Extend Your Range With These 3 Tips

Your target looks a mile away at full draw. When you release your shot, a second of silence follows as the arrow arcs toward the target. Then comes the satisfying smack as your arrow strikes the bull’s-eye. You can’t help but crack a smile.

Long-range archery shots deliver unexplainable yet undeniable joy. It’s a giggle-inducing fun that keeps you on the range for hours.

With the fun comes a new challenge, however. Farther distances amplify all the little inconsistencies in your shooting form and shot execution. To extend your range, follow these accuracy-enhancing tips.

Anchor Point

Consistency is the key to shooting excellence, and your anchor point – that specific spot where you hold your string hand at full draw – is a key contributor to accuracy. Anchor points vary based archery style, but consistency is their common trait. Your jawbone, for instance, is a great anchor site because it provides a consistent, motion-free launch site.

A secondary anchor point, such as pressing the bowstring to the tip of your nose, further improves accuracy. If you shoot a compound bow with a peep sight, be sure to center your peep in the bowsight’s housing so they look like concentric circles. Recurve archers can align their bowstring with the inside of the sight window to ensure horizontal consistency.

Once properly anchored, your string hand’s work is far from over. It still needs to help you execute a proper release.

Release

To achieve a surprise release, turn off the brain waves that say, “Let go now!” Then relax your fingers or manipulate your release, and let the bowsight float in its natural arc. Photo Credit: World Archery

Whether you use fingers or a mechanical release, a surprise release is vital to accuracy. During an intentional release, your body naturally braces for the shot’s recoil, which causes small movements in your bow. In turn, those tremors cause inconsistent target strikes. You can try resisting the recoil by bracing, but it’s like trying not to flinch when someone feigns a punch to your face.

With a surprise release, your arrow takes flight before your body can react to the shot. To achieve a surprise release, turn off the brain waves that say, “Let go now!” Then relax your fingers or manipulate your release, and let the bowsight float in its natural arc. With a proper release, you’ll see your arrow speeding toward the bull’s-eye before you know the bow fired.

Aiming

One of archery’s common misconceptions is that your sight must be completely still to achieve accuracy. In reality, it’s impossible to make a sight stop moving. The goal for your sight picture is a tight figure 8 floating around the bull’s-eye.

If your sight erratically jumps all over the target or moves up and down or left and right instead of a figure 8, you can improve your aim with stabilizers and form corrections.

Muscle tension in the bow arm’s shoulder often causes bad aim. To alleviate the tension, pull your shoulder low and forward to achieve bone-on-bone support instead of muscle support. Your coach can help you get this right.

Stabilizers move weight away from the bow, balancing it like a tightrope walker’s pole. Every archer uses slightly different stabilizer combinations. Visit an archery retailer to find the right stabilizer setup for your bow, and upgrade your bow with other distance-extending gear.

Practice these tips at comfortable distances, and then slowly back away from the target. By closely following that recipe, you’ll have a great time lobbing arrows long distances at the range.

What’s the farthest bull’s-eye you’ve made? Share it on the Archery 360 Facebook.

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S3DA: Your Gateway To Youth Archery

Archers can pick up a bow at age 5 and keep shooting the rest of their life. Few sports provide such lifelong enjoyment, which makes archery unique.

An organization that’s forever introducing children to the sport is Scholastic 3-D Archery. The organization’s leader is Jennie Richardson, who spent 10 years coordinating Kentucky’s Archery in the Schools Program. She created S3DA as a next-step program to help beginning archers become lifetime archers. Richardson also wants S3DA students to progress to national archery organizations like ASA, NFAA, USA Archery and collegiate archery.

Richardson said S3DA provides a modified platform for kids that makes it easier for them to make the transition to archery’s parent organizations. S3DA welcomes archers of all skill levels. Beginners can become high-level archers, and more experienced archers can receive advanced coaching and opportunities to compete nationally.

Why start your child in archery? Because they’ll get to participate in an all-inclusive program that makes them part of a team. “If you’re part of something like S3DA, you get peer acceptance, community involvement and camaraderie,” Richardson said.

Archery isn’t like traditional ball sports, where it helps to be athletically gifted. “Archery is 97 percent mental,” Richardson said. “You have to focus, be disciplined and be confident. It doesn’t require as much physical prowess as other sports.”

That means children who can’t run like the wind or hit a ball out of a stadium can still be competitive and have fun in archery. Of course, archery is all about fun, which is why S3DA focuses on 3-D archery.

“Based on our surveys, 100 percent of kids enjoy shooting 3-D,” Richardson said. After all, 3-D archery features a variety of animal targets in wooded settings, which makes it exciting. Kids who have fun shooting eventually want to compete.

Richardson said S3DA holds regional tournaments within states, and then state-level events where students can qualify for national tournaments.

