Contributors to this thread:
Your One Key to shooting well?
I know those are lots of things that must happen to consistently shoot well, I've been shooting for over 40 years. My one key that if I get away from that will lead to poor shooting is not focusing on the target or spot. I sometimes go back to an old habit of focusing on the pin and it kills my accuracy and causes me to get a little target panic. Looking back on the misses and bad shots I've made hunting I almost 100% of the time lost my focus (or never had it) on where I wanted my arrow to hit. If you had to choose ONE key, what would it be?
Follow through for me as well.
Jasper , I had the same experience. All my misses or bad shots were due to loss of focus. Sometimes its hard to stay focused. Target Panick or Buckfever
It used to be automatic for me to shoot pretty well out to 50 yards, and that was normally as far as I practiced. Now, with my eyesight, it's mostly luck, and 30 or less.
I've never been as good as I wanted to be, probably because when I was young enough, with sound eyes and body, I didn't devote enough time to practice. Kinda hard to want to shoot when you got up at 5:00 AM, drove 250 miles to 3 or 4 jobs, and got home at 6:00 PM dead tired. My practice was mostly on whatever weekends I was off, usually on Sunday. Still, I've only lost two deer in my life and totally missed 3/4 others, all nannies that knew something wasn't right. I've always been an equal opportunity hunter, bow, handgun, rifle, so I don't have near as many bowkills as most of you.
The one key is consistent practice. If you consistently practice your shot sequence day in and out you will not break down at the moment of truth.
The years I shoot well, I can look back and see I shot a lot more arrows. The years I miss or wound, I didn't put the time in during the offseason. Some guys can get away with not as much practice as others. I need all of it. So for me, the answer would be practice.
Unfortunately for me right now it's when I have less shoulder pain.
Otherwise it is the release. I'm punching way too much.
Practice = focus.
Focus = practice
Together they may = success
Learning to shoot proper back tension with a pull through release. Avoiding triggers!!!
Follow through after the shot. My nemesis with both archery and golf. If I follow through,it’s gonna happen??
Be relaxed, and follow thru
Fellows it isn't rocket science.
If you start with good posture it will usually result in better form.
Relax and enjoy shooting your bow.
It isn't that complicated.
Surprise release. This is achieved with proper focus, back tension, consistency, follow through and practice.
Practice to work out the bugs, then practice with focus.
Every time I shoot after a break of several months my groups are wider than they should be until I remember how much focus it takes to concentrate on ALL the little things. it usually takes stepping back to 60 or so to make the issues very visible and then it clicks like a light and the groups tighten right up.
Trad on the other hand it's back tension for me.
Not punching the trigger. Fought through about 5 years of target panic hell and it still creeps up once in awhile.
Relaxation, both mental and physical.
Tension is the mother of all target panic.
Seems to me if I only think about keeping the pin on the target until the arrow hits the target, I'm fine. If and when I don't do that everything goes a bit haywire.
Controlled breathing. Follow through. Consistent shooting.
I recently listened to a podcast from Mark Kenyon (Wired to Hunt) that featured Joel Turner. It was all about concentration and how to overcome target panic. Pretty solid listen.
I shoot much better when I concentrate on having both eyes open. Especially on longer shots I'll tend to squint my left eye.
The thing that helps me the most is to Follow thru after the Shot. When the arrow is in the Target and my Bow arm is still up and out in front, the shot is usually Good. Some times it hard to get yourself to do that on every shot,but it definitely helps. Kurt
Form, even out of a tree stand or blind ... I do a lot of blank bale shooting, and work on "feeling" the shot and form, thus I use a 4 finger release, and I can use it on command or back tension....... I also do a lot of draw, aim, let down, working on holding steady, form and keeping the pin where it should be. I go thru the shot in my mind, then let down ... heck, if I'm gonna miss, I want to look good doing so ... ;0)
Looking past the pin and really seeing
the target. Not as easy as it sounds. Reminds me of hitting a baseball. To paraphrase Ted Williams, when you really see a baseball, you can count the stitches. The ball perceptually slows to a crawl and it's almost impossible NOT to to hit it. That's quite true but you have to spend a lot of time in the batter's box to access that ability. And, as difficult as it is to acquire, it is fairly easy to lose.
Focus on the target not the arrow that is flying there! If you watching your arrow flight after release you are not following thru on your shot correctly, this is not golf. Quality practice, better to shoot a few perfect shots than 100 bad ones.
Keep my mind together once I hit full draw and remember to pick a spot in the heat of the moment works for me
Without a doubt, shooting a hinge release.
I think I have been guilty of every bad habit in the book at one point or another! But for me follow through is key, and I have become very punchy on the trigger, so I have switched to a thumb release, see if I can get it all together for this year. Really when it comes down to it I need to practice more!
