Two Things You Need to Know About Shot Performance

Posted on February 13, 2014

If your head is not over your body when shooting, it will cause tension in the arms and hands and can even put pressure on your back—all elements that will degrade accuracy.

If your head is not over your body when shooting, it will cause tension in the arms and hands and can even put pressure on your back—all elements that will degrade accuracy.

Here are two critical steps for improving your shot performance.

By Dick Tone

Shooting In Balance

One of the most important things you can concentrate on as a target shooter or a bowhunter is balance. Your balance or lack of balance will effect your shooting accuracy more than any other single thing other than poorly matched equipment.

There are two things that will cause you to be out of balance. The first is your head position in relation to your body, and the second is your stance.

If your head is not over your body it will cause tension in the arms and hands and it can put pressure on your back. To correct the situation, have someone stand directly behind you and note your head position. You should be able to draw a straight line from the top of your head through the center of your body at full draw. In other words, your head should be in the same position at full draw as it is when you are just standing and looking at the target.

I constantly see both target archers and bowhunters with a very narrow stance. This may look cool but a slightly wider stance with your weight on the inside of your feet is much more stable and will promote better balance. Field shooters and hunters will always be faced with uneven terrain. A wider stance and practice at achieving good balance will pay dividends in higher scores and better shots on animals.

Relax Your Hands

I am constantly asked by bowhunters and target archers what they can do to improve their groups and consistency on the range and in the field. Other than working on their equipment, the best suggestion I can give is to relax your hands.

There are only two places that an archer is in contact with the bow: the bow hand and the draw hand. Tension in either hand will effect the shot before the arrow has time to leave the bow.

The first move the bow makes upon release is directly back towards the archer. If the bow hand is tense, it will cause the bow to turn or twist at the instant of release. If the bow hand is tense prior to the draw, it can cause excess torque on the handle and create even more twisting upon release.

In the case of a finger shooter, the draw hand can be relaxed by simply taking a slightly bigger hook on the string and keeping the back of the draw hand flat during the draw. The slightly bigger hook will actually relax the hand allowing the string to push the fingers out of the way. If you attempt to shoot off the tips of your fingers the hand will be tense and the string will not be able to push them out of the way, which will cause sore fingers and erratic arrow flight.

Remember, for tighter groups and better arrow flight relax both hands.

Editor’s Note: The author is a well-known bowhunter, archery manufacturer, and master archery coach who has assisted many pro-level archers with improving their overall shooting form. We are honored here at Bow & Arrow Hunting to have his knowledge put to paper.

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