Though I will be the first to tell you that I am no Olympic archer, over the last two years I have significantly improved my accuracy by following these 5 archery tips. If you find yourself struggling to tighten up your groups, chances are at least one of these tips will significantly improve your archery accuracy down range.
- Don’t grip your bow. The more you try to grip the bow to hold it straight, the higher your chances of putting torque on the bow during release. This will cause your arrow to not hit where you are aiming. Instead, use the natural pocket your hand forms between your thumb and index finger. The less contact between your hand and the bow the better. If you feel like you may lose control of your bow, put on the sling that came with your bow. That should make you feel more comfortable in knowing that your bow cannot go flying when you release your arrow.
- Shorten your release. This should have been my number one tip. Nothing has tightened up my groups than this tip did over this past summer. If you shoot a release that is adjustable, use the shortest position possible. That will allow your finger to come all the way around the trigger. The purpose of this is so you can use the middle of your finger to pull the release rather than the tip. When you use the tip of your finger, there is a greater likelihood that you will by susceptible to target panic as well as jerking the trigger. By using the middle of the finger, you are able to eliminate both of these issues by making it easier to surprise yourself with the shot, just like with a gun. You can think of it that same as shooting a gun. When you are surprised by the shot, I guarantee you are going to shoot tighter groups than if you jerk the trigger each time or twitch in anticipation of seeing where you hit.
- Float, don’t hold. I have found it practically impossible to hold your pin in an exact spot. Instead, allow your pin to float in circles right around your pinpoint targeted spot. When you raise your pin to shoot instead of float around it, you may tend to hit high as you try to time your release with the raising of your pin. The same holds true for trying to drop your pin to your target except you will tend to hit low rather than high.
- Push, Pull. While aiming, be sure to push with your grip hand and pull with your release arm all the way through the shot. This will do two things. First, it will help reduce the quick move to see where your arrow hit because you will be busy thinking about getting a grip on the bow before you push it to the ground. Also, you should notice that your bow doesn’t rock as much after the shot. Meaning, your bow should move straight out in front of you rather than rocking in your hand like you see on many hunting shows. And secondly, it will help you follow through with the shot. If your release elbow ends up at your side, you know that you are pulling straight back instead of on a slight angle.
- Shoot more often. This one is kind of obvious, but often overlooked. Also, I’m not just saying that you should shoot 3 days a week instead of only 1. I also use the tactic of shooting less arrows during each session. Rather than shooting 50 arrows all in one session one day a week. Shoot 5 arrows twice a day 5 days a week. The end result is the same amount of arrows down range, but the latter scenario forces you to make each shot count. You only get 5 shots before you are done. Also, this allows you to shoot a decent amount of arrows each week without wearing out your arm.
So, if you have been a weekend warrior when it comes to pulling out the old bow and getting some shots down range, I’m sorry to say that you will most likely not improve your groups. If you really want to shrink down those groups, you have to get out there and put in the effort. These tips will absolutely improve your groups, but nothing can take the place of good old fashioned practice. The more you practice, the more most of these tips will come instinctively. Good luck!