Follow the shot through your pins... do not shoot & look up.
Wait until the impact... that was my biggest step in gaining consistency of aim/impact.
Anchor point, muscle memory, repetition, bending at the waist, changing your aim point when shooting elevated, etc mean nothing if you move your bow before the arrow clears it...
Also breath control and allowing yourself to float your pin a bit helps.
slow down, measure twice shoot once
Anchor with string on nose, eye on peep and kisser on corner of mouth with all concentration on the target. When the pin floats in your mind should take over and release. Works for me. But I never really think about it when I'm shooting at a animal. Practice.
Focus vs Follow Through.
Really needs to be both, for me!
When I was experimenting with the compound, my best thing was exactly the opposite of what I understand is the target-shooters’ preferred method; rather than focusing on the front sight, I would look right through it, pick a spot, and let the release go off when the target popped into crystal-clear focus. Those are the ones you don’t NEED to watch to know where they’re going.
I should say it’s pretty much the same without sights - I sneak a peek down the shaft to make sure my anchor looks a righteous as it feels, then align the point for windage and shift my attention to my mark while some other part of my brain figures out the elevation.
Taking high percentage shots!
Not sure why it would be hard with a compound with sights? I've noticed shooting instinctively with longbow or recurve I have to focus on the spot I want to hit until the arrow is there. My modern bows shoot just like a gun- pull the trigger and it's done. I rarely practice more than twice a season
For me it is all about picking a spot!! I mean when shooting at something in the yard or at the archery shop is nothing like shooting at live animals. Sometimes a lot of stuff you do when practicing does not happen when in a tree or in a blind. As long as I pick a tiny spot and focus on it I shoot well in the field. Picking a spot for me is key and that is both with the compound or recurve. Shawn
I'll present a different opinion. When shooting a recurve instinctively at a target or an animal for me there is nothing - absolutely nothing - more important than clearly seeing exactly where I want that arrow to go. When shooting a compound (I'm relearning how) I've found that aiming at the target or an animal is easy using pins. The hard part about attaining true accuracy with the compound is not torqueing the grip and not punching the trigger.
Relaxation and follow through for me.
For me it's two things, in this order of importance.........
1. Making sure my form is as solid as humanly possible throughout the entire aim/draw/anchor/release/follow through sequence. This is not a destination, but a journey as they say. It also means I get to shoot a lot so it's a win/win.
2. Assuming #1 is accounted for, then to reiterate Jasper.......FOCUS ENTIRELY ON THE SPOT. You MUST have #1 nailed down before you can commit to #2. If you have to think about anything in #1 then you cannot fully focus. This holds true for all types of bows and shooting methods.
X man had a good point. If I can relax and still get off a strong smooth shot I usually goes in the middle.
Back tension hinge style release for me, couple beerz don't hurt
Woods Walker's advice is worth reading twice, or three times. Once I was able to do that my accuracy increased dramatically, especially true at long range.
The last time I shot my bow was in October at a Mountain Goat at about 10 yards, I am jonesing for some practice sessions on my home range.
2 things for me
aim small miss small
For a proper archery shot back tension is a given. But you can only shoot as good as you hold. Shrinking your holding oscillation is key, whether with weight, or strength an conditioning, or just good old practice. Also keeping your mind forward during the shot will always make for a better explosion and follow through... AIM
The most important thing for me, I will tell you as soon as I relearn it!
patdel has it right. disengage the brain and let all that muscle memory you developed work on auto pilot
Breathe and enjoy the opportunity! Make a good choice whether to shoot or just enjoy the moment!
Shooting longer distances . If I practice at 60 yards all year....... I’m automatic at 40 yards come hunting season.
I try to shoot every day. My keys are :1, nose on midddle of string; 2: Bow grip loose like a cradle; 3: relax , sight above target , come down and soft release. Seems to work for me shooting from a wheelchair! Like tennis and Raquet sports it is all about hand eye and touch.
And follow through like tennis forehand or backhand- follow through aftershot is very key for me.
Damn that Ted Williams.... I could never hit a ball better than one of my good buddies sisters...... I'm not, but FWIW she was really was pretty good......
If you practice enough there is no conscious thought involved.... theoretically.
Then it comes down to relax and execute. Either the shot or yourself.....
When the world speeds up and all is spinning faster..... I find if I settle in and simply smile (grin may be more like it) it's hard to shake and panic while smiling.... you are there to enjoy yourself and the ride..... the mental/physical wiring seems to take care of itself then... it distracts and relaxes the body... you can't panic while smiling.... =D
How do you get to Carnegie hall?
Practice, practice practice.
