As a trainer or even as a student of archery it reaches a point where you ask yourself, “How can I shoot better?” or “how can I tighten my groups?” At times, it can be as a result of poorly set up equipment to poor form.
Before anything else, make sure the bow is right for you. Ensure that the bow is not too heavy in poundage or too long in draw length. Please ensure that you can effortlessly draw your bow back and hold it for a full draw for 20-30 seconds.
- The grip:
You need to ensure that your grip is relaxed. Do not confuse an open hand for a relaxed grip when it isn’t the case. Most shooters will use a tense open hand. A nice relaxed will act as a cradle to the bow and the give an allowance to jump forward into the bow during a shot.
- The stance:
You need to stand up straight with your feet shoulder length apart. That means that the feet are parallel to each other about 18-24 inches apart and your face should be about 45 degrees towards your target. Also, ensure that your toes well pointed to your target and not at 90 degrees.
This open stance accomplishes two things: one, you will face at the target more directly as this does not spook your target as less movement is involved. Two, the 45-degree angle enables the bowstring to move away from your bow arm and chest. Should the string touch your clothes during a shot, the arrow will definitely move to one side.
- The aim:
The majority of bow hunters use bow sights as they are accurate in average hands especially if they have a laser range finder. Instead of letting your pin set in the middle for several seconds on the bull’s eye, you need to concentrate on the bull’s eye while letting your pin float. Ensure that you do not try too hard to stop the pin from moving. If you concentrate too much on stopping the pin at the dead center is that you will release the trigger really quickly before it moves and this might throw your form off and it will cause you to have erratic shots.
- The anchor point:
Before anything else, it is always good to have a reference point for your anchor. An anchor is created when you have drawn your bowstring and you have locked your string hand against your face. Your string can touch your mouth corner or tip of your nose. Your knuckles can rest well against your jawline too. Other additions such as a bowstring peep of at least 3/16 inch will also ensure a consistent anchor point. This will ensure everything is lined up always.
- The draw:
You will need to extend your bow arm towards your target with the string held in your fingers or with the mechanical release aid jaws. The most commonly used practice is the finger grip which involves the use of the index finger put above the arrow nock and the middle and ring finger below the arrow nock. You will then point your bow towards your target, cross-check and ensure that your bow grip is loose then smoothly pull back the string back towards your face. It is important to ensure that you do not dip your bow or point it in the air. Also do not push the bow ahead as you draw back. Ensure that you extend your bow fully and pull your sting straight back.
If your bow is little too heavy to drawback, it will force you to dip or raise your bow and this will mean you need to reduce draw weight until you gain some stronger shooting muscles.
- The release:
The ultimate make or break point of your shot is the release. Your string release must be smooth without jerking or flinching. If you use your fingers to shoot you will have a tough job ahead as it is difficult to relax your three drawing fingers and at the same time shot and more difficult to prevent from plucking the strings as you release. For the finger shooters, you will need to draw with your three fingers then relax the top or bottom finger as you aim. This two-finger release is much easier than the three finger release.
You will need to ensure that your fingers are relaxed after the aim then the bowstring will do the rest. It is easier to release with your fingers than gloves as gloves tend to develop grooves and these tend to slow down a smooth release. For mechanical release, which is much easier, you will need to draw, anchor then squeeze the release trigger or button. The key thing is to squeeze and not to punch then releasing. The moment you slap the trigger, the whole body moves and the arrow won’t flow
- Follow through:
After you release, you need to actually hold the bow at the aim position until you hit your target. When you hold up your bow and you keep the sight the same. As your string hand slides backward along your face and your bow will recoil to your side. Whenever you continue to aim, your accuracy improves.
This might be more of a personal choice. Some shooters will say you need to hold your breath others will say you need to breathe normally. You will need to identify which is best for you and follow through on it.
If you ever shot with doubt in your mind, then you will definitely hit your target. Be confident in your increasing accuracy ability and you will be there