More statistics show this program in 36 states, and they meet after school in various venues. Richardson said about 35 percent of S3DA programs are school-based, and 65 percent work with clubs run by churches, archery retailers, sportsman’s clubs, city parks and municipalities. Photo Credit: S3DA

Although 3-D is S3DA’s most popular discipline, it also teaches indoor and outdoor target archery. “We added outdoor target archery for our college coaches, who were looking for a more well-rounded archer to come to their university,” Richardson said. “We thought it would give our kids an edge going into the collegiate programs.”

S3DA archers can also shoot a variety of equipment, including compounds, Olympic recurves and traditional bows. “We want to be a platform to propel our kids to the national ranks in many disciplines,” Richardson said.

How do you get involved in S3DA? It has programs in 36 states, and they meet after school in various venues. Richardson said about 35 percent of S3DA programs are school-based, and 65 percent work with clubs run by churches, archery retailers, sportsman’s clubs, city parks and municipalities.

To learn more, talk to your local archery retailer or visit S3DA.com to find a program near you.

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Step by Step: How to Fletch Arrows

When you start shooting archery, it’s all about having fun and flinging arrows. As you progress you’ll learn more about fine-tuning your form and equipment to improve your accuracy.

Then you might compete in a tournament and join an archery club. Soon, your new hobby is all you think about. It consumes more of your free time as you learn details and explore options for your archery gear.

Building your own arrows further engages your fascination with archery. It’s a fun, productive way to spend an evening while watching an archery tournament or favorite movie. Your efforts will be rewarded when you show off your custom arrows at the range and discuss the colors and components you chose for your self-built arrows.

The process starts at the archery shop, where the staff will help you choose the right arrow shaft and components for your bow. Then they’ll cut the shafts to your draw length and install the points. The rest of the work is up to you. Let’s discuss how it’s done.

What You Need:

Arrow shafts

Fletching

Fletching jig

Fletching glue

Rubbing alcohol

 

Choose Your Fletching

While you’re at the archery store, you must pick out your fletching, which stabilize your arrows in flight. You can choose feathers or plastic vanes in different sizes, shapes and colors. Archers who shoot compound bows usually choose vanes, while those who shoot traditional bows usually choose feathers.

Setting Up Your Jig

To attach your fletching to the arrow shaft you’ll need a jig that aligns each fletching in a precise, consistent location. Fletching jigs have a base that holds the arrow shaft and a clamp that holds the fletching against the shaft.

Read the fletching jig’s instructions to learn how to set up the jig for your arrows. If you have questions, ask the pros at your archery shop to walk you through the process. They’ll even help you set up the jig.

Shaft Prep

Taking the time to remove any excess dirt or oils can help your new fletching adhere better onto the surface of the arrow. Photo Credit: Legendarywhitetailsblog

You’ll glue the fletching to the arrow shafts. For the best adhesion, prepare your arrow shafts by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol or special shaft-prep products sold by the archery shop. These cleaners remove dirt, oils and films that hinder bonding or prevent glue from setting.

Stick it and Repeat

You’re now ready to fletch your arrows. Place an arrow shaft in the jig and a fletching in the clamp. Then run a thin glue bead down the length of the fletching. Place the clamp on the jig, applying slight pressure to seat the fletching against the shaft. Let the glue dry, and repeat the process with your next fletching.

Isn’t that easy? Your new arrows will look great, and every bull’s-eye you shoot will feel a little more satisfying. If you’re ready to start making arrows at home, visit an archery retailer to get the supplies and instruction you need.

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Get Ready for 3-D Archery Season

If dreary winter days have you dreaming of warmer weather, start gearing up for 3-D archery season. Archery Shooters Association events and most archery shops start 3-D leagues in February. Leagues are a great way to have fun while sharpening your shooting skills and meeting new people.

At 3-D events, archers shoot lifelike plastic-foam targets at unmarked distances. Shots earn 14, 12, 10, 8, 5 or 0 points, depending on where they hit. Whether you shoot at a local or high-profile event, like the ASA Pro Am, 3-D shoots are excellent for networking with others who share archery passions. You’ll likely make new friends and learn more tips along the way.

3-D archery

To compete at a high level, you need precise equipment. Your archery shop should have everything you need to enjoy 3-D archery. Photo Credit: ASA Cullman, Alabama

To get started, visit your local archery shop. Besides ensuring your bow is tuned and fitted, the shop’s staff can help match you with the best leagues or events for you. Most offer several categories of leagues, including those for youths, women and bowhunters. Some events, such as the Rinehart R100 and ASA Pro Am, are traveling 3-D competitions. These road shows travel across the country, and attract huge crowds of shooters of all skill levels.

To compete at a high level, you need precise equipment. Your archery shop should have everything you need to enjoy 3-D archery. The most important accessories are an adjustable sight and lightweight, flat-shooting arrows. Shots can come at any distance, so you must be able to adjust your sight to the exact yardage. Most adjustable sights have only one pin, which decreases clutter in your sight picture and lets you hold dead-on without compensating for trajectory.

