Archery is a great sport, with lots of different things to focus on. Some archers may be obsessed with their arrows and fletching, while others tune their bow paying attention to even the most minute detail.
What do they both have in common? They want more accuracy.
If you look at everything any archer does in the sport, it all comes down to getting more accurate. Getting your shots in tighter groups, and being able to do so consistently. If you’re looking to improve your shooting and get more accurate – use the following archery tips for accuracy and you’ll see your overall shots improve in no time.
Relax That Bow Grip Hand
There’s one thing I see all the time that’s so completely underestimated by ninety percent or more of new archers. They’re focusing hard on the target, buying the newest and best gear and and trying every brand of arrow possible. Yet their shots are still off.
They don’t relax their grip on the bow! Your non-dominant hand has a huge influence on the accuracy of your shots. Remember this simple, little rule:
Your bow hand should have as little contact with your bow as is possible.
It should be as if your bow is just barely, gently resting on the top of your bow hand. Start to become more aware of how tightly you’re gripping your bow the next few times you shoot, you’ll start to see your accuracy improve greatly over time if you keep this in mind.
And while we’re at it, regardless of what kind of bow you shoot, you’ll may want to think about getting yourself an Arm Guard Bow Hand Shooting Glove.
Relax and Breathe
When we become nervous, anxious or even just overly think about things, we as humans naturally do one thing – we hold our breath. The next time you feel yourself getting tense or nervous try to take note of your body, more than likely you’re holding your breath.
This happens all the time: An archer’s focusing on the target intently, making sure his form and stance is just right and keeping his draw held as he’s been taught. He lets the arrow go, and the show is off it’s mark.
He didn’t breathe, the whole time he’s focusing on all of those different things, he’s so in his own head that he forgets to breathe.
Have you ever seen those movies where a sniper takes a deep breath in, let’s it go, and then takes the shot? That’s exactly why.
I’m not saying that you have to take a deep breath before every shot, just be sure that you’re not holding your breath and are at least breathing normally.
Practice at the Right Distance
A lot of new, inexperienced archers will ask a fellow archer what distance they should be practicing shots at. There are a few standard answers that keep getting passed around, whether they’re right or not.
Many archers are to to practice shots at five yards. And that’s what they do. The real answer is to shoot the distance that you’re currently capable of shooting accurately.
Don’t feel like a dork if you can only hit the target from shorter distances, not only is that perfectly fine for now, but it will improve over time.
Start at three to five yards, even if you’re really only shooting good at these distances – keep practicing for now. A weight lifter doesn’t start lifting 300 pound barbells, and neither should you. Remember this second simple, little rule:
The further you move away from the target, the more your mistakes are magnified.
Start by shooting where you’re comfortable, and then when you’re very accurate at that distance – move the target back one yard. Rinse and repeat over time and your shots will be getting consistently more accurate, and at further distances too.
Be Aware of Your Posture
Yeah, you’ve heard it before: Posture is important to improving your shot. But a lot of archers down play this important fact.
Your posture is hugely important as it directly affects your aim. If you really want to improve your accuracy, start focusing on your posture now.
We probably all know how we’re supposed to be standing and the posture that we should have – but are you actually doing it?
Get your bow and get in front of a mirror large enough to be able to see your entire draw. But, don’t look in the mirror yet. Draw your bow as you normally would – don’t look at yourself while doing this! Once you have your bow drawn, look at your draw in the mirror. Is your posture 100% correct?
Do this a few more times, not looking while drawing the bow. Then look to see your posture. Are you noticing a mistake or an area that you need to work on improving?
Wait for it…
Some archers, especially newer ones will release their shot and then immediately look to see where it lands. They can’t wait to see their shot, which ironically negatively affects their shot.
After you’ve released a shot, don’t move until your shot has landed! An easy habit to teach yourself is this:
Every time you release a shot, don’t move until you hear the arrow hot the target.
This simple trick will increase your accuracy if you make it a habit. Especially if you’re new to archery, trust me, do this every shot.
The 10 Second Rule
Many archers, even intermediate archers have a bad habit. They release their shots to quickly. They simply become impatient and don’t aim long enough.
Just slowing down and letting yourself have enough time to really focus on the target, breathe, and then release the shot is sometimes one of the hardest things for newer archers to do.
Once you’re lined up, focus on the target and aim your shot for at least ten seconds, then release the shot. Do this every time and you’ll see your accuracy increase several times over.
Watch Your Footing
Another largely overlooked practice in archery is how your feet are planted. This is another thing that people say, but fewer of them do. People tend to get get so hyper-focused on their aim, their draw, their gear – everything but their feet.
