Using the National Training System Steps of Shooting to Become a Better Archer

By Level 3 NTS Coach Woody Walters

Developed by the Head Coach of USA Archery, Kisik Lee, the NTS is a philosophy for how to shoot archery in a biomechanically efficient manner which minimizes the potential for injury and maximizes the potential for accuracy and peak performance.  This is the philosophy and technique used by America’s Olympic archers and it is now mirrored by high level archers all over the world due to the rapid ascension of athletes coached by Lee in the sport.

Despite the simple nature of the sport (grab bow, load arrow, pull back, aim, release arrow) there are a lot of ways to shoot arrows and they are not all created equally.  If you are moving through the steps of shooting out of sequence or using the wrong muscles to generate and hold tension, you will ultimately create a point of failure in your shot process.  You will shoot high scores at 10 yards, but fail to score well at 20 or beyond.  You will wonder why your shoulders or biceps hurt every time you shoot.  You will wonder why you still slap your arm with the string after years of shooting.  You will potentially struggle to shoot well or consistently in competition.

The NTS can help solve all of these problems and more whether you want to become an Olympic archer or simply have fun a couple times per week.  The best part is these techniques apply to recurve and compound shooters alike with minimal variation.

Let’s take a look at the steps:

  1. Stance
  2. Nock
  3. Hook and Grip
  4. Set
  5. Set-up
  6. Draw to Load
  7. Anchor
  8. Transfer to Hold
  9. Expand and Aim
  10. Release and Follow-through
  11. Feedback

Each month I will publish a blog post focused on one step within the system and how you can utilize it to your advantage.  You do not have to adopt every aspect of the NTS to become a good archer, but every good archer does use these steps to their advantage.  If you overlook the importance of any one of these steps, you will limit your potential as an archer.