Over the years, I have been asked many times for archery advice. Sometimes it’s from a seasoned archer with a specific problem and other times it’s from someone just getting started searching for some guidance. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss a few pieces of advice that will help archers of all skill levels. One thing for sure is that archery can be very humbling. No matter how long you have been around the game, there is always something new for you to learn.
Correct Archer Techniques
Starting out, I would say it is very important to learn the correct archery techniques. This can be very confusing. Professional archers’ shooting techniques or forms can be compared to professional baseball players and their hitting stances. You can look at 100 of them that are very successful and each one looks different. This is mainly because everyone’s body is put together differently. In short, one of the most useful pieces of archery advice is to find what works best for you. Archery isn’t a one size fits all sport, where what works for one person will always work for another.
One important archery technique is called back tension. While this could be several articles in itself, I will touch on what it is and why it is important. Back tension is basically where the archer subconsciously uses their back muscle to fire the shot. By doing this, there is no anticipation of the shot. When done correctly, the archer will just focus on aiming and working the shot, and there will be no “flinch” when the bow fires.
Many people will just get a crossbow or compound bow and start punching the trigger without knowing any better. While a few can do this successfully, these are the same shooters that usually struggle with consistency or will find their accuracy suffering from hot and cold times. I’ve always been a big believer in learning the correct way as young as possible. The longer you do something the wrong way, the tougher it is to break the habit.
Something I always recommend to tournament archers is setting goals. Ideally, you want to have short- and long-term goals. You want to make sure these goals are realistic yet challenging. My advice when setting an archery goal, you need to determine what the sacrifice is going to be and what you have to do to achieve it. Something like performing well at a competition in 1 month would be way different than adding 5 points to your average by next year. The satisfaction of reaching your goal is a great feeling. It lets you know that all the hard work you have put in was worth it.
While archery techniques are important, something that is often overlooked is having fun. If you’re not enjoying what you do, then you should look for another sport or hobby. If you truly enjoy shooting your bow, it is way easier to go to the range or travel to a tournament. Some of the best times of my life and my best friends are a result of shooting archery. I often wonder how different my life would be had I not taken up and followed my passion for archery. Shooting with family and friends can be quite enjoyable and even relaxing at times.
Quality Over Quantity
This may sound cliché, and I know we have all heard this a hundred times, but quality over quantity is very important advice when practicing archery. Many times, I will hear customers or fellow competitors say things like, “I shoot 200 arrows every day,” or “I make sure I practice for 2 hours each night.” While I won’t ever discourage anyone from putting in extra hours on the range, I don’t feel that shooting a certain amount of arrows or for a predetermined amount of time is the best way to practice. I have done this in the past and, other than conditioning, I felt that I often found myself just going through the motions simply to reach the magic number of shots that I had predetermined for that training session. I would rather shoot 60 highly-focused shots instead of 100 mediocre ones.
Always try to have a specific practice plan before you get to the range. If a certain part of your game is lacking, you can spend more time on that. Looking back, I realize that I spent too much of my practice time shooting scores and focusing on results, instead of looking at what could have made me a better shooter.
We’re Here to Help
I hope something in this article will resonate with a shooter looking to improve their archery game. If one of these tips can get you headed in the right direction or help you get over a plateau you may be stuck in, then I have accomplished what I set out to do. We are always here to help at 60X Custom Strings, whether you’re looking for bow strings, archery advice, or tips on archery techniques.