The fact is, the wider apart your feet are, the stronger they’ll be while you’re shooting. Your feet should be at least shoulder length apart. A little trick that helps prevent overlooking your stance is this:
Every time you get set up for a shot, plant your feet first, then focus on your draw, your posture and all the other things that tend to cause us to overlook our footing.
Feel for the Release
One of the things that lowers people’s accuracy when shooting is that they only focus on the visual aspects of their shot. Of course it’s important to focus on the shot, but it’s important to train the body to accurately shoot, and that’s where muscle memory comes in.
There’s a way you can add a little routine to the last few minutes of each practice that will help you train your muscles for consistently accurate shots. Get real close to the target – I’m talking no further away then five yards. Aim at the center of the target.
Now, close your eyes. No, really, I’m being serious.
Let the arrow go with your eyes closed, paying close attention to how it feels to let the arrow go. Doing this with only a few arrows at the end of each practice helps you to focus more on how the body should move and feel when aiming and shooting. This exercise helps to train your muscle memory to make shooting correct shots a habit.
Warning: This should only ever be practiced with no one else around and when observing all the archery safety rules. Remember, safety is priority number one in archery.
Shoot the Proper Draw Length for You
There’s something I see lots of archers doing wrong, whether they’re new archers or experienced archers. If you’re not shooting your correct draw length your accuracy is going to plummet.
Lots of archers have an archery shop set their bows up for them or do it themselves. It goes without saying that not 100% of those bows are set up correctly.
Here’s how to figure out your draw length so you can shoot accordingly.
Stand up straight with your arms straight out on both sides (so you look like a letter T). Twist your palms so that they’re facing forward, the same direction that you’re looking.
Now have someone measure you from the tip of your right middle finger to the tip of your left middle finger. Jot down this number. Then, divide that number by 2.5. Now you’ve got your calculated draw length.
This works for recurve and compound bows alike.
Now try shooting at this draw length and compare it to your accuracy from how you were shooting before.
Shoot Only the Same Arrows, Every Time
It drives me crazy when I see an archer complain about their accuracy, and over their shoulder is a quiver full of mismatched arrows. Half a dozen of these, another half a dozen of those, and a few random ones too.
I get it, arrows aren’t cheap, especially the really good ones. But there’s absolutely no point trying to improve your accuracy or even keeping track of it at all if you’re going to shoot all different mismatched arrows.
If you really want to get more accurate, practice with only the best arrows that you can afford. Even if that’s only six arrows at a time, don’t mix in other brands, sizes or styles. Stick with only those six or more of the exact same arrow.
Only Shoot a Draw Weight That You Can Support
A lot of guys make it a point of bragging about how heavy of a draw weight they can shoot. Ever notice that most of those guys aren’t winning any competitions or tournaments?
One of the foundations of being a good archer is to always have the proper form. Some people can shoot a fifty pound bow accurately, while other may out shoot them several times over with a twenty five pound bow.
Besides, just because you’re physically able to pull a sixty pound bow back, doesn’t mean that you can actually shoot the thing accurately. Forget the macho bragging game, and find the perfect draw weight for you.
When it comes to the bragging game, you can still win by being able to actually shoot ten times better than that guy anyway.
Start Numbering Your Arrows
This may sound a little bit OCD, but I assure you there’s a solid reason for it. Get a magic marker and number six to a dozen arrows consecutively. And yes, you have to do this with your good arrows, if you do this with your old scrap arrows you’re not going to be accurate anyway, as you learned a few paragraphs ago.
Shoot them at a comfortable distance as you normally would. Now get a notebook, and note which numbers were the best shots and which ones were the worst. Repeat this process every time you practice shooting, being sure to note the results in your notebook.
You should do this for at least your next ten shooting practices. It doesn’t matter if you practice everyday or once a week.
If you notice any arrows that are consistently off their marks, you might want to throw them in the scrap arrow bin. Even the best brands of arrows can have a few lemons that get through to the store. There are also may arrows that can be negatively affected by heat, moisture, or in transit to the store.
It may be painful to throw out an arrow or two, but this could make all the difference if you really want to up your overall accuracy. This is a little trick that a lot of the top tournament competitors wish that I hadn’t just told you.
I hope this has helped you to improve your accuracy, or at least maybe it pointed out a few things that you may have overlooked. If you really use the above tips and tricks and practice them over time, you’ll see your accuracy improve dramatically. You might even surprise yourself.
(article sourced with thanks from http://archerydude.com/)