For loads of people, archery is either a hobby or a competitive sport. Either way, it tends to become a lifetime commitment to not only improving your skill but improving yourself too. Learning the way your body and in turn, your bow, reacts to certain stimuli could mean the difference between inches of accuracy. Those who have practiced archery for years have tons of tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way to ensure that they get the most out of every single shot they take. So, instead of you having to hunt them down and squeeze them for every tip and trick they have, we’ve decided to share a few of them with you right here! So, without further ado, here are a few archery tips you can implement to improve your game and pass along to others looking to improve theirs!
Form and Mindset
If you’re a beginner or have never practiced archery before, you might think that shooting well has to do with the bow and arrow alone. However, the most important component of any bow and arrow is the shooter. This being said, let’s have a look at some bow and arrow tips you can follow simply by improving your mindset, form, and perspective on firing an arrow.
Remember to Breathe
One of the best and underrated archery tips when it comes to releasing an arrow is controlling your breathing. We don’t mean that you should focus so intently on it that you forget to aim, but you should be breathing in a manner that relaxes and focuses you. New archers, in particular, tend to forget this, focusing intently on their stance, their grip, and of course their target.
This is completely normal, especially when you’re being instructed and don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your instructor. Funny enough, forgetting to control your breathing and holding your breath in anticipation is typically what will prevent you from making your desired shot. Like shooting a rifle, breathing steadily and releasing your arrow on an exhale can have an astonishingly positive effect on your accuracy.
Practicing your breathing and incorporating it into your routine is a good habit, particularly if you’re just starting out.
Watch Your Grip
There are tons of archery practice tips out there, but just like mastering your breathing, most of them have more to do with you than your equipment. Before releasing an arrow, finding your stance and zeroing in on your target can make you tense. After all, even the most seasoned archers get nervous, and this nervousness can lead to you having a vice grip on your bow.
Gripping your bow too tightly can have a huge effect on your accuracy, and this is why one of the oldest and most effective archery practice tips for beginners is to loosen the grip on your bow. Your bow should lightly rest in your bow hand, with you applying as little force as possible to the grip itself. This can greatly improve your accuracy, and when used in conjunction with proper breathing, can make you a formidable archer.
Practice Good Posture
Chances are that at some point in your life you’ve been told to stand up straight and not to slouch so much. While good posture is important for your back, it can also do wonders for your aim! Any archery instructor will stress the importance of good posture and stance, and this comes as no surprise considering it can greatly affect your accuracy and skill development.
If you’re wondering how to get better at archery quickly, practicing your stance and overall posture is a good place to start. First, establish a baseline for yourself by closing your eyes and standing in front of a mirror. Next, take your shooting stance as if you were lining up your shot and open your eyes. Are you completely lined up? Are your feet, knees, waist, and shoulders in the optimum position?
Ensuring that your stance and posture are at optimum is a great way to improve accuracy. Practicing in front of a mirror repeatedly, even with your bow, will build muscle memory and allow you to take up a firing position with minimal corrections needed when you’re out in the field. This in combination with breathing well and gripping your bow correctly will improve your overall accuracy.
Patience is a virtue that many of us tend to master with age. This being said, younger archers tend to be a little excited when releasing a shot. After all, who isn’t excited to see where their shot has landed when they’ve just started out? Practicing patience both before and after you’ve released your arrow can have a staggering effect on your accuracy and overall sense of composure when shooting.
While you might be giddy to see where your shot has landed as soon as you’ve released it, do your best to remain calm both as you’re lining it up, all the way until you hear it reach the target. Preemptively twitching to check where you landed can throw off your shot, so do your best to control that anxiety and focus on the follow-through. Once again, focusing on your breathing, grip, stance, and the target, instead of the outcome, helps with this.
Be Conscious of Your Foot Placement
If you’re wondering how to get better at archery fast, focus on the fundamentals and work your way outward from there. One of the first things you’ll be taught when starting out is that you should plant your feet firmly, in an effort to root down your stance in preparation for the shot. Everyone claims to know this, but it’s an easy facet of preparation to forget, even by veterans of the sport.
