A reader sent me this video that shows archer Lars Andersen using an ancient technique he discovered to shoot arrows faster than any modern day champions. He can shoot 10 arrows in 4.9 seconds, while it takes others 13-35 seconds. He is even faster than the fictional archer Legolas in the Lord of the Rings series.

The secret is to hold the arrows in his pulling hand, not put that hand to his cheek, not necessarily even raise the bow, and to do it all instinctively. He is amazing…

There is a common kind of present-day archery called snap shooting that is also very instinctive and does NOT involve aiming. I will have to ask some of my archery friends about this ancient technique. We can also utilize instinctive performance in other physical challenges, especially tennis for me! Did you know there is a book called the Inner Game of Tennis? It also describes a non-thinking way to play that game.

Below is an excerpt about instinctive shooting from The Archery Library :

How to Aim

The first time you shoot a bow and arrow, the whole business feels awkward. Your shooting glove or the “tabs” feel thick and clumsy, the arrow may keep falling away from the left side of the bow, and your first shots will seem futile. Persist in your efforts and you will soon be able to shoot an arrow in the general direction of your mark. To shoot with a fair degree of accuracy means practice and lots of it. Sometimes a novice will pick up a bow and at once shoot with some precision—it is instinct with some—others must follow the slower road of practice.

INSTINCTIVE SHOOTING. We don’t know just exactly how we aim a stone or a baseball when we throw it. Some coordination of muscle and mind directs the missile and with practice we become accurate throwers. Just so with the natural or instinctive method of shooting a bow. This “snap-shooting” is used in roving, hunting and by some target shots. The arrow is usually drawn to the cheek or jaw, and the pull and release is quick and snappy. The writer has a quiver full of assorted arrows, no two of which are alike, but, because the peculiarities of each arrow are known, excellent snap shooting can be done with them. The writer has always admired a good snap shooter or an archer who is an instinctive shot. It is real archery, and if a fellow can go out and hit rabbits, stumps or any other mark at from thirty to fifty yards and do it regularly, then he is an archer of the true breed.