5 Reasons why you are missing the Bullseye
By Jeremy Adams
Over my years of shooting I have noticed sometimes where I have to sit back and question myself, “What in the heck are you doing?” Why did I miss that bullseye? Why am I missing all of the bullseye’s now?! Well I can tell you one thing, very rarely it is the equipment. 9.9 times out of 10 it has something to do with guy or gal shooting the bow. That is the cold hard truth!!! I know it is tough to accept sometimes but it is true, so suck it up buttercup and get practicing! Here are some of the things that I have found and titled the 5 Reasons you are missing the Bullseye!
Torqueing the bow
This is a very common problem and I see it a lot and have been a victim of it myself many of times. When coaching our J.O.A.D archers this is the most common error we see. A sample of this is as follows:
“I shot my bow last week and sighted it in. I was nailing X’s!! I was shooting great! But tonight all of my shots are shooting left 2 inches at 20 yards. Somehow my sight got moved.” Says the athlete. I reply “Let me watch you shoot.” I steadily watch their grip on the bow handle and all of the sudden I see it. They are gripping the bow like they are arm wrestling it! So at this point it is time to go back to the basics. It is easy to forget. When you grip the bow it should be light and the back of the handle should be against the muscular part of your hand just below your thumb. Do not force your fingers into any unnatural position. If you just relax your hand in front of you with the natural curve of your fingers this is the position you want your hand in. If you over-grip the bow it will torque and cause your shots to be either left or right.
This is another issue that happens a lot. The proper way to pull your trigger whether it would be a thumb trigger release or a wrist release activated by your fore finger is to draw the bow back with the finger behind the trigger. Once you get to full draw then place your thumb or finger over the trigger and curl your finger or thumb around it. Once you are ready for the shot to go off, you must squeeze your finger or thumb slowly but steadily till the bow goes off. If you are lifting your finger up high and slamming or slapping it down or back your thumb up and slamming it forward, this will cause involuntary movement in your anchor point and even in your bow arm. This also causes a shooter to flinch as well which is odd because you know what you are doing but for whatever reason there is usually a flinch. All of this leads to errant shots. Remember to squeeze the trigger! It should be a somewhat surprise release.
Anchor Point Misalignment
I see this quite often too. This happens when you are settling in on your anchor at full draw and you are set on your face too high or too low. This will cause the arrow to shoot low if you are too high in your anchor point and shoot high if you are too low in your anchor point. There are many easy fixes for this problem. First off put on a Kisser Button. A Kisser button mounts on the string and gets adjusted so that it sits in the corner of your mouth when at full draw. Also use a peep sight that mounts in the middle of your string. You will look through this at full draw and then line up your sight housing with the peep sight. By doing these few things, they will help ensure proper anchor point each time.
Forcing the shot
There is a real easy fix for this problem. LET DOWN AND RESTART!!! Have you ever had that time when as you draw your bow, your bow hand didn’t feel right, or your peep isn’t turning like you want it too, your release feels off, or anything else that doesn’t feel right? I have….many, many times before. I’m sure you have too. Best thing to do is to let down your bow from full draw, take a quick few breathes and then restart your shot sequence. This will allow you to fix your grip, make sure your d-loop is turned right, and once again relax.
Anticipating the shot
This one is tough. But it doesn’t have to be. How about those times where you just can’t seem to get that pin to the bullseye. The bow seems to weigh 500lbs and you just can’t seem to move it to where you want to be. What happens then is what I like to call drive-by shooting. You jerk the bow so your pin is going to be in the center of the bullseye and try to time pulling the trigger at the right time so that you hit the bullseye. This is a tell-tale sign that you are having target panic or shot anticipation. There are many methods that archers have developed to try to overcome this problem.
The biggest thing to realize is that this is all in your head. Archery is 90 percent mental and 10 percent equipment. For some reason we develop a fear of the bow going off. Therefore you need to go back to square one and work on form. Start shooting at a blank bale with no target on it and have it close to you like at 5 yards. You will need to do this for a long time, sometimes a month or two. I know it’s tough but it can be overcome. Blank baling is a great way to work on the proper way to hold the bow (don’t torque it). This will also help you learn to squeeze the trigger (don’t punch it). You will learn your proper Anchor Point (prevent anchor point misalignment). You will learn when things feel good and when they don’t (not forcing the shot).
Being a good archery shot is about proper fundamentals, both physically and mentally. If you have good fundamentals and adhere to using them shot after shot after shot you will have no issues hitting where you are aiming every time. From time to time these fundamentals can get out of whack, it happens to every archery no matter their skill level. Take the time to diagnose the problem if something is wrong…figure out what is causing that problem. Don’t just keep shooting and hope it will fix itself. Remember that Perfect Practice makes Perfect!