The general rule is that your feet should be either in line with your shoulders or a bit wider when setting up for a shot. Focusing on your foot placement in relation to your target will ensure that your entire body is correctly positioned, so start with your feet first, and then your bow, breathing, and your grip. Remember that inaccurate foot placement can lead to inadequate power and accuracy, so don’t take its importance lightly.
Watch the Distances You Practice At
Remember that archery is a skill one typically develops over time. You might step onto a range and see archers hitting targets at incredible distances, and you might even be tempted to emulate them. The truth is that they’ve likely taken years to accomplish hitting a target over those distances, which might leave you asking yourself which distance you should start out at.
Well, there isn’t really a correct answer to this question. You should start at whichever distance you’re comfortable with, and which you shoot most accurately. For beginners, this is usually around three to five yards. There is no shame in this, and your skills will improve over time, all that you need to do is master the distance you’re at first.
Remember, the further you move away from your target the more glaring the mistakes will become, as the arrow travels further, compounding any inaccuracies. As you master each distance, increase the gap, and before you know it, you’ll be shooting the same distances as those pros you saw when you started out, and you might even be better!
Always Take Your Time
While we discussed patience previously, being too hasty when releasing your arrow can just as easily come from frustration as it can from anxiety. Novice archers can become complacent over time, which can lead to impatience when lining up a shot and failing to take other preparation steps like ensuring their stance and breathing is in form.
This can stem from overconfidence or believing that the aforementioned facets of preparation have become second nature to you. Therefore, it’s always advised to return to basics when you’ve hit a slump in your accuracy game. Take all the time you need to prepare for a shot, after all, there is no ticking clock unless you’re in a competition, and if you are, practicing this philosophy daily can greatly improve your performance.
For greater and more consistent accuracy, we recommend lining up your shot for a minimum of 10 seconds before letting it fly.
Feel Your Shots
When we were discussing posture, we mentioned muscle memory. If you’re unsure what muscle memory means, it is essentially what happens when you repeat a physical action to the point where you’re able to execute it unconsciously. A good example is how some people can type without looking at their keyboards or drive a car without looking at the gearshift. Repetition often creates proficiency, often without you even noticing.
Repeating a sequence of actions when lining up for a shot and then hitting your target consistently builds muscle memory. Essentially, practice makes perfect, but it only makes perfect if you’re practicing correctly and hitting your target. If you’re consistently hitting your mark, this creates a positive association in your brain with everything you did to line up that shot up, which leads to your muscles automatically assuming those positions when the time comes.
While preparing yourself and developing your skills is important, it won’t do you much good if your bow is poorly set up. The degree to which a bow can be set up depends on the type of bow you have, but all bow types can be calibrated to a certain degree in one form or another. This being said, let’s have a look at a few facets of your bow settings that could affect your accuracy and overall performance.
Have the Correct Draw Length
Draw length is important, but there is no objectively correct draw length for any bow. If you’re unsure what draw length means, it’s essentially how far you’re able to draw your bowstring back before releasing your arrow. This length differs from person to person according to their build and height, so it needs to be set up to suit your individual needs.
If you’re buying a bow for the first time and the retailer prides themselves on customer service, they’ll offer to set the bow up for you.
Could you set up your bow yourself if you’re so inclined? To save you what is sure to be a long YouTube tutorial, stretch your arms out in a T-pose. Now, bend your hands forward to the direction you’re facing and have someone measure the distance between the middle finger on your left hand and the middle finger on your right. Once you have that number, divide it by 2.5 and you will have your ideal draw length!
Use the Same Arrows
Let’s face it, being able to choose between different types of arrows is cool. However, it’s not super good for your accuracy and consistency as an archer. Different types and even different brands of arrows vary noticeably in performance from one another, which means that it will be nearly impossible to develop the muscle memory needed to acquire any sort of proficiency.
