Common Archery Errors and How to Fix them

Archery is an enjoyable recreational sport. It’s enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. It requires accuracy, a great deal of focus, and patience.

But what do you do when you’re out on the archery range enjoying yourself, then things seem to go all wrong? Or it could be you’re just starting and can’t seem to get better.

As archers, we know how much other archers love their bow and arrow, and want to perfect their game. So we looked into all the common archery errors and how to fix them.

Not being able to hit your target can be both disappointing and frustrating. But there’s a simple fix to each of these common shooting errors we’re going to discuss in this article. By learning how to correct your mistakes, you’ll be one step closer to being a great archer.

The 7 Most Common Archery Mistakes

We all make mistakes when we’re out on the archery range. The best way to improve every shot and learn from your mistakes by following these tips.

Poor Stance

The Problem

Your stance refers to where you place your feet when you’re shooting. Having poor stance doesn’t only mean placing your feet in the wrong position. It also means that your body’s center of gravity is aligned.

When your stance is wrong, your shot can be greatly affected. Even if your aim is reliable, stance is the number one factor that determines the strength of your shots.

The Fix

One way to perfect your stance is to put painter’s tape on the floor of the indoor shooting range. If you’re outdoors, you can place 2 arrows to make the letter ‘t’.

The top of the ‘t’ should touch the middle of your back foot, while the bottom should point towards the target. Your front foot should be positioned in the space of the left side of the ‘t’.

Over Bowed

The Problem

‘Over bowed’ refers to when the draw weight of your bow is too heavy. This results in an unstable and uneven shot.

You’ve probably seen experienced archers keep their arm upright until they hear their arrow hitting its target. But it can be tough to maintain that position if the weight of your draw is too much.

The Fix

To find the perfect draw weight for you, try this:

  • Draw your bow back
  • Hold it for 10 seconds

If at any time your arm starts shaking or you feel muscle fatigue, you may be over bowed. Instead, go for a bow that’s 5 lbs lighter. Repeat the 10-second test with every bow.

Once you find a draw weight that you can hold steady for 10 seconds, then that’s your perfect draw weight.

If you try the 10-second test and you don’t feel any muscle fatigue, then you already have the proper draw weight. If you feel comfortable enough to try a heavier draw weight, go up 5 lbs heavier in draw weight.

Repeat the 10-second test until you find a bow that you can’t hold at full draw for 10 seconds. That’s when you know you’ve gone too far.

Not Paying Attention to Your Eye Dominance

The Problem

Your eye dominance refers to your preference of opting for one over the other when to comes to visual input. Not knowing your eye dominance, or neglecting it, can result in aiming difficulties.

The way we use eye dominance when we’re shooting is by aiming with the eye directly above the arrow. The best place for the arrow will be on the side of your face once you’ve drawn your bow.

If you’re a right-handed archer, your dominant eye is your right eye. If you’re left-handed, it’s your left eye.

But what happens if you’re a right-handed shooter, but are dominant in your left eye? This is known as cross dominant, and cause problems for your aim at the archery range.

The Fix

To improve your aiming technique, you should try to adjust your cross dominance. Only the eye above the arrow must be the one controlling the aim of your shot.

You can fix cross dominance by doing the following:

  • If your dominant eye isn’t the one above the arrow, you should cover or close it
  • Learn to shoot with the opposite hand so it matches your dominant eye

Holding Your Aim for Too Long

The Problem

Contrary to popular belief, taking too long to aim your shot can result in weak shots. Weak shots mean low shots, which almost always means you’ll miss your target.

When you focus on the aim for too long, you can forget to focus on proper muscle movements. Plus, holding your bow at full draw for too long can cause the muscles in your arm to tense up. Your arm will become unsteady under the pressure, making it difficult to hit your target.

This causes your shoulder and back muscles to lose tension. When that happens, you don’t finish strong, and your shots suffer as a result.

The Fix

To fix this problem, simply adjust your focus. Stop thinking too much about hitting the bull’s eye. Instead, try to concentrate on your muscle movements.

Your shoulder and back muscles create a strong arrow release. They also work together to ensure a powerful follow-through until the arrow safely reaches its target.

Dropping Your Arm Right After Releasing the Arrow

The Problem

Do you take time to perfect your aim only to find that your shot has dropped to a lower target?

The reason could be you’re dropping your bow arm once the arrow leaves the bow. There’s a short time span between the time you release the arrow and the time it leaves the bow. Keeping your arm steady even after you’ve shot the arrow plays an important part in determining whether or not you’ll hit the target.

When you lower your bow arm before the arrow clears the bow, you’re changing the arrow’s trajectory. Even dropping your arm a few millimeters can have a noticeable impact on the direction of the arrow.

The Fix

The best way to avoid this problem is to maintain a strong bow arm. Also, for the best accurate shot possible, you should wait until you hear the arrow hit the target.

Aiming for Perfection

The Problem

We can’t all get a bull’s eye with every single shot. Putting your energy into hitting that yellow center will hurt your aim.

It can be frustrating and disappointing, but you shouldn’t let it deter you from practicing and improving your aim.

The Fix

To put an end to unreliable aiming, you should always have good form. Having good form is more important than having a perfect aim. Once you start operating with that mindset, you’ll start noticing an immediate improvement in your aim.

Be consistent in your form, and your shots will become more precise. You’ll find it easier to group your shots. As your form improves, your results will also start to get better.

Gripping Your Bow Too Tightly

The Problem

One of the worst things you can do as an archer is to have a tight hold and a tense first grip on your bow. Holding on too tightly will cause a shift in the torque of your bow. When there’s a shift in the torque in one direction or the other, it causes a bad aim and you’ll miss your target.

The Fix

The best way to get the proper grip on your bow is to relax your fingers and hand. Avoid squeezing or tensing up your fingers around the bow. Take your time and don’t rush it.

Some archers use a finger or a wrist sling. This additional piece of equipment is attached to your fingers or wrist. At the same time, it wraps around the front of your bow. Slings prevent the bow from dropping to the ground if it ever falls out of your hand.

You can, of course, shoot without the use of a sling. All you have to do is train yourself to properly grip the bow without squeezing it too tightly. Simply practice the following:

1.    Flex your wrist backward

This motion is similar to you gesturing for someone to ‘stop’.

2.    Hold the base of the bow handle against the base of your palm

The padded area under your thumb is a pressure point. It helps keep the bow pressed away from you.

3.    Adjust the angle of your knuckles and wrist

After bringing your wrist down, lean the bow against the base of your palm. After that, adjust the angle of your knuckles.

Both your knuckles and wrist would rotate to a 45-degree angle towards the ground. It should almost feel as though your palm is facing downwards.

4.    Firmly draw your bow

The best place for the bow to lie comfortably is in the space between your thumb and finger.

Everyone will tell you to pull back your draw hand. But, not many will remind you how important it is to push your bow hand.

Giving your bow a slight push outwards will prevent it from wobbling as you’re shooting. Plus, it’ll help increase your aim.

A Final Note

If you find that you’re doing one or several of these 7 common archery mistakes, there’s no need to worry. Knowing what you’re doing wrong is the first step.

After that, correcting each of these mistakes is easy. Just follow our expert archers’ advice on how to fix each error. You’ll be a highly skilled archer in no time.

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