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.
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.
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.
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.
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