Improve Your Archery Skills

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Having shot archery for the last 19 years I've been through the stages of frustration time and time again where you tune your bow, shoot it through paper and everything is perfect yet for some reason your groups still won't come under 5 inches.  You even have perfect form and are releasing the arrow exactly how you want.  You scratch your head and think, man, how in the heck do I get my pattern to where I can hit a quarter every time?  I've found that the biggest reason a lot of people can't get their patterns tighter is that most archers aren't thinking small enough.  When most guys pick up a bow and aim at their 3D target they're aiming for the vitals.  That means an area about the size of a pie plate.  If they it within the 8 ring they're happy with it and grab the next arrow.  This also carries over to other forms of targets as well.  In general if they shoot 20 arrows and half are in the heart and half are in the lungs they consider that a great day, but wouldn't it be great if you could put all 20 in the heart?  If you want to get those tighter groups and improve your accuracy try these two tips.

First, shoot distance.  I'm not talking 30 yards.  I'm talking 60 or 80 yards.  I know, I'll never shoot a deer at that distance.  I don't expect you to.  What I do expect is that you'll get so comfortable shooting at 80 yards that when you come into 30 yards it'll feel like a chip shot.  Think of it as a batter who's warming up in the on deck circle swinging a 5 pound bat.  When he grabs his 32 ouncer it feels like it doesn't weigh a thing.  Same principle.  Just think of what a 10 or 20 yard shot feels like to you today.  Pretty easy right?  Well, there was a time when 20 was a struggle but after shooting at 30 for so long 20 yards doesn't seem so tough. If you shoot 80 yards enough you'll begin to wonder why you ever had trouble at 30.

Second, practice small.  Don't be content with a 5 inch grouping.  A lot of guys have their only goal being to hit the vitals, and so unknowingly they are giving themselves slack when aiming.  The pin usually travels around the entire vital area along with their eyes because in truth that's what they're aiming for.  Do yourself a favor and grab a white golf tee.  Walk up to the target and stick that tee in the exact spot you want to hit.  Now aim at that tee and nothing but that tee.  9 times out of 10 I have seen patterns pull in immediately simply by focusing all of the things you are doing correctly already.  When you're aiming at the "vitals" the body instinctively responds by saying "ok...that means I only have to focus this much and I'll still accomplish my goal".  But when your aiming at the tee your body also reacts instinctivly and focuses on the target with more precision allowing less room for error and therefore tighter groups.  Eventually you'll get so used to it you'll be imagining a little white circle on the real thing when the shot counts and that tighter group just might mean the difference between a hit or a miss.

I hope this helps...I know it sure did for me.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Great tip. I also like the

Great tip. I also like the golf tee idea. I have taken a quarter sized piece of paper and taped it to my shooting block before. I said if I can't hit it I can't go hunting. Guess what happened, I hit it. now I do this on a regular basis. My son also does this as well.

gatorfan's picture

I'll give it a try!

Thanks for the golf tee tip Bearklr!  I'm definitely going to give that one a try.  I admittedly don’t shoot nearly as often as I used to before all three of my kids started playing sports, but when I do, I usually consider myself fairly accurate.  I try to improve upon that accuracy with every practice session and now believe that using the tee is a simple way to help.  I can only practice at home from 18 yards (small yard) but when I go to the range, I start at 40 yards and then incrementally work my way back to 80 yards.  When I got my first bow, I practiced at 80 and 100 yards religiously!  I was so comfortable with that bow that it was almost unbelievable!  As a matter of fact, my first bow killed buck was with that bow and it was at 82 yards!  Yes, I was THAT comfortable and confident with the bow.  The shot was not a clean pass-thru but it was dead center of the heart and only stopped short of a pass-thru because it hit the offside front leg bone.  (I’ve already heard all the non-ethical shooting replies from different forums)  Unfortunately, that bow met its demise when I mistakenly left it on top of my wife’s van one day and she subsequently took a trip to the store not knowing my $1500 bow and accessories were on the roof.  It didn’t fair too well doing summersaults down the road!  I never have gotten as comfortable with my new bow as I was with the first one and that is probably due to the fewer sessions I have at the range.  Consequently, I won’t take a shot past 60 yards….yet.

Critter done's picture

Great Tip

We shoot alot at 60 yards for fun. It makes that 20-30 yard a lot better for us, Thanks for the tip.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Great tip.  I shoot alot at

Great tip.  I shoot alot at 60+ yards but I dio not think I would take that shot while hunting, but it sure does make 30 yards shot seem like a chip shot!