aiming at.  They grouped one on top of the other.  My 4th shot smashed directly into the can and sent it flying.  I had the emotional balance and belief in my technique and acquired the feel almost immediately today.  I have learned through many failures and successes that tremendous accuracy is possible to achieve, even if difficult.  Later on I kept practicing until I lost and regained the proper feeling repeatedly over an hour or so of practice.  The movements of proper slinging are too complex to understand completely.  They do come down more to something like an emotion than to anything else.  I describe them in my slinging journal from one angle and another.  I know that my throw has a similarity to a punch I once saw in a cowboy movie.  I use images and ideas to try to grasp what I'm doing but language doesn't have enough descriptive power to capture what needs to be known by at least my body, to sling well.

I think I am learning to sling less.  If I practice too often, my own fatigue and weariness can often shut my accuracy down.  Besides, the stiffness in my wrist isn't helping.  I know if I take the time to heal and go out when I'm feeling alert and energetic, I'll sling well.  Health and spiritual balance, Hondero is right.      

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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #24 - Nov 24th, 2011 at 1:46am
 
I thought I'd give my two cents since the quest for accuracy has been my only aim (is that a pun?) since I started slinging.

In my experience, these things helped me a great deal in achieving good accuracy
1. Practive EVERYDAY.
    When I did this, after 2 weeks, I honed in from about a 1m radius, to about a half meter radius (for probably 90% of my throws). I started out hitting a gallon jug at 20 yards about 1 in 40, by the end of 2 weeks, I was about 1 in 10 to 15. Consistent practice with little downtime in between seems to really stick in the brain better than waiting longer in between practice sessions. At least this is the case for me. The best accuracy I have achieved was during this last September when I was able to sling for several hours a day for about 4 days.  By the end of this, I was hitting a 1L bottle at various distances up to 25yards about 1 in 5.  But, afterwards, I discontinued practicing as much, and my accuracy has suffered tremendously.

2. Focus on the "feel" of each throw.
    By this I mean try to "feel" if you are throwing right, left, high or low, before the stone hits. You can then use the visual feedback from seeing where it hits to correlate what feeling hits where.  You can then just throw completely by feel. This greatly increases my accuracy during a given session, if I start to lose my accuracy, I have to try and "recalibrate" by figuring out what feel hits where.  I tried doing this by closing my eyes while I threw ( I only did this twice). I first calibrated, and then tried closing my eyes, my first throw was a hit. The next were misses by a few inches, this was throwing at a 1L bottle from ~20yards.  For me doing this is very necessary to develop accuracy.

3. Try to consider each throw a throw by hand and not a sling throw.
    This kind of goes with the above statement. I found that when I think of the throw as simply as I would a throw by hand, I tend to be more accurate. If I start thinking about all of the mechanics of "slinging" then I stop "feeling" the throw and concentrate on too many things at once. This gets me out of the "intuitive" mode and I start missing more.

4. Throw at many distances
    I find that a good way to reset if I've just lost my accuracy when throwing at something is to either throw at something much nearer or much further away (usually much further away, because it forces you to really refine the mechanics). When I start getting close again at the new distance, I come back to the original target, and usually start hitting it.

Also, I have to give credit to the previous authors on this post, it is good information and good to see that others have similar experiences to what I am having in my accuracy quest.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #25 - Nov 24th, 2011 at 11:44am
 
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #26 - Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:58am
 
Pretty much redid the first post entirely. Been meaning to for months now. Lot's of new stuff. Even though it's still really long, I got rid of a lot of the superfluous nonsense.   Wink Peace.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #27 - Mar 6th, 2012 at 1:10am
 
Morphy wrote on Mar 6th, 2012 at 12:58am:
Pretty much redid the first post entirely. Been meaning to for months now. Lot's of new stuff. Even though it's still really long, I got rid of a lot of the superfluous nonsense.   Wink Peace.


I like it a lot. It's a great resource. One thing I would add towards ammo consistency is that keeping ammo that is similar is a lot more realistic than getting perfectly egg shaped or round stones every time. What I do is follow the Apache article, and choose a common stone shape that is fairly accurate rather than always looking for that perfect stone.

