Rick Welch’s Accuracy Factory

The Rick Welch Accuracy Factory rebuilds traditional archers, one at a time.

IMAG0042On the flight to Little Rock, I could not help but dwell on the comments I read on a popular traditional archery web site about Rick Welch’s shooting school:  “Rick is a great teacher and a super nice guy.”  “I wish I would have done it years ago!”  “I learned more in two days with Rick than I’ve learned in twenty years by myself.” “Best money I’ve ever spent on archery.”  “Best money I’ve ever spent on hunting- PERIOD!”

In thirty years of shooting bows and over twenty years of shooting strictly traditional equipment of all types and designs, I’ve displayed flashes of brilliance and killed some nice animals.  But, more often than not, I’ve suffered from agonizing frustration and downright depression over dissatisfaction with my shooting.  Wading through reams of conflicting advice, watching instructional DVDs, and listening to the internet experts had gotten me nowhere.  So, after twenty plus years of struggling, I realized it was time to admit I needed help.

Enter The Accuracy Factory

And that’s what brought me to the Rick Welch.  Rick Welch is a champion recurve and longbow shooter winning local, state, national and world titles.

When he’s not building his famous Dakota recurves and longbows, Rick is running his Accuracy Factory shooting school.  Even though Rick is a world champ on the target range, like most of his students, he’s first and foremost a bowhunter.

Dakokta takedown recurve bow
A custom Dakota takedown recurve

 

mounted black bear with Dakokta recurve bow
One of Rick’s many trophies

Hunting with traditional bows offers many distinct advantages over conventional equipment. They are simple with no moving parts, they are lightweight, quiet, and can be shot effectively in low light conditions. Even though trad bows are extremely effective killing machines, too many traditional shooters just “put up” with marginal accuracy.  Rick will be quick to tell you that shooting traditional equipment is very unforgiving.  Proper shooting technique is critical because even the slightest error or inconsistency in form becomes a detriment to accuracy.

I met Rick early on day one of the shooting school and after a firm handshake and a short drive to his “factory”, we quickly got to work. First, Rick observed me shoot a few arrows at his indoor range to get warmed up.  Next, he grabbed his video camera and we went out to his extensive 3-D range.  Without instruction, Rick had me shoot through the range while taking video of each shot.  I mumbled something about hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself while quietly rationalizing I couldn’t be the worst shooter he’d ever trained?  The first few shots with a world champion standing over my shoulder taking video were slightly intimidating but Rick’s quiet and reassuring demeanor quickly put me at ease.  Suffice it to say, however, my shooting was a complete train wreck, but that’s why I was there.  At the end of the round Rick flatly stated, “We’re going to change everything you’re doing.”

Rick Welch shooting
Rick demonstrates proper post-shot form. Notice the relaxed position of the string hand following the shot.

In the comfort of his air-conditioned facility, we reviewed the video in slow motion where Rick calmly pointed out the flaws in my shooting style- why this shot flew left and why that shot flew right. Then the work began.  We went back to basics.  I learned why the old “anchor-with-your-middle-finger-in-the-corner-of-your-mouth” routine was less than ideal.  Rick suggested a new anchor consisting of putting the knuckle of my right thumb just below my earlobe and the back of my jaw bone.  I learned how to begin each shot with my bow shoulder square to the target.  Another new concept was beginning the draw cycle with the bow between my legs rather than hanging at my left hip.  All of these things, while awkward at first, formed the foundation of a new beginning.

Bad Habits

My worst enemy was the habit of snap shooting.  Learned years ago while trying to emulate popular archery figures, snap shooting became completely reactionary and ingrained in my mind and muscles.  So insidious was this habit that it was a complete mental struggle to hold at full draw for the two full seconds necessary to achieve consistent accuracy.  Rick quickly recognized the problem and explained that I needed to replace the bad habit with a new habit.  He stated that it typically takes 30 days to form a new habit but and we proceeded through several shooting drills to cure the malady.

No Hocus Pocus

The cornerstone of Rick’s program is his consistent and repeatable routine based on sound shooting principles, not “Zen” or hocus pocus.  Proper form dictates that the archer remains perfectly still- before the shot, during the shot, and post shot.  It was all about form, in fact, at no time during the two-day school did we ever discuss aiming.  When I did things right, the arrow always appeared in the center of the target without putting any conscious effort into aiming the arrow.  It was purely instinctive shooting!

Look Ma’, No Range Finder

Ask Rick, “how far is that target?”, and he’ll repeat his famous mantra:  “Don’t know, don’t care.”  He never uses a range finder and doesn’t need to.  He explained how with proper practice, your brain will learn to coordinate with your body and your bow arm will naturally adapt to the proper elevation regardless of distance.

Ask Rick, “how far is that target?”, and he’ll repeat his famous mantra:  “Don’t know, don’t care.”

On day two of the school Rick proudly declared that I was shooting with solid form.  He taught me additional techniques and drills like close-range shooting with eyes closed and blind bale practice, and how to overdraw the bow to achieve proper back tension before settling in to a consistent anchor.  He also taught me how to set my bow up to shoot where I was looking and how to shoot effectively from treestands.  Another round of 3-D proved that his training was working and my scores rose dramatically from the day before.  I couldn’t get the smile off of my face.

All of the comments I read were true.  I left the school extremely confident and without being able to thank Rick enough for what I should have learned decades ago.  Consider this:  Before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on new custom bows and gear chasing accuracy that may never come, give Rick a call, he will save you from years, decades or perhaps even a lifetime of frustration.

If You Want To Go:

Dakotak bows logo

Compound shooters considering the leap to traditional and ALL traditional shooters, regardless of their level of proficiency will leave the Accuracy Factory a better shot.

  • Where:  Take planes, trains, or automobiles to Conway, Arkansas, or Rick can come to you.  Rick will assist with comfortable cost-effective hotel accommodations.
  • What:  Two 6-hour days of intense one-on-one instruction while taking necessary breaks for rest and lunch.  Rick’s facility offers both indoor and outdoor ranges with plenty of target butts and a huge variety of 3-D animals.  Plan to shoot A LOT of arrows.
  • What to bring:  Bring your favorite traditional bow, bow quiver (if you use one), half a dozen arrows, shooting glove, armguard, and an open mind.  (The Author strongly recommends avoid going to the class over bowed.  A 40-45# bow would be ideal for most students.)
  • Contact:  To learn more visit  or call Rick Welch at 501-821-3791.

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