Archery: My Aim Is Off

why I am getting worse at archery

Why am I getting worse at archery?

Archery is a sport that requires a lot of practice and the right technique to master. There are many reasons why your performance might be declining. It could be that you are not practising enough, or conversely, that you are practising too much and need to rest. Your technique might be off, or you could be focusing too much on your equipment. You might be getting tired or experiencing muscle strain, or you could be using a bow with too much draw weight. Your stance and posture might be incorrect, or you could be gripping the bow too tightly. You might be overthinking your technique, or you might have target panic, where you are anticipating the shot too much and your body is compensating in ways that are detrimental to your performance.

Characteristics Values
Incorrect elbow rotation Elbow positioning
Incorrect finger placement Too much tension on the string
Inconsistent anchor point
Not following through
Not practicing enough
Incorrect posture
Incorrect breathing
Incorrect grip
Incorrect stance
Incorrect arrow choice
Incorrect draw weight
Incorrect shooting technique

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Incorrect elbow rotation

Proper Elbow Rotation Technique:

  • Before drawing your bow, ensure your elbow is in the correct alignment. This means rotating your elbow straight up and down as you prepare to draw the arrow.
  • Check that your grip on the bow is correct. A proper grip will automatically position your elbow in the desired outward rotation.
  • Avoid gripping the bow too tightly. Allow the bow to rest in the crevice between your thumb and index finger, with the thick part of the thumb muscle providing support.
  • Ensure your wrist is straight and your knuckles are at a 45-degree angle. This will help you achieve the correct elbow rotation and prevent string slap.
  • Engage your tricep muscle to lock your arm into position. This will help you maintain the correct elbow rotation throughout your shot.

Practicing Elbow Rotation:

  • Practice the elbow rotation movement without the bow. Stand with your arm extended to the side, just like when holding the bow, and place your hand on a wall, forming a "V" with your fingers and thumb. Practice rotating your arm back and forth to improve flexibility and control.
  • Set your elbow rotation before lifting the bow. Focus on pushing through your lat and tricep to stabilize the rotation.
  • Use a finger sling to support your grip and reduce the risk of string slap.
  • Practice in front of a mirror to monitor your form and make adjustments as needed.

Remember, incorrect elbow rotation is often a result of improper grip and wrist alignment. By addressing these issues and practicing the correct elbow rotation, you will improve your accuracy and consistency in archery.

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Poor stance

A poor stance can be a major factor in your archery performance. The stance is the foundation of your shot, so getting it right is crucial for accuracy and consistency.

The stance refers to the position of the feet, hips, and shoulders when shooting. It provides a stable base for the archer to shoot from, allowing for a smooth and controlled release of the arrow.

  • Foot placement: Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointing slightly outward. The dominant foot should be a half-step behind the other. This provides a good base of support and helps maintain balance. If your feet are too close together or too far apart, it will affect your balance and stability.
  • Weight distribution: Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet, with a slight bias toward the balls of the feet. Placing more weight on your front foot improves stability and reduces muscle fatigue.
  • Back posture: Your back should be straight, with the shoulders relaxed. Avoid excessive arching of the lower back, as this can lead to injury.
  • Tension: Your stance should be tension-free, with the archer feeling relaxed and comfortable. Tense shoulders will affect your shooting accuracy.
  • Shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed, level, and aligned with your hips and feet. This helps maintain correct posture and improves shoulder alignment.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key. Try to achieve the same stance and anchor point with every shot. This helps develop good muscle memory and form, increasing your chances of hitting the target.
  • Breath control: Focus on your breath to maintain a relaxed state. This will help you stay calm and improve your accuracy.
  • Stance for different shooting styles: There are several types of archery stances, including the square stance, open stance, closed stance, and modified stance. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so choose one that suits your personal preferences and shooting style. For example, the square stance is simple and efficient, while the open stance provides more stability in windy conditions.

Remember, the stance is just one aspect of archery, and there may be other factors affecting your performance. However, by focusing on these key points and making any necessary adjustments, you can improve your stance and increase your chances of success in archery.

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Incorrect finger placement

Finger placement is an important aspect of archery, and incorrect positioning can negatively affect your shots. Here are some tips to help you improve your finger placement and, consequently, your overall performance:

  • Ensure your fingers are relaxed and not splayed. Your little finger and thumb should be relaxed and not holding the string.
  • Avoid gripping the bow too tightly. A good grip is essential for stability and consistency in your shots. A common mistake is to grip the bow like an axe or a bat. Instead, hold it gently, allowing your knuckles to be visible and your hand to be naturally rotated outwards. This helps position your elbow correctly.
  • Position your fingers correctly on the string. There are two common placements: the "3 under" and the "1 over 2 under." In the "3 under" position, all three fingers (index, middle, and ring) are below the arrow nock. In the "1 over 2 under" position, the index finger is above the arrow, while the middle and ring fingers are below.
  • Avoid curling your fingers too far around the string. Hook your fingers only up to the first joint (distal interphalangeal joint) to prevent blisters and injury during release.
  • Maintain a small space between your fingers and the arrow to avoid interference with the arrow's trajectory.
  • Use finger tabs or a special archery glove to protect your fingers and hand from soreness and injury.
  • Take the time to check your finger placement before each shot to ensure it's correct.
  • For recurve shooters, consider using a mechanical release aid, which increases accuracy by reducing interference during release.
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Inconsistent anchor point

An inconsistent anchor point is a common issue in archery that can significantly impact your accuracy and consistency. Here are some reasons why you may be struggling with inconsistent anchor points and how to address them:

Understanding the Anchor Point

The anchor point is the position on your face where the string makes contact when you fully draw your bow. A consistent anchor point is crucial because it provides a reference point for your shooting form. It helps ensure that your arrows are released from the same position each time, leading to more accurate and consistent shots.

