The Importance of Proper Shooting Form

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Far too often the importance of proper shooting form is overlooked. Today’s technology in the archery world is amazing. Bows are faster, lighter, more compact, quieter and easier to shoot than ever before. However, the best equipment in the world cannot replace good solid shooting mechanics. Often times the first thing a shooter looks at when things are not going well is the equipment rather than being honest with themselves and looking at the more probable cause, a break down in shooting mechanics. What I try to instill in the shooters I work with is establishing a pre-shot routine. Here is a step-by-step outline of the routine I preach.

Feet:

Your feet are the foundation of the entire shot. Your feet should be positioned about hip width from each other with slightly more weight placed on your front foot (the foot closest to the target). The toes of each foot should be aligned with one another in a neutral position. Remember, if you stand too open or closed to the target you will have to twist your torso in order to get your pin on the target. Upon release of the shot your body will recover to the static position causing you to pull shots right and left. With the toes even you are in a neutral position and your body will remain quiet upon execution of the shot.

Grip:

As I have mentioned in previous articles, grip is one of the most important and most ignored elements in the entire shot sequence. Improper and inconsistent hand position on the grip will lead to poor left to right grouping and can also create tuning issues. To achieve proper grip take your bow hand and make a “v” with your thumb and index finger. Next, Draw a line from the bottom of the “v” to the insertion point between your thumb and wrist. Now take that line and place it vertically down the center of the grip. With the hand in this position the grip will only contact the pad of your thumb giving you one consistent pressure point therefore reducing bow torque. For photos of this go to briansarchery.com and check out the tip section.

Bow Arm:

As you extend to the target your bow arm should have a very slight bend at the elbow. Many shooters lock the bow arm out at the elbow. This causes several problems. First, a locked elbow will put tremendous strain on the joint. A locked elbow will also eliminate the desired bone on bone alignment with the forearm and upper arm; in a sense you will be hyper extending the elbow joint. When the shot is executed a slight bend in the arm will allow the bow to push towards the target in its follow through. A locked arm will pull the bow to one side altering the course of the arrow.

The Draw:

When drawing the bow you should extend the bow directly at the intended target and pull with the release hand tracking parallel to your bow arm and shoulder until achieving full draw. This will cut down on excess game spooking movement and minimize muscle involvement. If you find you cannot draw in this manner reduce your bow weight until you can.

Anchor Point:

A solid anchor point is crucial to consistent shooting. I like to see the knuckles of your index and middle fingers locked solidly against the sweep of your jawbone. This position will give you firm bone on bone structure. I then like to have the bowstring touch the corner of your mouth and the tip of your nose. In conjunction with a peep sight this positioning will give you four reference points with which to anchor. The more points of reference you can create the more consistent you will shoot.

Once you have gone through these steps the last thing you need to do is execute the shot and follow through. This routine will not only put you in proper position for the shot but it will also give you something to preoccupy your mind when that trophy animal is approaching your shooting lane, therefore calming your nerves slightly.

Try working with this routine but remember that it takes twenty-eight days of repetition to create the muscle memory. Once the memory is created you will see drastic improvements in your consistency and accuracy both on targets and live game.

Good Luck and Good Shooting,

Seth Stevens
Brian’s Archery Shop
Hoyt National Shooting Staff
Easton Pro Staff
Beman Pro Staff
Scentlok Pro staff
American Broadhead Company Pro Staff

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