But only perfect practice is helpful, if you keep practicing mistakes, you'll keep making them.
3 shot practice sessions. 3 perfect shots. Walk away on a high note.
My thumb trigger release shot with back tension keeps me from getting jumpy. And cures my target panic.
So much great info here, thanks guys! After reading through all this I decided to make sure I was relaxed before my next practice session. I had thought I was relaxed when I shot but when I consciously made sure I was I realized I had lots more tension than I thought. And what a difference it made in my shooting. The more I relaxed my muscles the more the shot just happened! And TD, that made me smile :)
Confidence is precious and the preparation tips outlined above are a must. After that I’d say lots of live target experience.
Surprise release. It was the only thing that cured my bout of target panick many years ago. It is so ingrained into my mind, I can’t shoot on command. I can only squeeze and the shot goes off sometime in the next 2-5 seconds. I worry about hunting situations, but it hasn’t messed up an opportunity yet,
Train the entire physical aspect of the shot to a completely unthought of process...
Then learn how to AIM... Holding a pin on a spot is not aiming its calibrating...
Aiming is something that takes place for a micro second in time when your mind tells your body GO And you become completely immersed physically and mentally in aiming and the shot goes off.
When done correctly you can not miss. Outside factors can cause you to miss... a branch.. wind... a moving animal etc but when the physical happens when you truly “aim” there’s no feeling like it...
Having a shot sequence, broken down into steps, from stance through follow-through. That way you can analyze a miss in terms of the step not done correctly.
Consistent release and follow thru till arrow hits the target
I suppose the only "one" answer is practice. For me that means pretty much "most of the above". One thing that helps me a great deal, bow after bow, is gadget that I've used for some decades called a Thompson No-Peep. It's an optical alignment device that assures a very consistent grip. It's amazing how little pressure it takes to torque the bow with any inconsistency in the grip. Since the first thing I do is grip the bow, I'd have to give that a vote for the "one thing" - a consistent relaxed grip. If that's not right, nothing else matters nearly as much.
Another vote for practice here.
Shoot often and I like to shoot farther than I would in normal hunting situations, it gives me more confidence in my shot placement, and if I have the opportunity to take another shot at a wounded animal that pushed out of my "hunting range" after the first shot, I will feel confident in doing so.
Nock On Silverback - priceless
Perfect practice makes perfect. Anything else is reinforcing a flawed process!
Orion. No disrespect but if I'm confident enough to take an (insert yardage here) shot on the follow up. I'm confident enough to take it on the first shot. That being said, practicing long range turns a 50 yard shot into a gimme shot ;)
trophyhill so you would not take a longer shot at an already wounded animal than you would on one that is not wounded?
Follow through. Last thing to happen the first thing to go.
After having watched Whiplash
last night, one thing I would NOT do is seek a mentor. lol
There is a lot of great advice here. Here is a couple of things I try to do also... Practice when you are physically tired. At the end of a hard day, after lifting weights, or after a long walk or run really forces me to focus. If you can focus when you are physically/ mentally tired, it will help you at the moment of truth. Another thing I do later in the day that really causes me to focus, is to drink three cups of coffee before i shoot. I'm wired....I really have to focus. No more than three arrows at a session and the last one is the arrow I will shoot. That last arrow is for all the money. If my favorite arrow isn't where I want it, I can shoot one more time....only once. If my favorite arrow is good, I quit for that day.
That's the point Bou'bound. If I'm comfortable taking an 80 yard shot at a wounded animal, I better be comfortable taking that shot at a non wounded unsuspecting animal ;)
One thing that I found to work well for me(idk if it will help) I shoot one arrow when I start to focus on my grouping too much. When I shoot one arrow it sinks in my mind that this is my one opportunity to make a good shot. Sometimes I think of a animal of a lifetime or if I was going to win a tournament where I had to hit an X. Might or might not work for you but it seems to work well for me. Also, don’t think when you shoot, use muscle memory. Everytime u shoot I like to think that you have to practice with a purpose. One day work on back tension, next day work on holding the bow steady while using back tension, etc. PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE!
Luck? Sometimes I get lucky and hit what I’m shooting at:) Awesome when it happens with a big critter!
Lots of work involved in being consistently lucky! Amazing feeling when you hit that level that you get in the zone and can tune out the world and know where the arrow will hit at the release.
For myself, it comes when I clear my mind of focusing on anything to do with the act of shooting. When I practice, I focus on a particular thing and I repeat it until it is ingrained. When I shoot, I allow myself to use the ingrained training. Focusing on any one thing (when shooting) will take away from all other things, at that moment.
If I find myself focusing on any one thing, it is a sign that that one thing is in error and it is time to practice on that one thing.