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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #28 - Mar 6th, 2012 at 2:21am
 
Thanks Kid. Yes it's true if you have access to stones with all similar features or deviations they should provide a similar enough foundation for you to work with. Just like if all your arrows are spined slightly too high, so long as they are all the same spine you should be able to compensate for their deviation from normal.
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Re: A thread on aiming
Reply #29 - Sep 19th, 2018 at 5:59pm
 
Morphy wrote on Jul 5th, 2010 at 2:39am:
This is a thread dedicated to accuracy with the sling. It's first iteration was posted on July 11th, 2010 and it is due for an update as far as I am concerned... I will be going through and getting rid of the fluff and focusing solely on those things which are most important in an attempt to cover as much as possible in the relatively small scope that a single post can convey. Please understand that the things mentioned in this first post are universal to accuracy with any style. While other tips not covered in this first post may be specific only to a certain style. -Morphy,  March 6th, 2012

I. Ammo

A common misconception among new slingers is the idea that with enough practice any ammo will allow you to be accurate. The thought process often goes something like this: "Since a sling's natural ammo is stones, I should be able to use any stones and be accurate as long as I practice enough."

This thought process generally leads to frustration more than anything else.  For the highest degree of accuracy you must use the best ammo. So what is good ammo?

1. Shape: it should be smooth and round. No jagged edges and no flat areas. The most common shapes for a suitable stone ammo is egg shaped, football shaped or spherical/ball shaped. Any ammo with these shapes will fly as straight as you are able to sling them. You can always use less than perfect ammo when you feel like it, but remember not to expect too much accuracy if your stones are very irregular. If you sling a stone and find it makes noise in flight, that is a good indication your ammo is not ideal.

2. Weight: To be as accurate as possible ammo weight is very important. The first aspect about weight to consider is that all of your ammo should be as close to each other in weight as possible. This will help your mind correct mistakes from one shot to the next easier.  Ammo weight affects rotational speed of the sling; lighter ammo rotates faster and heavier, slower. Too great a difference from shot to shot will cause your shots to be difficult to control, and nearly impossible to really fine tune shots on small targets at longer distances. Try and have no more than a 2 ounce spread at maximum to maintain relatively good accuracy. For example: 4 ounces (115 grams) minimum weight and 6 ounces (170 grams) maximum weight or a 2 ounce (55 gram) possible variance. This is just an example, your preferred minimum/maximum weights may vary. A 2 ounce/55 gram spread is acceptable for accuracy practice. Though the smaller the target and longer the range, the more you will want to get as close to identical weights as possible. All slingers that want to achieve the best accuracy possible can benefit from attaining a cheap scale for measuring ounces/grams. Weigh your stones and either discard those that do not fall within the correct spread or save them for non-accuracy throwing.

The second important aspect of weight is that a stone that is too light does not give the feedback necessary for the proper control needed to hit small targets at longer ranges. How do you get the proper amount of feedback to be accurate? You have to have the proper amount of tension on your sling cords. Lower weights do not generate enough tension and therefore become very difficult to fine tune the control of a shot. In my experience my best accuracy comes with stones in the 5-6 ounce range. With an absolute minimum of about 4 and an absolute maximum of about 10 ounces. As you can see by that spread, ammo that is too light is much more detrimental to accuracy than ammo that is too heavy to comfortably use. You will still be surprisingly accurate even with ammo that is too heavy to sling far. You just won't have the velocity to do much with them. The best combination of both power and accuracy can often be found at about an ounce or two above what is considered at the edge of too light. Experimentation is necessary to find what works for you. I would suggest starting with 4 ounces and increasing weight while doing a lot of practice at smaller targets.

Another option is making either clay or cement ammo. All the same rules on shape and weight apply but for those of us in areas where stone does not occur naturally, this is a good option. No matter what you use, a large piece of carpet hung from a taut rope will serve well as a backstop and let you reuse your ammo almost indefinitely.


The Wind-up/Pitch

A sling throw has essentially two aspects to it. The wind-up and the pitch. The wind-up is the portion of the throw where the sling is not yet accelerating to throwing speed but is rotating fast enough to stretch the cords taut due to centrifugal force. During the wind-up your sling may not be moving all that fast. During the pitch you quickly accelerate from the slower speed of the wind-up and increase the speed enough to powerfully throw the stone.  

