I hate missing, and I sure hate missing by a long shot. It’s really not that cool and it makes me feel dumb. Getting better at your accuracy and consistently being able to hit your target is a HUGE deal and you shouldn’t ignore it. Let me point out that I lost a competition by completely missing the target at 25 yards. You think I felt foolish, you bet I did.
Start from the ground up
Everything starts with your feet. They are the table on which everything else is built. Many people like to stand like a golfer with both feet in line making a point towards your target. It can work pretty well for most, but you’d be amazed at how much better your form can get with just a couple minor adjustments.
First, while you’re out shooting, take your front foot and move it one inch to the side. Take a few shots and then move it another inch over. After you’ve done this a few times, now move your front foot forwards by an inch. You’ll feel a difference in which muscles are tightened and how it feels with the alignment of your bones. You should also try this with your back foot as well. For me, I found that having my front foot forward about three inches gave me the best alignment and muscle contraction repeatedly.
Tighten your abs and back when you are shooting. I found that when I consistently tightened up my core as I was shooting that I had less shaking and more stability. If you think of yourself as a table, the feet are the base and your torso is the trunk so you need to make sure that it stays the same for each shot. All that being said, you still need to try shooting with a relaxed torso and a tightened one to see which works for your body the best.
Let your bones do the work
Muscles wear out a lot faster than bones. If you hold the bow straight out to the side with your arm in line with your shoulders, you’ll be letting your bones take the brunt of the force of holding the bow. This doesn’t seem like a big deal for a few shots, but when you’re shooting hundreds of shots it gets really tiring.
This also applies to pulling back the bow a bit. Drawing back on the bow when you have bad posture or are too weak will make you use more muscles and experience more fatigue faster. So don’t, even though it’s really easy.
The best thing to improve accuracy is to be as efficient as possible. You want your muscles to last as long as they can with the least amount of fatigue. Pay attention to using large muscles to do most of the work. When you draw back on the bow, try to make your upper back muscles do all the work. They are the biggest muscle group and will last the longest. Using your biceps more will make your arm fatigue faster plus make your arm more shaky.
Uphill and downhill
Lots of times you aren’t shooting perfectly level. The biggest trick to getting better at these types of shots is to go back to the table idea. You want to make your base as solid as possible. Get a good footing and bend at the waist. You don’t want to change anything above your waist if possible. If you move your arms instead, you’ve completely changed your entire form and that causes more problems and increased fatigue.
It might feel silly at first, but it will make you more consistent and that means better accuracy.
Really? Yes, you need to work out your stabilizer muscles. Think about it, most people shake when their muscles are getting over used or are pretty fatigued. So work on the muscles that will get fatigued. The big one for me is my deltoids muscle, a.k.a. the shoulder. Just grab a 5-10 pound weight and hold it out like it’s your bow for about 5-10 minutes a day. That’s not so bad, but it will really improve your accuracy. You will have to see which muscles get tired the fastest or cause you the most issues after lots of shooting. Now I’m not a doctor so make sure you check with one of those guys if you need to.
This is a neat little trick too. The idea is to get 5-10 yards from a target and just shoot for the middle. You’re not trying to aim at all. The whole point is to feel your body is moving the exact same way. Don’t even pay attention to aiming really. You can also try shooting with your eyes closed, be extremely careful, to see if your arrow ends up in the same spot. You’re just focusing on consistently taking the same actions with your body.
Archery is a huge mental game. Come up with a routine that is short, but that you do every single time that you take a shot. It could be something simple like taking a deep breath or a little more complex like rubbing your hands and picking your nose. It doesn’t really matter as long as it prepares your mind to do take the shot. I actually learned this from some golfers saying the it really upped their game because it helps you to always get in the right frame of mind
I have an e-book that I recommend if you want help getting better at your game. There is loads of great information in it and I’m willing to bet that even the most experienced person will learn something. If you disagree, just tell me.
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