Identify the Cause

Tips to Improve Consistency

To improve the consistency of your anchor point, consider the following:

  • Take Breaks: If you find yourself getting tired during practice, take longer breaks between shots or ends (shooting rounds). This will give your muscles time to recover and help you maintain proper form.
  • Practice Good Form: Focus on developing a proper form and technique. This includes having a consistent stance, a relaxed grip, and a smooth draw. Ensure your head remains in the same position each time, as moving your head can affect your anchor point and shot accuracy.
  • Use a Kisser Button: Consider adding a kisser button to your setup. This is a small piece of plastic or serving thread tied to the bowstring that touches your mouth when you reach your anchor point. It provides a tactile reference to help you consistently find the correct anchor point.
  • Aiming Drills: Incorporate aiming drills into your practice routine. These drills help improve your endurance, bow arm strength, and focus. They also reduce the urge to release each time you draw the bow, allowing you to settle into your shot and find your anchor point more consistently.
  • Reduce Draw Weight: If you're consistently struggling with a heavy draw weight, consider switching to a lower weight bow or limbs. This will help you maintain proper form and reduce the risk of developing bad habits due to fatigue.
  • Seek Coaching: Consider finding a coach or mentor who can observe your form and provide personalized advice. They can help identify any inconsistencies in your anchor point and offer tailored solutions to improve your technique.

Remember, achieving a consistent anchor point takes time and practice. Don't get discouraged if you don't see immediate improvements. Keep working on your form, stay focused during practice, and make gradual adjustments as needed. With dedication and persistence, you'll be able to improve your anchor point consistency and take your archery skills to the next level.

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Not following through

The follow-through in archery controls the release step by allowing the energy of the bow and the tension in the drawing arm to naturally expand. It is a smooth, free-flowing motion that carries the weight of the bow and the drawing arm to the full finish position. The release and the follow-through are a single fluid action, and when performed correctly, will yield superior results.

After committing to the release, the fingers of the drawing hand should be relaxed. Continue to engage your back muscles so that the scapula continues to move toward the spine and the drawing arm shoulder rolls around toward your back. Your drawing hand should move straight back along the side of your face and stop slightly below and behind the ear. The bow arm should continue to hold the bow up and remain in this position until the end of the follow-through. Continue to apply back tension until the arrow hits the target.

Beginners often make the mistake of dropping the bow arm too soon, or moving the bow to the left or right to observe the flight of the arrow. If you drop the bow arm too soon and the arrow has not cleared the arrow rest, you are essentially driving or steering the arrow down off course. Lowering the bow arm too soon will typically cause the arrows to impact below your point of aim. If you are peaking (moving the bow to observe the arrow flight) and the arrow has not left the arrow rest, you are simply steering your arrow to the left or right of your original point of aim.

A good clean follow-through will reduce the amount of fatigue that you experience during long archery practice sessions and competition. It will also reduce some of the shock and vibration transmitted from the bow back through your arm and shoulder. Mastering the follow-through will assure a pleasant shooting experience and increase your consistency and accuracy.

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Frequently asked questions

There could be a number of reasons why you are getting worse at archery. Here are some possible causes and solutions:

- Incorrect elbow rotation: Ensure your elbow is in proper alignment before you draw your bow. Rotate your elbow straight up and down when preparing to draw.

- Inconsistent stance: Maintain a consistent stance by placing your feet in the same position for each shot. Consider using tape to mark your foot placement.

- Incorrect finger placement: Check your finger placement before each shot to ensure it is correct, and avoid applying too much tension to the string, which can cause finger blisters.

- Inconsistent anchor point: Find the best anchor point for you and stick to it. Common anchor points include the corner of the mouth, below the chin, or below the cheekbone.

- Not following through: Maintain proper posture until you hear your arrow hit the target. Avoid letting your front hand fall away too soon.

- Not enough practice: Archery requires consistent practice to improve. Consider attending archery classes or hiring a trainer to help you get better.

- Mental blocks: Clear your mind before shooting and try to think positive thoughts. Too many negative thoughts can affect your performance.

- Incorrect bow grip: Focus on your bow grip rather than your equipment or target. The non-dominant hand has a significant influence on shooting accuracy. Aim for minimal contact between your bow hand and the bow.

- Poor posture: Check your posture by drawing your bow in front of a mirror. Make any necessary adjustments to align with the recommended form.

- Lack of breathing: Pay attention to your breathing. Many beginners hold their breath while shooting, which can negatively impact performance. Remember to take deep breaths and relax.

- Rushing your shots: Take your time and hold your aim for at least 10 seconds before releasing the arrow. This will help improve your accuracy.

- Moving too soon: Maintain your stance until you hear your arrow hit the target. Avoid the urge to release your aim quickly to check where the shot lands.

- Inconsistent arrow type: Use arrows from the same brand and model. Mismatched arrows can impact your performance.

- Over-practising: Take breaks between practice sessions to allow your muscles to recover. Rest is essential to prevent injuries and improve performance.

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