By Aaron McKinney
We have all read the articles on accuracy tips discussing paper tuning, broadhead tuning, sight adjusting, and just flat out tinkering with your bows set up for hours. These are all fine and will help you but let’s step back for a moment and look at five really simple accuracy tips I suggest you try out. These tips most likely are ones you haven’t heard of or maybe you have disregarded them in the past. They are really simple to perform and all but one of them have nothing to do with adjusting your bow because 9 times out of 10 it isn’t the bow that is broke in the first place. Fix yourself first and then look at the bow second.
Take off the Grip
Every once in a while in life we stumble across “why didn’t I think of that sooner” moments. Well this is one of those moments in simple accuracy improvements. Most grips on new bows and even older model bows have a factory installed grip that comes preinstalled. These grips are great for comfort, but in all honesty they are a not the best component of a bow for accuracy purposes. Grips nowadays tend be bulky and add more surface area. This is a bad thing because the added bulk of the grip leaves you susceptible to torque or torqueing more than you already do. Torque is the force that is applied to your bow in either direction from your hand contacting the grip of your bow and tends to be one of the leading factors of accuracy issues.
What should you do? Pretty simple, remove the factory installed grip. What you will be left with is a much thinner grip, essentially the beginning of the bow riser. It may not be the best looking or most comfortable grip around but it will increase your accuracy by decreasing the amount of torque you place on the bow. By minimizing the space of contact your hand has to grip there will be less of a chance that your hand will put force on your bow in a left or right manner. Removing a grip is really simple, most grips today will come off with the removal of a screw or gentle persuasion, and can be placed back on just as quickly. The only downside I see in taking off your grip is that it is not as comfortable as the factory grips, and a grip-less bow in the winter time can make the bow pretty cold to hold on to. Nevertheless this is a great tip to utilize if you struggle with torqueing your bow.
The absolute easiest thing one can do to improve accuracy is to develop a follow through after you release your shot. Just like any sport where a projectile is being sent through the air following through is important for accuracy. The good thing is that creating a follow through is really simple…the hard part is remembering to do it every shot. To create a follow through make sure your arm that is holding the bow stays steady until the arrow has hit its target. Often times shooters will drop their hand that holds the bow immediately after the shot. This will result in a poor shot and will actually start to happen earlier and earlier in the shot sequence if not fixed, creating even worse shots than before. To take it one step further make sure all of your body positions stay put until the arrow has reached its target. While the bow hand staying put is the biggest follow through concern any body part moving prematurely leaves you susceptible to poor follow through mechanics.
Aim Small, Miss Small
If you have ever seen the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson you might remember when Gibson instructs his sons to “aim small, miss small” at the approaching red coats. What Gibson’s character really meant by that line was if you pick out a smaller target within your intended target even if you miss that smaller target you will still hit your intended target. For example if you want to hit a 10 inch circle and you aim for the center 3 inch circle the chances of you hitting that 10 inch circle will be highly likely with all things considered. It really is that simple, either on paper, 3D targets, or the real thing if you aim smaller you will hit the larger intended target more often. Again simple, yet effective!
Float Your Aim
Many archers of all skill levels try and hold their pin steady on target. I know this will sound crazy, but forget about holding the pin steady and let it float freely around the intended spot you want to hit. Everyone’s pins will move no matter how hard you try and that is where the problem lies. If you are trying to steady the pin on target your innate want to move the pin will take over and rarely does the arrow get released when the pin is over the target anyways…creating a power struggle between body and mind. What happens a lot of times is poor shots and worse the development of target panic; the mental block of being unable to release the shot.
Try relaxing and focusing on the mechanics of the shot and simply let your pin float around the target then release when ready. It is a strange phenomenon but shooters who float their pins often times find better groupings that are closer to center. There is a natural centering tendency that occurs within the shot if you simply let the pin float.
Shoot Longer Distance
One of the best things a person can do to increase their accuracy at specific distances is to practice shooting at farther distances. If all you do is practice shots out to 30 yards then you will only be so good. If you want to maximize your shooting potential at 30 yards or any distance for that matter then step back 20 or 30 yards father and practice at those distances. In a very short amount of time you will begin to notice how close 30 yards feels compared to 40, 50, or 60 yards. Not only will this improve your accuracy at closer distances it will also improve your form as well.
A shooter with poor fundamentals may get away with bad form at 30 yards. For example if you have an issue with hand torque your arrow might be flying wide but still in the bull’s-eye at 30 yards, which you might think is an acceptable shot. However, when you back up to 50 or 60 yards those poor fundamentals will be exploited and that same shot that was still in the bull’s-eye at 30 yards will now be several inches away or worse from the outer edge of the bull’s-eye! The only way to fix your inaccuracy is to tweak your fundamentals.
If you are limited to close range shooting you can reenact long range shooting by simply aiming at smaller bull’s-eyes at your allowed shooting distance. Start out with a 7” circle to aim at, when you start hitting the center of that circle consistently go down to a 5” circle and so on and so forth.