3-D archery

What’s great about 3-D archery is the fact you don’t have to outshoot the competition. Participants set personal goals that let them grow in the sport while meeting more people. Photo Credit: ATA

The best arrows for 3-D shoots have lightweight shafts that fly fast. The lighter and faster your arrow, the less it drops. Flatter trajectories give archers more margin for error. For example, if an archer estimates a shot at 36 yards but it’s only 32 yards, a lightweight arrow will land closer to the aiming point than a heavy shaft would hit.

However, 3-D archery isn’t all about outshooting the competition. Participants set personal goals that let them grow in the sport while meeting more people. Don’t let your bow sit in its case any longer. Find a 3-D shoot nearby and shoot your way to fun.

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Be an Archery Fan: Your Guide to the Biggest Indoor Tournaments

Shooting a bow is fun, but archery enjoyment doesn’t end at the range. It’s also a great spectator sport. Archery fans enjoy watching the best archers in the country — and the world — compete in exciting matches.

Archery’s indoor season is just starting, and you can watch plenty of tournaments in coming months on your computer or TV. Or, you can compete alongside your favorite archers while watching them live and in person.

Archery is unique in that amateurs and professionals can participate in the same events. It’s like getting to shoot hoops with Lebron James or catch passes from Peyton Manning. It’s a cool experience, especially for young archers.

Let’s review archery’s top can’t-miss indoor competitions.

Lancaster Archery Classic, Jan. 26 to 28

Archers visit Pennsylvania’s Amish country each January for one of the sport’s largest indoor events. Professional archers shoot for huge payouts, and amateurs compete for bragging rights.

The format resembles USA Archery events, but the target’s innermost ring is worth 11 points. The surrounding rings are worth 10 points to 1 point. Archers shoot 60 arrows the first day for ranking, which is based on their score. Things get exciting the next two days when archers compete in head-to-head matches. Winners move on and losers become spectators.

Another exciting aspect about the Classic is that it’s one of the few tournaments with barebow competition. These archers don’t use sights or other shooting aids to direct their arrows into the gold.

The whole tournament is broadcast live on Lancaster Archery’s YouTube channel. If you live nearby, you can watch the competition in person. While you’re there, shop Lancaster Archery Supply’s impressive showroom.

The Vegas Shoot, Feb. 9 to 11

The world’s largest indoor event is held each February in Las Vegas. Just like the droves of tourists who visit the city to win big in the casinos, the Vegas Shoot attracts 3,500 archers hoping to win big payouts for their efforts. The event pays out over $400,000 in cash and scholarships, which jacks up the pressure for shooters while making the tournament more exciting for spectators.

The nation’s best compound-bow archers compete in the championship freestyle unlimited division, which pays out $52,000 in prize money. A unique aspect of this division is that men and women compete against each other.

The Vegas Shoot isn’t restricted to pros. It also features amateur divisions called “flights,” which group archers who shoot similar scores. This format means beginners and experts can win some of the event’s large payouts.

You can watch the action on the World Archery YouTube page.

Indoor World Cup Final, Feb. 9 to 11

The Indoor World Cup final takes place alongside the Vegas Shoot. It’s the final stage of the Indoor World Cup circuit, which features the world’s best archers competing in head-to-head matches.

Indoor World Championship, Feb. 14 to 19

The Indoor World Championship takes place every other year in Yankton, South Dakota. Countries send their top three compound- and recurve-bow archers to try to win the “world’s-best” title.

USA Archery Indoor Nationals

You can watch USA Archery competitors by just showing up at one of 342 venues nationwide on the day of the event. You can also watch the finals on YouTube. Photo Credit: USA Archery

This unique tournament is held at various dates and locations, so most archers don’t travel far to participate. Tournament venues across the country host competitors in this national event. This convenience makes the USA Archery Indoor Nationals a popular tournament for experienced and first-time competitors.

This event uses a multicolored target with a gold center, and red, blue, black and white in the outer rings. The rings score 1 to 10 points, with 10 being the innermost circle. USA Archery indoor competitors shoot three arrows per “end,” which is one round of shooting. Check out this video to learn about the scoring rings.

You can watch these competitors by just showing up at one of 342 venues nationwide on the day of the event. You can also watch the finals on YouTube.

NFAA Indoor Nationals, March 10 to 11

The National Field Archery Association hosts its indoor national tournament in Cincinnati.

The NFAA target is blue and white, with white in the center circle that’s surrounded by blue outer rings. The rings score 1 to 5 points. NFAA competitors shoot five arrows per end, and 60 arrows per day.

In the professional division, archers often tie with perfect scores, which forces “sudden-death” shoot-offs. The archers line up and shoot until everyone misses the center except one, who wins.

To watch NFAA Indoor Nationals, follow BowJunky on YouTube.

Past Events

Need to watch an event right now? You can binge-watch the Indoor World Cup videos from Nimes, Bangkok and Marrakesh on World Archery’s YouTube channel.

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