II. Form


Both the wind-up and pitch flow smoothly together and when taken as a whole they become your form. Your form is whatever way in which you choose to throw with your sling.  Knowing your form inside and out can mean you do not fluctuate nearly as much in your accuracy from day to day as someone who has no idea what works and what doesn't. You are looking for 2 things in proper form.

1. Control: The first aspect of proper form is control. You should feel in absolute control of how the sling moves from the beginning of the wind-up to the end of the pitch. If your sling does not feel like a perfect extension of your arm, some aspect of your slinging needs to be worked on. One example might be balance. You must have proper balance. Some prefer to keep both feet on the ground, never moving. Others prefer to step into the shot much like a baseball pitcher. Both can work, you will need to experiment to find what works for you best.

Another example: You will want to find which release angle works best for you. Some people try to release at a perfectly horizontal side-arm, some try to release in more of a vertical throwing motion while still others prefer a diagonal slashing motion. What works best for you will depend largely on your own specific style. These are just two examples. You will find many other things that can make your throw feel more or less controlled and repeatable.

Now we have talked about control, let's talk about consistency and repeatability. Consistency is the second aspect of proper form.

2. Consistency: Here's an example of the concept of consistency: Are you standing at the same angle in relation to the target every time? If not that can affect your throw. Try keeping your lead foot pointed directly at the target and use that as an anchor to get the rest of your body in the right direction. No matter where the target is, the direction of you body should always be at a consistent angle in relation to your target. This is just one example of doing your form the same way every time.

Again, practice with good ammo on smaller targets will help you understand what works best. Just keep in mind that what works for one slinger and their particular style may not always be what works best for you and your style. Remember, above all else having every shot feel controlled and consistently the same as the one before is what you are going for!

III. Your Sling

Each slinger will find certain types of slings that work well for them. For many years I swore by braided yarn slings. It was only when I put sentiment aside and forced myself to give paracord sling cords a try that I realized how much more I liked paracord instead of wool. One big reason is that wool stretches, which can add unwanted variables within your form and throw. You may like wool, or not. The point is, try all different types of slings to see what works for you. Approach new types of slings with an open mind.

I also find that heavier, stiffer cords and pouches do not work well for me. This is something to keep in mind as well. Some slings will immediately feel better to use than others. Take a good look at them and decide what exactly it is that is making it feel better. And then just as importantly, ask yourself why that particular aspect of the sling being that way helps. This can teach you more about your throwing and give you other ideas of possible improvments to try later. The difference between your control with a well made sling and a poorly made sling is quite large.

IV. Stretching

Not much to say here except that stretching is beneficial to the slinger. Keep your muscles and tendons limber and you will find you're faster, have more control and are less likely to injure yourself. Look up baseball pitching stretches if you are curious about where to start. Also keep in mind that whenever trying out new throwing styles/stone weights/slings or any combination of the above that you take it slow. If you do hurt yourself, obviously give yourself enough time to heal completely.

I threw out my elbow trying a style that was new to me and instead of letting it heal all the way I kept slinging. My elbow has not been quite the same since. Better to stop slinging a few weeks then to permanently hurt yourself.



Well, that's about it for the most general concepts in slinging. Each style has it's own peculiarities and each person will find, with enough practice, a way that works best for them. This post and thread is not an attempt to cover them all. But it should offer a good foundation for people to build up their own accuracy using techniques and tips that almost all veteran slingers find helpful.

Lastly, if you have your own tips by all means please post them below and add to the thread. -Morphy


After loooooooooooooooong time, I managed to enter again to this wonderful forum. Due to necessities, I stopped practicing with the slings for long time. But I am still alive and shooting (not kicking).
So... I used all the info given by Morphy. I only have to add that from a distance of abt. 15 metres, with a sling of 75cm, I could get a target surface of abt one screen of laptop (abt 17''), four times out of 20. The ammo was abt 60 grammars jagged rocks. The sling was paracord. The target was at the height of my shoulders (1,5 metres). Thank you very much. It was extremely helpful. And yes, practice is essential.  Grin The problems started when the target went to the earth level. The rocks insisted going over it, to the hospital tree behind. Cheesy. I will try again tomorrow.
Again many tks.
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