One of the most straightforward bow and arrow tips you’ll get is to use one type and/or brand of arrow when shooting. Find the best arrow set you can afford and practice with it, regardless of how many you can afford. This doesn’t mean that you should settle for three super expensive arrows, but you should use your discretion to find a decent number of high-quality arrows you can develop your skills with.
Use a Draw Weight You Can Manage
Other bow tips you might find useful are those related to your draw weight. If you’re not familiar with draw weight, it’s the amount of force needed to draw your bowstring back in order to fire your bow. The more strength needed to draw the bowstring back, the more energy is stored, and the faster the arrow travels when it is released.
In archery you’re inevitably going to come across archers who love to brag about how heavy their draw weight is, only to be outshot consistently by archers who use half their draw weight. This is why you should use a draw weight that suits your personal style, strength, and skill level, without straining yourself. Remember that your draw weight really doesn’t matter if it affects your accuracy and overall performance.
Number All of Your Arrows
This is one of the less common bow tips, but it’s also one of the best ones out there for improving your accuracy. If you have half a dozen arrows simply number them one through six with a marker. Next, shoot your arrows at a target and note where each target lands in relation to the bullseye by writing the results down.
Do this for your next couple of practice sessions for about a week or so. If you have arrows with the same number consistently shooting poorly, then you probably have a couple of dud arrows. Remember that arrows are subject to warpage, cracks, splitting, and damage via transportation and/or storage. You should replace these arrows as soon as possible.
Anchor Your Shot Correctly
This has as much to do with your bow string as it does with you. Anchoring your shot consistently means that you’ll shoot consistently, as your anchor point serves as a reference both visually and for muscle memory. Everyone has a different anchoring point depending on their individual shooting styles, but as a beginner, your instructor (if you aren’t self-taught) would have given you a point to start with.
One of the best places to anchor your shot is up against your jawline. This ensures that your shot always starts at the same reference point, and it allows you to adjust for elevation and other obstacles more easily. The trick with anchoring your shot against your jaw is not to press up against your face, instead simply allowing your hand to rest there as you zone in on your target.
Use a Wrist Strap Release
While you don’t necessarily have to use a release, it most certainly helps, especially if you’re a beginner. Release mechanisms are essentially little metal fittings that grip your bowstring. These can have triggers on them or can be released manually. Regardless, these are there to protect your fingers from injury, allow you to draw your bowstring further, and increase your accuracy.
There are many types of release mechanisms, but if you’re a beginner, the general consensus is that you should begin with a wrist strap release, which usually features an index finger release. Another good release for beginners is the handheld hinge release but if we’re being honest the trigger release feels way cooler, and it’s easier to use too!
Now that you have some bow shooting tips regarding your own form and mindset, as well as some bow shooting tips relating to the bow and bow strings themselves, it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember that these tips might be a good place to start, but your proficiency at archery depends on timeless dedication to your craft and willingness to improve over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Shoot a Compound Bow Accurately?
Wondering how to shoot a compound bow accurately? There are many things you can do to improve the accuracy of your compound bow shots. Some of the most common things you can do are to ensure that your form is good, push your distance limits, add sights and stabilizing bars, adjust the grip of your bow, and adjust your draw weight.
What Are the Best Compound Bow Shooting Tips?
Looking for some good compound bow shooting tips? Some of the best tips for shooting a compound bow is to use stabilizing mechanisms. Things like sights and stabilizing bars can greatly improve your accuracy both immediately after they’re added and once you’re acclimated to them. Compound bows and recurve bows can be tough to get the hang of, but they’re well worth the effort.
What Does Archery Do to Your Body?
Archery has the potential to improve pretty much all of your major muscle groups. You can build a stronger core, improve your pectoral strength, bicep and forearm strength, and even your legs and glutes from standing all the time! This being said, archery also improves hand-eye coordination and your overall balance.