If it can come down to this, are you confident you are a better archer ?
Archery is a wonderful sport in which anyone can compete at some level. As with most things in life you can better your chances with hard work and education on the subject. Unfortunately we can not all hire the best coach or run out and buy the best equipment, what we can do is learn from others to do the best we can with what we have.
Here are 4 things you can do to improve your shooting
- Achieve and maintain balance – Most new archers think that shooting a bow is all about holding the handle steady, pulling the string back and just letting one fly. To be consistent you must do better than that. Be sure you develop a stance that promotes a solid shooting platform. Get your feet too far apart and you will be unbalanced forward or backward. Place your feet too close together and you will feel very unstable left or right.
Try shooting with your feet shoulder width apart or just past shoulder width apart. When drawing back a bow, you should be exerting equal force on both pulling the string AND pushing the handle of the bow forward towards your target. It’s a fluid motion that should feel natural. This technique will not only keep you from jerking your bow unconsciously when releasing the arrow, but it will also keep you from wearing out your arm as fast when practicing. Breathing is key also, looking through a peep sight at a target 50-70 meters away can be intimidating, especially the first few times you do it. When you get nervous about the distance, you’ll want to hold your breath. Don’t do this. Holding your breath reduces oxygen flow to the brain, causing you to shake and lose mental focus. Also, your visual acuity starts to decrease after holding your breath for only 8 seconds. Do you need to take deep soothing breaths? No, but don’t cut off the oxygen supply entirely.
- Don’t overthink it – This is a mistake a lot of archers make. They’re either too eager to take the shot and draw to quickly or they spend too long trying to get the target lined up on the pin sight. After a couple seconds, especially with a high draw weight compound bow, your arm will start to shake and you will jerk your bow when firing. It may not even be noticeable and it may not be the difference between a hit and a miss every time, but it is a very common mistake.This may come as a surprise to many archers, but according to Eric Griggs, a professional archer with an impressive shooting resume and vice president of Scott Archery and Custom Bow Equipment, there is very little an archer can do to increase his accuracy while aiming.“There are so many variables that are out of your control once your reach full draw,” said Griggs. “You can’t control that gust of wind or any of Mother Nature’s other elements. You honestly can’t even control your sight picture and how much pin movement you see while aiming. All that you can do is have confidence in your execution and execute the best shot possible under any given circumstance. As far as holding the pin dead-steady, stop worrying about that. The best archers in the world don’t hold their pin dead-steady. Instead they allow the pin to float on the target and begin to squeeze.”
- Anchor point – Anchor points are points of contact between two or more things which ensure consistent positioning between an archer’s body and their bow during the execution of every shot. Having an anchor point is essential to accuracy. However, there is more to a consistent anchor point than meets the eye. Most assume that a kisser button inserted into the bowstring at the proper point will solve their anchor needs. However, to some, a kisser button is uncomfortable and draws focus away from shot execution. Honestly, finding a consistent anchor point can only be achieved through the process of shooting. The key is finding a comfortable anchor point or two that can be repeated shot after shot. Lets focus on three anchor points to improve consistency. When at full draw, with the proper draw length, an archer should be able to anchor the crotch of the thumb and index finger to the back of the jaw bone (directly below the ear). This is a good stable natural anchor point because the two body parts fit together.With the holding hand properly anchored to the jaw bone, an archer can also anchor the tip of their nose to the bowstring. This is another great anchoring point which will result in more consistent shooting. **Some newer bows have shorter axle to axle measurements resulting in more of an acute angle of the string at full draw. This may make it harder to use the tip of the nose to the string as an anchor point.
- Release – Probably the hardest thing to achieve — an unanticipated release — will boost your accuracy like nothing else, especially at extended distances.Again, as you move farther from a target, mistakes in form are magnified. Jerking and punching at the trigger may only cause you to miss the mark by a few inches at 30 yards, but step back to 80 yards and you will easily miss a large 16×16 target. So what does the perfect release look like?Griggs had this advice: “You must condition yourself to make the best shot possible no matter how far you are from the target,” said Griggs. “You must develop a disconnect between your aiming process and your release process, which means you allow your subconscious mind to draw the pin back to the spot you want to hit. In truth, during the aiming process, this happens multiple times. Index-finger release shooters really need to focus on getting their finger wrapped around the post or trigger and begin pushing the bow toward the target while using muscles in the back to draw the shoulder blades together. This creates the push-and-pull motion that is so heavily talked about and ensures a surprise-type release.”“A back-tension release is another way to go, as this style of release can’t fire from punching. This forces the shooter to use back-tension to get the release to fire, thus ensuring a surprise release every time. However, I only recommend this style of release for bowhunters who feel extremely comfortable with them and have spent a lot of time practicing with them.” When shooting long distance, you really have time to soak the shot in before the arrow impacts the target. It’s natural to want to drop the bow out of the way immediately after the shot or jerk your head to the left or to the right to better track the arrow. Resist this urge.It takes lots of practice, but upon the release of your arrow you need to keep aiming until the arrow actually impacts the target. If possible, hold the bow up and try to keep the sight picture the same.Well, there you have it, 4 tips to becoming a long-range ninja with your bow and arrow rig. If you take the time to develop a year-round shooting regimen and heed this advice, you’ll be pounding the 10-ring from distances you never thought possible.