With longer days and warmer temperatures, summer stands to be the best time to focus on refining your archery shooting skills. For most bow hunters, practicing during the summer is common, but focusing on certain details can significantly improve your overall performance. From improving your breathing to refining your thought process, details can lead to you becoming a far more consistent archer. Below, you will learn 10 shooting details that you should make sure that you focus on over the summer as you work on refining your bow hunting skills.
This time of year is an excellent time for you to work on your shooting stance. If there are any variations in your shooting stance, there will be variations in your shot. When you find yourself in that high-pressure moment of shooting off a bow toward a deer, it is imperative that your stance is natural, and the best way to make sure that it is to consciously practice your stance over the summer.
It may be a good idea to open up your stance. It is not uncommon for archers to close themselves off from their target, forcing them to turn their head into what is an uncomfortable position. So, to ensure that you remain comfortable, keep your stance open. You should also keep your feet shoulder length apart and your toes pointed outward slightly. Of course, you should stand in a way that is comfortable to you.
As soon as you find a stance that is comfortable for you, get someone to trace your feet. Once this has been done, leave everything in its place and practice this form consistently. It won’t be long before this stance is something that you will easily be able to repeat time and time again—during practice and while on the stand.
To be successful, you must have a consistent anchor point. Despite what many bow hunters may believe, there are many things that are involved in making it consistent. This is why we suggest following a three-point process:
By ensuring all of these remain repeatable, it allows you to have a far more consistent shot. Release-to-hand means that you will keep the release in the exact same spot in your hand during each and every shot. In order for this to be accomplished, you need to locate a place that feels comfortable and then practice it consciously until it is the only place that feels comfortable to you. It may be a good idea to mark this spot on your hand to help you from the get-go.
After you have this position set, you will need to determine a comfortable hand-to-face position. It is a good idea to lightly touch your hand to the exact same place on your face each time. For some, this may be placing your knuckles along your jaw line.
The last anchoring point is the string-to-face position. It is recommended to lightly touch the string to the nose. This is probably the easiest location to consistently anchor, helping to prevent slight movements that could otherwise be difficult to trace along your face.
Summer is a great time to refine the way that you draw your bow. When it comes to your form, small changes can often make the most significant differences. One change you may want to focus on is the power behind your draw. For instance, one issue that some archers have had with their draw previously is the conventional back tension method. Once necessary, this particular method isn’t relevant any longer. In fact, if you utilize this push and pull method too much, you may find too many inconsistencies.
Why is that, though? Well, it comes down to the fact that modern bows tend to have a greater let off now, which means that there is excessive force with absolutely nowhere to go due to the excessive push and pull. For instance, as the back wall is hit, your energy must be transferred somewhere. More often than not, the energy is transferred to the release arm, resulting in disparities with the consistency in your shot. So, if you are having issues with your shot consistency, you need to give something new a try.
With newer bows having modern let off technology, it can be beneficial to have a less aggressive approach. Rather than utilizing the conventional back tension method, you should focus on relaxing during this motion. You should focus on using just enough muscle to bring the string to the stop and allow the bow to complete the rest. In doing so, you will use less muscles, ensuring that you are less fatigued. Keep in mind that the more consistent you are, the more accurate you’ll be.
Another cause of inconsistencies with your shots is torque, and this is something that you should focus on improving on over the summertime. To limit torques, you should focus on gripping with a single muscle. This can be achieved by placing your thumb at the 12 o’clock position, and then turn it to the 2 o’clock position while ensuring the rest of your fingers are behind the grip. This ensures you are removing the lifeline away from your hand, reducing the likelihood of overgripping, which tends to be the cause of torque.
It is also important that your grip remain relaxed, which is why it is a good idea to use the summer to practice a minimal and loose grip consciously. In doing so, when fall comes around, you will have a subconscious response.
You will find yourself facing stressful situations in the woods, so summer is a good time to prepare for them. Rather than practicing calmly shooting in the backyard, try to find a stressful situation you can shoot in. How can you do this, though, when you can’t replicate the situations that you face when you’re hunting? However, you can subconsciously prepare for the situations.
In order to do this, you should focus on one small spot. Training yourself to do this will teach consistency, regardless of how hard your adrenaline may be pumping. Learning to focus on a single spot now will help you focus on a small spot come hunting season. And if you can do this in a stressful situation, you will find that you will be that much more successful.
Practicing your breath can be the key to executing a perfect shot when you need it. Learning when and how to breathe and doing it repetitively can be essentially to maintaining your composure this fall.
It is crucial that you learn to breathe at the right time. There are certain moments when you should breathe. For instance, you should breathe when you draw. You should take a final breath when the pin settles in, and you should hold that breathe when you release your shot. If you breathe too early, you may cause panic, and if you breathe at the wrong time, the pin may bounce. So, as you can see, practicing your breathing is more important than you realize and will help you subconsciously execute it at the right times this fall.
Some archers will head down to the target, and once they reach the middle, they will fire their shot. To improve on this kind of target panic, you should focus on aiming without firing a shot this summer. Don’t even place your finger on your trigger for a couple of weeks.
Instead, just pull back, aim, and hold. Once you shot begins to deteriorate, let it up, and regroup. Do this 50 or so times a day for a couple of weeks. Before long, the pin will sit there longer than it ever has before. What this does for you is help maintain your composure while out in the field, and it reminds you that just because you see your target it doesn’t mean that it is the best time to take the shot.
When it comes to execution, a consistent thought process is important, particularly if you are being faced with buck fever. While it is important that you always practice your thought process, summer makes an ideal time to work on it.
Now, everyone has a different thought process. However, you may want to ensure that you start with a mental checklist. With your mental checklist, you may want to focus on one step as opposed to the whole situation. What this means is that you primarily focus on range and aim instead of release, allowing the release to be the subconscious movement, ensuring that you don’t succumb to buck fever pressure.
When it comes to accuracy, it all boils down to repeatability—and it is no different when we are talking about shot timing. Shot timing is when you are trying to maintain the same time between the anchor as well as the release. For many, this is a timeframe of three to four seconds from the time that you anchor to the time that the released is fired. It is important that you remain consistent with this window of time.
After you have spent the time improving the consistency of your shooting technique, you should focus on the various scenarios that you may face this fall. So, if you generally shoot while sitting down, then take the time practicing this summer from a seated position. If you tend to spot and stalk, then practice shooting this summer from a kneeling position. Take the time to practice from various angles, stands, and distances. Utilize the consistencies that you have built from focusing on the aforementioned tips and use them in real-world situations.
All of these tips have a single ultimate goal: to help you achieve consistency. In archery, repetition is essentially everything, and summertime is truly the ideal time to create consistency in the smallest of details. Put conscious effort into these small details and practice all of them time after time, as this will ensure that you repeat them unconsciously. Ultimately, this will ensure that you perform at your best when you see that trophy buck in front of you this fall.
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